Friday, April 29, 2011

More Roses

 "Golden Rose" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

 "White Rose" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Lavender Rose" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Hot Pink Rose" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
These roses were in the bunch I bought on Tuesday, when I'd ventured into the Elk Rapids grocery store in search of interesting donuts to paint.  Thank goodness all the donuts looked so blase!  
We've had tons of rain lately, so there wasn't much else to do, other than housework.  That always takes a backseat to painting.  It's still a bit too early to plant anything here in NW lower Michigan.  So painting it is!
Roses are hard to draw!  All those doggone petals!  I think what assisted me in being able to draw these was my experience in drawing and painting the dozens of cupcakes earlier this year.  The swirls were a puzzle!  As I painted the cupcakes, I kept thinking if you can do these, surely you can figure out how to do roses!    

To make a successful painting, a good deal hinges on your ability to control your panic.  Betty Edwards, in her book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" teaches how to ignore that part of your brain that sends out negative thoughts.  The left side of the brain likes pronouncing such negative thoughts as it looks awful!  You can't draw!  But the right side is more concerned with measurements: is it straight up and down?  Leaning a little?  How much?  Is it lighter or darker?  Bigger or smaller?  Betty believes that if you can see, you can draw.  Her book changed my life!

Although I've been doing a lot of little paintings since the first of the year, don't think I'm giving up on big still lifes -- or plein air landscapes!  There's only so much a person can crank out in a day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Orange Rose

"Orange Rose #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

While doing the cupcake series, I began thinking of starting a series of flower paintings.  Roses are tough to paint!  All those petals!  But I reasoned that if I could slug it out with the frosting swirls and paper cups, surely I could figure out roses.  

I'd gone to the grocery store yesterday in Elk Rapids to look for more interesting donuts.  Alas, they all looked boring!  Then I spied bunches of multi-colored roses.  Ahhhhh!  That would be it!  

Had to hold this one in my left hand, looking directly down on it, while painting with my right hand.  And while Miss America (a very needy cat of mine) pawed insistently on my leg, begging to be held.  Oh, for a 3rd arm!  

I really loved this rose.  The center was darker than the outer petals.  It was an overcast day (to put it mildly!).  We'd had heavy rains and high winds and the power was out for 4 hours.  Creeks flooding, plagues, raining frogs....  Ooops -- sorry.... not quite that bad.  With now power, I had to choose between sweeping the floor, sorting paperwork, shoveling out the chicken coop -- or painting.  Easy choice!

Pecan Roll

"Pecan Roll" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

After dropping off paintings to Seeds Gallery in Elk Rapids, Michigan last Thursday, I walked around the corner to the town's bakery.  What treasures might they have?  This pecan roll looked the most interesting.

Sometimes things are quite stale by the time I get around to painting them -- and this was no exception.  Remember the cupcake paintings?  I kept most all of the cupcakes.  Some are 3 months old, but they look fairly good yet.  Hard as rocks, but pretty.

Like donuts, the pecan roll was fun to do!  Much simpler than the rose (next post)..... 

Toasted Coconut Cake

"Toasted Coconut Cake" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

My friend Pete Peterson brought this over on Good Friday.  I believe he said it was from Moka, a great little cafe in Central Lake, Michigan.  He knows coconut cake is my #1 favorite.  Although untoasted coconut cake is really my favorite by far.  And I never make it.  One time Pete made me one, totally from scratch, starting with the actual coconut.  It was to die for!

In reality, this slice of cake had one bite out of it.  I had to taste it before I could paint it!  It was good, but not as good as the one Pete made for me.  And the phone kept ringing.  And unexpected visitors dropped by.  Your basic chaos.  I finished the painting, eventually, and took it out to set under the bird feeder (the cake, not the painting!).  There was a poor, wild turkey hen scrounging around for fallen sunflower seeds and I thought she'd enjoy a slice of cake.

