Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"Hot August Afternoon" -- plein air oil study -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

Imagine standing in the hot sun, with rivlets of sweat pouring down your legs and arms, downwind of a hog farm and listening to some little idiot birdie singing the same 5-note song every 4 seconds for about an hour and a half! It was 96 degrees here yesterday afternoon, with the humidity probably around 90-something percent. Kinda nasty conditions, but still -- I'd rather be out painting and sweating than working in the auto factory and sweating.

My friend Tammy and I drove to this new nature preserve out by Fenton. We didn't arrive there until quite late in the day, possibly 6 PM. There were pretty views to paint in every direction. Because it was so late in the day, the shadows were becoming very interesting. I liked this diagonal shadow that was snaking up the little hill. I'd thought that surely it would be cooling off as evening approached, but soon into the painting I noticed I was drenched in sweat. Remarkably, the mosquitoes and flies weren't bothering me. I think they were all going for Tammy, who had taken a shower that morning with sweet-smelling soap. I could hear her up at the top of the hill, cussing at the bugs and slapping. You can just keep those bugs up there!

I love painting landscapes this time of the year in Michigan! The past couple weeks we painters have begun noticing the grasses are turning shades of gold and bronze. Even some of the maple trees are hinting at oranges and reds. The lavendar star thistle and spotted knapweeds are filling the fields with color. And the Queen Anne's Lace is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. I have some that drifted into my garden at home and although some people think of it as a weed, I love it. Most of the trees in this painting are red cedars. In summer they are green but turn shades of purple, mauve, rust and plum in winter.

When we got back to Tammy's I saw she had a real stuffed muskrat in her studio. "Let me borrow it!" I begged. So -- be forewarned: keep your eyes peeled for my next self-portrait, holding the muskrat!