Thursday, October 1, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Richard Brunet

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Richard's painting "Après l'averse, un jour d'été / After the rain..." go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Richard's DPW Gallery Page:

Since 2006, I have been exploring photography as an art medium using different techniques. Macrophotography, infrared, portrait and long exposures are part of my field of exploration.

Inspired by nature and by the seasons, I try through my photos to present a place, a place or a moment as if it were a painting. An influence undoubtedly coming from my theatrical training. For the past few years, my interest has been towards working with grey filters, a technique that allows me to try more and more to create photos that resemble paintings. From there, and following a trip to Provence in 2014, including a visit to Cézanne's studio and the monastery of St-Paul de Maussole, the idea of moving on to painting was born.

Just like in photography, I am self-taught in painting and I start my first attempts in October 2014. Very quickly I realized that painting becomes an extension of my years of photography in both research and inspiration. (click to read more)

Tell us a little bit about how you started to paint?

I had been doing art photography of nature for several years; infrared, macro, long exposures to get blurred. Then I started producing effects with Photoshop to reproduce these photos as if they were paintings. 

There were also visits during a trip to Provence of Cézanne's workshop, the monastery of St-Paul de Maussole where we discovered Van Gogh's room where the idea of painting was born. But me painting..., while I have no notion of design, nor colors, no training at all! And then five years ago, I quietly started two years before my retirement to paint when I had the time. About fifty small canvases that all went into the garbage. When the time came to retire, I wanted to take painting lessons and my wife, who had been an art teacher, told me to paint, often and very often, that it was better to evolve. I took this advice and that's what I did a little more than three years ago now. I used the basics of photography that I had and I explored...

Après l'averse, un jour d'été / After the rain...
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Richard's interview.

Have you had ups and downs in your painting career?

My career as a painter is just beginning, painting is too recent for me, but I must say that for the last twelve months, my exploration has been going well. That I discovered in this last year my way of painting.

What are the mediums that you have experimented with? Which ones have "stayed" and which ones have "fallen away"?

I have a temperament where everything must end as soon as I can. So acrylic is perfect for me! Both working with knives and brushes. I did try some experiments with pastels, but without much success. I have also painted on reclaimed oak wood, but with paintings that are much too heavy, it becomes difficult to ship them.

Temps d'arrêt / Stopping time
(click to view)

Which ones do you look forward to exploring?

Oh I think I still have a lot to learn with this first medium! It's an ongoing quest.

Who or what inspires you the most?

The great landscapes and reliefs, those places where you go into contemplative mode. I try to invent landscapes by extrapolating those I have seen in my travels. Travels in Iceland, the landscapes of Scotland have taught me to see the colors of nature, to see that all colors can be found in these landscapes. I discovered then that all the possibilities could be in the landscapes of nature. I just had to let go and dare!

Les beaux jardins / The beautiful gardens
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like to you?

I always take a break of two or three days between each painting. Ideas have to simmer in my head before when I start, even if I won't necessarily go where I originally planned to go. The worst thing for me is to have two ideas in my head for the same painting. That's where it gets complicated. I also spend a lot of time looking at all the paintings I can find on the internet in the styles and genres that I like the most.

What are the techniques that allow you to save time for your art?

The last thing I want is to save time, I want to stay in my bubble in the moment. That's the most precious thing I get from painting. This relaxation and this pleasure to project myself in my universe.

(click to view)

How do you usually manage to find ideas for your paintings?

I often start from my previous paintings, a color, a very small stain and then I improvise directly on the canvas. I start from an atmosphere that I remember from my travels. Or I give brushstrokes of different colors here and there on the canvas until I see appear what I like. It works most of the time, but occasionally you hit a wall. I stop and start again the next day... 

How do you keep your art "fresh"? What techniques have helped you avoid exhaustion and keep your work alive and engaging?

Passive observation. I often stand in front of some of my canvases on my easel and stand in front for long minutes and observe. I let my imagination run wild. It's a technique I love and it's very effective for me.  Sometimes I focus on the colors, sometimes on the composition. It all depends on what I want to explore in the following canvases.

Les terres éloignées / The Far Lands
(click to view)

What do you think you're learning as an artist right now?

Time. Since I started painting when I retired, there is an urgency to paint in my home. So time is always present in my paintings. Taking the time, the time that passes, being in the present moment. Moreover several of my paintings have the word "time" in the title.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To be moved! One day, I understood why I would like to paint. I was in front of some of Van Gogh's fruit tree canvases, and something happened, I was looking at these canvases and tears came to me, it was as if I no longer saw the subject but simply the beauty of the canvas. And it reminded me of a sentence that a friend of mine said to me about the art photography I was doing at the time. I told him that I didn't understand why I was taking pictures, that not many people were interested, etc... He replied "the important thing is that somehow there is only one person who feels something" ....I had looked at these paintings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and I just let the emotion enter me.

La berceuse du temps / lullaby of time
(click to view)

Thanks, Richard!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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