Monday, April 5, 2010

"Hot Fudge"

(My cat, Picasso, likes taking a nap in the middle of my painting setup.)

"Hot Fudge" -- oil on canvas -- 24x30" -- Margie Guyot

An acquaintance saw this yesterday and asked, "Who'd buy it?" An indication of his foul mood, of course. Fortunately, I knew the answer to his question: somebody with an equally eccentric personality, someone with a sense of humor. Why should I waste my life paint boring, trite subjects? Years ago, recovering from surgery, I'd been rudely reminded of my mortality. Looking at my paintings on the wall, I wondered: do I want to look back on my life's work, realizing I'd painted nice, little "safe" images of teapots and onions with the hope of making a sale? Or do I want to look back at my life's work and have a good laugh, knowing I'd painted what amused me, what I loved? The answer was very clear.

What if Monet, Van Gogh or Picasso had asked permission before doing their paintings?

People often ask me what my inspiration for a painting was. In this case, the spark was when I stumbled upon 2 more monkey candlestick holders at a resale shop, bringing my collection to 3. Regrettably, I couldn't fit all 3 pairs into this painting. Also, having been on a low-carb diet for the past year (and counting), hot fudge sundaes have been a no-no. What we cannot have, we crave most. Pairing the humorous monkeys with zig-zaggy, striped fabric and hot fudge sundaes symbolically captures some of the joy and zest of life's celebrations.

Somebody once looked at one of my paintings and remarked that "obviously, that comes easy to you". WRONG! I look at a still life setup (or landscape) and one of my first thoughts is: yikes -- this is going to be tough! I love challenges. I abhor easy stuff. I just start out with painting the darkest shapes and pick my way through the painting, working from dark to light. Painting what I can figure out, little by little, until the painting is finished.

I love the challenge of wrinkled fabric. Yes, it's a nightmare. But so rewarding when finished! Symbolically, the wrinkles represent our struggle with life's challenges.

To paint the hot fudge sundaes, which were the last thing, I put the ice cream and fudge sauce into one of the dishes. Painted it as quickly as possible, then oh my goodness, had to eat it. No sense wasting things. They talk about "suffering for art". I managed to paint the remaining two sundaes from one actual dish of the real thing.

Ah, but what else did it lack? Maraschino cherries! Not wanting to buy a full jar of them, I got a waitress friend to snag two of them. Although wrapped in plastic wrap overnight in the fridge, by the next day they'd lost some of their sheen. To revive their luxurious shimmer, I rolled them in a little olive oil. After I was done with them, I gave them to the chickens.

Days after completing this, I realized this painting symbolizes my years of struggle, working on the assembly line (represented by the wrinkled, striped fabric) and the joys and rewards of retirement (symbolized by the monkeys and hot fudge sundaes).

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