Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Big Fish"

"Big Fish" -- oil on stretched canvas -- 40x60" -- Margie Guyot

Some of you probably thought I'd fallen off the ends of the Earth, but no -- I've been busy, slugging away on this still life. That, and doing a little gardening. Trying to get some of the more onerous tasks done outside before the biting bug season starts here in Michigan.

What inspired me to do this painting, you ask? A couple weeks ago I was rummaging around in a drawer, looking for an 8" square cake pan. Bumped into the copper Jell-O fish mold and thought aha! It just mushroomed from there.

I really do have a big fish like that. Well, it's not quite that nice. He came from a ratty garage sale in Dearborn. In reality, he's got a front fin missing and is rather grizzled-looking. Nobody else likes him but me. My neighbor forbade me to have him hanging on the wall during a birthday party. But that's the good thing about being an artist: we can prettify things if necessary, adding fins, a gleam in the eye, etc.

What was the hardest thing to paint in this one? The tablecloth! In real life, the table wasn't that wide and I had to kind of stretch it in the painting. With all the stuff lying on top of the tablecloth, it was rather challenging to try to figure out what was happening with the red & white design.

Liquin: nectar of the gods (to an artist, at least). Mixed with oils, Liquin helps them to dry quicker. When I started this painting, I didn't use Liquin, thinking what the heck: I'm in no hurry for this piece to dry. Wrong! I quickly reached the phase where everything was gooey. It was impossible to go in and make final touch-ups and details. Hence the side-trip into gardening for a few days, giving it time to dry.

What did I enjoy painting most? The roses. I really haven't painted roses much. They're hard! All those petals, all willy-nilly! Yikes! But I just kept reminding myself not to panic. You can figure this out! Actually it's just one rose. I painted it, then held it to the side and painted it, then held it to another side and painted it. Another advantage to being an artist right there! Decided I'll have to paint more roses. They'll probably be a struggle, too, but I'll just keep plugging at them.

Last of all, there's the little sleeping kitty in the lower right corner. That's one of my new rescue kitties, Picasso. He was sleeping in a chair nearby and I was able to paint him in before he woke up.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Spring Thaw -- My Driveway" -- plein air field study -- oil on stretched canvas -- 9x12" -- Margie Guyot

After days and days of driving all over, schlepping paintings hither and yon, playing gigs on my sax, I finally had a day I didn't have to go anywhere. So glad to stay home! I carried my Soltek easel down the driveway and set up to paint this view. What struck me as most interesting were the patterns of gravel exposed in the melting snow. And the shade cast from the red pine trees (unseen, on the right).

As I painted, my 3 cats hung close by, exploring and keeping an eye on "mommy".

This was the first time in months that I did not have to wear my heavy down coat. It was relatively balmy, up to around 40 degrees. Although I'll miss painting the ice pileups on Lake Michigan, I must admit I'm happy for spring to return.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"9 Mile Point - 3/06/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on stretched canvas -- 10x20" -- Margie Guyot

Spring is coming. The ice out on Lake Michigan is starting to break up and pile along the shoreline. This spot is south of Bay Harbor, between Charlevoix and Petoskey. There's a pull-off area along US 31 for parking. I was thankf...ul for my snow boots and heavy down jacket. Although it was about 40 degrees, the wind howling off the lake made it feel a lot cooler. I was struck by the patterns of jagged ice that ran diagonally along the shore. As I painted, big chunks of "icebergs" floated in. It was getting to be late afternoon and I just loved the blue shadows. Painting snow colors is quite interesting. If you've never had to paint them, snow colors are surprising. Snow isn't white, but ranges from lilacs to blues to yellowish-grays. Mesmerizing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Thawing Ice - 3/04/10" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas -- 12x24" -- Margie Guyot

Spring is slowly arriving here in NW Michigan. Ice patterns out on Lake Michigan have captured my interest this winter. Today I went to one of my favorite little parks, Banks Township Park, just south of Norwood. It's one of the few parks I can drive into without getting stuck. I perched my Soltek easel on a side of the hill overlooking the shoreline. Every time I go there, the ice looks different.

The diagonal "stripes" in the foreground were caused by the strong winds, blowing the snow along the beach.

I loved the almost turquoise-looking water that showed up in spots. Lots of chunks of ice floating around, blown in by the wind. A few diver ducks were present. Although it was a balmy 40 degrees, I was grateful to have on my heavy down coat and hood, gloves and winter boots. That wind was cold! I'd forgotten to change pants, though. I had on a pair of jeans that have a little rip - and that cold wind was blasting through.

That's the Leelanau Peninsula in the distance. I'm glad spring is on the way, but I must admit I'll miss painting the ice.