Saturday, May 29, 2010

Love Shack

"Love Shack" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas panel -- Margie Guyot

I painted this yesterday afternoon over in back of The Cycling Salamander, an art gallery on US 31, south of Charlevoix. Rebecca Glotfelty, the owner, let me have the roam of the place. And what a great place it is: rolling hills, flowers, a little pond, fruit trees -- all perfumed by the autumn olive shrubs that are in bloom.

When looking for a spot to paint, I walk around with my little plastic viewfinder, framing potential views. Clyde Aspevig taught me to use a view finder back in 1987. I use it faithfully.

Rebecca's got this little building out back, next to a pond. I call it the "Love Shack". I loved the way the shadow fell across the side. And the green and red combination of paint. Rebecca's got quite a knack for choosing paint colors.

And I always love to show what's going on with window reflections. Sometimes you can see through the windows; sometimes you just see what they're reflecting.

There was the loveliest willow tree next to the building. It had some hanging branches that I couldn't resist throwing in the painting.

And, it being spring in Michigan, there were loads of hungry mosquitoes bedeviling me. Bullfrogs croaked. Birdies sang. Gentle breezes. Sunny skies. Ah, it was grand!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Tea for Two" -- oil on canvas -- 40x60" -- Margie Guyot

Fortunately I had anticipated a long string of interruptions when I started this painting. I'd started this right at the beginning of May, when gardening season started. That's when everything else gets shoved aside so you can get your flowers and veggies started. I used to feel guilty about leaving my art, but have made peace with it.

So I painted the blossoms first. I knew they'd only last a day or two. Used a Hawaiian-print shirt as a "tablecloth". I loved the colors, yellow and blue, of the fabric. And if you're familiar with my still lifes, you'll recognize my frog teapot set. They're so much fun to paint!

I guess the theme of this painting has to do with the Joy of Spring!

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

3 weeks ago we had snow flurries. This week it hit 90 degrees! The poor lilacs are burning out fast, so I've been trying to paint some views. I found these growing on the side of a ridge in Norwood, overlooking Lake Michigan. I was SO happy to have a nice shade tree to stand under!

"Lilacs" -- plein air field study -- 9x12" -- oil on birch panel -- Margie Guyot

A friend and I were driving to a concert on Sunday when I spied these in Eastport. Monday morning I drove over and painted this view. That's a little gravel road that leads down to Torch Lake. I took the liberty of moving the lilacs closer to the road.

The oil color I'd bought a few months ago, Vasari Ruby Violet, has really helped. Purples are hard colors to mix. The Ruby Violet has been a very handy color! I found out about it from one of my teachers, Scott Christensen.

I love painting in the early morning or late day -- I think the shadows really help create excitement.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Maples -- Early Spring" -- plein air field study -- oil on panel -- 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

The weather had turned foul. Most of the day it rained and snowed -- and it was May 8th! I stopped by to visit my friend Cal, who lives south of Charlevoix. He's got lots of big maple trees that fascinate me. Gnarly old things!

The rain and snow had stopped around 2:30 PM. The sun came out for about 5 minutes, long enough for me to see a bit of the highlights. Then it was obliterated by the clouds again. I set up my easel and had on my warmest winter coat: heavyweight down, plus my wolf fur trooper hat. That's some of what I wear when painting the ice pileups and it felt good! The wind howled. Where were my gloves, darn it?

Feeling rather miserable always has an effect on the speed with which I work. Sometimes that's a plus!