Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Not today

With glorious light shining down in my studio, I painted. I painted and painted and painted some more! I started a few more children at the beach, continuing my series as posted in Finding clarity. I love starting them. I go crazy dripping color. Its so freeing! (I made sure to use a lot of red...) By afternoon a friend called and wanted to come paint. She had seen a painting online and wanted to try to imitate the style. She needed help getting started.

Fine. Let's do it!

It was totally out of my comfort zone. Not nature, but a still life. And the way the paint had to be laid was about as opposite as it gets. I love working with the transparent properties of the oils. I get so intrigued by the way light passes through them, hits the canvas and bounces back as light.

Not today.

For this project, we needed to begin with a toned canvas. There would be no light shinning from behind. All the lights would be placed on top of other paint. I chose a small canvas. I didn't expect to be happy with the results, but figured we'd have fun. Nothing wrong with a little fun, is there? So I set up a simple still life, resembling the type she had found.

I did some still life paintings years ago. I loved setting them up in my big window. I'd cluster up all sorts of things of different shapes then chase the light all day, finishing the following day to repeat the same light. It was like a treasure hunt finding the right objects to place together. Tall pieces, short wide pieces, scattered pieces, fruit, vegetables, flowers or plants always made the list. Doilies or draped cloths found their way under a portion of the objects, allowing reflections on the rest. Setting up the arrangement was a work of art in itself.

Not today.

The set-up was to be very simple. One or two objects at most. A challenge for a good, interesting composition. A challenge to get excited about what I was going to paint! Yikes. What had I gotten myself into?

Still it was painting, so I decided to relax and go with it. We had so much fun. Like teaching, being out of your comfort zone, forces you to focus on the important elements. Form, composition, color... I found playing on the toned canvas to be quite fun. Paint responded differently and that made it exciting. After awhile it felt more like I was drawing than painting. Perhaps we got too picky, but we were pretty green at this method.

I surprised myself. Here it is, Susan Roux's "Purple Teapot". The result wasn't as bad as I had predicted. I know it isn't a masterpiece, but I'm not embarrassed to post it. After all, it comes with my whole story. It was a lot of fun to experiment. I hope you take time for that once in a while. Its a challenge but stimulating. I'll go back to my regular transparent way of painting. Who knows, some little part of this exercise may remain with me and reappear on a later canvas... Don't you love surprises?


  1. this is a beautiful piece and I love the process that you shared with us. a great post, thanks!

  2. Nice work. It's good to try something new once in a while and there's no better way to do that than to paint with someone else!

  3. nice post. I love to hear the thought process. I really like your teapot, what will you do with it? sell it? hang it up? I need a little more ending to this story :)

  4. Excellent... et challenge véritable avec un retour sur soi. Je comprends parfaitement ce que tu as voulu faire passer comme message. Enfin, peut-être que ma traduction anglaise n'est pas bonne! En ce moment tu sais comment j'ai pu souffrir pour réaliser le croquis de ce fameux bouquet. Tout comme toi, pour les natures mortes, des bouquets j'en ai peint autrefois mais ce n'est pas ma tasse de thé ! Je n'ai pas commencé mon croquis avec la même enthousiasme que mes "petites femmes". Mais très vite, une fois le travail commencé, je me suis prise au jeu, tout en me disant : "ce n'est pas grave, si ce n'est pas réussi, tu as droit à l'échec...".
    Mon dessin terminé, je me sens fière car j'ai franchi la difficulté, enfin mon challenge était je crois réussi. Bien sûr il faut à présent, que mon croquis prenne vit en peinture. Et j'aurai accompli comme toi ma Susan un défi. Tu peux fière car je trouve que ton trophée est tout à fait réussi. N'est-ce pas une invitation à prendre une tasse de thé que tu as voulu lancer ? J'arrive....

  5. Beautiful work!!Very nice composition and contrast. A lot of warmth and my favorite colors!

  6. Susan!

    No need to be embarrassed. This painting turned out great!

    The colors are muted yet rich.

    A very elegant still life IMHO!



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