Sunday, February 28, 2010


Do you ever have brochures or booklets just jump out at you?

There they are. Staring you in the face. You can feel them tugging at you. Take me. Take me. Your arm leaps forward. You hesitate. It retracts. Your eye stays glued to the booklet. "Why would you be taking it?" you ask yourself. "These are for tourist." Unable to turn away, you finally pick it up.

Have you had this happen to you? I have. Several times actually.

What happens next is the real story. You spend a few moments wondering why you even grabbed this information and almost convince yourself it wasn't there for you at all. And then it happens... It sends you in a completely different direction altogether.

Your mind wanders and begins to imagine possibilities. New possibilities. Your excited just thinking about them. The first time this happened I was in the grocery store and at the checkout I spotted a Cape Cod art gallery guide. This may not strike you as funny, but I'm in Maine and Cape Cod is not exactly close by. There was just one gallery guide tucked among the TV guides. Looking back now, I'm convinced it arrived here by accident. An accident with my name on it. This happened in 2001 and by 2002, after much research and many art packets later, I got into the Blue Heron Gallery. If I hadn't picked up that booklet, would I be there? Most likely not.

Don't avoid taking chances that can spin you around. Surprises await. New beginnings await. Most times its just a matter of taking that initial step. Picking up that booklet...

So Wednesday while waiting for my son to arrive at the airport, I stumbled across a whole stand of booklets. Yes, they are there for tourist. Well a few jumped out at me and I must say I didn't hesitate as long as I had years ago in the grocery store. One was of Blue Hill, Maine. I've never been and knew nothing about it. I may have heard the name, but one town or another, if you don't know it can mean nothing.

I quickly learned its the jutting chunk of land just south of Acadia where the popular picturesque Bar Harbor sits. Its a wonderful area, so why wouldn't the area south be as pretty? I don't suppose it wouldn't. Photos of lupines run through out the booklet. Next thing I know, I'm all over the internet looking for lodging during lupine season...

Wouldn't it be splendid to go paint the lovely purple spikes with the ocean in the background? Whole houses are for rent by the week for the price of a few nights in an inn. (Ha ha, just like in Ireland!) My first thought of going for a few nights quickly turned into wanting to go paint for the week! My second thought is do I want to invite other artists to come join me? You can get houses with various number of bedrooms...

Well I'm not sure how this will play out at the moment. But I can tell you I wouldn't even be considering this if I hadn't first picked up that booklet. Now I'm tingling with excitement at the thought of going on a painting holiday.

I hope you keep yourself open to new possibilities. Half the fun is never knowing what's waiting around the corner. Just as color can give you surprises on the canvas, a slight change in direction can place surprises in your life. Go surprise yourself!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Magic tricks

I'm finally back into my "Children at the Beach".

This one has very interesting dry patches striping the reflections. Its been a bit challenging to capture while keeping everything as colorful as I'd like. I'm trying so hard to stay away from having solid-colored bands in the dry parts. I spend as much time squinting at it as I do painting it...

I think its advancing nicely since posting it in Dabble color earlier this month. I like the yellows warming up the reflections.

One of the things I'm enjoying about this series is how in all of them, there is a dimension going down, while at the same time, another is coming forward. Keeping the reflections dropping deep and the ground or water coming towards the viewer as a surface is challenging. Down and forward simultaneously. Its an interesting effect.

The more I develop these dripped-color canvases, the more this effect becomes prominent. I'm really enjoying watching it occur. Its like watching a little magic trick...

Oh color! Lovely color! The things we can do with you. The things you can do for us...

It doesn't always work out as we planned, but don't we have fun trying anyway? What are you having fun doing with color these days? Where is it taking you? Don't get caught in a rut. Shake it up with something unpredictable. The experimenting and exploration is such fun. I love surprises arising on my canvas. Do something different and watch what it does. Watch the colors do magic tricks for you too.

Its in experimenting that we find discovery.

I'm still looking for a title for this painting. I was really hoping you'd help me. Still to this day, the only thing that comes to mind is Little Bulldozer. It just doesn't seem to fit a petite girl in a pink ruffled bathing suit! Your suggestions are greatly appreciated, so please send them along.

Then go have fun experimenting with color!

Posted work in progress by Susan Roux

Friday, February 26, 2010



Reflections of life. Reflections of the soul. Reflections of ancestry.


Copying, mimicking, wiggling like echos. Like echos reverberating over and over, quietly without sound. Reflections...

Like recollections in your memory. Like a mirror. Recalling a moment, an idea, an image. Calmly silent.

Add water and like adding music, these quiet images dance in a harmonious symphony! Movement in full color explodes rhythmically. Nature presents us with such marvelous sights.
So marvelous I can't resist painting them...

My "children at the beach" all play in wiggling color. Beauty, energy and innocence combine to capture the reflections of my youth. Could this be my attraction to painting this series? A blur of the past. A carefree time, joyfully playing, mud sculpting and swimming in a world of vivid color unblemished by unkind realities.

