Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Artistic voice

Water Yoga
Original oil painting  16x20"
by Susan Roux

When art wants to pour out of you, let it.

Sometimes what feels the most natural in painting gets pushed aside by the artist and thought of as being "nothing" because of the ease with which it was created.

Please don't do this to yourself. I know too many artists that have turned away from their most exciting works because they feel it isn't worthy. How many times have I heard, "Oh that. It's nothing. I came to my studio the other night and just scribbled that out." They're almost embarrassed you saw it. They feel it doesn't compare with their other studio work and frankly at this beginning stage, maybe it doesn't. But with a little time spent developing that different look, it could be your winning ticket.

What pours out of you naturally is YOUR ARTISTIC VOICE.

Make no mistake about that.

The artist's journey can be very confusing and difficult. We spend time looking at art we admire and there's a certain trigger that drives us to try and emulate those aspects we're drawn to. It can be a very good learning tool, but when it really comes down to it, that voice inside is the one we need to listen to. There are two parts to developing as an artist. The learning part and the creative part.

These two parts are very different and shouldn't be confused, though many times they're intertwined and weave in and out of each other. We often become lost in our own webs. After all doesn't it make sense to try to paint what we love? Well, not exactly...

Your voice, like your brushstroke should be as unique to you as your signature. Nothing more exciting and invigorating will pour out of you than your own voice. It might look a bit rough at first, so don't waste time trying to paint like so and so, because what you really need to do is start working on painting like you! Do I really need to point out how many artists are trying to paint like certain leaders of our day? It takes very little time searching the internet to find dozens of painters painting in a very similar style.

You want your art to stand out. People should be able to look at your work and know instantly it's yours.

As many of you know, I'm in the process of opening an International Fine Art Gallery in Portland, Maine. I've been busy scouring the internet for artists to represent. Those artists that are painting what pours out of them without any concern to whether they have an outlet for it or not, stand out above all the rest. I know I have a good eye, but seriously, it isn't hard to spot a true artistic voice when it's floating in a sea of similarity.

So if you're caught in a flood of artists and want to be noticed, remember to shout loudly!   (in your own voice...)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

the Swan

Plumed Elegance
Original oil painting  24x36"
by Susan Roux

It was by accident that I stumbled upon the amazing swan photos I took several years back, when Martine-Alison visited for a month. The day was beautifully warm and sunny and we wondered into the lovely Boston Public Garden. Somehow in the hustle of that busy summer, I'd forgotten that I'd taken them. It was a nice find in my photo library.

The swans were building their nest.

I was mesmerized watching them and I remember staying for a long time at the edge of the roped off privacy railing that had been erected to protect them. As one bird gathered long sticks and twigs that had fallen from nearby trees, the other sat in the nest weaving with it's beak. Some of the sticks were way too large and heavy. They needed to be broken. We would have easily snapped them with our hands, but the swans are only equipped with beautiful feathers on their wings. They had to rely on the power in their strong necks to twist and snap the branches. They worked so hard, pushing limbs against the ground. How I wished I could have gone pass the barrier and snap those large branches for them.

After awhile, they swapped places. It was moving to see how well they worked together in preparation for the little one's to come.

Eventually one left the nesting area for a nice relaxing swim on the pond. I can only assume it was the male, as his display of plumage was quite spectacular. He eventually drifted to a cove where the long reflections of the distant trees darkened the water. It was as though my heart stopped. Such a spectacular scene.

The swan lit up with amazing beauty. I took several photos of him glowing before he drifted back into bright water. I remember that encounter like it was yesterday, yet somehow I forgot about those wonderful photos I'd always intended to paint. Perhaps the time wasn't right.

This is a large canvas, 24x36". It used to be a common size for me, but I have to admit, it's been years since I've painted on this format. My admiration for these swans was still quite powerful and to this moment I remain in awe of what I experienced that day. I needed to paint it large. It just seemed to be the right choice for such an elegant waterbird.

I suspect I'll be painting more of these... It was just too fun.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Say WHAT..?

Grandma's Tea Set
Original oil painting  20x16"
by Susan Roux

Life takes us on some pretty interesting journeys sometimes. Not just art journeys, but all sorts of different types.

I am diving head first into a new project that is about as shocking to me as it will be to you. I always think decisions like this are well thought out and the germination process is at least a year, usually longer, but not in my case. I used to tell people if they looked up stressed in the dictionary, they'd find my picture. Now the word I'm sitting next to would be spontaneity.

What is my project? I'm in the beginning stages of opening an art gallery. Not a typical art gallery, mind you. Oh no, if you know anything about me by now, you already know I don't follow the pack. My gallery will focus on international art. It would have been too easy to contact all you talented, trusted artist friends and fill my space with wonderful art. Why is it, I wonder, that I always push towards the most challenging avenue I can find? Don't wait for an answer here. I don't know why myself...

It seems to be that the nightmare of learning about importing, which by the way also includes exporting (the country the art is leaving) will be at the crux of my journey. By this time next year I might be very educated on the subject and a whiz at filling out the paperwork. (One can only hope...) My nights have become nearly sleepless as I continually ask myself if I've gone completely nuts!

They do say that about artists, you know.

Much like most of you, I've often wondered why artists got the reputation of being loony? I've felt level headed journeying through life and I'm an artist. The common phrase didn't seem to apply at all. But as I look at how I'm completely driven on my rash decision, I understand how the average business person could never move forward on such a venture by simply following their heart. I suppose this is where we are viewed as crazy. Creative people are the ones who carve their way with their hearts.

Now isn't that appropriate for the month of February?

Grandma's Tea Set is not a new painting here on my blog. I've reposted it because I'll be exhibiting it in the Art of Heart exhibition at House Arts Gallery in Gray, Maine. It will hang for a month in a special impromptu exhibition that resembles the type of spontaneity that pushes me forward. Gotta love that!

The opening is Friday, Feb 15, a post-Valentine wine and cheese event. It's 5-9. Please stop in and say hi. Mary Colangelo, the bubbly owner, will be happy to make your acquaintance and I'll be happy to spend some time with you...