Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Waves -- Lake Michigan" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

After painting the sunit ferns on Antrim Creek, I decided to go further and take a peek at Lake Michigan. Today the wind was up, creating the most fabulous waves! I lugged my easel over right to the edge of the sand and set up. Sometimes waves would wash over my feet. I noticed my easel legs were slowly sinking down in to the sand. When I finished I had to rinse the legs off in the lake before I tried folding them up. It's a Soltek easel and they get problems if you let sand get inside the metal legs.

Painting moving anything is tough! Painting waves -- I'm still figuring out how to do them. The colors of Lake Michigan just amaze me. Having grown up in Iowa, I'm used to brown-colored rivers & ponds. Nothing clear. So it's really a thrill to see turquoises and blues and even golds in the water.

How to put down all the colors I see? It's still very experimental for me, to paint Lake Michigan. I did a thin wash in the foreground of yellow ochre & hints of orange & a few things, wiping it flat. Then I tried to decide what color the underside of the waves seemed to be. Sort of a pale olive? Waves are constantly moving & changing every split-second -- so if you want to challenge yourself, try figuring out how to paint them!

In the distance is the Leelanau Peninsula. In the upper right foreground is a tiny jut of land with grasses. The lake is up about 6" higher this year, maybe because of all the snow we had last winter. Last year you could see more big boulders out at that point (where the grass is on the upper right). One of my friends told me he was here yesterday and saw some huge carp spawning in the creek, right where it empties into the lake.

At the very least, I had a great time out here today!

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