The Senses and the Oil ...

                       

... or my vision of painting

 

           

 

What to paint? How to paint? Why paint? These three questions, any painter worthy of the name asks himself one day. Or is supposed to ask them. Or we will ask them. Yet words, in this kind of exercise, risk being reductive. If you feel the urge to paint, these are not sentences that will express what you have in yourself. Do we ask this kind of question to a musician from elsewhere? Music is probably approached in a simpler and healthier way ...

In spite of everything, I will try to reflect in these three directions. Without pretention. Just a sketch of what I'm trying to do.

 

     What to paint? My creation often begins by putting on walking shoes. Not that I am a great hiker but I need an immersive experience. In the countryside, in the forest, in the city, in the heart of a megalopolis, in a street or on the ruins of an ancient city, in summer, in winter, landscapes of earth, stones, snow, woods or water, glass and concrete, but also portraits of women, faces crossed during a trip, I do not neglect any potential subject. I just have to find the right place, the right angle, the right time, the right feeling. The important thing is to be ready. In a state of optimal receptivity .

 

In our lives saturated with information, opening your senses to the world requires a special frame of mind, a penchant for contemplation . You have to look to love, and love to feed yourself. Whether it is the complex structure of a tree or a rock, reflections running on the water, skyscrapers radiating New York nightlife, blocks piled up for five thousand years in the heart of a Minoan site, an old fresco or the beauty of a face ...

Camera in hand, I am on the lookout for an entire landscape or, on the contrary, for a single element that calls me, charms me, hits me, delights me. A person who touches me, an accord of colors in a street, shapes, a momentum, a texture, rhythms, frames ... and I trigger. I frame, I reframe, from every angle as far as possible. Beginning of composition. To say that I am building a database would be an exaggeration, but there is a bit of it. I will reframe as close as possible to the emotion. Maybe, maybe not. On computer or directly on hard copy. So I don't paint, as the saying goes, "from photos", I paint from my photos (with very rare exceptions). The nuance is important. Because my photos are carriers of lived emotions and not borrowed from others. It is a key element to start a canvas.

Painting now. How to paint? I generally build by transposing the colors and rhythms that I observe, by exalting them. I start with what attracts me the most. There are no rules, no process, nothing should be systematic, emotion is the common thread. It is certainly a plastic work, in the sense that I take care of the quality of the forms and the circulation of colors. The search for a balance in the composition is also essential. Only the characters can be drawn in charcoal beforehand. For a more accurate transcription of their character. As for the notion of space, between flat painting and realistic depth, I choose a space that is clean for me, somewhere in between. A sort of different reality ...

The painting is full of demands. Freedom first. Of freedom always. Independence then. "The painting moving away from the subject to become its own subject". Never lose sight of this contemporary knowledge that exactitude matters little. What prevails, once again, are the shapes, the color, the rhythms, the composition. I fully support it but I qualify the point. Let's say that, if I take a certain distance from the subject, the one that I decide over the course of the work, or more precisely the one that is decided over the course of the work, I keep a link with him for the richness that 'it provides. Evoking the subject without being a slave to it, leaning on reality to construct another image , once again another reality ...

Hence the representation requirements. By that, I mean above all the representation of what is created deep inside me , echoing what I am looking at. I take ownership of things (in the broad sense of the term). I digest them. Then I regurgitate them soaked with my strengths, my weaknesses, my rigor, my desires, my desires, my memories, my awkwardness too, my moods no doubt ... and some plastic knowledge , of course. I sort, I prune, I add, I simplify, I complicate ... But far from any literary delirium, any overflowing imagination, I admit to being guided only by painting. Pure painting. In the end, it is she who commands, and she alone ... I assume.

Here, no concept or pseudo-intellectual navel-gazing. Just the senses and the emotion. Like music. Don't we say that "how to paint" is resolved with brushes in hand? To meditate...

The senses and the oil ... I use oil, only. For its smell, its sensuality, its slowness which allows you to retouch for hours in the cool, its possibilities of repentance. I would add the nod to my childhood. I also admit that I am not insensitive to the timeless image it conveys ...

I constantly check the movement of my gaze on the canvas. It is essential and must achieve great fluidity. I turn and I return the support. I am modifying accordingly. I work to the point of multiplying the emotions, sometimes to the point of confusion. They are infallible witnesses. When I rejoice, it's a sign for me that the canvas has gained altitude ...

The question of "why" is probably more difficult. More obscure. More intrusive, more complex. Sometimes, and paradoxically, more obvious. Necessarily leading to multiple and incomplete responses.

I will first slip in a personal element. Painting is for me a resilience. A tremendous resilience after the wanderings of youth and a mental state in which I was unable to build myself. By the way, I cannot thank enough my teacher and master in the field, an exceptional lady ... But in general, never forget that painting can accompany and fill a whole life, that of the painter. Like a side road in a frenzied consumerism that pushes to emptiness. This is already, in my opinion, a sufficient answer.

Secondly, I see the relation to the other. A painting must bring something to those who will look at it and love it. Or not to like it for that matter. Beauty, upliftment, meditation, delight, reflection, pleasure, repulsion ... what else do I know? If not that we need this visual, pictorial emotion, as we need, once again this analogy, to listen to music. Or for some to go to the cinema or the theater. It gives back a taste for life, which is not an empty word in these troubled times. It communicates energy. There you go, offering energy! It will suffice to touch only a few people and the why will find an additional answer. And even if these few people were reduced to one individual, the game might be won! Painting will not change the world, but it can greatly comfort and even support people.

 

Finally, we must ask ourselves about another meaning of the word "why". Something like "why continue to paint after all that has happened in the history of art, especially during the 20th century?"

I simply want to say this: painting is an integral part of life. It is a human adventure like so many others. It is not excluded that by dint of work and emotions, by dint of contemplation and pleasures, by dint of wanting, by dint of articulating a multitude of elements like a conductor, he will not is not excluded, therefore, that we can bring a small stone to the building. In all humility of course ...

Some have announced the end of painting, in line with intellectual considerations on the end of modernism, postmodernism and other notions of "ism". We came back from there. Others have thought of going beyond or even ousting it from the artistic scene. They paved the way, with a lot of concepts and installations. Some works are relevant. But what pretension and what tyranny, therefore, exercised over the world of art! New academism. Many of whom are starting to get bored by the way ...

In the end, we still need the paint. And it will always be there. Obviously, an art that dates back to the dawn of time, which can be counted (and told!) In thousands of years for Western painting alone, in tens of thousands of years if we think of cave paintings ... Was it not an aberration, from the start, to want to put an end to it? Thinking of having reached the end of it? I come to say to myself that the visual arts have been invaded by too cerebral and dispassionate minds. Who perhaps border the offside with this question of why.

Because painting is a passion. She doesn't have to justify herself.