Meet Louise Renée, the winner of the Best Beginner category in the June 2022 PleinAir Salon. Her piece just happens to be a pastel painting! Whoo hoo!
Have a look at her painting, so full of details and discoveries!
The title, which comes from a French song by Angèle Arsenault, translates roughly as “Clermont the blacksmith who wants to live life to the fullest.” The song speaks of the importance of living life to the fullest.
This is what Louise had to say about the inspiration for her painting:
“This is a painting of Clermont, a Québécois blacksmith at work in his forge in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. He creates beautiful copper weathervanes and many other custom metal objects for his clients. He also owns a sugar shack where he makes delicious maple syrup.
Clermont is larger than life – exuberant, passionate, full of vitality, and ready to discuss the big issues in life. He exudes “la joie de vivre” and hope for humanity. His warmth, creativity, and generosity should inspire us to develop our talents, keep learning, and help others as much as we can.
It’s after visiting his forge with my husband that I decided to retire after 35 years of teaching French Literature at the university and devote my time to painting.”
Louise Renée describes the materials and techniques she used to create her winning piece:
“I used soft pastels and pastel pencils. I blended them mostly with my fingers as if I were sculpting every shape.
I’ve recently retired from a long career in teaching, so I’m very new to pastel painting. For that reason, everything I tried was exciting! For example, the colour of the hood above the forge looked grey to me, but I ended up using blues, greens, and purples so that the greyish tones would come to life.
I experimented with the checkered shirt before I was able to achieve that soft, fuzzy texture of the flannelette fabric. Getting the right colour for the leather glove and apron was fun. Believe it or not, it took me 2 hours to capture one stick of rebar! I admit that this was quite ambitious for a beginner!”
Expressing her feelings about winning the award, Louise had this to say:
“I felt overwhelmed and deeply honoured. At the young age of 18, I had to decide whether to go into teaching literature or studying art. I loved both equally. I chose literature but took many workshops in art over the years.
I only began painting seriously after retiring. But I threw myself into it with passion, and I’ve been learning so much with every painting. Some paintings take me two months to complete, but I lose track of time and enjoy the challenge of trying to express something deep inside me that resonates with the image that I’m working on. Every painting has a story, and I write a text to express the emotions that inspired it or that I ended up feeling as I was painting.
This prize is a huge encouragement to someone who is just starting out in the world of art where learning is endless and so fulfilling. I’m so grateful.”
And finally, here’s Louise’s advice to anyone hesitating to enter the PleinAir Salon:
“Leave your ego at the door. The competition is about connecting with other artists and benefiting from their experiences more than comparing yourself to them. Winning is of course very nice and gives your confidence a huge boost, but just knowing that you’re now a part of a huge artistic community is incredibly rewarding.
Stay optimistic, keep working, look at all the paintings that were judged the best and see if you can learn something. There is always room in art for another voice, even if you feel that a subject has been done much too often. Your style is like your handwriting – it’s something you may not even be aware of. Even if you don’t rank in a competition, keep trying because your voice is unique.”
Such good advice Louise!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us Louise Renée!!
Lisa Skelly Wins Best Plein Air Pastel Again!
Congratulations Lisa! Here’s her winning piece for the June PleinAir Salon.
Lisa also won best Plein Air pastel back in April. You can see her image and read what she had to say about her win HERE.
And be sure to ENTER the PleinAirSalon. The next deadline is 31st August so you can still enter. Be brave and do it!
And that’s it for this time,