Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nicolaides words


Fetch
Original oil painting 18x24"
by Susan Roux

After dozens of suggestions from Don to buy Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw, I finally own a copy. I haven't posted for awhile because I've been toiling over this painting. Do you ever do that? Toil? I have grunts and groans, huffs and puffs of exasperation that pour uncontrollably from my body. I throw my brush down, take a few steps, turn to look at my work through a mirror, exhale deeply with thrust and return to do another stroke. The level of concentration is so great that each stroke seems a massive effort. In the beginning of Nicolaides book, I read a new word to describe this. Painstakingly.


It describes my efforts to a T. It's miles away from having "fun" on canvas. It's deep and concentrated and a place I don't always get to while painting. It renders with precision and every now and then, I find it necessary for what I'm trying to achieve. In this particular case his sweatshirt became the challenge. I wanted it to read oversized. My fear was making him just look fat.

The secret was in the folds. Nail the folds and it will look correct. So I spent hours and hours and days and days on those folds. Long days.


I was pretty content with the results. I know these images are inferior as usual and some of the values and transitions are incorrect. But still, I feel I captured so much extra space in his sweatshirt that you could almost crawl right into it with him. Painstakingly. Yeah, good word.

Nicolaides had another word to describe a painting method. Ferociously.


Now doesn't that conjure up a great image for you? He ferociously put paint to canvas. The release expressed in that sentence is massive. It reminds me of my initial block in. Some parts go on slower, but I definitely have moments of ferocious strokes. Spontaneity and determined force are things I associate with that. I often call it scribbling with paint. My backgrounds certainly fall into that category. This is where I'm in fear of having too much fun on canvas. Sometimes it's tempting to call a painting finished after ferociously blocking it in. It's full of freshness and personal emotion. It's easy to feel connected to it, but rarely my best work.

The biggest challenge I had with this painting was trying to keep enough spontaneous looking strokes to achieve movement. The tightness of the folds made this difficult. I found myself softening them a bit in the end. I felt I had to overcompensate by making my loose strokes extra loose, otherwise it all looked too stiff.


There lies a balance in there somewhere. I know I have a lot to learn before perfecting it. Maybe it never gets perfected. A juggling of the right amount of painstakingly and ferociously applied strokes. The yin and yang of art. Balance. Rhythm. A poetry of color...

The journey continues.

33 comments:

  1. Susan, I really like your painting. You've captured a wonderful impressionistic style.

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  2. It's a very good painting. Nice to see the finished result! Is this a Cape Cod scene?

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  3. No Kevin, actually it's from Fish Beach on Monhegan. Not your usual Monhegan painting I know. But since when do I do what everyone else is doing???

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  4. Je comprends le pourquoi de tes maux de tête... Toute ton énergie se retrouve sur ta peinture...
    Une belle lumière, une scène tout en mouvement...
    Et voilà! Je suis obligée de m'essuyer le visage... à cause des éclaboussures!
    Gros bisous

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  5. Susan, the effort was well worth it. Just fabulous.

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  6. gorgeous painting-- love the composition and the brush stokes!

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  7. all your toil paid off big time! I could relate to everything you wrote...there have been many times when I "huffed and puffed"...dare I say it, I have been known to use the worst words imaginable. Your drawing skills are really apparent here---This is a fabulous painting! :)

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  8. Susan, I think this is absolutely exquisitely handled. I just read a quote from Nicolaides in my Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain book and I thought it was spot on. This is one of my favorites quite honestly. Not sure why...the gestalt...the realness...your heart on a canvas. I just love it!

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  9. You have captured the light and the movement so well - it is a beautiful and successful painting!

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  10. Beautiful painting Susan--you have to feel it was worth all the pain. It has lovely warm light--very, very nice. Sorry I missed you Friday night. You must of hit the walk early.

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  11. Very nicely done Susan! The movement and blend of colors is excellent.

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  12. This is really fabulous!
    Your gesture and movement are just fun to look at!!!

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  13. Beautifully painted Susan. Your work is absolutely perfect!!!

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  14. magnifique étude et le résultat est très bon!
    j'aimerais être une petite mouche pour t'observer durant ton travail!

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  15. Just love how totally natural this looks. The poses, the movement... the way you've captured a real moment in time and translated that moment so perfectly into art. Beautiful.

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  16. Hi Susan. This is just super. Your long hours have paid off. great job.
    Thanks for your kind comment on my art blog

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  17. Susan, wonderful job on the painting. Worth all the "toil".

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  18. Susan, your paintings are absolutely breathtaking ... all your hard work is really paying off! And I've enjoyed catching up on your posts this morning after a while away from "blogworld." I completely identify with this one; trying to find that balance between "ferocious" and "painstaking" really keeps us on our artistic toes!

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  19. I forgot to tell you how I LOVE the moment you've captured here ... that second when the dog first splashes into the water just as his master has completed his throwing motion ... beautiful job!

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  20. This painting is an absolute gem, Susan, and well worth the struggle! You must feel very happy with these results! Will you sell it? I wouldn't!
    By the way, I got to see your lovely paintings up close and personal last week at the Wright Gallery. It was a treat!
    Although I kept thinking about how sad I was do not be doing Don's workshop, I had fun painting in your beautiful stomping grounds! What inspiration!

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  21. Oh My! Susan this is awesome. Love the softness of it.

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  22. Wonderful ! I love this painting! The light dazzles all

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  23. Hi Susan
    Thank you for visiting my blog I appreciate your comment a lot...
    Your work is inspirational, your style is romantic and dreamy yet, strong and powerful...

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  24. Once again I have read everyword and looked at this post more than once thank you again.

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  25. I get it. I think it's quite nice despite the toiling. You did achieve over sized not fat. My favorite part is the dog and the water. Such brevity but you nailed it.

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  26. Woow, perfect!..
    http://musabalan.blogspot.com/

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  27. Hola Susan, gracias por tu visita a mi blog y por tu comentario. Después de ver tu obra me siento muy honrada, me encantan tus cuadros, frescos, con esa pincelada libre, éste me gusta especialmente. Seguiré tu obra, soy una nueva fan tuya. Un abrazo.

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  28. Hi Susan - this is such a lovely painting - great gesture, edges and design. I keep trying to leave comments about this painting, but blogger doesn't seem to recognize me. Love this painting!

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  29. Hi Susan - I love this painting - it has a wonderful gesture, beautiful edges and great design. A real masterpiece!

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  30. Susan this is my favorite painting of yours! Warm, fluid, sweet. I'd love to see you in action while you are painting; you paint that scene perfectly with your narratives.

    Jamila is correct with her review of your style: "romantic and dreamy yet, strong and powerful"

    Love your work Susan!

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  31. happy to follow your blog, i love painting, i like reality in it, and fetch is what i like, i love the movement of the boy

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