Monday, October 12, 2009

"Charlevoix Boat Dock" -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

See those big, dark clouds in the distance? All of us painters were lined up on the boat dock, painting furiously, trying to finish before those clouds hit. Those were SNOW clouds!

I really liked the view of the assemblage of boats, sitting serenely in the placid water. It was a very chilly morning, so maybe that had something to do with the boat owners not taking them out for a spin. We painters were grateful for that! All too often we've gotten 5 or 10 minutes into a painting of a boat (or a car) when the owner shows up and drives off.

My friend Al Maciag and I finished our paintings about the same time, packed up and walked back to the Charlevoix Circle of Arts. We were participating in the plein-air paintout and needed to have all our paintings framed and turned in that afternoon. Those clouds were approaching rapidly, so we decided to call it quits for painting and do our framing in the basement of the art center. Soon all the other participants joined us. As we framed, it begain raining heavily, then SNOWING! Oh boy.

This was also the annual Apple Festival, with many arts & crafts booths set up downtown and lots of tourists. After the snow died down, Al and I took a stroll around the booths. Many vendors were zipping up the tent sides and closing down for the day. Most of the tourists had retreated to their motels. The mitten and fur accessory dealers were still open, though. I bought a pair of purple fox earmuffs, perfect for wearing while plein-air painting!

At the reception we talked to fellow painter Kevin Barton, who had been painting the lighthouse when the storm hit. His easel and painting nearly blew into the lake. His very dramatic painting won a prize (sorry, I don't have a photo).

"Charlevoix Bridge -- Night" -- plein air field study -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

Was this ever fun! After painting the view of the Charlevoix Lighthouse (see below), I was walking back to the main street when I was struck by the abstract quality and glimmer of the lights on the water. Darkness had fallen. The high winds had died down. It felt rather balmy, compared to earlier. Thanks to the row of street lights along this walkway, I had enough light to see what I was doing. I didn't know if I'd be able to pull it off or not, but I thought what the heck! It was actually quite peaceful, painting all alone in the darkness. Not a single soul came by. That's one of the great things about living up here -- there's a lot less crime. Painting after dark down on Belle Isle, in Detroit, would probably not be something I'd attempt.

This view shows the causeway that connects Lake Michigan to Round Lake. What you're looking at is the drawbridge that is raised to allow the large cruise ships and sailboats to go back and forth between the 2 lakes. The drawbridge is part of US 31, the main street through town. As you can imagine, in the warmer months, with all the boat traffic AND the numerous festivals and tourists, there can be some big traffic snarls on a regular basis! I've been caught in them -- and it's taken 20 - 30 minutes to go 1/2 a mile sometimes.

I always keep my color arrangement in the same order on my palette. Clyde Aspevig taught us to do that. He said that if you always keep your colors in the same order, you will be able to paint in dim light. The next morning I was somewhat hesitant to look at this painting, for fear the "black" tones would be too brown, blue or red. I'd painted this without any black paint, using a mix of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson the dark brown that Scott Christensen uses (I forget the name of it).

I'm going to try to do more night paintings. This was FUN!

"Charlevoix Lighthouse at Sunset" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

One of the stipulations in our paint-out for the Charlevoix Circle of Arts was that one of our finished paintings should have been painted in a "suggested" area. At first we squealed like stuck pigs, resisting being told we had to paint in a "suggested" area. Sometimes what seems like a good area to paint to one person just might not look at all paintable to another person. Thankfully, all the suggested areas were OK (at least, to me).

We had the option of getting our blank canvases stamped on Friday afternoon (instead of Saturday morning). Rain (and possibly snow) had been predicted for Saturday, so I made sure I got a good start on Friday. I ended up painting 3 on Friday (see yesterday's post to see the one of the excursion boat).

I knew I wanted to paint a sunset scene with the town's lighthouse. They recently painted it red (it had been white). After painting the view of "The Keweenaw Star" (below), I walked over to the lighthouse and set up, waiting for sunset. By the time I finished and packed up, it was nightfall. As I walked back along the causeway to the main street, I was struck by the view of the bridge. Why stop now? It was a good day!

Labels: , , , , , ,