Monday, April 26, 2010

Old Mission Peninsula Plein Airs

"Barn on Old Mission Peninsula" -- plein air field study -- 9x12" -- Margie Guyot

My friend, Al Maciag, and I were spending the day, tooling around the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula. It's NE of Traverse City, MI. He called me in the morning to say the cherry orchards were in bloom -- and did I want to go painting? Whatta question! I enjoyed the chance to be a passenger and sat, dog-like, gazing out the window. While I'm not a big fan of painting old barns, we decided this scene was pretty enough to paint. I believe this is a horse farm, as two were peeking at us from behind the wooden fence on the hill. A few clusters of blooming daffodils were livening up the scene. Please scroll down to the the two other paintings I did that day.

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

While waiting for my friend's daugher and son-in-law to prepare dinner, Al and I scooted down the drive to paint some forsythia bushes in full bloom. After a dreary winter of blues and grays, the chance to paint screaming yellows was irresistable! Although the day had been overcast, the sky cleared later on. I loved the patterns of shadows on the street. Notice how the shade of yellow changed on the painted center line of the street? Showing sunlight and shadows is fun!
One more painting to check out:

"Cherry Trees" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas -- 11x14" -- Margie Guyot

This was the first painting of the day. This area of NW Michigan is filled with orchards: apple, cherry, apricot, peach and plum. When they're in bloom, it's like heaven! We painted this orchard on Old Mission Peninsula, just NE of Traverse City.

The sky was bright but overcast, with a layer of thin, white clouds. No blue. As soon as I saw this scene, I realized that the cherry blossoms were actually quite dark, compared to the bright sky. They looked rather medium-gray in comparison. I loved the pattern of the sky and blossoms most of all. Of course, it was rather challenging to figure out how to paint this, but, like figuring out an algebra test (or a jigsaw puzzle), I knew to just stick with it and not panic.

You won't see any strong sunlight/shadow patterns in this one because there weren't any.

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