Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paint the poetry

Garden Stroll
Original oil painting 24x18"
by Susan Roux

I've had the pleasure of interacting at length with some of you lately via email. I have to tell you how fun and helpful it has been for me. I hope you feel the same way.

Have you ever noticed when you try to explain something about your process to someone, it helps you improve? We already know what we're doing (well at least most of the time) but putting it into words helps bring every aspect of our process to the forefront.

While talking to another I spoke of attempting to paint the poetry. My dictionary describes poetry as a special intensity given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. I like these words. Special intensity, style, rhythm, the expression of feelings. Nowhere in this is anything about details or precise representation. The focus is on feeling, style and rhythm.

Doesn't that just put a whole new spin on everything?

All these years I've been trying to paint the elements in my composition and it turns out that wasn't the challenge after all. Paint a unified feeling on your canvas. Think of ambiance. You know, like that nice candlelit table setting you'll be preparing for your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. You'd pay attention to every detail so the whole entity, including tablecloth, candlesticks, dishes, flowers and vase would support an unmistakable feeling of romance. Yes the wine and dinner are probably your focal point, but everything about the table supports this feeling of love.

And so it must be with art...

I thought I finished Garden Stroll the other day. I knew she wasn't as strong as my other girls in this series. I placed her in a garden and trying to interpret this new style in a landscape was challenging. I had put her aside, but was left a bit dissatisfied. After talking to an artist about how I take a long time tweaking my paintings with the idea of painting the poetry in mind, I looked at her and realized I stopped short of what I wanted to capture. Does this happen to you?

You set a painting aside and next thing you know, it calls you back.

I couldn't ignore her. She was really urging me to continue. I'm glad I put her back on my easel. I'm much happier with the results. I may not be capturing the whole poetry thing, but I think I'm on the right track by having it in mind.

Do you ever paint the poetry?


  1. This painting is a real dilight! What great food for thought. I think that I get so caught up in trying to paint the image or object that I forget the power of these elements that you so effectively defined. Well, you certainly captured captured poetry in this painting!

  2. have made me think ..which is a good thing. Beautiful mood created in your painting. I guess I need to pay attention to more poetry!

  3. Fabulous painting Susan,just the style i love and you do it so well,I have never mastered the art of painting people,but have always needed just to capture the atmosphere of the day out in the fields or the mist coming down on the river,thats poetry to me :)I love Monets work for his impressionism,your background reminds me of this..........keep painting poetry it works ! beautiful x

  4. Lovely, lovely painting! I'm glad she "called you back". It came out wonderful. Loved what you said about poetry. I'm going to try to take that to heart a bit this year. Great post!

  5. I'm not a painter, but I DO write lyrics, so I understand whay you're saying. Sometimes I have to set aside a song for awahile and come back to it with a fresh perspective. Garden Stroll is beautiful, by the way! I'm partial to gardens!

  6. Je suis heureuse que tu aies réussi à faire jaillir le sentiment qui te taraudait. Le sentiment d'amour baigne notre pensée et parfois la volonté de faire bien et mieux encore et encore fait que ce sentiment s'égare et il faut sans cesse se le remettre en mémoire.
    Je pense que l'on pourrait comparer cela en cuisine. Même avec un plat simple pour un débutant, s'il y met tout son amour pour faire plaisir à l'autre, il sera grandiose. Mais faut-il qu'à chaque geste dans sa tête il se répète il va aimer, je veux le séduire... Généralement c'est gagné cela marche...
    En peinture c'est la même chose, il faut que tout le sentiment, romantique ou pas soit présent à chaque coup de pinceau... et la scène sera magnifique... Au théâtre, au cinéma, c'est la même chose. C'est tout simplement l'imprégnation d'un sentiment qu'on veut transcrire, transmettre un message...
    En ce qui concerne cette toile, ma chère Susan, tu as voulu transmettre le romantisme. Alors pour toi qu'est-ce le romantisme ? C'est une sorte de liberté, d'évasion et de ravissement dans le rêve et de naturel. Toutefois une sorte de mystère demeure dans le romantisme qui en fait un sentiment profond. Très bel hommage pour cette Saint Valentin que je te souhaite heureuse.
    Gros bisous

  7. This is beautiful, the surroundings, the color everything is superb, and yes she was powerful enough to call you back, for it looks like she has decided to celebrate Valentine's day with her beloved, how could you even think of stopping her.
    This is pure poetry.

  8. Very good Susan, poetry in art is a grand persuit
    to have.
    These series of paintings are wonderful. They are
    poetic indeed.

  9. Your work is just beautiful! I also enjoy reading about your process. Thank you for sharing.

  10. very nice feel to this girl in the garden. bonita.

  11. I try to write with rhythm, and a theme--I noticed that you paint women and skirts so wonderful. She looks like she is strolling, a little sashaying. You have such a style:)

  12. I think this is a marvellous work everything about it just sings or should I say it is full of emotion that stir thoughts of words.

  13. Beautiful poetic piece Susan. I can relate to feelings I try to capture the rhythms and movements when I paint trees. I agree that for me art is so much more than trying to render exactly what I see, I want it to be expressive and show my point of view.

  14. I cannot for the life of me figure out how I missed this special beauty, Susan. Not like me at all, honest! I love the soft and romantic garden perfect for this lovely miss. There is something so...wisdom of the ages? this one. I wish I could explain what I mean better. Maybe a bit of an image in my head of women and their love of flower gardens and garden paths and reflections within. At any rate, this is a beautiful show stopper!


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