Friday, October 19, 2012

Who was painting?

Beach Blanket
Original oil painting  18x24"
by Susan Roux

Its the end of the day. The tide is coming in. Time to fold the beach blanket. You're relaxed and comfortable. The sun was warm and you enjoyed nice conversation. You know it's time to go home, but you hate to leave.

These are the thoughts that went through my head as I painted this. 

Outside my window, fall is in the air and just as the day at the beach ends for these two friends, our time to lounge at the beach ends too. The crisp warm tones of autumn, color our trees. Somehow they penetrated my window and found their way onto my canvas. From the very beginning this painting had a mind of it's own.

Do you ever experience that?

I have. Remember the thrashing Scarlet gave me? It took me at least two posts to get her out of my system! I know now that when this happens, it's best to let the canvas lead, then to try and fight it out. In the end, the canvas wins anyway. So as the fall tones spread themselves atop my canvas, I just let it happen and waited to see where it took me.

It's a bit like taking a vacation without a predetermined plan. You may have booked lodging somewhere but the day to day activities are left wide open. The vacation itself is a surprise that unfolds minute to minute. Impulse, people you meet or a sight you drive by can all become influences that carve out your day. Well when you allow a painting to take over, it's very similar.

Each color, each stroke seems predetermined by the previous one. Step by step, minute by minute you watch as it unveils itself to you. At some point during the process of this surrender, you begin to form a new image in your mind as to where the outcome is leading. The canvas steps back a bit. You find you've returned to the driver's seat. Here before you on the easel sits a nearly completed painting. Your brushes are in hand. The palette is filled with mixtures that actually seem foreign to you. It's almost as though you've just stepped out of a trance. Maybe you have. Perhaps it was your muse who took control. You're not sure. But now you find yourself at the helm and it's completely clear that you must make the decisions from this point on to complete the painting.

It's a ride. It can get your adrenaline going. It can send your mind in a tailspin. It can leave you fearful of finishing. It's almost like waking up and someone has painted your canvas for you. How will you possibly complete it? This is not the same as a painting that seems to paint itself. No, those go on like silk. Not a care in the world and everything just falls right into place. 

No. This ride I'm talking about is quite different. 

It's more like someone with better ability has painted most of the canvas and now there you stand with the brushes in your hand needing to finish.

Yeah... This painting was like that.


  1. The last rays of the sun came through the screen and lit up my face...slowly a smile spread from ear to ear. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work and sentiment.

  2. Hi Susan - I love the painting and the post - they are both such treasures!

  3. toujours très intéressant de connaitre la manière et l'impulsion... le résultat est très beau!

  4. Hi Susan, thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I love your work and think you should definitely do your own Christmas cards! This year I will send them to not only friends and family but also students and clients hopefully!

  5. I love how the golds of fall are found throughout this painting - especially how they reflect on the skin and hair, the white tee shirt, the blanket. They pull this painting together and infuse it with a warm glow. Lovely, Susan, just lovely!

  6. Very thoughtful as always Susan. When it happens like that with painting, it is a treasure. This painting is a treasured moment, because we can all identify...yes, I've been here folding the blanket, and how clever of you to notice this bit of time. Love the light!

  7. You are as good with words as you are with the brush. I love the way you captured that very special light at the end of a happy day on the beach.

  8. Susan, I think this painting is as beautiful as your post. I love how the light is hitting these girls and the blanket..perfect shadow on the sand...I live a block away from the beach and people still go there to sit on their blankets reading their books or just enjoying the perfect days of Autumn.

  9. Hi Susan. I love the painting! Lovely! I agree with Julie. You are a writer as well as an artist. Guess the two often go hand in hand.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting, too. Susan


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