The mind wanders. In creativity the soul is exposed on canvas. Secrets are revealed. Tenderness, excitement, boldness and sensitivity surface.

Perhaps all art is a reflection of its creator. It becomes impossible to hide. Its the nature of true creativity. What are you reflecting? What are you revealing about yourself? What are the subjects and colors you use to express it best? Would you pick the same colors today as you would tomorrow if your mood changed?

Think about it.

Reflections... are they echoing you?

Posted work in progress by Susan Roux

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I didn't mean to...

I lied.

I don't usually, but last night I did. I started this painting with my wonderful Wednesday night ladies. Just before leaving, one chuckled that I would continue working my sky and present a very different look next week. I immediately told her, "No. I never touch a class painting outside of class."

Sorry Tricia, I lied.

In the overly-used words of my son, "I didn't mean to..."

Really, I didn't. Its just this morning the colors were not at all what I remembered from last night. There's a very fine line between softness and no contrast. While attempting to soften my punched colors, I ended up by washing it all out! I really needed to correct it while the paint was wet.

Otherwise, I would have saved my corrections as part of our next lesson...

Unfortunately the camera lies too. Much more than I do, actually. The image posted reflects none of the soft transitions between colors. Isn't that a maddening thing for all artists? We work so hard to adjust every value, every color, every stroke, to capture what's in our hearts. A constant battle to project ourselves on canvas... And from reading many of your posts, it is a battle indeed. (But a battle we sure do love!)

All of this passionate energy, poured out, ends up at the mercy of the camera. Do you know of an artist who was ever pleased with their images? I don't. But there is a very encouraging "nice side" to this dilemma.

There will never be a reproduction that surpasses the actual work.

Our originals will always be in sole possession of that "magic" we captured. All that feeling. All those subtle nuances. All those juicy brushstrokes and thick paint you could lick like frosting. No camera will ever be capable of capturing it all.

And that life. That wonderful "life of its own" an original painting has. The way it reflects light and changes as you walk by it or as the darkness falls upon it. Its not only Thomas Kincade's paintings that change with low light, as he would have the public believing. We all know it affects every work.

So be proud of your accomplishments. Your original works. Nothing will ever compare to the greatness you captured while toiling in front of your easel!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Original oil painting 14x18"
by Susan Roux

There is a point when artists loose themselves. Their inspiration, their gumption, their muse. We can question ourselves to the very core and wonder if we totally forgot how to paint all together!

For those of you who missed Nora Kasten's post on Terry Miura's words, please click to read.

Its a wonderfully written piece titled, "When your confidence is shaken". Thanks Terry for writing it and Nora for making it further visible. I think its important for all artists to read. If for nothing else but to know others fall in the same frightening place we find ourselves at times.

Interesting how things land on you at the most appropriate times.

I've been shaken and lost these last few weeks. It wasn't an inspiration problem, but a feeling like "I've forgotten how to paint" problem. My plan was to post Portulacas today. Its the last of three paintings I completed and mentioned on Beach Path. I started this painting with one student with intensions that she would finish it on her own. While painting the background, I felt like I found myself. It wasn't anywhere I've never been, it was like coming home.

Well if you've been following me regularly, you know I've been painting like a mad woman! I'm afraid to stop. The fear of forgetting how to paint again is very forefront in my mind. It did me such good to read Terry's words. To know and understand this is a natural part of being an artist and that these moments pass. Now the fear of "re-forgetting instantly" if I stop painting, will subside.

It was funny that I fell upon his words yesterday. They were the perfect accompaniment for my painting.

I hope you're not finding yourself lost. But if you are, just try to relax and remember these moments of self doubt will pass and you just might emerge even stronger than before!

I wonder if these moments occur when we are in fact improving to a new level?

What do you think?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Cape

From Atop
Original oil painting 16x20"
by Susan Roux

More beach scenes keep pouring out of me as I prepare my body of work for delivery at the Blue Heron Gallery in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Wellfleet is on Cape Cod. The Cape is a beautiful place and I'm thrilled to return year after year. I've explored so many corners of it. I love bringing new people with me to take the two-day trip. They become my travel buddies.

Everyone is amazed with this gem of a place. Its off season when I deliver, so congestion is not an issue. Its like having the Cape to ourselves! Of course the beautiful flora comes later and to experience that, you must deal with the full hustle and bustle that tourist season brings.

Both bring me great joy.

One of my favorite things about the Cape is you can drive to both sides in a few minutes. The beach is always salty, but each side has its own special characteristics. To the wide Atlantic, the tall sand dunes aim to protect. Nature is wild however and it continues to carve them. Much like a painting, they are a work in progress. Every year their shapes are altered.

