The Act of Seeing in my Approach
My visual organ is overjoyed with pleasure, but every now and then, it gets me distracted. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been truly passionate for watching, observing, smelling and, of course, looking at what the light unveils – some sort of transcending act of seeing. This experience worth developing is both exhilarating and delightful. The first level involves the eyes, but as it expands and changes, it adheres to the surface of the soul. This is when the pleasure of seeing and painting collides, becomes pure and beautiful – what is plain becomes beautiful, what is beautiful becomes very beautiful, what is very beautiful becomes magnificent, and so on. Looking at things this way, subjects are no longer insignificant, they all end up lighting up. Saint-Exupéry once wrote: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly”. Painting through the eyes of the soul gives a different view to anything, both material and immaterial. This way of connecting with my surroundings is the very essence of my artistic process. At first glance, it seems quite simple, but it’s not. On a more obvious level, I work in such a way that my artworks become as extraordinary as a triangle, that my painting or drawing gathers and conditions three distinctive plans – what I see (subject), what I feel (understanding and interpretation) and what I paint (technique and material). In my opinion, the conditioning level of all three plans and succeeding in mastering them consistently are what makes a painter become an artist painter, no matter what his/her painting style or approach is. Those who succeeded are masters. Having said that, there is still a great deal of work that I need to do, but knowing that work awaits me for a lifetime and so on is a blessing...
As a figurative painter, I can fulfill my fundamental need to draw and render what I “see” in line with the way of seeing as mentioned earlier. I share, with many other past and current artists, the passion for cultivating figurative art. As a result, I am well aware that this garden has been and still is fairly cultivated and harvesting a new generation of purely distinctive artworks is less likely to happen, and I believe this is the main challenge that current painters are coping with, especially figurative painters. How does a current artwork set itself apart on a creative/innovative level? Is there an unexplored trend in painting that could contribute to the world of today’s Visual Arts? To be honest, at the time I was student in Visual Arts, I was unable to answer these two questions (observations) and I have to admit that I still can’t. Despite all this, I always go back to figurative painting, knowing that I am probably working as hard as other influential artists, some of which are part of the Group of Seven (G-7). I work tirelessly to make a unique seed grow for my artwork, if only for me.
Everything that is Revealed by the Light
The fact that lighting is of utmost importance in Visual Arts is no newsflash. Yet the role that the light plays on my subjects is what preoccupies and fascinates me the most. Abstract paintings and sculptures essentially use the light. Lighting gives a quiet life to artwork, just like energy does in our body. I believe that the light puts life into drawings, subjects, compositions, rhythms, movements and colours, therefore creating and bringing an artwork to life. A clever philosopher asked about the mystery of life as follows: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” In other words, why is there light instead of total darkness (no light)? To me and many others, light has been a fascinating mystery since the dawn of time, just like all Rembrandt’s paintings in this world. In my opinion, light is the most sensual pleasure for any artists. Perhaps, Henry Miller had discovered the role of light in his watercolours when he stated the following famous quote: “To paint is to love again”. My career as an artist painter makes me happy – painting with such noble elements is crucial to my work. Enhancing light in a canvas evokes indescribable sensations. At some point, the light actually reveals itself in coloured sketched shapes, and if the composition has been prepared properly, light will emerge as it naturally would in a room – a crescendo of revelations. I give greater importance to subjects that have the ability to receive light even where there are shadows. There are always very delicate and sensitive momentums that make light emerge, but these require great concentration! What is the perfect brightness measure for every artwork, knowing that each one has its own measure, just like our DNA does? Searching for or rather finding this measurement is exciting, but I must admit that I sometimes lose control trying to do so and end up undoing everything and start all over again.
My artistic path is therefore based on the way my mind interprets the act of looking and how the light behaves in the artwork’s surrounding, making each of my canvases an adventurous love story. When gathering the subject, the composition, the drawing, the rhythm, the colours and the style, my selection of these elements are certainly of the utmost importance, but they mostly consider technical, know-how or capability aspects.
To me, painting is a testimony of life – it comes close to love, and Miller felt it too. I love nature, but the one that inspires me the most must be as wild, untouched and as Canadian as possible. You must understand that nature has often been a blessing to me – while others get lost in the forest, I feel at home. However, I could not confine myself to landscapes as nature is everywhere, but in different contexts (in a city, an apple, flowers, a body…), even in a dream – this particular nature of things has been greatly explored by surrealists. At no time must I let any appealing subjects slip away as I could not bear to confine myself to one style that belongs to a trend or any textures, or the same subjects or any other restrictive features of this sort. Let’s just say that I allow myself to paint the nature of things with no boundaries; if a pile of nails inspires me, it will most likely become a drawing or a painting.
The subject gives rhythm and creates my works but can sometimes control my style. Colours act upon the light, the subject and my emotions – the drawing and the movement of the hand must always be accurate and honest respectively. I’m constantly looking for this magical feeling that only painting can achieve, and I assume that it is this same magic that nurtures any artists. I believe that an artwork becomes truly alive when it glances back at us.
This is the foundation of my artistic approach.