“As a child I painted on the walls of the back kitchen which drove my parents mad. Although they have always loved painting. They had six children to raise but always found a way of getting together with friends to collect some money for a particular painter. In this way they could choose one canvas of the artist in question every year. All their lives, even when they had little means, they bought paintings, never with the intention of hanging them in a specific place. They bought on the spur of the moment and rearranged later.
Sadly, part of their collection has been stolen; notably a Burgundian landscape that I greatly admired, also a landscape of Greece signed by Podevin and some colourful canvases of a Cap-Ferret painter called Hugon.
My parents lived in the north of France where there were many families who collected paintings. My Godmother was curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.
As children we were also profoundly influenced by music, as our mother, a fine soprano was a 1st prize winner at the Conservatoire of Music. When my father returned from the concentration camp where he had been interned during the 2nd World War, she continued to sing. Whilst painting I often listen to airs of opera, but mostly to Greek or Brazilian folk music. I like lively rhythms”.


1979 :

“I started at the Graphics Art School Met de Penninghen father, who long ago had reproductions of paintings printed on the calendars of the Northern Collieries, had always kept contact with certain painters whose work he valued. Among them was Jean Podevin whose son had been at Met de Penninghen and another graphic arts school in the United States. Jean suggested helping me with my work and little by little I left graphic design for painting.
  Jean Podevin had a studio in a sort of enormous hangar space with an amiable atmosphere, where I worked for 2 years. He then acquired a fine artist's studio in Paris, in the Rue Aubry-le-Boucher. There I worked with him for 8 years. He had been a teacher of perspective drawing at the Pasteur school where he prepared the pupils for the Polytechnic exams. Some other students came to the atelier but did not stay long.
To start with, and for a long period, he made me study in gouache, the composition of a painting and the efficiency of the various materials. He taught me to concentrate on seeing properly. I started to enjoy myself; I also learned by watching him painting. I experimented with various gestures after observing him use them; the shake of a brush, or how to exploit an involuntary touch. He worked with a knife. I started to work with the knife, this giving a more constructed result (I like that more rigorous aspect). The effects obtained with brushes often seem to me too gentle. Even when I work with gouache I have a tendency to start off with the knife. I also appreciate the effects of matter; there is no doubt that I soon gained self confidence and progressed more quickly thanks to this teacher.
I started by painting coast scenes, landscapes of the Arcachon basin where, since childhood, I have been on holiday. I enjoy working on any subject; depending on the mood I purge or charge. The sight of the simple splash of colour that a bath towel makes on a beach can release a series of vivid red paintings, at a moment when I am working with blues and greys; one thing is certain I dislike green.
Everything depends on the moment and on my travels. I never know in advance what subject I will work on nor in what tones. Anything, even the pages of a catalogue can inspire me; I see paintings in everything. When I travel I take many pictures and sketch a lot. Later I translate them to canvas.


1986-1988 :

“I worked for 3 years, part-time, in the creative workshop of Christian Dior Perfumes. I learned a lot but preferred painting”.


1989 :

First exhibition with Jean Podevin in Paris (Hotel Plaza). “He was pretty tough with me at this moment; he thought that from then on I should fly with my own wings. Not to have a friendly tutor to lean on, who guides you, who rectifies when necessary… and above all to be alone; at first I felt rather lost, but then I got along fine”.

First paintings executed on commission. “Commissions gratify me. I am very humble in relation to that. A subject, a colour, a size imposed can constitute a very good point of departure and from thereon I am free. It is an exciting game which has never perturbed me. My first commission, a still life, was for a lawyer who saw the biscuit box which was represented by a brushstroke. When I had to paint the Arc de Triomphe I turned it upside down as for an abstract work.”


1991 :

First Show “Les Indépendants” in Paris.
“At the time of my first exhibitions I found my work awful. I have never felt intimidated but it has never interested me to have to explain my paintings; I feel that it should all just be felt. I am not unhappy at the idea of being separated from my paintings; because only those still to be created interest me.
  Many people who regard paintings always want to know what they represent. Personally I never know why I place this or that brushstroke, at this or that place. I simply feel the need, so that the work knits together, so that it has strength. I feel it, it is instinctive; above all not studied.”


1992 :

Solo exhibition, Franco Portugese Institute, Lisbon, Portugal.
“The most difficult part is to know where to stop; not to encumber the canvas. Some pieces work out well immediately, others take a long time. Those I hide, turn them around, try to forget them and then come back to them later. Painting is a pleasure when everything falls into place quickly. I want to hear joyful music, it is all a game. At other moments it is more difficult, nothing comes out right or else the impetus is lacking and the result is wretched. On those occasions I often take the work up again in gouache to relax.”
  In any case all this is never a major calamity as I have at the same time a happy, well regulated family life and I am the mother of two handsome sons.
  A canvas needs a few things to be good; if you are not satisfied you just scrap it and start it again, the surface obtained in this way can add certain vibrations to the colours that are applied later.
I always start to work with oil crayons, then with a wash to place the colours, then with the knife from thinnest to thickest. I cover a canvas very quickly to avoid apprehension; in a few hours the work is structured.
I love cheerful paintings full of coulours. Those of Manet, some of Modigiliani, of Nicolas de Staël or of Picasso. Whatever their subject, what interests me is the emotion aroused by the colour, the texture and the composition. In Morocco I liked the effects of perspective on streets corners and the shifting colours of the floating markets in Thailand. I love to paint at cap-Ferret because of the ever changing tones.





1998-1999 :

A flock of orders
Invitation cards for the World Cup in France, for Roland Garros (Sommer Allibert company), and greeting cards for different companies.













2001 :

“I am not a passive person. My painting, I hope, expresses my effervescence; I am very positive, rather tense, and rarely dispassionate. I can never understand by what miracles my paintings can seem so calm. I paint placid waters, the siesta; that could be an echo of my Corsican blood…
I sometimes feel a little outmoded faced with recent trends, not that it really matters. The most important thing is to be honest with oneself. I feel no need to deviate just to be in fashion, I do not seriously consider myself as a popular artist.
My life would be unimaginable without painting. If I were ever impeded from doing so I would feel amputated. Jean Podevin told me “never give up your painting, you would never be happy”. Painting for me is a pleasure, a game, a joy.”


2002 :
First exhibition prepared on one single theme: Morocco.
Softer colours and less blue than before, more warm colours. I wanted more and more to simplify my painting.


2003-2004 :
I started to paint Corrida, not because I like the practice but because I am sensitive to the movements of the bull and of the toreador; it is the opportunity for me to make very coloured and vivid paintings.
At the same time I started my first painting on the theme of music with the piano as a main instrument; compared to bullfighting these paintings are more quiet.















2005 :
I crossed a new boundary, I needed abstract painting. Many greys, less colours, I started to play with the composition including words on the canvas; breaking the rigid aspect given, by the use of a knife, and curves made with a paintbrush.












2006-2007 :
I continued to make abstract paintings but with more colours, warm tones, reds and also purples. I increased my freedom of expression by working on large canvas.







[ Caroline MATTEOLI <| Legal agreement - Mail |> ]