Sunday, June 24, 2012

Experience color

Dew Drop In
Original oil Painting  16x20"
by Susan Roux


It's one of the most fascinating things about painting. It can lead the eye through a specific journey on your canvas. It can create an ambiance. It can define distance and space. It can imitate sunshine and shade. It can scream or whisper. It can be playful and exciting or it can be bland.

As artists we get to control the roll it takes in our work. 

It takes a long time to understand color. There's so much to learn because it's a very complex subject. A color used incorrectly can stand out like a sore thumb. One single stroke out of place and suddenly it changes everything. The value (light or dark) of a color must be correct along with how concentrated or neutralized (grayed) it is. 

Learning to embrace the grays will add richness to your colors and your work. There's emotion in those mud puddles on grayed color. The trick is to know how to use it correctly and be in control of it. 

Understanding the properties of color enables you to take control. At times you've probably heard or read about certain concepts but have had difficulty wrapping your brain around them. Trying to paint with a particular focus in mind that you don't totally understand can be frustrating. So much so, that it can throw you into painter's block! That happens when you begin to be aware of a concept but don't totally understand it, yet try to implement it into your work. 

Simplifying things and learning them one step at a time can be your detour around that painter's block. Trying to push too much information into your brain at once only confuses. Having time to try new things, experiment with them, helps the mind grasp the concept. Not only is it something you hear or read, it is also something you try.

This will be the goal in my upcoming workshop, held August 10, 11, 12. 

I've been teaching for over 10 years. I teach to beginners and if I've learned anything over all this time it's how to explain things in the simplest way possible! So if you've been painting awhile and do pretty well but would like to learn more on the subject of color, my workshop is for you. I'm limiting class size to ten students so each one will get individualized attention.  

Come play with color. Come take the fear out of it and place yourself in control. All levels are welcomed. If you're interested or think you might be interested, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be happy to help you with your lodging needs as well. 

Maine is beautiful in August. You can begin your holiday with a three day workshop to get you primed and stimulated then continue on to practice your lessons in the lush coastal setting that is Maine.

The above painting Dew Drop In is exhibited at The Wright Gallery, Cape Porpoise, Maine. Please contact Charlie if you're interested in purchasing it. Thank you.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Red House
Original oil painting  20x10"
by Susan Roux

Two days ago, Russia called.

It was pretty much passing as an ordinary day. A little excitement stirred as I'd just got word that my art was selected to hang in Portland's art walk during the month of September. The last time my art was up in Portland for a month, I sold 7 paintings. It's hard to forget such a thing and so the excitement about showing again had me smiling and bubbling.

I was behind my easel working on the above painting. My mom was here painting with me. A real special treat. I was down to tweaking my flowers when the phone rang. Luckily I had the insight to place the handset near me and didn't have to go running to answer it. A quick glance at the caller ID made me utter, who's that calling?

Hello Susan. It's Stas Borodin.

You may not know who Stas Borodin is, but I certainly know him well. He's the Russian artist responsible for my exhibition in Saint-Petersburg in June of 2008. A call from Stas is always a welcomed thing!

Stas is a world traveler. He's kind and friendly, making jokes you sometimes don't understand due to the language barrier, but his hardy roar of laughter and a smile that rivals the cheshire cats makes you laugh right along with him! Some people you just feel blessed to have cross paths with and Stas is one of those people. I'm honored to have met such a man. 

He's a master artist. I know, they're rare in today's society and oddly I've had the privilege to meet and paint with two. Don't ask me why I've had these opportunities? I couldn't tell you. Mike says I'm just lucky. 

Perhaps he's right. 

Stas will be visiting in a month. He paints daily. Not at all like some daily painters that take an hour or two a day to paint. No. He lives to paint. From sunup to sundown, he'd be swatting his brush around if he had his way. Stas loves the coast, harbors specifically and we'll be making the jaunt early in the morning so he can take in a full day of painting. He comes equipped for all types of weather and I've never seen a downpour strong enough to keep him from doing his passion. The world is his studio and he is always happily at work!

He's dreamed of going to Monhegan Island. You know, the artist's island 13 miles off the coast of Maine. I really wasn't planning on going to Monhegan this summer, but it seems my plans changed. Yesterday I made reservations from July 8 to the 13. I can only imagine what it will be like to experience it with Stas. A whole new way at looking at a familiar place, I suspect...

I may have the pleasure of his company for two weeks time. He'll run me ragged, I'm sure of that, but it'll be a good ragged. 

Stas always has opportunities up his sleeve. He invited me to join him at a symposium in Normandy, France in September. Oh how I wish! The last symposium he invited me to was at a monastery in Russia. If sales ever begin to skyrocket again, I'll have saved up some money to actually take him up on his offers. These symposiums he speaks of are a gathering of artists from different nations in one place to paint for a few weeks, followed by an exhibition of the work done during that time. Yes! Such things really happen! Doesn't that sound amazing?

Someday. Maybe someday...

So if your phone ever rings and it's a call from Russia, answer it. Who knows it just may be a jolly master Russian artist!

The above painting, Red House, is a crop from a larger piece I'm working on with my Thursday afternoon class. I wanted to paint it wet on wet and it's impossible to do that with my class work. Long periods of drying occur as it sits idly waiting for the next week's session. It's a scene from Ireland. The village is Roscrea. I was told it's the fourth oldest village in Ireland. It was a beautiful place. A cross between ancient and new.

I wrote about Stas last year when he visited. It's here if you care to read more.

Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your visit. Please leave me a little hello, just so I'll know you passed through... 

Have a great day, allowing good surprises to happen to you!