“What I paint becomes a mirror, and in it I see my true state, my mixed-up humanity – blissful, moody, enthusiastic, subdued, strong, exquisitely vulnerable.”
My paintings are often described as bringing together European sophistication with the rawness of the West Coast. My European roots are strong, yet sophistication sounds so…contrived, and my paintings evolve organically – they disclose themselves to me, and murmurs become music as I invite my paints and tools into an improvisational dance.
What I paint becomes a mirror, and in it I see my true state, my mixed-up humanity...
Painting is like breathing to me. It’s intuitive, instinctive. It’s not an intellectual exercise, but rather a process of discovering, one layer at a time, what image was meant to be birthed. Something that I can’t foresee takes shape, comes into focus, and only then do I recognize it as a reflection of me.
Some people think artists must be deeply in touch with their emotions. That’s not me. I’m a mystery to myself. I do not have words for what I feel. I put my feelings, the good along with the bad, in a lock box where I don’t have to confront their rawness and unnameability. And I repeat “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.”
But when I pick up my brush, the emotions express themselves despite my lock box. And I am not okay – I am in flux, I am flummoxed, I feel. What I paint becomes a mirror, and in it I see my true state, my mixed-up humanity – blissful, moody, enthusiastic, subdued, strong, exquisitely vulnerable. The turbulence leaves me exhausted but through it I know I am alive, and I can feel joy.
Turbulence – my paintings explore the tension between stillness and movement. The grace of a horse mid head shake; boats eerily frozen while buffeted by wind; composed poppies just before a petal drops. A metamorphosis of the mundane into the divine gap in between.
I am deeply aware of my role as an artist. I provide safe harbours for viewers to experience emotion. And as a female artist, I feel responsible for breaching barriers. For questioning stereotypes. For asking the question: Where are all the women in the top 100 earning artists list? I want to be there, I want many of the female artists I know to be there.
Being an artist is scary. It’s unwrapping wounds, it’s taking off armour. I get fearful, depressed, self-critical, despairing, and profoundly lonely. But the paints call me. “Soleil, use me, choose me.” Painting is my resistance to the void of the blank canvas, it is my voice lighting corners where empty silence lurks.
Turbulence. Contrast. Tension. No…yet. Yes…but. The human experience made manifest.