Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"Onions #2" -- oil on canvas -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

"Onions #1" -- oil on canvas -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

I did these 2 paintings over the weekend in my nice, warm studio as the wind howled and snow piled up outside. I love doing plein-air landscapes, but it's impossible in wind and snow.

Finishing the recent "Amaryllis" painting, I was hot to trot to do a larger, more complex painting with several amaryllis. I drove into Charlevoix, to K-Mart, where I got 4 red amaryllis bulbs for half-price. Potted them up and now it's a matter of having patience. I'm guessing they'll be blooming in 3 - 4 weeks. Meanwhile, what to paint? In desperation I grabbed these 4 onions and headed into the studio.

I'm a big fan of using vintage tablecloths, rescued from garage sales. This old tablecloth was made of heavy muslin, embroidered with blue wool. I set up things in front of the south-facing window, but it was still awfully dark. Sun in winter is a rare thing along the coastline. So I also put a studio light to the right. Which is why there is a hint of 2 sources of light. Maybe next time I'll put something to block the weaker light from the windows and just use the studio light.

I've got 2 little kitties about 3 months old that are very curious. They like being up on the table, batting around my onions and investigating my wet palette. When I leave the studio for the day, I always lock up my wet palette and set anything breakable out of their reach. Saturday I left for a few minutes to go make a cup of coffee. Both kitties were snoozing.

When I came back, the little female (Miss America -- named for her pretty face) had a yellow muzzle! She'd decided to do a little taste-test on the cadmium yellow medium. Yikes. It's very poisonous. I doubt she ingested much, but her little face had a light smear of yellow all over. I didn't know what to do. Wiping her down with turpentine didn't seem like a good idea. Maybe I could have dipped a rag in a solution of Murhpy's Oil Soap and wiped her face. I envisioned a grand struggle. In the end, I didn't do anything.

All night I would wake up, envisioning poor Miss America, dying. I was dreading going out to the studio for what I would find.

Amazingly, Miss America seems OK. None the worse for wear, I'm happy to report. Lesson learned: never trust a sleeping kitty -- lock up that palette!

Labels: , , , , ,