On the bay side, there are no pounding waves. The beaches are flat and long and the ebbing tide pulls the ocean far away from the dry sand. Sandbars appear. Grasses grow in the shallows. When the tide is high, the summertime green grasses dance in blue water. I love the shapes they make. In fall, the grass is orange. It can be spectacular swaying in the blue...

This painting is of the Atlantic side. From the parking lot, you approach high atop the dunes. The ocean appears all at once as a surprise. I wanted to capture that feeling, but I nearly gave up on it.

The front grasses gave me quite a challenge. After letting it stand for a few days I returned to try and gain control. Just as in Beach Path, those pesky, beautiful, sunlit grasses come together better second time around!

Maybe the accomplishment is sweeter when we work harder for it...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Elfi Cella

by Elfi Cella

I came upon this lovely painting yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. Its from Elfi Cella's blog. I don't exactly know what it is that grabbed me so much with this painting, but I love it.

Its such an original piece. The composition, the texture, the color. It has roots and paintbrushes! How can you hate that? I hope you take a moment and click to enlarge it. Its worth your exploration. The texture at the top is actually writing...

Remember when you were a child and you ironed waxed paper over leaves to preserve them? (Maybe some of you still do this...) When I enlarge this painting, it reminds me of that. I feel like the bumpy writing and the paintbrushes are part of what got waxed in and the roots and herbs are placed on top of it all. My eye dazzles and I'm transfixed on all the nuances this painting has to offer. Its a mesmerizing piece.

I love this about blogging. I love that an art exhibit awaits at my fingertips! Since I've started blogging in December, my enthusiasm has spawned at least four people to begin blogging too. Its a contagious thing, isn't it? When I think of contagious, I think of a cold or the flu, but this type of contagious is more like laughter. A good contagious.

I feel as though I've made new friends already.

As you continue to visit each others blogs and share in their art, in their thoughts, things get personal. I can only imagine how connected I will feel after blogging for a year or two.

I'm so happy you're all out there. Out there taking time to post your works. Taking time to share your wonderful thoughts. Taking time to leave much-loved comments. Wasted moments of my day are no longer wasted. Its become time spent with my new connected friends.

Thank you all for that...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beach Path

Beach Path
Original oil painting 14x18"
by Susan Roux

I don't know what's happening, but everything is falling right into place. I've been painting since 5:30 this morning (its now 2 in the afternoon) and I'm afraid to stop. I've finished three paintings already. Odd thing is, I like them!

Oh, why don't these days come more often?

Do you recognize this painting? I posted it unfinished a few days ago. I was toiling with the front grasses and my colors were turning to mud. Well today, I didn't hesitate. I mixed a deeper golden shade than was previously there and with broad assertive strokes I pounded the color in quickly without thought.

Like magic, it left some of the highlighted grasses exposed. A few calculated daintier strokes and voila, it was finished! A little adjusting to the light in the remainder of the painting to work with this new gold and suddenly I had captured what I set out to.

Can you hear me giggling with happiness?

Now that its done, I want to dream I'm walking down that path. Wouldn't going to the ocean be wonderful about now? Seems I've been daydreaming a lot lately...

I wonder if it has something to do with why things are suddenly falling into place? I'd better keep right on dreaming, just in case.

May your daydreams be filled with golden sunshine and relaxing beaches...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Class fruit

I never paint fruit.

That realization hit me last night while talking to my husband. I found it especially funny since painting the apple is my first lesson with beginner students. The lesson is how to capture form. Why did I ever choose a subject I never paint?


I just started a new class of such beginners last week. Its a grueling night for people who've never picked up a paintbrush. In two hours we go from how to put paint on the palette and hold a palette knife, to painting an apple, four times! When I say beginners, I really mean beginners. I advertise my class as not needing to know how to draw...

No class this week, due to school vacation. Class is held at the high school. To my grand surprise some of my students asked if they could come to my house. They knew I taught classes here and they wanted to continue painting. Wow, apple night isn't the greatest fun, yet they were inspired to paint!

I just love it when people are instantly captivated with oils. The joy on their faces is why I do this. Its so rewarding to give the gift of painting to someone who's never experienced it.

So last night, I planned an additional exercise for three students.

Its only their second time with a brush in their hands. I wasn't sure what to prepare for them. A simple still life was my decision. I gave them the option to do only part of the arrangement if they felt it was too complicated at this stage. They all chose to do the entire grouping.

Posted is the demo I did during class. They followed along with me and left with striking paintings. We all had a unique angle of the still life, making light and shadow different for each student. It turned out to be a great lesson.

I had fun with the tiny still life. I was working on canvas paper, but I'm inclined to finish it just the same. Painting fruit is colorful and fun. I was just getting into the reflections, which is a favorite subject of mine.

So later, teacher will give herself a lesson...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Colored Fields

You know you're longing for a change in season, when you plan an imaginary trip on the internet...

That was me yesterday.

