Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Evolving layers

work in progress
by Susan Roux

Playing with layers. Oh I"m definitely having fun!

I returned to this little girl recently and am glad I photographed her before beginning. I was surprised at the change that took place. You know how I love surprises, so seeing her evolve with such color change popped me with wonder and excitement.

I've been staring at this canvas hanging on my studio wall for better than a month now. She was dry a long time ago and I could have returned to her much sooner. All this time she's been the bright "hot spot" in the studio. So many fiery colors...

She seemed to be sitting in a blazing sea. Lucky for her I put the fire out!

I kind of miss the orange in the studio, but I think the painting is evolving in a good direction. All that dripped color was not for nothing, however.

As you can see, those lovely brilliant shades are still visible. I remember now why I started so hot with this painting. The girls skin was very tan and I knew orange shades would eventually be added when I paint her. This way her surroundings will harmonize with her body.

This experiment with my children at the beach series has been very interesting. All the original dripped color is transparent. All the light colors added later are not. By leaving the underpainting exposed, not only is it creating color spots, its also adding shimmer to the water. Every spot of transparent versus non-transparent creates an unusual form of contrast. This contrast flickers, causing movement with changing light or as you merely walk by.

I think my favorite part though is all the color surprises it leaves behind. I teach that water is just broken color. I decided to push this to the greatest limit I could imagine, trusting it was correct. It is.

My paintings are quickly coming to the point where painting the girls is absolutely necessary. That brings closure to these little sweethearts. Afterwards, they'll be nearly complete. Its funny how you become more attached to a painting that has taken a long time to complete than to one that burst on the canvas quickly. Such patients is needed for the slow ones. It can be very frustrating stopping because colors want to get muddy or waiting for them to dry to be able to return.

I hope your keeping time to experiment. Its in experimenting that we discover and learn. Don't be afraid of color. It never bites. It just sings back to you. Play with it like my children at the beach are all playing. Just for fun!


  1. i really enjoyed viewing your process! thanks, Susan!

  2. Wow, I love your colors. It's always interesting when artists share their process. I'm attracted to the bright and beautiful. You score on both accounts.

  3. your handling of water is inspiring!

  4. Susan, this is so lovely. The colors are amazing.

    I hope you are having a wonderful week.


  5. Susan, This has the making of a beautiful piece. The colors hold so much promise!

    Thank you so much for your nice comment on my blog.

  6. J'adore l'évolution que prennent à chaque fois tes petites girls. Elles sont plongées dans de multitudes couleurs et avec son pinceau, semblable à une baguette magique,la fée Susan apporte une sublime lumière à ses peintures. Alors tout prend réellement vie... Très bien Susan.

  7. Hi Susan.... thank you for popping into my blog. Although I feel happy with watercolours I do appreciate those who freely work in oils as you do. Loved going through your posts and reading about your developments and processes.

  8. It's lovely, can't wait to see it finished. Your blog is very enjoyable and informative, thank you for sharing.


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