Monday, March 16, 2009

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

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, up to about 50 degrees. Probably the nicest day we've had yet this year. I felt the urge to drive down to Elk Rapids, the next little town down US 31. Every time I've been through, this big lake catches my eye. I've wanted to come and paint it ever since I moved up this way. The town's name is Elk Rapids, only I have no idea where the rapids are. All I've ever seen is this big lake. It's got dozens of tree stumps, some of which you see poking up out of the ice in this painting. I don't know the story on this lake yet. Probably it had been a river and it was dammed up, killing a bunch of trees?

When I see all those tree stumps in the water, the first thing I think is there must be some great bass fishing! I hope to get some fishing in this year. I haven't taken time to fish in almost 10 years, what with working and moving. This year I'm going to go fishing. And get out my kayak!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

"Peebles Rd. - North of Toad Lake Rd." -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

This was the second painting I did yesterday afternoon. It was about half a mile south of the first painting. 13 degrees out. I had to wear 2 pairs of gloves. After finishing this one, I had to drive a couple blocks down to find a spot to turn around. Then I saw the Toad Lake Road sign. Brought back memories of last spring. It was the first time I'd driven home from Ellsworth and wasn't quite sure which road to take. I got onto Toad Lake Road. What a mistake that was! It's a dirt road that turns into a swamp! Goes for miles, twisting around in the farmlands. I've got 4WD, but there were times I thought I'd be stuck in the sea of mud. There was a lake back there and I'm sure it had plenty of toads.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Peebles Road - S. of Essex Rd." -- plein air field study -- oil on gessoed panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

The 50 mph winds from yesterday died down somewhat, but it still was quite chilly to be out. The high got up to about 13 degrees with a windchill factor of minus 1 degree. I parked my Explorer on the side of the road and set up my easel right in front, using the vehicle as a kind of windblock. Had to wear 2 pairs of gloves. The blue sky began peeking out this afternoon, which was good to see. We've had a number of days of storms.

The land around here is quite beautiful, rather like Vermont, with rolling hills, ponds and streams. It's big farming country up this way, with lots of orchards and vineyards.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Cattail Marsh" -- plein air field study -- oil on gessoed panel -- 9x12" -- Margie Guyot

Yesterday I was on my hike out to Fox Mission and loved the patterns of melting snow on the cattail marsh. After I returned from my hike I loaded the Explorer and drove back over to paint this view. I wasn't sure if I could get it to come out -- it's kind of difficult to get the illusion of the dark water with rotting vegetation at the bottom. Painting very dark shades with the very light shades is always kind of a test. Things want to smear together.

As always, I composed this by framing it through my little plastic viewfinder. Clyde Aspevig got us used to using it and I wouldn't attempt a painting without one.

It was very quiet here. All I could hear were occasional bird songs. Love this area!

"Fox Mission: Late Afternoon" -- plein air field study -- oil on gessoed panel -- 9x12" -- Margie Guyot

Friday afternoon I got started late with my painting. I'd spent hours trying (in vain) to burn jpegs onto a CD to send in for an art grant. Finally had to give up and call my neighbor Jerry. He drove over & was able to save for me in 2 minutes. Ah, youth!

After mailing the CD and grant application, I was driving home and noticed the beautiful, pale gray sky. The snow is starting to melt around here and the temperature was relatively warm (upper 30's) and the sky had a very special quality to it, sort of a pearl-gray tone. I loaded my gear and drove up to the top ridge of Fox Mission to paint this. This view is facing south. I loved the smokey blue line in the far distance. And the patterns of the melting snow. This is a favorite spot of the white tail deer.

"Bag of Oranges" -- oil on panel -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

I was getting behind in my posts! I did this one on Thursday in the studio. It was a very dark, gloomy, rainy day. Impossible to paint outside with oils. To get the strong shadow shapes I set up a studio light.

The scary part about doing this painting was painting the suggestion of the red mesh bag on at the end. Everything was very wet and gooey. There's always the risk of ruining everything. But I remembered the words of Robert Bateman. He told our class never to be afraid to try something that might improve your painting. It's always a risk worth taking.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"Daffodils" -- 12x9" -- oil on stretched canvas -- Margie Guyot

Besides finding possums stealing sunflower seeds under the bird feeder, another sure sign of spring here in Michigan is seeing daffodils in the grocery store. Too early for showing up in the gardens. We've got knee-deep snow here at the moment. I'd gone to the grocery store today, hoping to find a potted purple tulip, but no dice.

I'm having lots of fun, painting very simple still lifes, just set up on my work table, letting the patterns of lights and shadows form a lot of the interest.

Daffodils are just the devil to paint, though!

It's been quite cold lately so I've been wimping out, painting in my studio. It could be worse: I could be cleaning house. A tough day painting daffodils is better than housework any day!

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Monday, March 02, 2009

"Red Vase" -- oil on canvas -- 9x12" -- Margie Guyot

I started this little still life yesterday and just finished it this afternoon. The vase is from Pier One. This is the first attempt at painting it. I just love the way the colors are so intense! I want to do another, bigger still life using this vase and maybe some oranges or melons (other things "orange"). The little frogs are favorites of mine, and I loved the shadows they threw in the bright sunshine. We've had 2 days of sunshine in a row here and it's very unusual. Ten degrees below zero this morning, with a high about 10 above, so it's a good day to stay inside and do still lifes.

"Pink Tulips No. 2" -- oil on canvas -- 12x9" -- Margie Guyot

I did a painting quite similar to this a couple days ago, thinking the tulips were about to drop all their petals. I'd finished the "Red Vase" painting this afternoon around 2:30 and noticed these tulips were looking even prettier than before. So I basically painted the same thing, all over again. I never thought I'd finish it this afternoon. I painted as quickly as possible, using my #8 brush as much as I could. I think I like this version even better than the one I did this weekend. It's supposed to be bitterly cold again tonight and tomorrow, so I'll probably be looking for something new to paint tomorrow again. Another tulip painting?

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