Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boardman River

"Boardman River" -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

My friend Al Maciag and I were cruising around the "Seasonal Roads - Unplowed in Winter" areas, east of Traverse City when we stopped at a little campground.  It was really beautiful, with large pines, hemlocks, ancient oaks -- and this lovely stream.  

I was struck by the colors in the water and the reflections.  Painting water is always challenging, but fun.  It's always a juggling act: the water refuses to hold still and the light conditions are constantly changing.  But I find painting water addictive.

It was pretty chilly out, and breezy.  Thank goodness both of us had extra jackets along.  The water looked deep and not too far above freezing.  I bet the fishing was good along this stretch! 

The painting was quite wet when photographed; I couldn't escape the wet glare on the left and right sides.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunset - Rex Beach 10/01/10

"Sunset - Rex Beach 10/01/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

Rain, rain and more rain!  It stopped for a few hours at the end of the day, so I took a chance and went back to Rex Beach to try to do another field study.  I'd finally run out of canvas panels, so used a birch panel, heavily shellacked, my friend Caesar Citraro gave me.  Wow -- a friend with a table saw -- who's not afraid to USE it!  Worth his weight in gold!

I really enjoy painting on birch panels.  Unlike canvas, they are nice and smooth, allowing the oil paint to goosh out freely.  I'd paint on nothing else if I could.

The entire sky was filled with dark rain clouds, with the exception of this thin wedge of gold to the north.  Right as I finished painting, the rain started again.  Chilly rain, too!   

Sunset paintings @ Rex Beach 9/29/10

 "Rex Beach #2 --  9/29/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

Sometimes I'll get 2 paintings in before it gets too dark to work.  This is the 2nd one of the evening.  When I look around, trying to figure out what to paint, the question on my mind is always "what is there that is most amazing?".  In this case, it was the bank of dark storm clouds to the north.  While I painted happily away on the beach at Eastport, Harbor Springs and Petoskey were getting pounded!  The rain didn't arrive at my house until after 10:30 PM.   

"Sunset #1 - Rex Beach 9/29/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

This view is looking west across Lake Michigan from Rex Beach.  That's the Leelanau Penninsula in the distance, home to many small vineyards and wineries.  When I came down to paint this evening, what struck me immediately were the beautiful clouds to the south of the larger, ominous storm front in the north.  I had to paint very fast to get this onto canvas.  
This winter I might use some of these small field studies in a larger work.  I'd like to experiment with a technique to get the skies to appear to glow.  First I'll paint the sky in pure white and leave it dry.  Then I'll follow with some very thin glazes of color and Liquin.  It seems that when you mix white into colors to create a pastel, it tends to gray everything.  Make things chalky.  Which is not "glowing".  It's worth a try.

Dusk - Rex Beach 9/27/10

"Dusk - Rex Beach 9/27/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

Again, another view of Rex Beach after sunset.  We'd had about two weeks of cold rain and high winds.  Finally I was able to get back down to the beach to paint.  I loved the pattern in the sky to the north and how it reflected in the calm water before me.  

Dusk - Rex Beach 8/29/10

"Dusk - Rex Beach 8/29/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

The cooler, chilly and rainy weather of late summer has arrived.  This view was painted from my favorite "sunset" spot, Rex Beach.  It's about 3 miles from my house, right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  People may be surprised, but the lakeshore is full of little inlets like these.  The water stays shallow for quite a distance out.  

We're starting to experience an invasion of "phragmites": tall, non-native reeds.  Efforts are underway to eradicate them before they take over the entire shoreline.  

This painting was done AFTER the sun had dipped below the horizon and the light was fading fast.