Apparently she was unimpressed.  The cake sat there.  So I scooped it up and gave it to the chickens.  They love me.

More Donuts!

 "Donut with Pink Sprinkles" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

"Striped Donut" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

These were from the grocery store in Elk Rapids. Cheap, too: three for 97 cents!  Yeah, I'm sure you'll want to know what happened to the third donut?  Truth is, it's still in the bag in the studio.  I might get to it, but not for a while.  On a flower painting jag now.

I really enjoy painting donuts!  I find them easier to do than the cupcakes.  I set them on the windowsill in the studio so they get full sun.  That is, when we DO have sun up here.  Northwestern lower Michigan is notorious for its overcast days, from November until at least May.

The pink one was so cheery to do.  I love the colors!  It was decorated for Easter.  And the striped one -- I really like that one best.  It had such interesting designs & contours!   

Fruit Swirl Cheesecakes

 "Key Lime Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

 "Key Lime Cheesecake #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
"Key Lime Cheesecake #3" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Mixed Berry Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

 "Peach Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

"Peach Cheesecake #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
Ever see one of those big cheesecakes in the grocery, the ones with the different flavors?  I was invited to a dinner party and said I'd bring dessert.  But who has time to fuss with making it anymore?  I bought this one just because of the colors.  Probably the chocolate cheesecake would have been yummier.
I had just one day to paint slices, so I worked like a DAWG and did 6 slices.  Then it was off to the party.  Where only 3 slices were eaten.  I tried the peach and found it nearly tasteless.  Boo-hoo!  
When painting these, I thought it was fascinating to see how parts of the fruit swirls would seem to glow in the sunlight.  And I loved how the "mixed berry" stained purple into the cheesecake.  But I must admit to being glad to be finished painting this series.  That pitiful-tasting peach slice just kind of killed my enthusiasm! 

Dog and Fries

"Dog and Fries" -- oil on canvas 11x14"

If you knew how OLD and soggy these fries were!  I'd bought them over at the Golden Nugget in Ellsworth a week or so before.  I didn't want to use McDonald's fries -- too skinny and soggy!  The Golden Nugget has surprisingly good food for being a bar.  
This setup was in my windowsill on one of our rare sunny spring days.  As usual, when I finished painting, I took the whole thing in to the chickens.  They went for the hot dog first thing.  Fries followed later.  I think my chickens love me....

Red Water Pitcher

"Red Water Pitcher and Vintage Cloth" -- oil on canvas 12x12"

We had a rare sunny day a couple weeks ago and I decided to take advantage of it and paint this view of one of my favorite water pitchers.  Both it and the tablecloth were vintage finds.  Both are tough to do, too!

I love the shadow/sunlight patterns!  Strong sunlight is what helps make a painting "sing"!

Running way behind on my posts, so this will be brief.

Strawberry Shortcakes

 "Strawberry Shortcake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

"Strawberry Shortcake #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
Oh boy -- I'm running way behind on my posts!   I've been very busy painting, and now that the snow's finally melted (!), there's my morning bike ride and gardening chores.
One of my friends told me a secret used by advertising photographers.  For non-melting ice cream and whipped cream, they would beat up Crisco and powdered sugar.  So I experimented with this technique.  It worked!  In fact, these paintings were done a couple weeks ago and I still have a bowl of the "ice cream" sitting on my kitchen counter, looking as fresh as the day it was made.
When I finished painting these two, I gave the setup to the chickens.  They dove into it!  Kind of funny to watch them.  Their beaks were soon covered with the Crisco-powdered sugar.  It was completely devoured within 5 minutes. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hot Dogs, continued

 "Hot Dog #9" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Hot Dog #10" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
These two are teamed up with some canned chili sauce, onions and cheddar cheese.  My favorite way for hot dogs is to pair them with chopped Vidalia onions and yellow mustard, so the chili sauce is a new thing for me.  It smelled good!  It deserved a taste-test!  I ended up making one for myself with the last of the Hebrew National hot dogs (the only brand I'll eat).  
To make the cheese look slightly melted, I stuck this into the microwave and kept checking it every 15 seconds.  One thing I noticed -- that I liked -- was how the grease (and spices) from the chili sauce turned orange, soaking into the edge of the bun.  It's fun, watching for these "minor mysteries" in ordinary things.

