Saturday, August 11, 2007

"August: Kent Lake" -- plein air oil study -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

Added note on 8/28/07: This painting is being donated to the Oakland Land Conservancy's annual "Music Under the Stars" charity event. The date of the event is September 29th, from 7 - 10 PM. The place is the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center - 1516 Cranbrook - Birmingham, Michigan

As I painted this, a bunch of young kids dressed in Civil War era garb were pretending to shoot each other, shrieking and clamboring in the willow tree behind me. They were arguing about who should volunteer to be shot next. Volunteers would die in increasingly dramatic variations, falling into the dewy grass. They were with their parents at Kensington Metropark for the weekend, camping out in Civil War-era style tents, dressed in period clothing. Besides the yelling and death tumbles into the grass, muskets were blasting in the distant field. Occasionally the motley crew of Confederate (or was Union?) soldiers would march along, a fife and drum playing. Egads -- the smoke! Every campsite had a cooking fire going, plus there was a blacksmith with a coal fire. Can you tell I'm not a big smoke fan?

Noise and smoke -- and one of my poor little piggies was on the fritz! I'd rubbed the skin off the inside of one toe when sand had gotten caught in my sandals. O day of pestilence & tribulation!

It would have been nice to paint some scenes of Civil War types and their tents, but I didn't think anybody to care to sit still for an hour or two. So I found this great spot under a big willow tree at the edge of Kent Lake. The ziggy-zaggy shoreline design (notice the line of washed-up seaweed?) really caught my eye. And I liked the morning shadows and sunlight patterns in the grass. The heavy dew (on the shaded grass) was reflecting the blue of the sky. The water was really fun to paint, with some of it in sun and some in shadow. And the ripples are like the frosting on the cake! Isn't that a great-looking willow tree, hanging out over the water? Willows always remind me John Singer Sargent. He did some fantasic paintings of willows and water. Several kayakers paddled by, some in costume, curious about what I was up to. One of the young Civil War girls watched me for a while and said she liked to draw. Said she couldn't draw faces, though. I told her that it just takes a lot of practice to get good at drawing a likeness. Just keep at it and don't give up. It's just a skill that needs to be worked on.

Eventually the smoke got to me. And it was another blisteringly-hot day here. I figured I should quit while I was ahead and go home to take care of my poor, skinless toe.

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