Friday, February 12, 2010

Freezing Lake Michigan - February

"Ice Chunks 2/11/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

"Ice Flow" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas -- 9x12" -- Margie Guyot

The weather forecast called for a 60% chance of snow, but my friend Janet and I decided to risk going out to paint anyway. The day before, we'd both bought balaclavas at a ski shop in Traverse City, so we were excited to be able to try them out. And wow -- were they ever worth the bucks! We painted right on the ice at Norwood Beach (south of Charlevoix), with a stiff wind blowing the whole time -- and our faces didn't get chapped!

I probably wouldn't have gone out to paint if it hadn't been for my friend Janet. I'd probably have stayed in the studio, working on a still life.

We discovered this great spot the other day, following the suggestion of our friend, sculptor Todd Warner. We've painted there twice already and the ice changes constantly. What had been open water two days ago was frozen yesterday. In these two little field studies I did yesterday, the small chunks of ice were practically frozen together into a solid sheet by the end of the painting session. The wind was relentless (of course!) and it would have been nice if I could have used my BestBrella. But I was certain the wind would have caught it and sailed it out into the drink for sure. I didn't feel like throwing away $100.

Finally I remembered to bring along a thermos of hot tea to a winter painting session! So in between paintings we had a little "warming break". Little things mean a lot, as they say, and a cup of hot tea out on the ice is fabulous.

The ice made interesting cracking and moaning sounds the whole time. And even though it was quite thick (and safe) where we stood, it was quite slippery, so we had to watch our movements. There were coyote tracks in the snow, running all over the place. I bet it would be quite an interesting place to be, some moonlit night.

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