"I grew up in Picardy, in the Department of Oise. At school, I’d only be half listening to the teacher, because I was always thinking about my passion for drawing! I was always fascinated by history and, like a lot of boys, castles in particular. I then began to take an interest in Picardy’s abbeys, churches and cathedrals. The region’s certainly not short of subjects!
Picardy is a place of mists and nuance, gradation, landscapes that instil a sense of calm and inner peace. At the very start of my career as an artist, I mainly used oil and acrylic paints. Then I discovered watercolours and I realised the extent to which this technique suited the Picard countryside: the shades across the landscapes are diffused and infinitely subtle. Especially with watercolours being such a natural, instinctive type of paint: a piece of paper, a palette of colour and some water and you're ready to paint the world.
I have a special ritual, a secret technique that I' very attached to: when I stop to paint a moment or immortalise the beauty of the Picard landscape, I like to collect a little water from a stream or river close by, which I use to dilute my colours. My paint then becomes one with the environment, and is instantly more beautiful, more real.
Obviously I like to paint big monuments, the grandiose cathedrals, abbeys, churches and castles, but I also like to put myself in the shoes of people discovering Picardy for the first time and I think to myself that here, it's not necessarily the breathtaking monuments that you remember the most, but rather the atmosphere, the people you meet, the smells, so many intangible things that its hard to commit to canvas. Nevertheless this is the challenge I set myself every day: to infuse my watercolours with emotion against the backdrop of historic monuments. Walking around Senlis, it's difficult to resist the charm of the cathedral there. But what I like to paint above all are those tiny details, more personal, that we see every day without necessarily taking in their real beauty. In Senlis, for example, I enjoy painting its little hidden streets where the atmosphere of another time takes hold of you from the first step.
I love venturing out and entering a church or monument that is still completely intact. Occasionally I even find, among the ruins, remnants of stucco on which you can find pieces of frescoes, different colours used on a statue. It's still as exciting as ever when this happens!"
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