Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage
Work in progress 18x24"
by Susan Roux

I haven't had much time to paint lately. I seem to be spread out thin, unlike my figure... I didn't intend to paint yesterday, but after coffee and viewing all your lovely artwork, I couldn't resist going to play in front of my easel.

This painting was inspired by several photographs I took of this darling little house. I was so captured by the yard. I remember driving by and then stopping and backing up to photograph it. It was wild and untrimmed. Flowers meandered everywhere. When I began I intended to put more of them in, but the painting lead me in this direction. I let it. I was having so much fun painting it, that I figured another or maybe a series of others could be painted with different flowers portrayed.

Its a very strange thing. The whole time I painted, the colors looks so juicy. It had rich vegetation that lead you to the soft corner of the house. The focal point was clearly the white rose bush. But after I took the painting out of my studio, it seemed to transform totally. How upsetting!

The white rose bush is no longer the focal point. It almost hides! The front darks look dull and the lovely little highlighted dots of color that lead you in are practically invisible. What I thought was a killer painting in my studio turned out to be a real blah.

I know my art photographs terribly. The camera has no clue what to do with all my transparent colors. I think I have the worse art to photograph there is. Not only are colors omitted totally as in everyone else's art, but darks read as lights many times as well, causing strange blotches everywhere! I have works I try to post, but don't. The photos turn the paintings into terrible images that barley resemble the actual art.

But this is not totally the case today. I was so deflated with the transformation my painting took. Was I so wrapped up in the emotion of the work, that I didn't see it properly? Was it the angle I was standing at (slightly to the left) that made the colors look one way? Perhaps my roof windows were casting a completely different light? Do I need to have my eyes checked?

I wish I knew.

Stuck in my head, is the image of what I thought I painted. Believe me, it was very lovely! I was so excited about my day's work. Now I want to try and bring it closer to my imagined vision, but I fear losing the freshness. Isn't painting hard? I really thought it was all falling into place so perfectly. I let the painting direct me. I was so involved with it, in total concentration and responding directly to each stroke I had just applied. Frankly I was in a wonderful happy place at the time. Such a let down to see what I actually did...

An so I label it work in progress, though I'm not certain how to begin to approach it. It was so soft and dreamy, all about the vegetation with a hint of a house in the background.... I may need to do a series just to try and capture what I thought I already had. Has this ever happened to any of you? Its caught me completely by surprise! I don't think I've ever experienced this before...

Its almost like I was seeing things. Honestly, I'm quite baffled by it all.

I hope your day brings about happy painting and the results are what you thought you were looking at. Its quite troubling when its not.


  1. Susan your passion for the garden and the little cottage comes through strongly in your words.

    As does the happiness you experienced at your easel bringing your vision to life. I'm sorry your not pleased with this painting.

    I'm confident you will sort out what displeases you about it and create the garden and cottage that you have in your mind's eye!

  2. Susan,

    Is it a coincidence you're saying the same thing I said years ago about my paintings and photographs? The BIG problem it turns out was that I was painting with the light of regular warm light bulbs. That light makes everything bright so we're constantly toning colors down. Then it's a rude awakening to see our "baby" in natural daylight.

    Did I show you the 2 ceiling light fixtures in my studio over the easel? They're Ott light tubes that were purchased from one of the artist's supply store. They were expensive but they're working fine after 8 years and 4 movings. Just Ott light (no warm light bulbs) will produce the best color photos too of your paintings. You probably already know not to ever use flash.

    These are things I'm planning for my "Small Space Studio" essay.


  3. I do like the dreamy feel of this painting..and yes it has happened to me and lately too! Everything I have touched these last 2 weeks were fun to do but turned to mud...for me anyway. So discouraging..yet..we must go on..As you know, you can put its dreamy face against the wall and look at in a few months and figure out what happened..have a better day!

  4. Nora, the odd thing is I was painting with natural light! It pours into my studio through roof windows. Its never been a problem before.

    Who knows. Maybe with age, I'm just imagining things... lol

  5. susan,
    as always you have a wonderful painting...
    i like the sublime style...
    the way in which different colors are complemented...
    the perspective also...

  6. Beautiful painting :)
    You have lovely blog!

  7. Susan, I like this. I think you've tackled it well in what I consider a very difficult subject - lots of vegetation. We artists are all so critical of ourselves....

  8. Hi Susan!... "You" have described exactly whet every artist experiences in having what's "hoped for"... or "deeply felt" during a session melt away and vanish before your very eyes.

    This phenomenon occurs when we become too absorbed with single passages or drunken with colour.. and in so doing lose track of the whole.

    You mentioned your deeply felt attraction to the white rose bush in relationship to the house. Try this little strategy... nothing to lose!

    Cover the limy green patch directly in front of your original focus with your hand. I think that you will see what you loved return to the picture. "Neutralize" that patch and I believe that you can reclaim your original good feelings about the piece.

    Just a thought!

    Good luck... and good painting!

  9. Hi Susan,
    Il est toujours étrange et surprenant de voir l'évolution d'une toile. Parfois on démarre une toile avec de la difficulté et peu à peu elle devient flamboyante, à notre grand et heureux étonnement. Parfois, c'est le contraire et là tout se corse, s'emmêle et se complique inextricablement. Tout s'éteint, alors qu'on pensait que tout allait bien. On n'a rien vu venir. Le problème a surgit vicieusement.
    Preuve que la peinture est vivante et vit parfois à nos dépends. A nous de débroussailler les mauvaises herbes!
    Il faut aussi se méfier des fausses erreurs de jugement... L'oeil a travaillé, peut-être un peu trop et s'attache à un emplacement précis écartant tout. Il faut parfois plusieurs heures pour que tout redevienne équitable. Et là tout s'éclaircit et se clarifit.
    En plus tu avais travaillé longuement une masse importante dans une pièce différente, avec une lumière différente... et puis je crois que Madame le professeur devient très impassible avec elle-même!
    Je redoute ma rencontre à ses prochains cours!!!
    Très joli travail, ma Susan...
    Je t'envoie de gros bisous.


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