Friday, July 1, 2011

Painting the fog


Monhegan 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...

18 comments:

  1. I love the painting with fog, Susan. It's very, very pretty. Great job. Susan

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  2. Great job with the fog! Beautifully painted!!

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  3. The backgrounds look beautiful to me! Just gorgeous!

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  4. Beautiful painting Susan.!!!

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  5. voilà les lupins.. c'est très beau!

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  6. That is a wonderfully atmospheric painting Susan! It reminds me of how the morning fog looks here on the island before it burns off. Great work.

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  7. Goodness! Both paintings are amazing and romantic, soft, and dazzling. I just want to get lost in them, Sue!

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  8. Thanks for commenting on my blog Susan! Your work is lovely and although I am not a landscape painter, you have inspired me to visit Monhegan Island someday which means I would have the opportunity to meet you and see our paintings in person!

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  9. When you get the feeling, you've gotten it! I've got to get out, or do you say up, there!

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  10. Beautiful painting Susan. You certainly have captured the atmospheric quality of fog. Well done.

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  11. Susan this is beautiful and it is a pity that when i click on the image i can't see it close up. Your description of the process from chaos to tranquility (or another level) is one i think we can all relate to. It is something that is from deep inside the artist. The previous post was interesting to read: we artists have copied the masters for centuries but i guess this is a new kind of copying where he is working on the original image and changing the colours etc ? Personally i would be upset if someone were to take a painting of mine (no matter how bad it was) and changed it on photoshop... but as i said earlier the beauty of art often lies in the process and emotions with which it were created in the first place. best wishes rahina

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  12. Thanks for your visit to my blog, Susan! I really enjoyed reading through yours.

    We took a trip to Maine in '08 (Acadia NP) when we were living in CT, but it got rained out. I doubt I'll ever be back to that part of the country, but it's nice to see how you paint it.

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  13. Really beautiful painting, Susan! So evocative of French Impressionism . . . love how you use so many close values/colors in the background/fog as a foil for the house and flowers. It has such a lovely, gentle feeling to it.

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  14. GREATl painting Susan. You harnessed the quality of fog!

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  15. Très jolie peinture... des couleurs vaporeuses sublimes.
    Une grande profondeur malgré la brume.
    Gros bisous.

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  16. This is beautiful, Susan. And I love the way that you write. You should write an art book with all your insights and illustrate it with your beautiful work!

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