January Thaw

“January Thaw” — plein air field study in oil on birch panel 8 x 10″ by Margie Guyot

All day long the weather sites kept insisting it was sunny. It was not! Dark clouds hogged the sky. In the meantime, however, I had committed to going out plein air painting with a friend. Being a nice person, I hated to cancel. Bundled up in long underwear, Carhartts, down coats, etc., we still shivered, standing in 24 degree weather, pounded by the wind howling out across Lake Michigan. We painted on the porch of Cal Kemppainen’s art studio, just south of Charlevoix. The moment I saw this view, I knew I had to paint it. The line of clear sky way off on the horizon was a very pale, almost greenish shade. It was one of those marvelous colors that make artists gasp and squeal, prancing about, heart racing. And then there was that snow pattern. It had melted into a kind of snake-like pattern across the lawn. How could I not paint that??? By the time I was finished, the blue sky had returned, about 3 PM. I brightened up the grass a bit, but wasn’t about to repaint the whole thing. So be it.

Painting from Cal Kemppainen’s studio porch. See how the sudden appearance of the sun changed things?

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