Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bowl of Cherries

"Bowl of Cherries" -- oil on canvas 24x24" -- Margie Guyot

After suffering out in the 90+ degree heat and humidity, doing the 2 recent plein air paintings, I was happy to retreat into my relatively cool studio!  It's the height of cherry season here, although most of Michigan's cherry crop was ruined this spring by a late frost.  Most of the cherries in the stores are imports from Washington state.

I ate a lot of cherries while painting this!

I ran out of big canvases, so decided to do something smaller.  Art supply stores in NW Michigan are few and far between, so I get most of my supplies online.  Shipping "oversize" canvases has become crazily expensive: there is an extra $110 oversize delivery charge.  Even after paying the extra fee, there's no guarantee of getting your order intact.  Last year I was working in my garden when I heard a strange sound.  I looked up to see a delivery guy DRAGGING my two boxes of canvas all the way down my gravel driveway!  He said he didn't feel confident enough to back his semi down my driveway.  He didn't care that they were ripped to shreds by the gravel.  Yes, I got a refund, but still -- you'd think by paying $110 extra, you'd at least get your canvases delivered in good condition.  I don't know how I'll get more.

Some things I never tire painting.  I love the old tablecloths!  It's fun to just toss them onto the table and leave them stay mussed up.  Painting folds is challenging -- but fun!  And the pink glass bowl -- yikes! -- it's really hard.  But what else is there to do?  Weed in the garden?  Wash floors?  Hah. 

Hay Bales

"Hay Bales" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas 8x16" -- Margie Guyot

As I drove into the Maple Conservancy (north of Traverse City, along US 31), I spied this big hay bale in the field of spotted knapweed.  Aha!  It "spoke" to me.  I love spotted knapweed when it blooms -- a soft lavendar.  Maybe some view it as a pest, but I think it's spectacular.  Most of my yard at home is full of it.

This haybale seemed almost to "glow" in the blazing sunlight.  I was fascinated.

Over the years I've learned to always pay attention to whatever strikes me as "amazing".  That's what I have to paint.  If I don't feel amazed by something I'm trying to paint, it shows in the  painting.  Once in a while I won't see anything amazing, so that's when I'll paint a view of a parked car.

Sunflower Field

"Sunflower Field" -- plein air field study -- oil on canvas 8x16" -- Margie Guyot

This is the first time in the 5 years I've been up here that I made it to this sunflower field while they still looked good!  I'd always get here when the yellow petals had fallen, shriveled, to the ground and it looked dismal.  So it was kind of exciting to finally get here at the right time! 

This field is one of several, just north of Traverse City, MI, along US 31.  As my friend, Al Maciag, and I painted, several cars stopped to snap photos of the field. 

See the blue haze on the distant hill?  A sign of humidity rising.  And yes, it certainly is humid up here!  The day we painted, the temperature soared into the 90's.  Al and I both wear hats while we paint and we both use BestBrellas to shade our palettes and canvases.  Still, it was sweltering.  From here, we crossed 31 over to the west side, where there was an old barn and hay bales.