After painting all morning past lunch, I sat with tea to rest my brain before my evening class. (Its my Wednesday night ladies, we have a ball...) I thought I'd blog, but I ended up in Tuscany.

You know it isn't the first time I drift off there. In January I posted Tuscany dreams.

Yesterday was different. As though pretending it was a reality, I sat and searched out everything. The flight cost, places to stay (oh they have some cool ones!), and even a car rental. Flights from here to Florence are absolutely out of control. Who tipped off the airlines that we all want to visit Tuscany?

I think its an artist's dream.

Aside from the cost, the biggest dilemma is when to go. The region has so much to offer. Perhaps the fields of poppies, the lavender rows, the vineyards bursting with grape clusters, the harvest or even the sunflowers? I think I would have to stay there from May to grape harvest! How else could I capture it all?

Can you just imagine taking half a year off from your life to paint Tuscany? Oh yes, you know I'm just dreaming. But if your going to dream, why not make it big?

Much like Ireland, you can rent full houses at very reasonable prices. I'm drawn to the old stone ones. You know at all times you're not in Kansas anymore when you wake up surrounded by ancient stone. Something about that makes me feel so connected to the past. Its such a comfortable feeling. Humbling, but comfortable.

Come on, dream with me.

Were sitting at a lovely, round, stone table on the open outdoor terrace, overlooking fields and hills that go on forever. Tall stately trees dot the countryside. The sun is low and long shadows grow from their feet, curving with the landscape. In the evening's warmth, you sip full bodied red wine. Cheese, homemade bread and a cluster of plump juicy grapes fill the turquoise colored plate. Sitting with it on a white and orange flowered cloth is one, dainty, paper-like poppy. It rises and bends gracefully from the slender clear vase at the center of the table. You break off a nibble of cheese. Warm wine hits your lips and you breath in a long slow breath and exhale completely relaxed, sinking in your wrap-around chair. You dream of painting in the fields tomorrow...

Who wouldn't like that?

My sights have been on Tuscany for awhile. You know I won't rest until I get there. I'd better start saving my pennies...

Let your heart dream today. A warm smile will grow on your face and for a brief moment all your tension will drift away...

Posted: Colored Field 24x18" Original oil painting by Susan Roux

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"On" switch

Work in progress
by Susan Roux

Oh my gosh! I've been granted the Sunshine Award again!!!

Thank you Claire Kayser. I never expected that. I won't go through the whole process of giving it again since I did it less than 2 weeks ago and my choices would be the same...

Here were my choices.
I would also like to direct you to Don Gray's paintings. I missed him last time around...

I've been experimenting with my art lately. Posted is an unfinished scene from Cape Cod. I like the direction its going in, but I must say I struggled with it. I'm not happy with the front grasses and will be returning to fix them. While overworking the area, my colors turned muddy. Better to let it rest at this point...

Funny how some paintings just seem to paint themselves and others... well, they don't.

My plan is to paint again today. There's good energy circling around pushing me it this direction. So much so, it has pulled me away from blogging daily, as I can't seem to leave my studio! I'm not fighting it. I love the feeling and I know all you faithful readers will understand. Sometimes we are not in control of our creativity. It doesn't come with an on off switch!

I hope your non-existing switch is stuck on "on" too! Its great at helping the cabin fever months pass quicker. On that note, February is better than half way through.

You know what comes next?

Who said spring? Here in Maine, its "mud season"!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cape Magic

Cape Magic
Original oil painting 18x24"
by Susan Roux

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Not only a day for lovers, but also a day to let those you love know how special they are to you. Its also a day to celebrate and appreciate anything else you love. Like painting!

Isn't it funny how everything always comes back to art?

I never sat to blog yesterday. I got up at four in the morning to paint. It was as though something unleashed or maybe something finally came together, but this romantically soft scene is what poured out of me. I couldn't stop painting. No washes. No dripping color. Direct, alla-prima, raw paint to canvas approach. I had fun.

I'm keeping this brief so you can have more time with whatever, or whoever, you love.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The response

Seagull Box-Trot
Original oil painting, older sold work
by Susan Roux

"Different styles of art just appeal to collectors with different taste." Thank you for that Nora Kasten. I think its what I needed to hear.

I'm responding to yesterday's post, Art revelation. If you're just stumbling upon this page, you may want to go read it first.

Yesterday's dilemma spun around in my head all day. It choked my enthusiasm to paint. Good thing I had two classes to teach so it wasn't abandoned all together. It isn't fun when something can frazzle you so much. It was comforting to receive your comments throughout the day. Thank you for that. It gave me energy and supported what I was already feeling. Staying true to yourself!

Brian Blacknick's response, "If I had to keep on creating the same type of piece over and over again, I'd soon begin to hate it." sums up my feelings. I know there are artists who do paint similar things over and over and I can clearly see how they would get caught in this situation of not being able to change. But I don't find that true of myself. I've never molded myself into anything further than, "if its nature I paint it". Even with that, I've broken the rule...

