Back to the Creek

“New Year’s Day on the Creek” — plein air field study in oil on birch panel 11 x 14″ by Margie Guyot

I’ve always loved water, having grown up along the Mississippi and Wapsipinnicon rivers back in Iowa. Sunday afternoons in winter Dad would take my sister and me on walks along the Mississippi, down at Credit Island Park. On rare occasions, if the roads were clear, we’d head out to the cabin on the Wapsipinnicon. I can see it yet in my mind: chunks of ice and entire trees floating along in the swollen river. At the very least, there was Duck Creek, a block from our house. I’d roll under the barbed-wire fence and spend hours poking around for interesting rocks, hoping to find rubies. So when my real estate agent showed me this property — with a creek! — I knew I’d found home.

Emerald ash borers have done quite a number on the trees back in the swamp. The ground has grown swampy now that only a few cedars, spruce and white pines remain. Fallen ash trees blanket the ground; many have turned into bridges over the creek.

With the Covid pandemic raging, I rarely go anywhere. Gardening is kaput for now; house-cleaning — well, there’s only so much of that crap I can stand. So painting remains. But I get bored easily. I switch around from still lifes to portraits to landscapes. My creek is a “wind-y” creek, covered with snarls and kind of a bitch. But painting difficult things is kind of symbolic. It’s like “solving a bit of the world’s difficulties”.

My setup for the day:

And for once, I had a most convenient paper towel-holder!

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