Master Gardeners

This is a flame azalea that will go in the Master Gardeners show in April.   No, it’s a representation of a flame azalea.  I’ve been looking at the nexus where humanity bangs into nature.  This is a painting, not a flower.1-27-12

Garden spot

This is for the Master Gardners show at Gallery 86 in Waynesville, NC on April 2.  It’s been nice painting from a photo taken in the summer, while the high temp today was 26.  Garden Spot

Truth in January

I am painting these flame azaleas from a photo.  Now it’s cold, wet, and dark, what was it like when this photo was taken, and it was the height of blooming season?  What is the truth about a garden?

Flame Azalea
Flame Azalea

Green Portrait

Go with Green

If you are contemplating painting a portrait, and the white canvas or paper is intimidating, start with a large and bold swath of green. It is such an unlikely color to be the foundation of a portrait. I did a painting for my brother-in-law after he had surgery to remove a brain tumor. The staples on his bald head were astonishing. He asked for a portrait, I took photos, and the canvas mocked me with its whiteness. Smack, Permanent Green light! And it was so shocking that I did the portrait called “Zipperhead”.

On New Years Day, 2012, I was … scared, conflicted, fat, etc. Who was the bozo who thought up Resolutions? I started a self-portrait. I’d been struggling with acrylics, and this was back to my tried and true oil paints. Hookers Green, Indian Red, Golden Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, and Ivory Black. I don’t work with black paint. Someone had said I shouldn’t. Someone else said try a new color, an artists New Year’s Resolution. My hair is dark. I decided to do a self-portrait with black hair and a bit of black humor. The oils drip marvelously. Since I’m new to black, I went easy on it. That helped, but a palette knife full of green smack across the middle really loosened me up. Take this, you smug Resolutions!

I’m enchanted by cadmium yellow dark, whether oil or acrylic. It’s like cattle escaping the stockyard. It is not a polite color. I love it, because it gives me fits. It’s like plants that reseed in your garden, in the WRONG spot. Wrong according to who’s rules? Wearing brown shoes with black pants is wrong, according to WHO?

The Indian Red mixed well with the other colors. Instead of painting my wrinkles, I scratched them into the opaque paint with a skewer.

Don’t be afraid to start a portrait. Slather on a wad of green paint at the beginning of a painting, and you’ll get something unexpected, and not boring. Remember a portrait is about who someone is, not how they look.

Susan Livengood(c)

Happy New Year 2012
Happy New Year 2012


2012 Better be better!

As bad as 2011 was for us financially, I’m more confident in my painting.  So I expect each and every one of you to buy a painting in 2012.  And I expect the US govt. to work.  RIIIIGHT!

2012 Better be Better
2012 Better be Better