Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Work in progress 18x24"
by Susan Roux

Thanksgiving being tomorrow, its hard not to stop at this time of year and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Yes, many of us have struggled. The economy hasn't made it easy for a lot of people. Sickness and hardships may have hit you hard in 2010. But even through the difficulties life throws at us, there is still much to be thankful for.

I have many. I won't bore you by listing them. I do however want to take a moment to thank all of you who frequent my blog. This has truly been one of the things I give thanks for: the opportunity to have met all of you. Recent hardships in our family have kept me away from painting and posting. My last post was 14 days ago, yet you still continue to visit. You amaze me...

Posted is a painting my Tuesday night class is doing. We should finish it next week. I don't expect to change many things on mine, but I'm leaning towards developing a few of the flowers. Perhaps cutting into some of the round balls of the peony. I also want to identify the irises a bit clearer in spots.

This painting moved along quickly. We didn't draw anything, just hopped in with paint. My class followed along splendidly and with Luka Bloom playing in the background, everyone's work fell into place. Luka has that effect. You should really try it sometime...

This image is special to me. Its a scene in Cape Cod, though it isn't a typical Cape painting. The photo was taken on Memorial weekend, when I traveled there to the Blue Heron Gallery's opening. The female in my painting is none other than the well-known Martine-Alison! Certainly someone high on my list of people to be thankful for. Painting this brought back wonderful memories of her visit to the States. My last post was about painting your passion. This image stuck to that suggestion. Perhaps its why it fell into place so easily.

Note: The darks beneath the flowers are with transparent paint and in reality tuck deep under the flowers. They don't jump forward like in this photo.

I hope you can all find lots of things to be thankful for. I'm certain they exist...

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Follow your passion

Orange Roses
Original oil painting 18x14"
by Susan Roux

I received these lovely roses from my dear Anastasia this weekend. What a beautiful surprise to see her and many others at the exhibition. If you're reading, thanks for coming...

I was up way before the crack of dawn yesterday, even with the time change. I'd been lying in bed painting in my mind. Does that happen to you? It seems lately I've been painting in my mind more than on canvas. Juggling life and your paintbrushes can often be challenging.

I decided to make yesterday a painting day. I had a class to teach at night and aside from a few loads of laundry, I made a date with my easel. Sometimes I just have to overlook everything that needs to be done around here and allow myself painting time. So from the early hour, I was perusing my extensive photo library in search of a picture I could be passionate about. I was tossing a variety into a new folder as a means of narrowing my choices down. There were lots to choose from and the folder was filling quickly.

Daylight finally broke, so I went to this folder only to find my inspiration for any of my choices had fizzled. By now the house was up and I told Mike, what I should do is paint those roses. Why don't you?

Ever notice how we argue with ourselves?

Well... my excuses began, I never paint roses.

He knew that. Mike buys me flowers all the time and I watch the roses slowly droop and die off. I even keep them in the vase because I see beauty in the dead blossoms. Sometimes he buys me more just so I'll finally throw away the crispy ones... How many times has he heard me say, I should paint the roses?

Beautiful as they are, they're in a constant state of change. At first opening, then sagging and slowly fading. I've never had a day observing them without change. The thought of painting them was a bit terrifying. There are people like Nora who paint them so well and honestly I hadn't a clue how to begin. But there they were staring me in the face and my most stimulating inspiration at the moment.

As you can clearly see, I attempted it. It turned out to be lots of fun and not the nightmare I expected. I stopped thinking about them as roses and not knowing how to paint roses. Instead I focused on how wonderful they made me feel and that feeling is what I painted. It didn't take long that I practically stopped looking at the real roses, so if they were changing, it wasn't an issue.

I even brought it to completion and began another painting all before my class arrived. Then I painted again with them. I was on a roll. Sure hope it lasts...

Go paint what you're inspired to paint. Even if you don't think there exists a buyer out there for what you're painting, or if you don't think you have a clue how to do it. Its the passion that counts. Paint what you're passionate about and you'll be the most successful with that subject.

If only I'd remember my own advice...

Friday, November 5, 2010


The Window
Original oil painting 14x18"
by Susan Roux

Don't you just love it when you're relaxed, just blogging around, and you come across a post that makes you want to sit down and write? You know what I mean. Those posts that put some idea out there that really gets you thinking and you're compelled to explore it deeper. That's just what happened this morning as I read Paint Dance.

Maryanne wrote, " I love impressionism. I am a little sad that it has not reached the level of popularity that we currently see in styles like representational realism." It was a lovely post with a John Singer Sargent's Breakfast in the Loggia pictured.

Loving impressionism...

Now there's a common thought among many artists. Put me at the top of the list! I have adored Monet's work for years and over half of my rather large art library is publications on him and the impressionist. I've read everything I could get my hands on about Claude. So much so, that in time I came to feel like we were close friends.

