Tuesday, August 20, 2013
"Caladiums" -- oil on canvas 36x36" -- Margie Guyot
Ever see something that made you want to jump and shout? When I saw these at Pine Hill Nursery, I wanted to do cartwheels (ha ha -- wouldn't that be a sight?). The hot pink was irresistible.
I'll show you a photo of my studio setup. 99.9% of the time I work directly from life.
Some colors (such as pink) cannot be mixed! Mix red and white and it turns into a muddy pink.
I did have a little help now and then from Picasso, my adoring cat. You may recognize him from my previous painting, "Cosmic":
Notice how Picasso's white fur reflects the pink? This has not been Photoshopped. That's another reason why most plein air landscape painters wear black shirts when painting. The light bounces off shirts onto the canvas. It can be a huge problem if one is wearing a brightly colored shirt.
Every painting has its challenges. The hardest part on this one was the pink bowl (upper right). I've painted it several times. And it hasn't gotten any easier!
"Cosmic" -- 60x40" -- oil on canvas -- Margie Guyot
Yes, it's been a while since I've posted anything. I had some health issues going on. But I'm feeling fine now! This painting, "Cosmic", has a lot of symbolism going on. Picasso (the black & white cat) is lying flat-out, with a glazed look on his face, in a Cosmic Catnip stupor. Well, I had days of that on Oxycodone. Thank goodness all that's a thing of the past!
My usual method of painting is to set up a still life and paint what I see. But just try to get cats to hold a pose! I had to refer to a photo I'd snapped. And the night-blooming cereus (the big flowers at the top) only stays open for 1 night a year. I'd taken photos of my plant in bloom, so that was the other photographic reference I had to use. Everything else was painted from life.
This kind of painting (I guess you could call it surreal) is the hardest type for me to do. I'd made a little pencil sketch before starting, but it was only a guess:
As I painted, I had to make choices about what fabric to use and how to arrange it. A stop at a grocery store yielded a lucky find: bright gladiolas, which I love. But how to arrange them? I had to be mindful of the angle of the viewer: looking down at the cats. So I had to figure out how to incorporate the tall gladiolas (gladioli?) that would make sense. And how to position them to make the painting "flow":
So while some people might see the cats and dismiss it as "sentimental schmaltz", they're not understanding the fact that it's symbolic of my healing experience.