Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Like Frosting a Cake

I frosted two canvases last Saturday at a MCA workshop, "Seeing the Forest for the Trees", http://www.paintingpersonalandpowerful.com/2010/08/blog-post.html
held at the Arnold Arboretum http://arboretum.harvard.edu/visit/ .  Wielding a palette knife, similar to a trowel used in masonry, I thickly layered my canvases.  In the eight years of plein air painting, I have never applied so much paint to a single 12X16 panel.  At times after squeezing another long tootsie roll of paint to recharge my palette, I would calculate the cost per paint tube. For example, a 200ml tube of Cobalt Blue cost around $58.00.

But heck, I was there for a new painting experience...so I smeared 4 colors (phthalo green, Alizarin Crimson, cobalt blue and cadmium yellow) into slippery striations, swirling mark making, palette knife daubs here and there; buttery, at times unbeaten.  Soon, I began to smell the essence of color: mossy forest floor green, Sunkist orange, melty dark chocolate.

For the other canvas, I scraped up two complementary pigments, cadmium orange and French-ultramarine blue and mixed them together with dollops of titanium white yielding the color of mushrooms: cremini, oyster, porchini, shiitaki, Chanterelles.

Ooo la, la- a juicy sensuality and physicality spread across the surface.

This freshly applied paint was my new seducer.

Bon Painting!


  1. Susan,
    Hello! Of course, I remember meeting you around town. Your work is gorgeous! I've begun painting plein air, myself, recently, and really enjoy it! Your paintings have lovely color; they inspire me!
    Wonderful blog, too! Love it.
    Kate Hanlon

  2. I love the painting with the red leaves. It's very strong and powerful. An intriguing and moving piece.