Sunday, July 27, 2008

"July Orchard" -- plein air field study -- 12x24" -- oil -- Margie Guyot

While the rest of the state was sweltering in 90 degree, humid weather, it was another glorious day up here in NW Michigan. I'd thought of going to the beach to paint but figured it would be noisy and crowded. So I stayed home and did a painting right in my own yard. The star thistle just started blooming this week (some call it spotted knapweed). It's a beautiful lavender flower and it's everywhere up here. There's also some small white flower for which I don't have the name. I love all the flowers. The golf-course look for lawns is preferred by some, but I love the wild look. Reminds me of a Persian carpet.

I bought this house and land last fall and with it came about 5 apple trees. While painting, I looked at the tree (in the left in this painting) and saw a hen turkey underneath. She had about 5 of her babies with her. She must have given a warning cluck to them and they all flew up into the tree, out of harm's way.

This weekend is a big festival up in Charlevoix, the Venetian Festival. Traffic is at a standstill up there. So you know I would make an effort NOT to go. After about 30 years fighting Detroit traffic, noise and pollution, I love the peace and quiet right here in my own backyard.

"Willows -- Boyne Falls" -- plein air oil study -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

After work at Tapawingo on Friday I had the urge to go painting. Even though I have a "gravy job", doing the table flower arrangements as a part-time job, I'm usually exhausted by the time I'm finished. I came home and fixed lunch and should have tried taking a nap, but of course just couldn't. I was just too excited to get out there and paint. Earlier in the week I'd driven by a beautiful little lake in Boyne Falls. I went back there and saw these beautiful willows.

But egads -- the wind! It was sort of like trying to paint in a hurricane! It got stronger and stronger as I painted. I was using my new Soltek easel, famous for its stability in high winds. It worked like a champ. But I had to keep one hand on my hat.

Constant wind can drive people mad, they say. Think of Vincent Van Gogh in the famous Mistral winds of France, trying to paint his famous scene of the crows in the wheat field. His last painting. By the time I finished this painting, I felt as if I'd been struggling with a pack of dogs tugging on my pant legs and sleeves. To make matters worse, it didn't take long to realize that this lovely-looking little park was right at a highly-traveled, noisy, polluted intersection. And it was rush-hour on a Friday night. In short, I was totally exhausted by the time this painting was done.

All was not lost, though. On the 25 mile ride home, I spied a nice clump of wild tansy on a little side road. Luckily, there was a spade and buckets in the back of my Explorer. Did a U-turn and went back and dug a few plants for my yard. And picked more Queen Ann's Lace for my arrangements at Tapawingo.

Turns out I left just in time. Right after digging the tansy, the rain started. It came down in buckets. All the little wildflowers needed it. A great way to end a Friday night!

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