After my experience in Andrea‘s workshop (see previous blog post) , I began experimenting with techniques and materials, in the hope to discover my own “painting voice”. Going from being told what to do, to figuring it all out on your own is a difficult step. You doubt about pretty much everything: your technique, the quality and relevance of your work. Luckily for me, a few orders took my mind off the big question and forced me into the most important thing: just keep doing the work. Amazingly enough, I sold a few of these early pieces that while not as good as what I would do today, are still very dear to me, which is why I would like to talk about some of them.
What ingredients does one need to create quality artwork? Technique is the first thing that comes to mind, but clearly can’t be the only thing that matters. How do I reach and speak to the person who is looking at my painting and make her/him experience something that will move him/her? Those are the questions that I keep asking myself every time I work on something: the ingredient that adds to the piece the culinary equivalent of ‘umami’, something invisible and yet present and potent.
Do you think there is such a thing as a flavor for artwork? Have you tasted it? I suppose everybody’s sense of taste for art is different, nurtured by our life experiences and what one may find sweet will taste bitter to someone else. Being able to give my work the right savor is what keeps things interesting: even if the topic is sometimes the same as I can make several versions of the same piece, I keep whomever this one is destined to in mind and feelings feed the final result!
My artistic journey is also given rhythm by my life journey. After a total of more than 10 years living in Hawaii, in the summer of 2013, my husband and I moved to the city of Nice on the French Mediterranean Coast. I’ll start introducing a few of the paintings I’ve made between 2013 and 2015, as I was settling in my new environment.
This piece was inspired by the wonderful sight of a beautiful Poinciana tree (also known as a flame tree), against a shallow water background spotted on the Kona (leeward) side of the Big Island of Hawaii. The original piece (acrylic on canvas) quickly became a hit amongst my friends, got me plenty of positive feedback and a few orders.
I ended up making several versions of this painting, all based on the same idea, but with variations, and in different sizes… call if “painting jazz” if you like! This painting was one of first larger paintings that I created on my own. The colors and the theme are tropical, and my clients were Japanese and Americans who love the peculiar atmosphere of Hawaii. The process was similar to what I was doing in Andrea‘s atelier only this time, the piece was my sole responsibility. Each time, it took quite a bit of time to reach the point where I was satisfied with my work. Often, I’d think of how Andrea would tackle the work, and picture him applying his brush to the painting. Although thousands of kilometers away from him, it is as if he were with me. This can get anybody going anywhere: accepting a person as a mentor in one’s heart and keeping the connection alive, despite the distance, and that, regardless of the field.