Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Good Exhaustion

Moving to the Rhythm 
(panel 2)
Original oil painting  28x22"
by Susan Roux

You know those moments when you do exactly what you want to do, enjoy doing it and then feel completely drained afterwards? (no... I'm not talking about that!) Well this is how I would describe our weeklong artists retreat. Completely heavenly for lots of reasons only to return home to realize how exhausted you really are.

Prior to leaving, it's common to think of it as a vacation. A whole week with other artists. Nothing to do but paint and talk about art, eat great food, enjoy wine and champagne and sit in front of a crackling fire. What more could an artist want? It does sound like a perfect vacation.

But as it turns out, marathon painting is very draining.

Long hours in front of the easel, focused. I painted for hours at a time. The beautiful mansion we were in seemed to slip away. All that remained was my canvas, palette and reference. I was lost in colors, values and folds. Music played (yes it was Luka Bloom) and all the world faded away as time passed quickly, immersed in my work.

Stimulation was high. Each time I stopped, even for a moment, I looked out the window that illuminated my canvas. The white sunlit deck railing against the beautiful blue ocean reminded me of photos of Greece. I watched the tide come in and out of the cove. Reflections were amazing and countless birds danced and sang. The ocean was their stage and the show went on indefinitely. Each time I stopped painting, it almost caught me by surprise. How could this ever changing beautiful scene disappear when I worked?

But it did.

Interesting art conversations about every aspect of our craft, from first acknowledging you were an artist to marketing, gave a glimpse into each of our creative souls. Details of our journey, our hopes and our dreams. Our frustrations. It was all discussed. Encouraging words lifted spirits.

We continued to paint.

Champagne Thursday was well attended and such a delightful evening. The setting sun created an idyllic light for the art filled mansion. Thank you to everyone who came. The euphoria of the evening fueled us to continue painting for the remaining days.

Now I've returned to reality. All the household chores and stresses of life leap back upon me. The retreat was just that. A retreat from life. I'm exhausted, both mind and body, from the intensity of my focus. But I'm not complaining. It's definitely a Good Exhaustion.


  1. beautiful work of art...

  2. I love this work - the colors capture the exhilaration of the model's dance! So happy your event fit your dream of it.

  3. Welcome back, Susan..and to reality!! Sounds like you had an amazing journey! This painting is incredibly beautiful..wonderful colors and love her pose.

  4. Your focus sure shows in your work! Beautiful and moving! Congratulations!

  5. I love your painted ladies. This one has an incredible glow. The week away painting sounds delightful.

  6. Oh to have her legs and hair! A beauty, Susan. I don't know if I'll ever be able to call myself an artist. Glad to know all my artist blogging buddies though.

  7. une réalité transformé en rêve et mouvement!

  8. Back to reality! Lovely painting Susan--new one? Wish it was warm enough to frolic in the waves.

  9. Once again,I'm so glad you had such an amazing opportunity to spend time with other artists. Makes me think of my started and stopped book again..someday:))
    I'm so so sorry for your friend Don. I've seen you mention him before. What heartache! I will pray for him!


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