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.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Champagne Thursday info:

(detail of a work in progress)
by Susan Roux

As many of you already know, I'm getting prepared to leave for a week on an Artists Retreat. It'll be a mad week of marathon painting. We don't take phone calls. Laptops remain turned off in our bedrooms. Basically we leave all typical daily interruptions behind. The order of the day, every day, is to paint. After awhile with such intense focus, one becomes elevated to a form of a trance. It's like reaching that wonderful painting zone and remaining there full-time.

Oh, it's a wonderful feeling and I can't wait to get there.

Champagne Thursday is our only deviation, but oh what a night it is!

The roster of invites continues to grow. We may have gone a bit overboard this year, but who cares, it's just one night. I've been amazed at the confirmed list of guests. We have some wonderful prominent art figures planning to attend. If you're anywhere in the area, please don't hesitate to come join in the excitement!  A bottle of champagne and a nibbler is your only entrance fee. It's an instant party filled with stimulating art conversation among a multitude of fresh-off-the-easel art. Come tour this amazing mansion we spend the week in. You won't be disappointed you came!


February 23rd at 5:00 p.m. 

Last house on Shore Drive

Freeport, Maine

Entrance fee: Champagne and a nibbler

See you in just over a week!

The above painting is a close-up detail in an unfinished painting titled