Saturday, January 29, 2011

Raspberry Waltz Cupcakes

 "Raspberry Waltz #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Raspberry Waltz #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

"Raspberry Waltz #3" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

The snow was still blowing on Thursday morning, but it wasn't too bad, so I made the 45 minute drive down to Traverse City, to Simplycupcakes.  They're a gourmet cupcake bakery on Front Street.  Their cupcakes are nothing like those horrible, day-glo cupcakes from the grocery store!  Len Mayhew, the owner, is generously providing me with cupcakes to paint.  Some will be for sale in the bakery; others are going to galleries.  A bunch will be in a big show at Crooked Tree Art Center in Petoskey this fall, in their "Let Them Eat Cake!" show.

This cupcake is described on the Simplycupcake's website as:

Raspberry Waltz : An almond flavored sour cream cake topped with a raspberry sauce and white buttercream with toasted almonds and a fresh raspberry.

I'm trying to paint each cupcake at least 3 times.  Rather than make carbon copy views, I like to vary them, moving the cupcake around a bit, maybe zeroing in on it from above.  As if you're about to take a bite.  I am trying to keep the background and shadow pattern consistent, though. 

So far, I'm enjoying painting these little things.  It's a nice break from the big still lifes for the time-being. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

 "Cookies & Cream #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

"Cookies & Cream #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

Another dark, snowy day in NW Michigan.  The first cupcake painting had better lighting -- you can tell that by the color.  It's kind of fun to see the same cupcake painted under slightly different lighting conditions and angels, though.  The folds of frosting mesmerize me.  

This cupcake is from Simplycupcakes in Traverse City, Michigan.  That's a tiny "Oreo" type cookie on top.  The frosting has finely-ground chocolate cookies in it (see the specks?).  They're on Front Street and usually sell out every day. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

 "Red Velvet Cupcake" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

"Red Velvet Cupcake #2 -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

You can tell which one was painted last, even without looking at the title.  The darker one was painted late in the afternoon, as the light was growing dimmer.  I never paint under artificial lights.  The glare bothers me.  It's overcast about 98% of the time in winter here in NW Michigan, so the days are usually rather bleak.  
What I loved about this Red Velvet Cupcake is the deep red of the cake!  Notice on the first cupcake, how red it looks?  The brighter light and angle helped bring it out.  I was focusing more on the beautiful patterns of the frosting on the second painting. 

This cupcake came from Simplycupcakes in Traverse City, Michigan.  The description on their website is: A southern classic… a red cocoa cake finished with a creamy cream cheese frosting and red sprinkles.

Mmmmmm!  What won't they come up with next?

Pina Colada Cupcakes

 "Pina Colada #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

"Pina Colada #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

Yikes!  I've gotten behind on my posts.  It's been very cold and snowy, and I've been hanging out in my studio, painting cupcakes - and playing my sax.  

I've decided to do several paintings of each cupcake, varying the angles slightly.  The frosting swirls are always a challenge.  Learning to control your panic is one of the keys to producing a good painting.  Seeing those swirls of frosting could throw me into a panic, but I know to just ignore the freak-out messages from my brain and just calm down and figure them out.

This is another cupcake from Simplycupcakes in Traverse City, Michigan.  The description of this one (taken from their website) is:  Pineapple cake topped with a butter rum buttercream frosting and finished with coconut and a cherry.  Mmmmm! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Owl" -- oil on canvas 12x12" -- Margie Guyot

Years ago I found this at some old codger's garage sale in Livonia, MI.  Visitors to his house were greeted by a pair of bikini-clad manikins lying in lounge chairs, holding beer cans.  So you know he was a hoot (sorry about the pun).  Have been staring at this owl for 2 days, so everything is owl-related.  He'd painted this old, cast-iron owl white.  I fell in love with it.  Now it's beginning to rust, acting as a doorstop in my studio.  It's got a place for a candle inside.  Love the eyes!

I set it atop an old tablecloth and let me tell you -- painting those patterns & folds was a BITCH!  Still might tinker with it for a while.

Cherry Royale Cupcake

"Cherry Royale Cupcake" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

I'd just finished "Owl" and it was only 1 PM.  No snow yet.  Big snowstorm expected tonight, dumping up to 10" by tomorrow afternoon.  It was the perfect window of opportunity to zip down to Traverse City, to SimplyCupcakes and get a few new varieties to paint.  It's about a 45 minute drive for me, so I was very happy when they gave me 4 today.  It will keep me occupied while snowbound!

Here's the description from their website (

Cherry Royale : A sour cream cake filled with our homemade tart cherry filling made with local cherries (Friske Orchards) with a thin layer of white chocolate ganache and a generous portion of cherry buttercream and topped with an Imperial red chocolate covered cherry from Cherry Republic!

I imagine it's delicious. It won't be, by the time I'm finished painting it 3 or 4 times.  There are several galleries that I want to place these cupcake paintings in, so I may as well do several paintings from each cupcake.  The chickens will get them when I'm finished.  Trying to watch my waistline, so I can't pig-out on sweets like I did when I was a kid.

Many thanks to SimplyCupcakesTC for generously providing me with cupcakes!

Monday, January 17, 2011


"Bugle" -- oil on canvas 12x12" -- Margie Guyot

Believe it or not, but bugles are BOOGERS to try to draw!  All those crazy bends in the tube.  Whew!  Notice how I haven't attempted to paint my saxophone yet (murderous -- all those keys!).  I found this cool bugle last summer in an antique store up in Pellston.  The red velvet Mexican sombrero was from a garage sale in Glen Arbor.  It weighs a good 5 pounds.  I don't know how the guys can stand to wear them, but they're fabulous.  Love the sequins and doo-dads!  