I do admit, over time there has been a big declining change in my sales. So I can't help but question myself. Is it the economy, or is it about my art? I almost wish I had painted the same thing over and over. It would make it easier to understand what changed. Honestly, I find it hard to put my finger on it. I've just been painting all along...

Trying to analyze it can be so exhausting. I'd rather spend my energy painting.

Jay Mercado of Open Drawer Art Store said, "...galleries need to be more engaged in the evolution of their artists." Yes, in a perfect world. Martine-Alison called it a "ferocious world"! I appreciated your unified message of continued artist's growth. I chuckled at your suggestions on how to handle it within society. Everything from signing a different name to your experimental works to finding different galleries to carry it.

The more my blood boils over this, the more I want to go paint something so totally out of my norm! Maybe I should pull out the biggest canvas I have and go wild with color! Release all this negative energy which is bogging me down...

I don't live my life as a "break the rules" type of person, but right now, its all I want to do!

I'll close with Jay's quote. "Perhaps an increased understanding of the nature of creativity would make certain galleries less of a slave to what has sold and more of a champion for new work."


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Art revelation

We must talk.

After recent, long discussions with two of my gallery owners, an interesting subject has come up. Its the subject of improvement. The discussions have been about a conflict. An artist improving their skill versus not changing their art to keep a buying clientele.

I find this very disturbing!

Personally my drive has always been to improve upon myself. Upon my art. I think its true for many of you as well. Its a natural thing. An athlete strives to do their best and pushes for more. A musician, a doctor, a scientist, an engineer, every career I can think of, a person benefits from improving their skills. Why is this not true for an artist? How do we come to a place where it is no longer appreciated? Why? Why? Why...

In December one gallery owner talked about a very popular artist in the gallery. This artist painted ladies or children at the beach in a very bright and luminous way. She punched her reds and her yellows glowed. Edges were soft and dreamy, movement was captured and colors were very high-key. Her art was eye catching and her sales were high.

This past summer she arrived with changed art. Still ladies and children at the beach, but minus the huge areas of glow that, to me were sometimes overdone. When he asked why the change, she replied, "I'm evolving. I'm refining my art. I'm becoming a better artist."

Her sales dropped tremendously.

The gallery owner explained to me, in long detail over the phone, how the buying public bought her art because of the unusual glow. He said it was as though there was a light placed behind the canvas. Now her art was dark and even he too didn't like it as much.

Later I went to the gallery. I saw this artist's work. I loved it. In my opinion it had improved tremendously. The glowing was there. I thought the artist had brought new works in to please the owner. These were not dark at all. They were wonderful!

I asked the owner. He said they were the changed art that wasn't selling...

Just yesterday, my conversation turned to this same subject with another gallery owner. He too confirmed it as a fact.

In a struggling economy, where sales are difficult, what does an artist do with this revelation?

I know there's benefit to improving one's art. But does there come a point when it isn't appreciated anymore? Is everyone incapable of seeing improvement, except another artist? Are we the only ones who can appreciate when something was masterfully created?

I'm in shock. I feel confused and crushed. I need to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment.

Posted is a Susan Roux work in progress...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Svetlana Beattie

New Woman
Original oil painting
by Svetlana Beattie

Sometimes we create similarities without ever realizing it. Its not until someone else points it out, that we see it. Its interesting how we do that. Our minds work in a certain way so it might be inevitable for this to happen. After all, it is all our work.

This is just what happened to Svetlana Beattie.

She sent me several images of her paintings last night, which she'll be exhibiting soon. Within her diverse body of work, the two images posted jumped out at me.

Original oil painting
by Svetlana Beattie

Two completely different paintings, one classical and the other modern, bore a striking resemblance. We were on the phone when she sent the images. I chuckled when I saw them. The Madonna and Child was transformed into Lady and Dog. She hadn't noticed how similar they were...

Svetlana is an art student at the University. She explained that "New Woman" was an assignment while "Snack" was not. She did remember that the two works were painted around the same time. Its interesting that the similarity never hit her. Even down to the aura. One yellow. One blue.

She had a wonderful story about "New Woman". It wasn't the Madonna. It represented all women whose faces must be covered from society. In her arms, sits her child. She's female. A new kind of female. One who will break the rules. She is comfortable and at peace in her mother's arms, but tugs at the garment which conceals her. She is the "New Woman". The one who will refuse to wrap her face.

In the distance, within the red space, are many other women covered with garments. All those who've passed before her, in confinement. Her mission, her purpose is set. Like the child Jesus, she too will change the world.

Interestingly, a mother looks at her child in her arms, yet the female who posed with her dog, looks at the artist...

Svetlana will be exhibiting at City Hall in Augusta, Maine starting February 14. Her exhibit will highlight her evolution through two and a half years of study. It will be an eclectic selection ranging from drawings, paintings and sculpture. Its a unique opportunity to see, how through professors' challenge of trying different styles, an artist develops and finds one's self.

