Sorelle is pleased to introduce a new "Inside the Studio" blog series! Read on to learn about artist Robert Marchessault's work, his creative process, and inspiration.
How would you describe your work?
The paintings are invented rather than accurate renditions of specific things. The images are shaped and refined to express my emotional response to trees and landscapes I've experienced. Every element, color, shape, line and texture is placed to play a role in the finished art. I want viewers to enter into the mood of each work and allow its presence to be a moment in their lives.
How did you get started with your current style of art?
It's evolved over time. In the late 70s and early 80s the work was abstracted allusions to landscape motifs. I experimented with many ways of painting my subject. At one point the work was fairly realistic. Now I combine color field backgrounds as a surface for the current tree shapes. Nonetheless, I maintain a variety of approaches concurrently. These provide me with the scope to work in a larger range.
Where do you work and what do you need in order to do your best work?
I live on a one acre country property north of Toronto next to Lake Simcoe. There's a house and separate studio building. The place is beautifully treed and has gardens that I work in much of the time. My studio has plenty of space where I can be as messy as I Iike. Big walls and good lighting give me the opportunity to work large or small. Music is always playing (usually jazz) and lends itself to my creative process.
What is your creative process?
The paintings start out as small gestural drawings. Those work out the ideas of shapes, movements, composition and energy. The paintings are composed in many layers. Beginning as vague suggestions, they are built up with rags and large brushes. A sander or scraper removes layers as I adjust and refine the image. Mixing colors is both science and art. Application of paint ranges from house painter's brushes and rollers down to tiny detail brushes. I experiment a lot and often introduce new techniques. Recently, I am playing with distressed surfaces.
Who are your favorite artists?
That changes all the time, but obviously there are many great painters from past eras who've influenced me. The list is so long that it's hard to write them all down. One thing they all share is passion and skill harnessed to unique personal visions. For example, you can never look at a Cypress tree without thinking of Van Gogh.
To whom or what/where do you look for inspiration?
Nature. That's my source.
In 5 words or less, what is your goal as an artist?
Discover and reveal.
Do you have any interesting stories to share?
I had a place in Taos, New Mexico, and loved the sage brush around me. One night the coyotes were yip yapping outside my window. That gave me the idea to go out into the sage and drop down on my hands and knees in order to see the sage from their perspective. That changed the sage from waist high bushes into a forest of tall sage trees. That's how I painted sage from then on.
To view more of Robert's available work, click here.