Lots of fine lines in this painting.  And I painted all of them with my #8 flat brush.  It's a Silver Brush Ruby Satin.  Those are the best brushes!  They hold their knife-sharp edges very well.  Mooshy brushes: absolutely maddening to work with!  Which reminds me: it's another reason to be glad I'm an adult.  As a kid, I had no say in what art materials I got to have.  All my brushes were cheap, mooshy ones back then.  So I'll put up with a few wrinkles -- as long as I can have my Ruby Satins!

Heart & Feathers

"Heart & Feathers" -- oil on canvas 12x12" -- Margie Guyot

It's snowing like mad and I don't have TV reception, so it's been a great time to be painting in the studio!  I love painting this red Carnival glass heart.  It's kind of a killer, as far as difficulty goes.  Every tiny change in your position affects how it reflects.  Notice the orange shadows it's casting on the crumpled paper?  

And I love wild turkey feathers!  Lots of wild turkeys all over the place up here and I pick them up (the feathers, not the turkeys!).  I think they're fascinating.  

Painting crumpled paper is kind of fun.  Maddening-fun, that is!  But it beats shoveling snow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


"Pumpkin" -- oil on canvas 12x12" -- Margie Guyot

I photographed this in a hurry yesterday as the light was going in a hurry.  I should have used a tripod, as it would have helped with the parallax alignment.  

This pumpkin is very large and must weigh at least 20 pounds.  I bought it last October from two young boys who had grown it.  Technically, it's a squash (and edible).  I've used it in several paintings already and wanted to paint it one last time before I cut it up and bake it.  The backside is starting to rot.

Last October it was dark green.  Slowly it's begun changing to more of an orange/rust tone.  I love the wonderful shape!

"Pitcher and Lemons"

"Pitcher and Lemons" -- oil on canvas 12x12" -- Margie Guyot

This water pitcher is such a challenge to paint!  But I love the colors and designs, so I'll keep painting it.  So far I've used it in 2 or 3 other larger paintings.  I wanted to do some smaller paintings, "companion pieces" to go along with some of my larger still life paintings.  I'm using elements from the larger paintings in these smaller works, so stay tuned for more!

"Triple Chocolate Cupcake"

"Triple Chocolate Cupcake" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

This was the second in the cupcake painting series.  Cupcakes were from SimplyCupcakes in Traverse City.  Delicious!  I had to spend 30 minutes - twice! - on the treadmill yesterday to try to make up for it.

Stay tuned for more cupcake paintings.  The next time I go to Traverse City I'll get more.

Key Lime Cupcake

"Key Lime Cupcake" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

There's a new bakery in Traverse City called SimplyCupcakes.  My friend Pete took me over there a few days ago.  I bought three, with the idea of doing a grouping of cupcake paintings.  The coconut one got eaten before I could paint it!

This one had a lime creme filling inside, topped with lime curd, frosting and grated lime peel and bits of graham cracker crumbs.  Horribly delicious!

The most challenging thing was figuring out how to paint the paper liner.  

I had a cup of hot tea with lemon and ate this afterward.  YUM!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blue Bowl #2

"Blue Bowl #2" -- oil on canvas 24x24" -- Margie Guyot

This blue glass bowl absolutely fascinates me with the shadows it casts!  Of course it's just a booger to try to draw in!  But I had the urge to paint a blue still life.  My recent paintings had all been so "warm", with loads of red, I wanted to cool off a little.  The fabric -- I don't know what to call it -- it's very shiny stuff.  Like something maybe Liberace might have chosen for a suit.

Ultramarine blue was the mainstay here, but I also had to dig around way back in the far reaches of my paint drawers to come up with some other shades of blue.  Some colors cannot be mixed!  I found "turquoise" and manganese blue, which helped save the day.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dem Golden Slippers

"Dem Golden Slippers" -- oil on canvas -- 40x50" -- Margie Guyot

I wanted to do a gold and red painting and the red gills of the fish amazed me!  A friend had given me this stringer of taxidermy-d perch.  He'd caught them a few years ago and had them mounted.  They're huge.  And they're also a tattered mess -- his dogs had ripped the bejesus out of them.  So it was a puzzle, figuring out how the fins were supposed to go.  

The golden slippers came from a thrift shop up north of Petoskey.  And they FIT me, by golly!  I thought they were a hoot to paint.

And I just HAD to use the pumpkin!  Isn't it great?  I bought it from 2 young boys in Elk Rapids last October.  They grew specialty pumpkins and this one is gigantic.  It must weigh over 20 pounds.  But alas -- it's starting to rot a little.  Glad I could paint it.  I believe it's really a squash.  So tomorrow I will cut it up and bake it.  Good golly -- it looks like a year's supply of squash, there's so much of it!

Some things are so challenging, I love to try painting them over & over in many paintings.  If you've seen my other paintings, you probably would recognize the red striped glass pitcher.  And the tapestry.  Oh, and of course the turkey feathers!  Wild turkeys are all over up here and I love their feathers!  

I love Goodwill.  They have some of the coolest stuff.  I got the pink Depression glass plates and cups up there a week or so ago.  It was rather complicated to try to paint that stack!

And I love painting the red Carnival glass heart dish!  It has some of the wildest color reflections.  This is one of those paintings that I could probably spend weeks on, putzing.  But hey -- sometimes you ruin things that way.  On to the next one.....!