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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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Willys -- 9 Degrees" -- plein air field study -- 8x10" -- oil on birch panel -- Margie Guyot

This Willys belongs to my neighbor Sue. She lived in this car for 7 years, while studying to be a cobbler. It's parked alongside her house and I've been admiring it. I especially love painting cars covered in snow, on sunny days, with the deep blue shadows. Well, today it was sunny (a rarity here in NW Michigan), so I layered the clothing and donned my big snowboots and waded through the knee-deep snow with my gear.

Sue's Willys is a two-tone in shades of deeper and lighter turquoise-type tones. That backside in the shade was picking up some good reflections from the snow. There's a black pickup in the back, on the left, that I'd like to paint some day before our snow melts.

I knew it was rather cold out despite the sun. By the end of the painting, my fingers were getting stiff. Toes are still thawing out. My Soltek easel's legs had frozen, so I just laid the whole thing flat in my Explorer, legs frozen in the extended position, and am letting it thaw out in the studio. My vehicle's got a thermometer and I was kind of surprised to see it was only 9 degrees out! No wonder I was feeling rather chilled. I'm forever in search of warm gloves that are not too bulky.

I dream of a nice, above-freezing, sunny day with no wind!


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