How I loved the dreamy strokes, dashes of color, that came together in amazing reality! The light the Impressionist captured drew so many of us into their world. I tingle just thinking about it.

I never tried to paint like Monet though. I was a firm believer that you needed to be true to yourself and paint in a way that felt natural to you. For me, that which poured out of my soul was a colorful fairly-detailed representation with an acute appreciation for light. Painting in my own natural style worked for quite a few years.

Then it happened.

I exposed myself to more and more art and fell in love with lots of it. So many soft dreamy strokes, laid on impasto thick, I wanted to pass my finger atop it and lick it like frosting. I was so drawn to this look, I wanted to paint like that too. How many of us have started out tight and then struggled to loosen our strokes? I think its pretty common.

So for years I pushed myself in this direction, never being satisfied with my work. I'm still there struggling with it to this day. But recently something has changed in my mind. Like my eyes have been opened anew. It goes back to my original way of thinking, how you must remain true to what comes out of your soul naturally. My thoughts go deep and many questions arise. Questions about improvement and pushing yourself in the direction you admire. It can feel like its coming from within, when with all our being, you love these works you see. But what's in the mind and in the soul are different.

Its been difficult for me to understand. In the past year, I feel like I've come full circle, painting in a way that resembles my original process. Yes, those years of easel time have improved my work, but to think how far I could be with it had I only continued with what poured out naturally.

So the thoughts in my head intrigue me. I feel there is something very natural and in control that wants to come out. I'm ready to embrace the representational part of me, that for years I tried to suppress. But somewhere in there I believe there is a softness too. When I go off to the art retreat in February, I hope to explore this concept further. I feel its at the tip of my brush and is ready to pour out. I only need time to devote to it. I think, or better yet, feel I have a balance of dreamy and tight and they will come together on canvas. I've fought the representational side of myself for so long. It feels good to get to a place where I can be comfortable accepting it.

Unlike Maryanne's statement, I've felt an embrace for looser work over representational work in today's society. I do however think impressionist of today feel its work done quickly. Capture that first impression with bold strokes in a limited time. But the real Impressionist only gave the illusion of it being quickly executed. Monet returned over and over to the same spot, in search of the same light, to continue his paintings. When the light wasn't just right at the same time of day, he would begin a new painting. He returned daily and would progress the one canvas that had the same light, never working it for longer than 20 minutes. If he didn't find the same light within two weeks time, he could no longer continue because with the orbit of the earth, the light had changed visibly for him. This made it impossible for him to capture that moment in time he devoted his life to.

So why is it, I wonder, that the impressionist of today came to feel it needed to be painted within a short period of time? If today's impressionist spent the same amount of time and energy on a painting as the original Impressionists, would they rule in popularity?

Posted: The Window will be one of the paintings in Saturday's exhibition at CMMC, Lewiston, Maine from 10-4 in the main lobby. You're invited to come. If you're around, please do!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Viewer friendly

Sunny Burst at the Fence Post
Original oil painting 18x14"
by Susan Roux

My view counter hit 10,000 this past weekend. Wow!

Thank you all so much. When I began blogging just 11 months ago, I never imagined the visibility I would get. At first I was lucky to get three to ten hits a day. Its amazing how these things escalate. I know I have a lot of faithful readers and many casual ones too. I love it when you stop by. I love it when you leave comments. I love having had the opportunity to meet and chat with you. I wanted to take a moment to let you know how much your visits mean to me. I hope you continue to return.

So I was wondering...

If a blog gets 10,000 in 11 months, does it continue to escalate at the same rate? 20,000 in 22 months? Or 30,000? I never made a conscious count at certain increments to be able to predict the rate my blog was growing. Do any of you know? I realize its a whole math thing and most of you visiting are creative. I don't need to remind you of the left brain/right brain thing. Of course, then there's Kevin who thinks he knows %'s, but whoever was his math teacher failed miserably. Seriously though, I am curious. So if anyone has calculated a growth rate, do tell.

Posted is Sunny burst at the Fence Post. I finished it with my Tuesday night class. For the most part I like it, but I struggled a bit more than I expected to. There's a tightness about it and it seemed no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't soften it. I can't put my finger on what. My brushstroke is about as blurry as my vision, so I'm assuming its not that. Could it be my color choices that give it a tight look? I'm looking for suggestions. Can anyone tell me why it looks tight? Of course the photo never captures the various tones as they really are, so it might be terribly difficult for you to help via the internet...

Suggest soon, because I'm ready to sign it. Its coming to my exhibition on Saturday. For those nearby, its at CMMC in Lewiston, ME at the main lobby entrance from 10-4. There'll be about 30 artists exhibiting, so lots of art to look at! Do stop in and say hi.