Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Foggy Lupines

Work in progress
Original oil painting 12x16"
by Susan Roux

Like Susan Brown, I awoke early to the sound of birds singing. Unlike her serenading sparrows with accompanying robins, I was sharply crackled by the resident ravens. I looked out the window. There was distant fog in the trees. It reminded me of a few mornings on Deer Isle. I'm still floating on island time and the simple sight of the haze sent my spirit right back there.

Never a bad thing...

All I could think of was the lupines in the distant fog. I could picture them so clearly. There would be no more sleeping. My mind was off in a hurry. Excitement started to bubble. In minutes, I slipped out of bed, eager to paint. I set my easel outside. My thought was to paint the fog from life, but add the lupines from memory. Just as I was beginning to open my first tube of paint, I heard one of my cats crying.

A bit of investigation and the continued escalating cry for help, led me to a tree at the edge of the woods. The cry came from above the leaves. Which cat was it? I have three. I couldn't see her. The foliage is thick and the tree, very tall.

I called. She cried. It repeated over and over.

Finally I caught sight of her. It was my white, five-month-old kitten, Star. There doesn't exist a ladder in my entire neighborhood that could reach her. I woke my two sons to come help. We pruned branches and called to her to come down. She was crying out of control. Such a feeling of helplessness. My neck hurt from looking straight up the tree for so long. Still she wouldn't come down.

Finally she decided to try. She made it down to a high fork. We were all calling her in unison to continue downward. The ravens were no longer crackling.

It was us now.

Suddenly Chris, my neighbor, appeared with coffee in hand. Oh no, did I wake you? It was just after five in the morning... Luckily she was on her porch drinking her first cup, when she heard us crackling.

Star came down. She was back to playing soon after getting a good dose of much needed snuggles.

Time to start painting. Nothing like a stressful debut to your creative time. The cats bounced around my easel. Fear forgotten, they were happy I was joining them outdoors at this early hour. I took a deep breath, calmed and started to paint.

The painting is not finished. Maybe it will turn out to be a study for a larger piece. I'm not accustomed to painting from my imagination, so I felt like I was adjusting the composition as I went along. Mud was developing. The foreground lupines still need to be toned down and I'd like to create a more interesting pattern for the distant lupines. I'll see where it leads me...

So what do I call this? Foggy Lupines or Cat in the Distant Tree?



  1. Hi Susan,
    I'm fortunately happy to learn Star could lower again of the tree without a bobos... It is so curious. I think it's because of its name "Star". It wanted to join the sky to shine...
    And you my dear sister you shine with your lupines... I like them and your rendering... I'm sure they'll be very gorgeous and i'm very happy to see them finished.

  2. Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only early riser! You have a neighborhood of early birds. I love your lupines Susan. Our ditches along all the roads in PEI are full of them. They just grow naturally. I really think the mist in your painting is quite effective with the lupines. What a great morning you had, thanks to Star. Susan :)

  3. Dear Susan....Love the work in progress. Lupines are so beautiful. Did you read the childrens' book, Miss Rumphius? So enchanting and all about lupines!

    Star is truly a beauty, too. Guess all the encouragement from the family brought her down from that tree. Sweet story.

    Take care . Susan

  4. Star is a card trick ~ She has such a serene look about her. But there's mischievousness behind those eyes...
    "Let's climb a tree and wake everyone up!"

    Your painting is lovely.
    I, myself, have to remember that mud isn't always a bad thing...as I learned in my recent workshop.

  5. Well done Susan, there's a job for you in the Fire Service! I love the lupins. Róisín

  6. So pleased Star made it safely down the tree.

    Your lupins are beautiful


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