Friday, July 1, 2011
Painting the fog
Original oil painting 16x12"
by Susan Roux
I experimented while on Monhegan.
I began by spending two days painting a lovely garden in plein air. As you know, I'm a studio painter by preference. I enjoy being out in the elements, feeling the breeze, hearing the sounds, smelling the air, but my mind wants to paint like I have all the time in the world. After two days in glorious sun, it was time I get myself out of it.
Anticipating rain at some point, I brought a few printed images from my previous trip to Monhegan. I had a foggy scene and found myself missing painting my girls. It's odd how desire for something sparks one to deviate from normal behavior. I'd been trying to figure out how to incorporate the impressionist backgrounds I use on my girls into my scenery paintings. Suddenly in a new environment, it became clear to me.
The fog holds little detail and it seemed the perfect subject to launch myself there. I was set up indoors and aside from continual breaks to aloe myself, I was relaxed and in my element. Tucked in a corner with an ocean view, barefoot and dancing with my brush in hand while Luka played in my ears.
I took my time. I played with color. Adding, subtracting, neutralizing...
My reference photo was soon pushed aside and the canvas took over. It wasn't about copying anything. It became all about feeling. The feeling different colors emitted. The feeling of certain pigments against other pigments. Pure color navigated the course. I delighted in observation as color touched color. It became a time for learning, for experimenting. I can get pretty chaotic with color on canvas before pulling it all together in the end to hopefully find a soft relaxing scene. My housemates came over periodically to see what I was up to. They found wild color scribbled all over the canvas. They looked at my printed gray image. Confusion was written all over their face. They didn't say a word. Each observer had the same reaction. I know they couldn't imagine where I was going with this. Needless to say when it was finally finished, they were surprised with the results. It went from chaos to tranquility.
Clarity in the fog. How can you beat that?
Note: Unfortunately just as in my girls, photos cannot do justice to the rich, luminous, seemingly-alive backgrounds my technique is creating. You'll just have to see my art in person someday...