Strawberry Cheesecake

 "Strawberry Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Strawberry Cheesecake #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
This cheesecake was a take-home from the shitake log production workshop in Bear Lake, Michigan.  I'd forgotten to bring home my shitake logs when I moved up here, but that's another story.  We'd all been asked to bring something for the potluck lunch and one lady had brought this amazing cheesecake.  She let me whack off a big piece to take home to try to paint.  
For the first painting I used artistic license to paint it as a thinner slice.  The second painting shows the way it really was.  The sun was creating a lot of glare on the strawberry glace, but that's what made it interesting.  As soon as I finished these, I took the cheesecake over to the neighbor's.  I'd have eaten it all myself, otherwise.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coconut Donut

"Coconut Donut" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

OK, a switch from hot dogs!  Friends came by to pick me up for lunch today and I spied this donut in the restaurant.  Coconut is my favorite, so I had to get it.  I liked the shadow shape, all raggedy-looking.  There won't be a 2nd version of this donut -- I ate it already.  Oops -- there went my diet! 

More Hot Dogs!

 "Hot Dog #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

"Hot Dog #3" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Hot Dog #4" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Hot Dog #5" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
 "Hot Dog #6" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Hot Dog #7" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
  "Hot Dog #8" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
I don't know why I got on the hot dog kick just lately,  but here they are!  After painting so many cupcakes, it was a fun change to do the dogs for a while.  I have a huge package of hot dogs in the fridge.  Very cheap ones I'd bought to toss to the poor possums this winter.  I'd see them scrounging for fallen sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.  Poor things!  So I found a 3 pound pack at Meijer's, super-cheap.  The possums loved them.  Alas -- one day the possums quit coming around.  After the snow melted, I found out why: a coyote got them.  Poor things!
So I'm stuck with all these hot dogs.  I have to use a bit of artistic license on them, however.  In reality, they're skinny and kind of gray-ish looking.  Nasty things!  I try to do at least 2 paintings from each "dressing of the dog".  By the end of the 2nd painting, the mustard is looking toxic!  But -- waste not, want not.  I give some of the bun to Henny Penny, the studio chicken and the rest goes out to the rest of the chickens.  The first time I threw a hot dog into their coop, they sat up on their roosts, eyeing it with utmost suspicion.  Like Mom threw a bomb into their midst.  
I'd been told that chickens won't eat onions.  Well, mine do.  I watched them take a bite of chopped onions.  They stopped, chewing, looking around, kind of "licking their lips" and seeming slightly surprised.  But they ate the whole thing.
Found a little can of chili hot dog sauce in the store today, so that painting will be on the horizon soon. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hot Dog!

"Hot Dog #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

A diversion from the sweets for a little while!  Who doesn't like a good ol' dawg?  Up north here in Michigan, we're still enduring remnants of winter: dark, gloomy skies, snow, drizzle, etc.  Yesterday afternoon was so dark, the hot dog looked very gray-looking.  Not at all appetizing.  Well, to start with, the dawg itself wasn't so great.  I was using one of the ultra-cheapies from Meijer's.  They were $1 a pound.  I'd bought them 2 months ago to throw to the semi-tame possums.  They looked SO pitiful out in the snow, snuffling for fallen sunflower seeds.  They really loved hot dogs, though!  In fact, if I saw them out in the yard, I'd yell, "Possum!" and they actually would come running to get their dawg.  Nothing quite so funny as a little possum with a weenie hanging out of its mouth, bounding through the deep snow!

