Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"The Lake 11/04/08" -- plein air field study -- oil on stretched canvas -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

"Maple" -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

After voting this morning, I came back home and loaded up my Explorer and went out to paint. As usual in Michigan, the weather is usually pretty nice up until about the first week of November. Then it all goes to hell. All the more reason to go out and paint today!

I was able to get by with just a T-shirt & jeans this afternoon. No bulky down jacket yet. It was wonderful. The maple tree in this painting is just down the road from me, on Old Dixie Highway. Most of the trees are bare by now. This one had some glorious red and gold leaves hanging on yet. I love the way these big old maple trees get so gnarly.

After painting the maple tree I drove down to my favorite beach: Rex Beach. You can actually drive right down onto the sandy beach, but you can't park there. With all the rain we've had lately, the sand has been pretty wet and it is kind of scary to drive on it. I see deep ruts from other vehicles who've barely made it out.

First I took a walk along the beach, looking for Petoskey Stones. Alas, all the stones I saw were covered in some kind of dried scum. The sun was blindingly bright on the water and I found this spot where cross currents were making interesting patterns. In the distance is the Leelanu Peninsula. If you like rocks, this is the place to get some! Because of the blinding reflections on the water, it was kind of tough to paint this. I kept my sunglasses on through most of it, which is something I wouldn't ordinarily do. It was kind of tricky to get the values of the water and rocks right so that the sunlight reflections would give the feeling of how bright it actually was. And painting waves is always tough -- like trying to draw chickens running around in a pen! But I really enjoyed painting this.

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