Saturday, October 13, 2012

Northern Lights!

"Northern Lights -- Rex Beach" -- oil on birch panel 8x10" -- Margie Guyot
This morning I happened to wake up at 4 AM.  Glancing out the north-facing window, something struck me as very unusual: it was way too bright for that hour of the morning. It was a guess, but I figured it just had to be the northern lights.  I'd never seen them before.  Yes, it was ungodly early, but what the heck -- I threw on my robe and slippers and drove my car down to Rex Beach, about 3 miles away. 
I dared parking right on the sand and got out.  There they were!!!  All across the northern sky, shimmering and pulsating!  Unlike many of the popular photos, they appeared fairly colorless.  But still, I was so excited I could have done cartwheels!  I wrapped my excitement in 2 old afghans from the back of the car.  It was kind of chilly out on the beach.
It was surprising.  The sky wasn't pitch black.  I don't know if you could even call it "black", but the darkest parts were the distant line of trees and the line of shrubs and grass on the beach.  The sky was almost a medium tone.  In the distance were low-ling clouds.  And the lights themselves were not a brilliant light, but more of a soft, blurry non-color.  I stared at these things, trying to make myself remember.  A shooting star flew by.
No camera.  No paintbox.  Alas!  But I did grab my mileage log book and do a quick pen sketch.  Later in the morning - when it became light enough to see -- I did an oil painting of the scene, referring to my sketch.  

Here's my reference sketch.  Solar flares are predicted to continue for the next year or so, so I hope to get to make more observations -- and paintings.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cat Teapots

"Cat Teapots" -- oil on canvas 24x24" -- Margie Guyot

Believe me, it'll be a loooong time before I ever paint this tablecloth again!  Thought my eyeballs were going to fall out!  I had to take frequent breaks, hoping the Good Fairy would paint it in for me.  Alas, no such luck.  But the black and white color scheme tied in so well with the two cat teapots, I just had to use it.  Do you notice the blue and pink cast tones from the flower vase and the pink glass bowl?  I love looking for stuff like that when I set up an arrangement.  Things like that make a painting come alive.

The black cat teapot I bought about 30 years ago and somehow it's survived.  I used to keep it on my stovetop and whenever the little neighbor boy came in, he kept a good distance.  He said the eyes frightened him.  The striped teapot I picked up in a garage sale in Bay Harbor this summer.  That was probably what inspired this painting.  Painting the reflections on these was so much fun!

If you've followed my blog posts for a while, the pink glass bowl may be familiar.  I'm fascinated by it and have used it in several paintings.  It's really difficult to draw and paint!  Lots of distortions and reflections to try to catch.  Each time I paint it, it looks a little better.  Monet had his haystacks, so I guess you could say I've got my pink glass bowl.

My ascendant (astrologically-speaking) is Cancer, the Crab.  We Cancers LOVE bags and boxes.  It's been said that if you give us a wrapped present, chances are we'll love the wrappings far more than the actual present itself!  I think that's true.  I love this polka-dot bag!  It came from a fancy dress shop in Petoskey, Talula Boutique.  How could I throw such a marvelous bag away?  I've been saving it (and others) for use in still lifes.  And that hot pink tissue!  I just love stuff like this!

It's been a while since I've used shoes in a still life setup, but this seemed to call for some.  These beauties were a Goodwill find.  Not my size, but hey -- the color just made me feel like doing cartwheels across the store!  I love painting shoes.  Such interesting shapes, colors and reflections!

To echo the hot pink tissue, I plucked a few geranium blooms from the plants on the studio windowsill.  Some of my plants are 6 years old (or more).  They seem to do much better inside the studio during the winter than they do out on the patio all summer.  Go figure. 

I'll be having to take a brief break from painting.  1500 English bluebell bulbs just arrived the other day, so it'll be one mad rush to plant them all before the ground freezes.  Stay tuned!