Claire Desjardins is a Canadian artist who lives and works in Gore, Quebec.
Primarily a painter, her work focuses on gesture and colour; emphasizing energetic, animated brush strokes and bold palettes. Her work is both highly abstract and highly personal, a dynamic expression of feelings or reactions she is consciously unaware of.
She regularly exhibits her work in galleries and art fairs throughout North America. In addition, she often teaches painting workshops, and has served as a jury member on several national art prizes.
We chatted with this inspiring artist and asked her a few questions about her artistic process.
What does your creative process look like?
My creative process is really all about my lifestyle. I don’t have the same way of working each time I create a painting – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I like to mix things up a little, so my creative experience is often quite different from one day to the next. I like to create surprises for myself, to see how materials respond to different ways of using them, to keep things interesting. Becoming familiar with the materials in my studio allows me to work this way. That said, when it comes to getting into a creative mindset, I believe in the power of routine. Having a routine clears the clutter in my mind, so that all I have to focus on in my studio is making art.
Most mornings, I work online: I respond to messages, make social media posts, look for interesting things to capture my imagination. This is easy to do, as I live out in the country with my husband and our dogs. After a morning coffee, we usually walk the dogs, then have a quick bite to eat, and I then head across the driveway to my studio.
That’s when things get interesting. As soon as I open my studio door, I switch on the lights and things comes to life. I look around, taking in the previous day’s activities and try to draw out all the inspiration I have gathered from the hours and days before this moment. I notice the smell of paints as I walk around the room, inspecting my work.
Usually, I will notice something that needs to be added or fixed. This is when I get my hands dirty and dig in. If I’m lucky, a certain inertia builds. It allows me to surf from one creative thought or idea to another, allowing me to move from one painting to the next. It all feels very natural and effortless, and I often lose track of time. When this happens, it’s a good day.
D: What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is the moment when you release your thoughts from the pressures of time and social expectations – and even the self – when you enter a realm of freedom and allow yourself to simply design, think and make whatever stirs you. When there are no mental barriers, the floodgates can open and creativity begins.
D: What purpose does art serve in your life?
All of my work is an attempt to decipher the chatter in my head, to put forward a less awkward side of myself, to navigate through my everyday chaos towards calm. My paintings are personal. The outside world is referenced quite indirectly through the filter of my emotions. Through my work, I find myself expressing feelings or reactions I am consciously unaware of.
D: Can you describe a key moment in your artistic journey?
The moment that most stands out in my mind is when I transitioned from corporate to art, back in 2011. I had been laid off from my job as a graphic designer for a large marketing and communications firm. I knew that I could either search for another job, or I could take a chance on myself and try living as a full-time artist. I chose the latter, and never looked back. I have never worked harder, and I have never been happier!
Project 1 :
Find out how to create her floral painting using Golden SoFlat Acrylic Paints.
Project 2 :
Discover three ways to create your own ground using acrylic polymers. A great layering technique!
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