Best of luck, Svetlana!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I got excused from jury duty!

The good Lord takes such good care of me. It makes me smile warmly. I took advantage of my good fortune and blocked in a new painting. I'm placing a performer, colored with stage lights, in an outdoor scene. The challenge, other than capturing his resemblance, will be to work the colors into a pleasing yet believable ensemble.

As I blocked it in, how to execute this came easily. I'll work the foreground in bright punched colors, to become a unit with him, and tone down the remainder of the scene. Funny how with just a sketch I couldn't see this simple solution. Yet, as soon as I began adding paint, it flowed so naturally...

I love that about art. You don't always need to see the big picture. An idea for beginning is best and let it lead you somewhere. Surprises are fun. Surprises are exciting. Surprises make you feel alive! Its the bliss of creating.

So far I haven't shown much of my work in progress. If I begin to, you'll get a clearer picture of the chaotic way I work! On other artist's posts, you can follow a painting from start to finish. Mine will be a mishmash. In the beginning it can take me a week or more to return to the same painting.

There will be so much variety it may make your head spin...

Its much like the mind of a creative person. So full of ideas they want to explode out in every direction! Fortunately, when I get passed the "washes" stage, I love to work wet into wet and can complete them individually with full focus.

It can get a bit scary for me at this point. Especially if many reach their final stages at the same time. So much time has already been invested in them. At first, I'm completely free and fearless. In the end, a much slower concentrating state takes over. Though exciting to see a work come to completion, it can become stressful.

I'm trying to find a balance. I need works going in every stage. That way, I'm not confined to only the "completing stage" on all canvases at once. The first time I tried this process, its what happened to me. I try to avoid it now. Begin new works all the time. Its my solution. If it gets too intense finishing, I can ease up with something else in the early stages. Go drip some color for awhile.

Don't you find it interesting that everyone's process is different?

As different as our completed works. No right. No wrong. The creative process can take any shape. It usually comes as a surprise when I announce this to my beginner students. At first we work so controlled. I break it down in easy-to-follow steps. Then in time I tell them anything is correct. Its what feels right for you individually. They forget that on opening day, I told them, "There are as many different ways to paint as there are artists. I'm only showing you one way, not "the" way."

I'll take full advantage of not being confined to the courtroom today and go create!

Hope your day offers you some surprised freed time too...

Monday, February 8, 2010


I sit here this morning, looking at all the beautiful art you post, and I just want to jump up and paint. Unfortunately all that sticks in my head is I've been selected for jury duty! I can't begin tell you how much this is disrupting my life. Today and tomorrow selections will be made and hopefully I'll have a schedule as to when I'm needed. This is stressing me out beyond my capacity.

My objective is to post up-lifting posts and I am failing miserably! Sorry for that.

On the brighter side. I'm adding a new student to my Tuesday night class and my Adult Ed class starts Thursday night. Hopefully I won't be stuck in court and can actually keep my teaching commitments. It will be my sanity through this.

I need to change my thoughts, so I'm posting a picture of delphiniums.

These are from a wonderful gardener's home. Her name incidentally is Rose. She is a friend/acquaintance who I contacted last summer to ask if I could teach a plein air workshop on her property. She had moved since I'd last seen her, so the gardens were a complete surprise to me. I returned several times to paint there. She had the most magnificent delphiniums and I took my friend Sandy Dunn to come paint them with me. I don't know Rose's secret but she had blossoms whose circumference were larger than my head! Sandy could not believe it. We were stuck, mesmerized and completely unsure how to capture this grandeur in our paintings. We never did capture the scale. It would have taken a figure or something recognizable in the painting, but all we wanted to do was paint delphinium! The one's posted here are new baby plants.

I'm certain we'll return to try again this summer!

Nothing like beautiful flowers to put the mind at ease and relieve some stress. Dreams of summer. That will be my thought for the day...

Happy dreaming!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Golden Shimmy

Golden Shimmy
Original oil painting 20x10"
by Susan Roux

Finished but not yet signed.

Golden Shimmy was fun to draw. My model's body twists and moves so elegantly that its really a pleasure to capture her flow. I was very attracted to her bright cadmium yellow ensemble. Between her wiggling hips and the ocean breeze, everything fringy was in motion. It also made for an energetic combination with the blue ocean.

I took a very different approach to painting this than I'm taking for my "children at the beach". I didn't start by dripping color as shown in previous posts, Dabble color and Splashing color. I began this by blocking in the figure first. I wanted to capture her vibrancy as opposed to suggesting a youthful, playful spirit with colorful water.

The folds in her scarf practically painted themselves. Don't you just love it when that happens? It comes out so spontaneous and fresh. I toiled with her skin color, but in the end I think I managed to capture it.

