Interview Sept. 3rd 2009


Tell us about your pastel paintings…

They are all I think about.  I am fascinated by clouds.   As I am driving, I study the sky and the colors and the light in the trees deciding in my head what pastel color would match what I see.   Painting is really seeing and noticing.

When did you start painting?

Painting and drawing I have done since I was a child and later at Art School in La Chaux-de-Fonds I had about 15 hours of drawing per week for 4 ½ years beside jewelry classes and other subjects.    Over the years, I mainly did jewelry design.   I also enjoyed painting with watercolor pencils but I felt that I had not found the right medium for me yet.

When I tried pastel painting at first, it seemed daunting as it looked like you needed so many sticks and all that dust, but the colors, ah, the colors…so bright and intriguing.   I saw extraordinary pastel paintings by John Vistaunet at Gallery by the Bay and was amazed that one could paint such details with pastels. Then I got to see Janet Hamilton’s beautiful pastels and bought a little painting of hers at the Studio Tour on Camano Island.

Last Spring I went to see a Pastel Show at the Blue Horse Gallery in Bellingham and told the owner that I wish I would do pastel too but it was overwhelming to start.   I wanted to paint clouds.   He encouraged me to go ahead and just buy a very few pastels and that I didn’t need to get a 1000 of them to start!    That was the nudge I needed.   One rainy day I dashed over to Dakota Art Supply and got started!  La Conner Art Workshops were offering a class by Teresa Saia on Painting clouds, my dream!   That was last June and this is when I really started to paint.  June 5th 2009!

How is painting different from designing jewelry?

Oh, very different and a whole lot simpler!   To me, Jewelry has to be functional and I take a great deal of effort to make sure the piece is tailored to the wearer in style and shape.   Even jewelry I create from an idea and not for someone in particular must be easy to wear.  When I hear my customers say – Oh, I wear it all the time - It makes me happy.   Pastel painting gives me joy and a refuge of quiet time and freedom.    Jewelry is serious business!

What do you like most about pastels?

I completely lose the sense of time, I can paint until 3 am without knowing it and not be tired, it is quiet and the colors are so rich and steady, it is like a treasure hunt to get the color you need.

How do you choose your subject for a painting?

I love clouds and trees, especially if there is a special mood from the light.  I’ll be going on a trip to Switzerland and another one to Japan soon and I plan to take lots of pictures.

What is inspiring you these days as an artist?

My inspiration has always come from being quiet, sitting at my desk and staring out the window.    If I need to create jewelry for someone then I do the same but I think of that person until shapes and ideas come to me.   I daydream a lot.   Emotions inspire me, from color, from music from joy from fragrances.

Has your new exploration in painting had an impact on your jewelry design?

Yes, I want to use more texture on the jewelry as if I was shading or coloring.  I have continued the theme of clouds into my jewelry design since clouds are my main painting subjects.   Also my love for detail yet simplicity seem to work for jewelry and pastel painting.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am thankful and excited to be showing my paintings and jewelry in one show.  Stanwood is a special place for me as this is where I arrived when I first came to this country and where I met my husband.


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 Marie-Claire DoleMount Vernon, WA360-336-3776