Thursday, April 8, 2010


Shaker Orchard
Original oil painting 18x24"
by Susan Roux

When in doubt, use purple.

These words of advice echoed out of my mouth to my students last night. They were received as a wonderful proclamation of wisdom. In all fairness, with the color palette we use, it does hold true.

I love how different artists have their own favorite color. They've learned to incorporate it into every painting. Their ability to manipulate it and make it "sing" reaches beyond others. They've studied it and tried it in every situation. It becomes more like a in-depth study on that particular color. For me its purple.

Dioxazine purple.

I don't have a painting that doesn't include it. Naturally I teach it to all my students. The first time I have them block in a tree with a purple underpainting, I get a lot of strange comments. Purple trees? By the end of the painting, they become lovers of purple as well. They can see its value and appreciate its many uses.

I find it universal. I don't paint with browns. Yellow ochre is the closest brown on my palette. Rather, purple becomes the substitute. Mixed with yellows, it neutralizes. As a dark in greens, it holds such depth and excitement. With blues, well its just real pretty...

So when in doubt, use purple. It works nicely with everything. It gives your painting a shot in the arm. There's a deep richness that it brings to your art. No wonder it was the regal color of kings robes. It holds the property of standing above the rest. Its interesting and noticed, yet can be so understated. Don't underestimate the power of purple!

It belongs in the sky. It belongs in water. It belongs in the trees and in every dark portion of a composition. Once you unleash the power of purple on your canvas, you will have to agree. When in doubt, use purple.

Magenta runs a close second. Though not quite as versatile as purple, it energizes and accompanies it very well. Try some in your trees next time...

So here is my completed painting. The sky has been warmed and the weathervane added. Thanks to Roisin O'Farrell's email telling me it looked finished to her, I took it easy to preserve the feeling I'd already captured. In her words, "I wouldn't touch it. It's charmed the pants off me, just as it is!" Thanks Roisin. Sometimes we need to here it from someone else. STOP!

It felt so good to paint...

Happy painting and have some purple on me today!


  1. Hello!... "Susan on the go"! Stumbled upon your wonderful and uplifting site... after noting that you had visited mine! I don't "surf"... but do search out and respond to those who I feel share my passion for family... children... art and positive thought! "You" qualify under all headings!

    I love the skywork in your current project and the overall desgn and composition. Nice one!

    I also value your inclusion of family details. Like you... I too... was deeply blessed to have been born to a couple who lived to share... and shared to live. Though they have passed... I pass their gift forward through my own art.. my own family... the children I have taught... and wonderful people like your Self... who care to share!

    "I" am now a Follower! Be back soon!

    Happy Spring!Good painting!
    Rich Blessings!
    Bruce Sherman

  2. oooo two of my favorite colors... purple and magenta! I love the way you teach things to me in a way that is easy to understand and so helpful. Thank you, Susan!

  3. Lovely painting Susan! The sky is just gorgeous.

  4. Very nice advice and painting! I too love to start with a vibrant color. A mural I did with a group was in a shimmers now

  5. So lovely! I love your purples and blues. This is so pretty. My favorite part is the warm bit of sunshine on the corner of the shed, it looks so warm from the sun, while the other areas are still cool and waiting for that beautiful sunshine to fall upon them. I love it! So lovely! I love your purples and blues. This is so pretty. My favorite part is the warm bit of sunshine on the corner of the shed, it looks so warm from the sun, while the other areas are still cool and waiting for that beautiful sunshine to fall upon them. I love it! I would love to take a class from you!!

  6. A quandary...which do I like more? Your paintings or your wonderful narrative stories? Is it ok if I don't decide and just like them both a lot? I just ordered some dioxazine purple. Now I can't wait for it to come...along with Gamblin's 2010 Torrit Grey!! Love that stuff for the story of it as much as the color surprise!

  7. Wonderful as always!
    Susan I have passed the Happy 101 Award to you. Please visit my blog when you can to check out the rules.

  8. I love this and the philosophical idea it represents as well. I am a writer but it holds true there as well. How different writers 'flavor' their stories with their favorite 'colors'.

  9. stunning! I am off to try some purple!!!

    Thanks for your comment on my 'wishes' so many have come true, this is just an updated version and I have little doubt they will come true too! Am off to view the world as my studio too - love this concept :)


  10. hello susan,
    my husband says you are really inspiring and informative...
    the pictures are wonderful...
    the words you share are also wonderful...

  11. A very beautiful painting Susan!
    I agree every artist has his or her own bias toward a certain color which is reflected in almost all their works. Mine is blue and all shades close to it. Purple adds that extra rich tone and gives the depth required.
    I can imagine the pleasure it brings to you when using it!
    Take care,


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