Her skirt also fell right into place.

The gradual change in color from light to dark added interest.

I played with yellows in the shallow water. It integrated the otherwise too shocking definition between clothes and water. As an added benefit, it brought warm sunshine to the water. I like to play my edges loosely. Unfortunately since I use many values, photographs tend to make my work look tighter than it actually is. For this reason, I prefer to show close-ups. I think they are a better representation of my work.

Keep dreaming of warm sunshine and the approaching season change. (It is approaching, isn't it?) In the meantime, stay warm and continue creating!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day to dusk

Original oil painting
by Susan Roux

I did this painting a long time ago.

So long in fact, that I can't even find a record of it's title. It was probably called Wooded Cove or something similar. Even the quality of the photograph suffers from lack of detail and range of colors. I remember some rich yellows in the distant trees. I'm posting it anyway because of the funny story behind it.

As I recall, I had completed several paintings and was preparing them for my gallery. The ritual of signing them, spraying them, photographing them and finally framing them was my chore that day. (not that its a terrible chore, it just isn't painting...) This process required several trips in and out of the house. Since I spray in the backyard and only carry two canvases at a time, I was getting a bit of exercise.

Shifting art from one place to another. Busily...

I would carry them from the spraying spot, back around to the front of the house, to where they would be photographed. I placed them along the front of the garage to dry. Again parading into the house to get more...

Shuffling art around is the closest thing to a marathon that I will ever get.

On one of these trips I spotted this painting, from a bit of a distance, at the garage. It stopped me in my tracks. You see I had placed it upside-down in my haste. Oddly it became another painting all together! It went from a sunny daytime scene to a moody dusk one. It was quite funny how it could be flipped and still hold its own. I wish the image was better so you could see how wonderfully it did this.

I showed my gallery owner. She laughed and thought it was magnificent! She even wanted me to sign it in both directions and run two wires behind it so it could be flipped at anytime.

The painting sold very quickly. As soon as someone approached it, she quickly took the opportunity to flip it for them. It made the sale.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Give yourself a boost

There's energy in the air.

I can feel it all around me. My insides are smiling and wiggling and ready to face the day! I'm sensing it will be a good one.

Yesterday's award sent a lot of traffic to my site. Thank you all for visiting. It was like a shot in the arm and is perhaps in part the reason for my happy energy today. Its a great time of year to be given such a boost! Thank you again Jamie. I hope this feeling remains for a while...

I think the best thing about this award is giving it away...

Having to send it to 12 people, recognizing the joy they bring to you through the magical computer, left me feeling better than actually receiving it. There is truth to, "giving is better than receiving".

On that note, I have an idea.

Even if you haven't receive an award, post a list of some of your favorite sites with links and then let them know you really enjoy their blogs. It feels tedious to do, but the result of giving someone a compliment is very energizing! By this simple act, think of all the positive energy we can create, generate and pour back into our art! Masterpieces will be born for sure...

If you don't have a blog, go compliment someone anyway. Their smile will give you that wonderful "lift".

Posted is another of my works in progress. As you can see, not all of my people at the beach are children. This is my lovely model, Anastasia. She is lots of fun to work with and I love her very much. This painting has a long way to go, as I've only worked on it twice. I'm drawn to the movement and light within her pose. Wouldn't you just love to frolic on the beach like her?

Maybe I'm painting beach paintings because I like imagining that I'm there...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sunshine award

I received the Sunshine Bloggers Award. How exciting! It made my day...

I hope this means I'm bringing a ray of sunshine into someone's day. It was my purpose in the beginning. Evaluating myself, I think I fall short of that on many posts, but thank you Jamie for appreciating my blog.

Jamie is from artsyfartsyme, a blog I read regularly. She has granted me this award.

As a recipient, I need to pass it along to 12 of you. If you aren't familiar with these blogs, I suggest you go take a peek.

1) Every Other Day Paintings- Roisin is a very talented Irish painter.
2) Jeanne Illenye-Still Lifes- Jeanne paints very realistic treasures.
3) Celeste Bergin- Celeste takes you on a journey of excitement with soft emotional paintings.
4) Nora Kasten Fine Art Blog- Nora paints rich colorful florals that I love.
5) Ma Dollhouse Joue Un Grand Air De Peinture- Martine-Alison is a friend and new blogger- go peek and follow. She has wonderful treasures she'll be sharing...
6) Plein Air Painting Journal- Jill's paintings are poetic.
7) Coral Barclay Musings on Painting- Carol paints bright tiny treasures.
8) Carolyn's (Almost) Daily Paintings- Carolyn is very talented.
9) Becky Joy's Day to Day Painting- Becky paints with heart and atmosphere.
10) The Open Drawer- Jay has wonderful drawings and amazing "stuck in the box" paintings.
11) Angie Rea- Angie creates delicate scenes with woodburning.
12) Daily Drawings- Ester's drawings are inspiring.

