Why do people paint? And why do people love art? To these questions, numerous answers can be found. Because it is pretty, because it makes us dream or space out, because it’s the best therapy you can ever have, because it teaches us a sense of beauty and freedom, because we need it, to give more meaning or joy to our lives, because it is unnecessary and thus frees us, because it brings peace to the mind and people together, because it is the last way of expression that one may have, because it’s a remedy in times of turmoil and a support in times of peace… For all these reasons, and for so many others that each of us can find in art.
Art, a Teacher for Our Souls
Like the million reasons that make us eager for art, there are also a million lessons from which we can benefit in practicing or frequenting art. What I find the highest teaching of the art of painting is how it teaches us a new relationship to time. I used to be a very nervous and impatient person. But when I started my practice I became a new me. Because I had to learn to deal with delays and failures, and tries and waiting times for achievement, because I began to pay attention to incredibly small details in my work, I’ve been changed. I have been lucky enough to find myself able to transfer somehow this approach to my own life. Patience towards myself and others, perseverance, confidence in the future was taught to me along the way while learning painting. When someone looks at one of my pieces, I wish they could see all these hours of patient work and acceptance of time that lie within the color of each layer because I would love them to feel time the way I feel it in my practice, like a benefactor or an ally, and to see with me the colorful depth of reality.
A World of Layers
For a long time, I only practiced direct painting because I used to love the brightness of pure colors and the energy, the speed that was part of this technique. I guess that at this point of my development, this technique suited me better. But when I came to indirect painting, I entered a completely new world, a world much more vibrant than I could have ever possibly imagined, a world to recreate our world so powerfully and so deeply. If you are familiar with indirect painting, you probably know that it involves numerous layering: thin, almost transparent layers are added one by one, sometimes over weeks or months to capture the depth of a real world and render it in the greatest and most accurate way possible. What I discover by practicing this technique is actually highly valuable to understanding how reality, we could even say matter, reveals its existence to our senses. What always astonishes me when I start a new painting is that the more I add layers, the more I cover and obscure the white canvas, the more the subject becomes clear, positive, and radiant. It’s like slowly unveiling a model but by veiling it, instead of uncovering it. Is that a kind of magic? It sure is.
The Human Face
Most of my work focuses on the human face and body. Like Pygmalion, my ultimate dream is to give actual life to these representations, a fantasy that leads me along all my work on a figure and only leaves me when the portrait is done. Each subtlety of the skin, the smallest crease of an arm, a knuckle, an eye or lip corner offers me the sense of modeling my character and of making cells activate their tiny life, breath raise the chest, blood run below that skin that twitches a little. I can’t get over finding new, interesting faces that I am dying to paint once I encounter them. In the street, at the gym, among my co-workers and colleagues, I am always like a human antenna searching for new models, new characters, new personalities to embody into my work, then looking for the appropriate arrangement that would illuminate their own beauty.