Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Such a "Dub"...

If there's a fruitcake award, please give it to me quick!

I just wrote this post about my painting problem. As I was writing, I decided to fix it and post the finished version at the bottom. Unfortunately in my haste and a cup of coffee short of awake, I failed to photograph it prior to fixing my problem... So now I have this post written about a painting issue, without a photo to go along with it! Sorry... You may want to stop reading now. I even joked about deleting this post. Maybe I should.

I'm finally back in front of my easel! Being everywhere was fun, but getting back to painting feels like me.

The past two days, I've been working to finish up this painting. I'll be delivering it to the Blue Heron Gallery in Cape Cod, in another week. The pressure is on. Pressure to finish up some lingering canvases. Unfortunately my best work isn't executed under pressure...

As I was painting my figure, I was happy with the results. She appeared very striking. I ended by doing her reflection and deepening the bottom water. My brush danced around in juicy shades of purple and blue. (I just bought three new blues and playing with new mixtures had me overjoyed, like a child with new toys!) The oranges were dynamite and sang among the darks. Playing was fun...

Did I get carried away with my new found colors? Did I fail to see what was happening? Maybe I was just away from the easel for too long? Luka Bloom was singing in my ears and I felt so relaxed and happy. My brush was on automatic... You know that's when your true spirit is releasing itself on the canvas. Your deepest self is being exposed. Revealed. Its the recipe for your best work. So why didn't it work, I wonder???

The bottom overpowers the figure. She no longer seems to capture the attention. She's fighting with the reflection and your eye doesn't know where to go. I stared at her for a long time last night, trying to figure out (no pun intended...) how to fix it. What does it need? When I crop out the bottom, she pops out perfectly.

Such a dilemma...

My thought has been to darken some of the top left. However, my intensions weren't to have a dark painting. I was fighting with myself. What to do? What not to do? Blogging is great, isn't it? As I sit here evaluating it for you, the solution I seek reveals itself. I have also been annoyed by the interrupted bands of white. Did I need to connect them somehow? No. I don't think so. I think my problem lies in the contrast of the reflected skirt with the dark water. Though I think its lovely, its also what's pulling the eye away from the figure. No need to darken the top. By dulling her reflected skirt, it will solve the "white blotch" problem at the same time.

Funny how its so easy for me to see what's needed with my students work, but often difficult with my own. It has to be that passion. That attachment we get with every stroke and color we painted. Ideas we tried to execute. Though failures at times, are hard to abandon. I'm happy to see dulling her skirt is all I need to do...

Knowing that, I could delete this whole post and go fix her quickly. But I think its better as a learning tool to post her as is. (Such a Dub...)

On the bright side, I was very happy with the colors dancing around her feet. She's looking down and I just want to watch her splashing feet too!

(My sincere apologies for botching this up... Its amazing you actually read to the end. Thank you for putting up with my stupidity.) Sometimes we just need to laugh at ourselves...

Posted: "Carefree" Original oil painting, 36x12" painted-edged gallery wrapped canvas by Susan Roux


  1. maybe just a little bit on reflection competition, Susan but is very easily fixable. Don't be too hard on yourself. It is right there.

  2. If we start handing out fruitcake awards to all our artist friends there won't be any left for gift giving during the holidays ;) I'm not a painter but it looks just fine to me Susan!

  3. You were being very hard on yourself..but that is the life of an artist..if we don't see the faults ourselves, are willing to critique our own work then someone else surely will after it is framed and hung! Of course once it is hung..it is no longer yours..it is the viewers'. I enjoyed your post..much better than my bitter missive of yesterday!

  4. I like the reflection on water, and the sensation of movement of the figure, Susan. Very good.

  5. Susan,
    In answer to your e-mail, I really don't quite remember but it surely was phthalo blue since that's my favorite . . . and also cerulean.

  6. It was fun reading and looking at the painting imagining what it might have looked like before you fixed it.

    A beauty of a painting and, personally, I like fruitcake.

  7. Hi Susan,
    Il faut souffrir pour être belle!! Tu es comme moi, jamais complètement satisfaite du résultat... Si tu l'étais toujours tu ne serais plus "peintre" ou bien tu serais arrivée au bout... mais comme jamais nous n'y arriverons...
    Très jolie encore ce petit bout de femme!
    Je pense que tu es heureuse de profiter de ces longues journées de peinture, tu voudrais tant qu'elles soient encore plus longues...
    Et en ce qui concerne le FRUITCAKE AWARD tu ne me le "piqueras" pas celui-ci il m'a été attribué à la naissance!

  8. I enjoyed reading your blog and all your thinking process then I went back to look at the painting I love the capture of the moment and the reflection just adds to the movement and wonder. Well done.

  9. hey i have hundreds that i botched up and still do. i like the carefree nature of this one and the one below is just absolutely wonderful!


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