Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Shady Road" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

I wish I knew the name of this road! This was my last painting of the day, painted across the street from Les Heney's farm, near Empire, Michigan. As it was a hot, steamy day, I was looking for a cool, shady spot to paint. Love this road.

At first it looked quite crazy as I laid it in. Sometimes my paintings do look crazy at first. Almost enough to scare even me! But I think that sometimes being successful at painting requires the ability to control one's panic.

Paintings quite often are similar to taking an algebra test. When I would be handed the test, I'd be in complete panic mode, flipping through the pages. I don't know how to do ANY of these! But finally I'd see a problem I could do. Then I'd flip around and see another problem I could solve. Eventually I'd finish the entire test. Painting, for me, is kind of like that: all kinds of things to solve. Just keep from freaking out and giving up. Do what you can, keep plugging away, and you (usually) figure it out. Somebody once told me they thought painting came easily to me. No! I just know to quiet that little voice that says this looks horrible! and continue figuring things out.

Besides doing a lot of painting, the thing that helped me most in my painting was Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". I'd first read it in 1980. She says that "if you can see, you can draw". The key is to learn to block out that part of your mind (the left brain) that tells you you can't draw -- and to just concentrate on looking and judging sizes, angles, lightness or darkness.

I was happy to find out this particular painting won 2nd place in the Glen Arbor Art Association's first annual Paint-Out.

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