"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." (Paul Cezanne)
ABOUT MY TECHNIQUE
Although I have heard praises sung for oil painting, I almost invariably paint with acrylic. Why is this ?
Well, principally because :
- First and foremost, acrylic paint is totally eco-friendly, and (particularly as my current main source of inspiration hovers above the Ozone layer...) because I am concerned with the respect and protection of our environment. Acrylic paint can be used simply with water, and I always use a finishing coat made up of 80% natural resin. I never use chemicals or solvents, which would be almost impossible to do if I were painting solely with oil ;
- Also, acrylic paint is flexible and easy to work with, and it has a quick drying time (between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the thickness of the paint). This is wonderful for me, as I can keep adding layers, while inspiration is still with me! In the days when I was experimenting with oil, the flame of Inspiration was only truly there during the original sketch and initial colour layer stage. Coming back to my painting a couple of weeks later, once the paint had had a chance to dry completely, I invariably found it impossible to recapture my original emotions and ideas, or recreate the exact shades or colours I had in mind. They were by then but a memory and no more accessible than a dream... I therefore much prefer using a type of paint which allows me to express my feelings in full, without losing any of the fleeting magic of the original inspiration.
- Finally, acrylic paint offers almost endless possibilities in terms of creating shades and colours. Each and every one of them has a special meaning for me – just as a writer or poet would seek to use subtle words and nuances, rather than generic terms, when describing their feelings or a particular environment.
Although I do sometimes use iridescent gel to create shimmering effects, I very rarely mix my colours with other components ; I like to work with them in their natural, original state, before creating nuances and shades by adding water in successive layers, a technique similar to that used when working in watercolour. I particularly like the wash-paint effect this creates, and the dream-like, poetic, mysterious and almost surreal character this gives to my paintings.
Because acrylic paint dries quickly, I work by superimposing colours in ever lighter and thinner layers, to create transparency and light. In the final stage, I add stronger, more vivid colours to enhance these soft, subtly faded shades, create contrasts and give depth to the painting.
My main subjects and themes are the sky, birds and flowers. In my paintings, I do not so much seek to represent reality as to convey emotions.
I have made a conscious choice never - or only exceptionally- to represent shadows, as I like to believe that light is omnipresent, that it shines from everywhere at once. In fact, I do not get on at all with shadows and perspective. While the Cubists used to view the world in 3 dimensions, my vision of it is one-dimensional, as it would present itself in a dream.
It is for me as if landscapes had already been laid onto a sheet of paper or canvas, as if my subjects' expressions had been captured in an instant, then fixed for eternity on paper, as on a photograph.
I actually paint almost as if I were taking a photograph : when inspiration suggests a new idea, I imagine the finished painting, framed and hanging on the wall. I then immediately give it a name, to fix the concept in my memory. Then I put colour to canvas. The original idea sometimes gets altered, but I generally try to represent it faithfully.
Although I use a very wide range of colours, blue (and more particularly turquoise blue) is an underlying thread in most of my paintings.
It is the colour of the sea, and also of the sky, an endless source of wonder to me. I love the sky, for it belongs to everyone, yet no-one can claim ownership of it ! It is a place without boundaries, perfect, harmonious, inaccessible and a constant source of inspiration ; a place between the past and the future, where imagination can flow freely.
Finally, I like painting in itself, as much as I like creating stories. My paintings are therefore always conceived as if I were writing a detective story : each painting tells a story, and the beholder must find the key to its enigma and its particular message – which are generally to be found in the name of the painting !
To use André Gide's words, therefore, dear visitor, “let beauty be in the eye of the beholder, rather than that which is beheld”.
MY PAINTINGS IN A NUTSHELL...
- My artworks are characterised by the use of pure, vibrant, unaltered colours, with a distinct preference for the full spectrum of blues and greens (in particular turquoise blue), deep purples, golden yellows, fuschia pink, dark reds and Sienna brown. I use no gesso, resins, solvents, retarders or fixing additives, just the unadulterated paint as it comes out of the tube with only the slightest bit of water, except for the finishing touches;
- Paint is applied either in a single thick layer, as in my collections "Chromatic Fantasiae" and "Evanescence", or in a succession of veil-thin fine layers, as in my collection "Celestial Visions". In the first case, I use pure, unadulterated, undiluted paint, whereas in the second case paint is used much as one would use watercolours, all in nuances and detail, to create aerial, diaphanous, dreamlike effects;
- My artworks seek to convey both an energetic, instinctive, spontaneous almost automatic style, with emphasis on movement and gesture (as seen in my "Chromatic Fantasiae" collection) and sensitivity, emotion, awe and reflection (as in the collections "Celestial Visions" and "Evanescence");
- Shadows are virtually absent, as I like to think of light as omnipresent, emanating from all things at all times, a supreme force in the universe;
- Symbolism is widely used in the names of my paintings, and in the shapes and colours used, bringing out symbols from literary sources (in particular poetry), mythologies and ancient civilisations, and carrying numerous messages. I often make use of the golden ratio, and more particulary of the Fibonnacci golden spiral to structure my artworks, as I see it as the origin of all things ;
- All my artworks are conceived around a theme, and comprise specific collections. Thus, much like for trilogies, one can only fully understand one artwork once they have explored the entire collection, as each artwork refers to and inspires others... Hence I sometimes like to think of my artworks as "clues to a puzzle".