Friday, November 5, 2010
Original oil painting 14x18"
by Susan Roux
Don't you just love it when you're relaxed, just blogging around, and you come across a post that makes you want to sit down and write? You know what I mean. Those posts that put some idea out there that really gets you thinking and you're compelled to explore it deeper. That's just what happened this morning as I read Paint Dance.
Maryanne wrote, " I love impressionism. I am a little sad that it has not reached the level of popularity that we currently see in styles like representational realism." It was a lovely post with a John Singer Sargent's Breakfast in the Loggia pictured.
Now there's a common thought among many artists. Put me at the top of the list! I have adored Monet's work for years and over half of my rather large art library is publications on him and the impressionist. I've read everything I could get my hands on about Claude. So much so, that in time I came to feel like we were close friends.
How I loved the dreamy strokes, dashes of color, that came together in amazing reality! The light the Impressionist captured drew so many of us into their world. I tingle just thinking about it.
I never tried to paint like Monet though. I was a firm believer that you needed to be true to yourself and paint in a way that felt natural to you. For me, that which poured out of my soul was a colorful fairly-detailed representation with an acute appreciation for light. Painting in my own natural style worked for quite a few years.
Then it happened.
I exposed myself to more and more art and fell in love with lots of it. So many soft dreamy strokes, laid on impasto thick, I wanted to pass my finger atop it and lick it like frosting. I was so drawn to this look, I wanted to paint like that too. How many of us have started out tight and then struggled to loosen our strokes? I think its pretty common.
So for years I pushed myself in this direction, never being satisfied with my work. I'm still there struggling with it to this day. But recently something has changed in my mind. Like my eyes have been opened anew. It goes back to my original way of thinking, how you must remain true to what comes out of your soul naturally. My thoughts go deep and many questions arise. Questions about improvement and pushing yourself in the direction you admire. It can feel like its coming from within, when with all our being, you love these works you see. But what's in the mind and in the soul are different.
Its been difficult for me to understand. In the past year, I feel like I've come full circle, painting in a way that resembles my original process. Yes, those years of easel time have improved my work, but to think how far I could be with it had I only continued with what poured out naturally.
So the thoughts in my head intrigue me. I feel there is something very natural and in control that wants to come out. I'm ready to embrace the representational part of me, that for years I tried to suppress. But somewhere in there I believe there is a softness too. When I go off to the art retreat in February, I hope to explore this concept further. I feel its at the tip of my brush and is ready to pour out. I only need time to devote to it. I think, or better yet, feel I have a balance of dreamy and tight and they will come together on canvas. I've fought the representational side of myself for so long. It feels good to get to a place where I can be comfortable accepting it.
Unlike Maryanne's statement, I've felt an embrace for looser work over representational work in today's society. I do however think impressionist of today feel its work done quickly. Capture that first impression with bold strokes in a limited time. But the real Impressionist only gave the illusion of it being quickly executed. Monet returned over and over to the same spot, in search of the same light, to continue his paintings. When the light wasn't just right at the same time of day, he would begin a new painting. He returned daily and would progress the one canvas that had the same light, never working it for longer than 20 minutes. If he didn't find the same light within two weeks time, he could no longer continue because with the orbit of the earth, the light had changed visibly for him. This made it impossible for him to capture that moment in time he devoted his life to.
So why is it, I wonder, that the impressionist of today came to feel it needed to be painted within a short period of time? If today's impressionist spent the same amount of time and energy on a painting as the original Impressionists, would they rule in popularity?
Posted: The Window will be one of the paintings in Saturday's exhibition at CMMC, Lewiston, Maine from 10-4 in the main lobby. You're invited to come. If you're around, please do!