Anne Bachelier is a French artist and illustrator. Below is an exclusive interview with Anne Bachelier by the Miroir Magazine.
Q: Since when have you been an artist? Tell us about your choice of media.
A: I may almost say – since I have learned to hold a pencil! Certainly, I did not feel myself like an artist yet, but I was the one in the class who was always asked for a drawing. I used to draw on the side of my exercise books (even during the classes!).
Soon painting became accessible. First, gouache and then oil painting later in my adolescence. My father was an amateur painter (Sunday Painter) and it was familiar to me. Oil painting, ink, water colors, engraving… I have still so many things to learn!
Q: Do you have an art education? If yes, from which institution? Or are you a self-taught artist?
A: I have received an art education in a little Art School (Beaux Arts) in the south of France.
Q: The process and technique you have chosen?
A: Oil painting. I love its richness, texture, depth and transparency, as well as the luminosity I find in it. Recently I have re-discovered the ‘Overseas Blue’… fabulous! I may never reach the same result with acrylic.
Pencil and ink exceptionally when I travel, for example, as there is no single day when I don’t use one of these mediums.
Q: Did your family encourage you in your artistic activity or your artist’s career?
A: I have never had any difficulties at this point. One day, my parents simply proposed me to enter in an Art School. May be because my father was an amateur painter, as I have mentioned in the first question. (By the way, recently I have learned that in his youth he followed drawing courses and has even won an award).
Q: Is there any particular person who encouraged you in your artistic endeavors or your art career?
A: This question is close to the previous one, as i have always been followed and encouraged by my close family.
My husband Claude (more than 45 years!) has been always near. We met each other when I was still a student in Art School and he has always supported me. The ‘discouragements’, if I can use this term, came mostly from Art School professors. From their point of view, I was certainly not an artist. At that period (end of the sixties), one of the most remarkable artist was Vasarely.
By the way, I have hardly learned anything concerning the oil painting technique at school. What I know about this medium, I have found in books, discussions with other painters… and also through my failures. I was often in the etching studio, and this has brought a lot for my drawing practice.
Q: What are your hopes, dreams and future objective?
A: I would like to always move forward, not to re-copy myself, not to disappoint those who have followed me for a long time. I would like to share my work with those who have not discovered them yet. To have projects on-going until my last breath… and to be able to realize them.
I would like to paint, to draw, to illustrate books, to have an intact emotion in front of beautiful paper, a color that I have never used, a wonderful light. To keep the capacity of being enchanted, to have a hand that does not tremble, an eye that sees the light. The happiness is to paint, to draw.
Q: If you could have an opportunity to realize a project with full funding, what would it be?
A: I was always fascinated with Japanese glossed screens… I would love to work on such a project; I go on dreaming. Not in oil painting, but a work on the paper for ink, or in the mixed media in order that later, the work could be transferred on the screen and glossed – why not (I continue to dream) by a Japanese Master of Gloss…
Q: If you could meet a departed artist, who would it be and why?
A: Of course, many names come to my mind. Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Van Dyck, Knopf… and certainly I forget to name others.
I make part of the artistic group, the movement called ‘Libellule’ (‘Dragonfly’). Each year we work on a theme. In 2013 the theme was an homage to Masters. We were asked to pay an homage to a Master who had determined our vocation to become a Painter. After reflection and diving into my memory, i have recollected that one of my first greatest emotions in painting was during a visit to the museum of Louvre. I was twelve or thirteen years old and I was fascinated by David’s painting ‘Madame Recamier’, by its silence; the painting so very different from large frescoes of this painter. He is not really my favorite artist, but I am very curious, interrogative. I would have loved to find myself in the past and see how the great ateliers have functioned – as nowadays, the artists, in most cases, are alone in front of their easels. I would love to assist to the working session without being noticed…
Q: The theme of enchanting has always interested you?
A: When I had left the Art School, it took me several years to free myself. As i have noticed, frankly, I was not in the spirit of time with my paintings. This way, I graduated with the feeling that maybe painting was not for me. And then one day I thought that life is too short and who could stop me from doing what I love?
Q: What was your childhood like?
A: My childhood? I have spent my childhood in Bretagne, I was born there. Life’s coincidences has brought my Italian family in that region. From early childhood I have been listening to the legends about Broceliande, about stones, that move at night, about fairies… and I believed in all this. My grand-father told me stories he invented himself…
Adding to this that I was a dreamer-child and I transposed in my drawings things I imagined. The ground was fertile. The elements of enchanting in my art always take roots from childhood.
I am a woman, who has her ‘feet on the ground’, but I dream all the time. Inside of me always stays an amazed little girl.
The characters of my legends appear through the haze raising over a pond, sun rays on the leaves, my grand daughters lost in their dreaming.
It is enough for me to have in front of me a white page, a canvas or a paper and several colors… it’s as easy as this!
Q: What inspires your creations?
A: When I am home, there is no single day when I am not in my studio. It is necessary for me. I always have close to me some paper, a pencil… and all that I see or feel might become the starting point of a painting or a drawing. I am sensible to everything that surrounds me. When I go for a walk with my dog, when I gather mushrooms, my spirit frees itself out and a door opens. I rediscover a little girl who invented stories, and who could with a few blades of grass create ephemeral characters.
The elements of what I have seen or heard, the associations of colors and light return in my paintings weeks and even months later after my voyages.
I half-open the doors, and whatever the age is, there are always the ‘visitors’ to enter in my works, and this is the happiness of painting…
Translated from French by Dasha Balashova. Specially for Miroir Magazine.