So back to this particular hot dog.  I had to make it look fatter and more reddish.  For lack of a better idea yesterday, I just zig-zagged on a line of yellow mustard.  But I plan on doing more interesting combinations in the future.

When I finished painting, I broke off a piece of the bun and gave it to Henny Penny, my studio chicken. She loved it.  But when I threw the rest of it into the chicken coop, the chickens remained on their roosts, peering down at it with suspicion: what the devil was THIS?  Nobody moved.

Having finished cleaning up my painting mess, I snuck back into the coop area to take a peek.  Oh yes -- the hot dog was long gone!  I wonder if their eggs will taste like hot dogs in a few days?   

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

 "Triple Chocolate Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Triple Chocolate Cheesecake #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
I could feel my arteries slamming shut as I painted this -- super-rich!  Definitely NOT on my diet!  After I painted these two, I packed them up again and took to sax quartet rehearsal.  We always have refreshments after our practice.  It's a good way to get rid of diet no-no's.  And yes, I did eat a piece of this one.  

Coming up next: hot dogs!!!!

Mississippi Mud Cheesecake

 "Mississippi Mud #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Mississippi Mud #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
 "Mississippi Mud #3" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
This slice of cheesecake was a hoot to paint!  I love the ziggy-zaggy stripes!  This was the first time I'd ever bought a cheesecake -- so expensive!  But I'm glad I did.  This one was a "sampler" cheesecake, with various flavors.  
The brown shades were interesting to mix.  I do have a pre-mixed dark brown on my palette (one of Scott Christensen's Vasari colors), but as usual, I had to add "things" to it.  Adding a touch of ultramarine blue makes a really great black".  For the brown tones in the creamy part, I mixed ultramarine blue, cadmium orange, plus a touch of permanent red and a hint of white.  Surprising about the red, but it needed it.  
I was surprised to see how yellow the upper edge of the "crust" was.  But it was there, so I painted it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

 "Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
 "Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake #3" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
 "Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
Can you tell I liked this cheesecake?  The red stripes!!!!  After painting so many cupcakes, I found this refreshingly different to try to paint.  Love the subtle color changes between the sunlit surfaces and the shadow sides!  I'd bought a cheesecake sampler at the grocery store the other day.  Not to eat, particularly.  I just liked the way it looked.  I'll be painting all 4 varieties.
This day I wanted to paint a bunch of cheescake paintings so I could take the cheesecake to sax quartet rehearsal on Saturday.  I don't dare keep this kind of thing in my house!  Stay tuned: 2 kinds of chocolate cheesecake coming up next! 

Blue Bunny

 "Blue Bunny" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

The other day I noticed this little blue glass bunny in the sunlight.  The glare and shadows were so interesting, I had to paint it.


 "Poppyseed Bagel" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

 "Sesame Seed Bagel" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot
I'm running way behind on my posts again!  If you knew how stale these bagels really were when I painted them, you'd laugh.  Like rocks.  But they still looked good!  It was a nice change from painting cupcakes.  These came from Johann's Bakery in Petoskey.  I'm sure they're wonderful bagels when fresh.  I soaked these in a glass of water for a while, then gave them to the chickens.  

Cupcake Party!

"Cupcake Party" -- oil on canvas 30x40" -- Margie Guyot

After finishing painting just about every variety of cupcakes that Simplycupcakes makes, I wanted to pull them all (OK, most) together for a bigger still life painting.  That's a vintage tablecloth under everything.  I loved the cheery tulips in it.  Had to throw a little vase of real tulips in as well, along with my favorite frog teapot, sugar and creamer set.  

We only had a couple days of sun while I was painting this, so every time the sun came out, I focused on painting the shadow shapes.  I think it's the shadow/light patterns that give a painting a feeling of reality.  

I'd never painted Depression glass dishes in the sunlight before, and they were an interesting challenge.  This painting has a feeling of "gay chaos" in it -- but isn't a good party a sense of "gay chaos"?