Monday, November 22, 2010


"Fiesta!" -- oil on canvas -- 40x60" -- Margie Guyot

Last summer I snagged this Mexican sombrero at a yard sale in Glen Arbor.  I just knew it would end up in a painting.  It's a velvety-red, trimmed in gold and silver, with silver sequins.  Very heavy -- I don't know how the guys can stand to wear them!

With the red sombrero as a starting point, I knew I wanted this still life to have a red-green theme.  Years ago I realized that the paintings that seemed to "sing" to me, when I'd walk into a gallery, were the ones that made a big use of the complementary colors.  So I try to do that -- when I think of it.  

Aren't those cool pumpkins?  I'd bought them earlier this fall from 2 young boys in Elk Rapids.  I'd just used the striped one in a still life a couple weeks ago and thought I'd like to use it again -- before it rots.  The vintage, reindeer glasses were found in an antique store up in Pellston.  Green-striped afghan from a resale shop in Ellsworth.  It's just endless -- the possibilities from all kinds of junk!

Every year I bring my geraniums inside and set them on the studio windowsill.  Why buy new?  Some of them are 5 years old.  

What to put in the space under the table?  It's always a question nagging me.  This time I painted a portrait of "Miss America", one of my studio cats.  She (really a he!) was named for her pretty, little face.  I had to hold her in the crook of my left arm, baby doll style, to get a good look at her face while I painted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Striped Pumpkin

"Striped Pumpkin" -- oil on canvas -- 24x30" -- Margie Guyot

The striped pumpkin was found at Oryana, a health food store in Traverse City.  It was horribly expensive: $8!  But it was way cool.  I had to have it for a painting!  

I found the green glass owl pitcher at a resale consignment shop in Charlevoix.  I just knew it would be fun to use in a painting.  To get the bright, green glow, I painted the area in pure white paint with Liquin (to help it dry faster).  Then I gave it a thin glaze of cadmium yellow and emerald green, mixed with Liquin.  The green light seemed to bounce off a lot of things.  Even bits of the feather in front and the lighter parts of the ceramic owl planter.

One thing I really love to do in still lifes is to show reflected lights and colors.  The clear glass pumpkin was great.  It just showed everything. 

If you're familiar with my still lifes, you might recognize the green striped glass.  I've used it in a number of paintings.  And no, painting it hasn't gotten any easier!  But it's just so interesting, I have to add it. 

While setting this one up in the studio, I noticed my dying sunflowers out in front.  Decided they'd look good in this setup.  

And those apples were really starting to turn soggy!  Figured I'd use them in this painting and then give them to my chickens.  Apples are so fun to paint.  I love the colors and reflections!  I could paint apples (or any fruit or veggie) all day long. 

Usually it's overcast here along Lake Michigan.  Luckily, the sun came out yesterday and today, so I carefully watched the shadow patterns.  It's the shadow shapes and highlights that make still lifes "sing".

Scott Road, Looking West

"Scott Road, Looking West" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas 12x24" -- Margie Guyot

This is the road I live on.  That's Lake Michigan and the Leelanau Peninsula in the distance.  The fall colors were in prime condition, with the maple trees all shades of gold and red.  Last year I stood on the distant ridge, facing east to paint Scott Road.  This time I decided to paint the opposite view.  

Normally I wouldn't use such a large canvas for a plein air.  There's such a large area to cover -- in so little time!  But I really wanted to paint a long, horizontal view and this 12x24" canvas was the only thing I had.  I was painting with a buddy, Al Maciag, and I didn't want to hold him up, so I painted fast as I could.  

Every time I drive over Scott Road, I'm thrilled at how beautiful it is here.  

That's a new field of corn on the right.  That field hadn't been used in years.  The landowner rented the land this year and I think all us neighbors were surprised the corn did so well.  It had been planted late and the ground is quite sandy.  If you got up close to it, you'd see the outer edge of the cornfield had been quite "gone over" by the resident deer and raccoon population.

I'd like to do a winter painting of Scott Road, but I doubt it will be painted from this location.  The wind is quite fierce up at this ridge!  Half the time I had to hold onto my Soltek easel while painting this, or it would have blown over.

Autumn Road

"Autumn Road" -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot

I've gotten a little behind on my posts -- sorry!  With the change of seasons, there's always much to do.  

Back in October I went painting one sunny day with my friend, Al Maciag.  We were cruising the roads SE of Traverse City, MI.  I'm a sucker for sunlight/shadow patterns on roads, so I urged Al to pull over.  The trees were in full glory, covered in golds, bronzes, rusts, etc.   

Right after finishing this painting, we continued our hunt for "the perfect view".  The view of the Boardman River (posted last month) was where we stopped next.