Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"S. Dennis Rd. Creek" -- field study 11x14" -- oil on canvas -- Margie Guyot

Woke up this morning at 4, unable to breathe. Must have some kind of nasty little cold. What to do at that hour? Get online and hope for daylight to hurry up & arrive, that's what! We're still on Daylight Savings Time, so daylight doesn't really show up here until after 8 AM.

I was showered, dressed and all set to roll this morning. Headed east on Essex Road towards Ellsworth. Yesterday morning I turned onto North Dennis Road; this morning I headed onto South Dennis Road. I don't know who that Dennis guy was, but he's got a pretty road. Just a one-laner dirt road, but it runs through pretty land.

This spot is just north of Toad Creek Road (tip: never try driving that road in the springtime or after a hard rain! You'll end up stuck in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization.) There is a very small creek here that caught my eye. As I set up, I saw 4 huge turkey vultures sitting in a dead tree a little further over. As the sun rose, they'd spread their wings and sit, letting the sun's rays heat their tired old bones. One by one, they eventually flew off. Most of the time while I painted, they were there, watching me and croaking. Or maybe it was ravens or crows that were croaking. If I was the skittish type, I'd have freaked out and vamoosed long before the painting was finished! It would have been a good place to have been ambushed & eaten by a bear or mountain lion.

What I liked about this scene was that most of it was in shade when I arrived. Only a few streaks of golden sunlight fell across the land. It's still very early in the fall season up here and the foliage was only beginning to start in with a few shades of red and gold. As it grew lighter with the sun, I could see into the shallow creek bottom. Small trout were flitting about. No tresspassing signs all over. No hunting, no fishing. Good. I didn't see any "no painting" signs, thank goodness.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

"N. Dennis Rd. -- Morning" -- field study 8x10" on canvas -- oil -- Margie Guyot

This was one of those mornings where I wanted to get going, without wasting time to shower & primp. Like a stray dog, scavenging for tidbits from garbage cans, I scavanged for wearable dirty clothes from my dirty clothes basket. Washed my face and took a "French whore's bath", spraying deoderant, as my neighbor calls it. Threw my paints into the Explorer and I was off!

This was painted on a little one-lane gravel road near Ellsworth, Michigan. It's North Dennis Road, off Essex Road. For months I'd drive past this road and always looked down it as I passed, admiring the shadows cast over the road. This morning I decided to go paint it.

It may be September 22 here, but few of the trees have changed color yet. They say the bright yellows and reds are at their height the first 2 weeks of October. What I liked about this scene was the thin ray of sunlight that fell across the road.

The sky was a kind of strange cream color, with high clouds a good portion of the day. It wasn't really blue. Maybe a rainstorm is coming this way soon.

The colors I used for this painting are the colors Scott Christensen uses. I just returned from a workshop with him out in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, area. He uses the 3 primary colors (red, yellow & blue plus white) and an additional 7 grayed tones. I was skeptical of his palette at first, but grew to really like it. Having those extra gray-tones helps speed up the painting. This painting practically painted itself.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

" '63 Willys" -- oil field study -- 11x14"
-- Margie Guyot

For the past two weeks I'd been out in Victor, Idaho, taking a plein air workshop with Scott Christensen. My good friend Carole Flaherty let me stay in one of her little log cabins. Their property butts right up to the national forest (in the Tetons area) and it was very beautiful. A few years ago Carole bought this interesting-looking '63 Willy (I'm not sure if I'm spelling it right) as a birthday present for her husband. Never mind that it didn't have a working motor! Patrick's a hellfire mechanic. He put in a new motor and they tool around Victor in it. The front windshield's got a crack in it, but I think it adds to the charm.

After class I'd come back to Carole's and set up my easel by the Willys. The sunlight falling across the hood only stayed like that for about 5 minutes for me, by the time I got there. So it was "paint fast"! I'd set my easel up at the side of the gravel road leading up into the mountain and had to move it a couple times for jeeps on their way up.

Painting this vehicle was a nice little break from painting mountains and fields all day. At least it was close up and a big, solid shape.

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