Sunday, November 25, 2007

An update on my new studio: this was snapped on Thanksgiving morning, after a light snowfall. The 3 windows have been added. I haven't begun painting in there yet, as the heating problem is being worked on. Last weekend I tried lighting a fire in the gigantic woodstove, just to test it out. It's a huge, old monstrosity. Apparently it hadn't been used for a few years, and just opening the firebox door was a struggle. After I lit the fire, I found it impossible to completely close the firebox door. So smoke leaked out into the studio. I'm very sensitive to smoke, so this was a disaster! When Tom, the contractor showed up, I said this thing's gotta go!

So we're working out a deal. The electrician wants the stove and I'm going to trade him for labor costs. I'm going to be installing an LP gas burning unit in the studio, eliminating the smoke -- and the need for constant fire-stoking. It's not good for paints to freeze, either.

As I stood out there, taking photos in the early morning, the air smelled so sweet -- like a mix of flowers & pine. It never smells like that in the Detroit area. For years, I dreamed of living in a place where the air smelled fresh and clean.

At the moment I'm back at my old house in Farmington Hills, taking care of last-minute "fluffings" before putting it on the market. It is my goal to be up at my northern house by the end of November. I miss painting!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Wine Bottle & Onions" -- oil on canvas -- 48x48" -- Margie Guyot

I'm deep in the "hell of moving", but wanted to keep my blog active. While moving my paintings to my new home in northern Michigan, I saw some that I hadn't looked at in several years. This is one. It was done as a kind of one-person protest against the typical dark, somber, trite renderings involving the classic wine bottle and onions. I have a horror of painting anything boring or trite. I love color. So this was the result!

Some of you may recognize the boston terrier hand puppet in the back. I'd picked him up out in California back in 1994. I've used him in a lot of paintings, often representing men. Yes, men. One time I looked at this goofy thing and something about its silly face reminded me of some of the men I'd dated. They were greedy, opportunistic men, eager to take advantage of my generous nature.

Having had to handle and look at ALL of my older paintings, I couldn't help but notice that I'd gone through a period of surreal, symbolistic painting. I'd have the boy-dogs swirling about, jaws dripping with drool (or sometimes blood!). I can see now that I was expressing my anger with these men (from a safe distance, in my paintings). It reminded me once again that I really should write an article about "painting as therapy", as I believe it really helped me to just "paint it out".

As I said earlier, I'm right in the middle of moving. My new "dream" studio is being made ready, with large windows and lots of storage space. I'm having the monstrosity-of-a-woodstove yanked out and a small LP gas heater installed. Last week I tried lighting the behemoth stove and it was so old, I couldn't shut the firedoor tightly enough. Smoke filled the place, making it unbearable to work in. It will be a treat to have room to paint, instead of feeling cramped in a spare bedroom!

So this moving experience -- not much is left here, and I've had to borrow a small camping cot and air mattress from friends. The TV and stereo are up north. No table or chairs left (other than this computer chair). Hardly any clothes is here, and I am always short on socks and have to do laundry every day, just to have something clean to wear.

This morning I woke up and laid there, thinking about my series of slobbering dog-men paintings. I was thinking to The Universe OK, you had your fun with me. You sent me these goofy men, thinking I'd enjoy the interesting experience of it all. Huh! Well, enough of that! You can think about sending me somebody NICE for a change!

While packing the other day, I found an old diary, dated back in 1998. When I'd go on trips to South America, France, Mexico, or when I'd take painting workshops, I'd always keep a journal. This one from 1998, I saw that I was with G--- out in New Mexico. Wow -- he was the last guy I dated. Was it really 9 years since I've dated? How time flies! Well, I had a lot of anger to get rid of. And that takes time. I had to look back at all the dozens of mistakes I'd made in relationships and see if I could learn from them. Plus, I knew retirement from Ford Motor Company was coming up. And I wanted to be completely FREE to decide where to move. I didn't want to be stuck with some old fart who would tell me No, we have to stay in Detroit! I don't want to leave my grandkids!

One of my women friends is a retired Detroit schoolteacher, never married. Years ago, I used to wonder why she never cared to marry. She's a spit-fire, fun and happy -- a delight to be friends with. At the time, I couldn't imagine not wanting to be with somebody. But as I've grown older, the urge to date has grown dim. Too much fun to have! Too many places to visit! Too many paintings to paint! It almost seems like I hesitate giving up any of my precious time to somebody else. Maybe I've become jaded. Have I become a dried-up old hag? More than anything, I'm bemused, waiting to see what the Universe is going to offer me at this point.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Here is a photo of my new studio-in-the-rough. I'm having the double doors removed and 3 large windows installed. It's heated by a big woodstove, so that will be an adventure this winter! I'm still in the process of moving all my stuff from Farmington Hills, a 5 hour drive. I arrived up here Saturday night with another load, just about sunset. I dragged 2 LaZy-Boy chairs out to the studio, set up my stereo & speakers, poured a little shot of Southern Comfort and sat back, listening to Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion". Felt as happy as a hog in slop! Stepping outside, the view of the stars up here in northern Michigan is FANTASTIC! Downstate, in the City, you just don't see many stars from all the light interference. But up here, it's just amazing. I haven't seen stars like this since I left Peru.

All last week I was taking trailer-loads of my stuff up, arriving right near sunset. After leaving Interstate 75, it's an hourlong drive along hilly, winding roads. As I drive along, I'm seeing hundreds of beautiful spots to paint. Right at sunset, I'm coming up a crest overlooking Lake Michigan. It's a spectacular treat, with dramatic clouds and glowing reds & golds! I really look forward to painting all this.

Then there's the thrill of finally having a real studio to work in! I've always had a spare bedroom to set up & paint my still lifes in. Sometimes it's pretty cramped. So while this move has been quite exhausting and difficult (I can't afford to hire people to do it for me), I know it's a good thing.

Getting to live in peace & quiet, in a beautiful setting, has been my lifelong dream. My new property is on 6 wooded, hilly acres with a small trout stream. My house is 1 mile east (as the crow flies) of Lake Michigan. After sweating for 28 hard years in the hot, stinky auto factory, this place is heaven on earth!

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