8 novembre – 21 décembre 2010
Artist-painter Marie-Anne Richard does not only love gardens, she cultivates them as well. In Monthey, where she lives, she and her brother manage a “fleurs a cuiellir,” a large field where people come to pick the cultivate flowers of the season, creating their own bouquet. From May through October, peonies, irises, lilies and rose, delphinium, dahlia’s, sunflowers and gladiolas grow in abundance, ready to be chosen. The combination of painting and cultivating botanical subject matter enables Marie-Anne to bring together her love of nature and her joy to represent it on canvas or paper.
Marie-Anne’s mother was an art teacher in Montreux who encouraged her to draw. Marie-Anne decided to become a figurative painter and went to Paris, where she studied at the “atelier” of Pierre Caron at the Ecole supérieure des Beaux Arts, graduating in 1994. She refers to Caron as “one of the last painters to teach figurative art.” To her, painting is a profession that requires a lot of hard work. At the Ecole she not only studied the different techniques and pigments, but also learned about the formulas to make binding agents and varnishes.
She has often worked “sur le motif,” in the great outdoors, but has recently begun to appreciate working at her atelier more and more. Her inspiration continues to come from nature, though, whereby the words of 18th century oil painter Sir Joshua Reynolds always guide her: “He who returns to nature every time the opportunity arises renews his strengths.”
Marie-Anne is an artist who keeps her feet firmly planted on the ground, in every sense of the word. Her approach to painting is as down to earth as her work in the fields: “I believe more in the hard work done to achieve a beautiful piece of art than in all the talking around it,” she states. “A painter’s apprenticeship is long, difficult and passionate. I have a kind of mistrust against the discussion about the need to add comments to the work of an artist. I think that painting is a language in its own right, enough by itself.”
Whenever possible, she spends time in Liguria, Italy, a region she loves for the beauty of its landscapes, abundant vegetation, mild climate and, of course, its gardens. “In order to paint I need to observe nature; not just to copy it, but to feel nourished,” she muses. “Nature surpasses our imagination in riches. I think we cannot equal or replace it, but it is impossible to live without it.”
Marie-Anne has her own methods when it comes to the application of different media. She applies her oil paint on a smooth wooden panel, pretreated with acrylic. “After the preparatory drawing I use the ‘gras sur maigre’ technique, whereby the first layer contains less oil than the following one” she explains. Sometimes she paints the first layer in acrylic, for “acrylic has the advantage of drying very fast and in a completely clear way. The additional layers are often done in oil.” While working in water colors she uses medium grain paper of 100% cotton. Often, she manages to apply dry pastel after that; water color and pastel go well together because they contain the same binding agents and gum Arabic. When she outlines water color images with ink, she always uses the smoothest paper possible.
The work of Marie-Anne carries everything in it that she feels it should have: it is about her love of nature, it is well balanced and clearly composed, romantic in a natural way, with colors that allow for dreamy musing and contemplation of the riches that surrounds us. Her substantial pieces may depict a tranquil row of trees in a park, an elegant statue in a floral pond, or the impressive stillness of a mountain lake surrounded by evergreens. Nature poeticized: Marie-Anne Richard searches for natural beauty and gives it poetic expression.
Enjoy the show!
Gusta van Dobbenburgh
Nature’s scenery seen through the poetic eye of Marie-Anne Richard
November 8 – December 21, 2010
Room: ELA 010
Mo-Fri 8h45 – 17h00
021 691 1188