Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Lemons" -- oil on canvas -- 48x36" -- Margie Guyot
I always check the weather online up here and snow was predicted for Tuesday. So I took advantage of the sunny weather on Monday and drove up north of Petoskey, to the only art store in northern Michigan that has a few items other than "student grade". I needed two extra-heavy duty stretched canvases measuring 48x36" for a special project. A good friend had requested a pair of "white" paintings to go inside his restaurant.

I don't know if this painting satisfies his idea of "white", but I like it. What surprises me is how fast I was able to paint it. I got home on Monday and set up this still life in the studio. I began trying to draw it in, but didn't get very far with it. That swirly bowl is just the devil! And if you haven't tried drawing wine glasses yet, lemme tell ya -- you can go berserk on those, too!

Tuesday I didn't work on this at all. It was snowy all day and I spent the entire day inside, painting the downstairs of my house. And I've got the paint on my arms and hands to prove it! My motto is: cover all beige! Besides, I wanted it to be sunny when I painted this still life. I had a vision of showing a sunlit white tablecloth, flooded with light. Kind of tough to do on a cloudy day.

So since this is Thursday, I must have painted this whole thing in 2 days! Thought I'd go mad drawing this in. Wiped out, drew, wiped out, drew. Finally I think I got it to the "I can live with this" stage. For me, the drawing-in is always the hardest part. I just have to keep slugging away until I get it.

The really FUN part is once it's drawn in. Then I attack the shadows & darks. Then the medium tones. And then it's practically done. This one just practically painted itself. And the plastic bags are just a HOOT to paint! I could just paint stuff in plastic bags over & over again & enjoy every damn second of it!

My good friend Jerry had brought over some of his excellent techno CDs and I've been listening to them, full-blast for days. Can't get them outta my head now.

Guess what I'm cooking for dinner: turnips! Ah, now what can I make with all those green onions????

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Friday, March 07, 2008

"Dusk" -- oil study -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot
Last night just about sundown I looked out my front window and saw this. I live about one mile east of Lake Michigan and the sunsets are sometimes spectacular. I drew a quick sketch in pen and ink, making notes on the side about the colors.

It may be March, spring may be around the corner, but we have a "goodly amount" of snow on the ground yet. The foreground was reflecting a slightly lighter shade of bluish-gray than the dark storm clouds. A pale, clear blue was peeking through the upper left break in the clouds. Along the bottom an amazing streak of hot rust-peach was breaking through. It was like a long, glowing dragon's tongue!

This morning in my studio I laid this out on a shellacked birch panel. I used a #8 brush for the whole thing and did it in about 5 minutes. There is a bit of glare on the left side because the paint is so wet. I'd like to use this as a basis for a somewhat larger painting later on.

Russel Chatham's landscape show at the Dennos Museum (Traverse City) has me all inspired again about landscapes. I've seen his exhibit twice and truly enjoy his bold, simple shapes and moody paintings. As I walked through his show, I kept thinking I should get out and do more landscapes now and then.

Simple, elegant landscapes are a nice change from what I usually do: complicated still lifes with glaring colors. Would I quit doing still lifes? NO WAY! I just think it's good for me to switch off, to do a variety of things. Kind of clears the cobwebs and stale thinking.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Day #7 -- "White Duck" -- 30x40" -- Margie Guyot
OK, I think this is about finished. I'm going to set it aside and work on my income taxes for a few days. Take a breather. Sometimes it helps to take a break, let a painting sit for a few days (or weeks) and then you can see what (if anything) you need to correct.

My friend Jerry came over today, bringing his easel, paints and a stack of techno CDs. I suppose I needed to take a break from Diana Krall for a while. I like techno and only have a couple CDs, so it was refreshing to have a painting buddy and new music to listen to. We both bemoaned the thought of being stuck in a room, having to listen to 8 hours of nothing but Enya! That happened to me out at Scottsdale Artists School some years ago. It was a still life class and they had about 10 CDs. Unfortunately, 9 of them were Enya CDs. You hear one Enya, you've heard 'em all! Finally on the last day, I put down my brush, walked over to the CD player and put in the 10th CD, a collection of show tunes! Thought I'd go stark raving mad. But then everybody started whining, "We want Enya!!!!" so I had to change it back. Strange group of painters.

Another problem I realized today was that Matisse, my headstrong cat, had jumped up onto my setup and things had shifted noticeably. I had to look twice -- had I been this wrong in my drawing? Finally I realized it was from the cat pouncing in the middle of it all. Whew!

Well, if you don't see any new blogs in the next few days, don't worry & don't fret. I'll be back. It's just that The Tax Man Cometh.....