There are rules for accepting the Sunshine Award. If you're a recipient, please go read them.

There are many other blogs that I enjoy following. Jamie said it was hard to pick only 12, so she didn't, and I can understand why. There is a wealth of talent out there! I find it inspiring that you take time to post your work and your thoughts. Thank you all for that...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ocean Roses 4

Ocean Roses
by Susan Roux
Original oil painting 16x20"

I confess... We have too much fun during painting class. I think we laugh more than we paint! But somehow in the midst of all our silliness we managed to complete our painting last night. I have them all posted. Class, sorry I couldn't adjust the colors correctly. Reds and hot pinks are the hardest...

Note: Everyone's painting looks softer than this shows.

Last week we thought we might finish, but another session was necessary. Everyone's work needed adjusting in different areas. To bring a painting to completion can be tricky. Knowing when to stop is often difficult. Its easier when someone else tells you to. (Paint with a friend, they'll do you the favor.) Looking at one's work objectively interferes with the passion we develop for it while painting. Abandoning your photo reference becomes necessary. At some point, everything that is already captured on canvas dictates what needs to come next. I like to stand back and squint a bit to find little areas that need adjusting.

The big question I put out there is, "What bugs you? What bother's you about your painting? Which spot?"

Those are the areas that need tweaking. Its that magical moment when you take all the energy you put into creating your work and bring it to a final statement. As a teacher, its that final moment of judgement.

"What can I say to this student that will help them enhance their work at this late stage?" Its the point of making it or breaking it.

As you can clearly see, all the students made it!

I was very pleased with the results of their hard work and silliness. Everyone brought some of themselves into their canvases. I always like how even though we use the same image and they follow along closely with me, a uniqueness emerges in every one. We talked about that last night.

The brushes we choose. The way we load the paint on them. Is it thin. Is it thick. How we apply the paint to the canvas. A delicate touch. A hard thrust. All these elements play a part in the "signature" our work takes on. I'm always fascinated that even with a person's first canvas, this signature appears. This one-of-a-kind brushstroke makes its debut right from the start. You can paint for years and really hone your skills, but look back where you began and you'll find similarities in your stroke.

I'd like to present my students work. They did great, don't you think? Remember they're all beginners...




Class, bring a new canvas next week. We're starting another one!

Anyone else care to join us?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dabble color

Work in progress
By Susan Roux

I spent yesterday in my studio. I was overdue. All my "children at the beach" were dry and waiting to be dabbled on some more.

Dabble I did.

I so love these beginning stages when I can be completely free with color. I posted yesterday morning that I wanted to explore color and I did just that. It felt good to let delicious colors lead me. The house was empty and with Luka plugged into my ears, I let go. Singing and dancing (mostly swaying) in front of my easel, my brush was in control.

Isn't it fun when everything just flows?

The paint. Your creative energy. Your spirit. Its almost as though someone else took control and painted for you. When the sun comes up this morning, I look forward to returning to my studio and "explore" what happened on my four canvases yesterday. So much is a spontaneous response to the stroke before that it all happens so quickly. No time to think. Simply react. As the paintings dry enough to be worked on again, there'll be plenty of time to reflect on the direction I want to take them in.

This painting is currently untitled. I hope something comes to mind before its done. Most titles announce themselves during the process, but there are always those pesky ones that don't. I'm fearing this will be one of those... You know, the "hard" to title. Bulldozer comes to mind, but is completely unfitting to a dainty little girl in a pink ruffled bathing suit...

Suggestions are appreciated.

This particular painting has me a bit nervous. With the child stretched on all fours, she covers far less canvas than all my others in this series. Even with her reflection, she is but a dab in the distance. It'll be interesting to see how it evolves...

If you didn't have time to "explore" something yesterday, I hope you do it today. Its refreshing and will put a smile on your face.

Happy exploration!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Way to the Pond
By Susan Roux
Original oil painting 30x40"


What comes to mind for you? A simple word filled with intrigue and wonder. A journey into something unknown, something unfamiliar. Oh, the things we could explore! Anything from what's in our minds or deep in our hearts, to a walk down a different path or even a shopping spree. It all qualifies.

I feel like having a day of exploration. Will you join me?

Today, between loads of laundry, I want to explore color. I want to move paint around in no particular way, just move it around. I want to react to what I see appear before me on canvas. Just let it flow. Let my emotions flow out of me in whatever color or shade presents itself. I want to explore unfamiliar mixtures. Pretend my palette is magical and watch what it creates. I want to make surprises happen.

Today is February first. Let's get out of the daily humdrum we get caught in, especially in the middle of winter. Let's shake things up and put some excitement in our day. Let's take a little voyage into the unexpected. Go someplace different for lunch. Call an old friend out of the blue. Bake cookies for your family. Anything. Anything different. Go have an exploration that will make you smile and stimulate your spirit!