In this edition of Art Talks, we explore the themes behind the practice of one of our brilliant established artists, Marie-Claude Boucher. Read our interview with Marie-Claude below! Let us know what you think!
Marie-Claude Boucher was born in Charny, Quebec in 1973. Her interest in art began at an early age while drawing with her twin sister, and painting has since become her true passion.
Artist Marie-Claude Boucher obtained her Bachelor’s in Art and French Literature from McGill University. While in University, she also studied Latin, Spanish, and Education. Upon graduating from McGill, Boucher briefly pursued a career in teaching before choosing to devote her time to painting.
Marie-Claude maintains a palette of primary and pure colors. She has developed her distinct style with spontaneous and confident brush strokes: “I am not looking for perfection in the details, but rather a simplicity in my settings.” It is in the countryside where she finds her inspiration, often interpreted through welcoming red-roofed houses and characteristic clotheslines. The liveliness in her painting style allows us to appreciate her zest for the act of painting, and her colorful approach bears her inimitable signature.
Boucher considers herself a contemporary landscape artist with an expressionist twist. Her paintings adorn the covers of many greeting cards, and her uplifting style has also been used to illustrate “Super Katie to the Rescue,” a children’s book that accommodates her whimsical style in a unique figurative approach. She was recently proud to announce that her paintings will soon decorate the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Her work has been sold to private and public collections internationally.
interview with the artist
CH: What would you say motivates your practice? Why do you create? Who encouraged you to keep painting?
MCB: My primary motivation comes from just me being happy and wanting to share it. Giving back, I guess, in some way. That is the reason why I use so many bright and happy colors. It reflects my state of mind. So if I’m not in the right happy mood, I won’t even go in the studio because I already know the inspiration won’t be au “rendez-vous.”
CH: You seem to work with landscapes as the subject of your paintings; what is your motivation behind this? What messages are you trying to convey with this imagery?
MCB: It’s funny because I am a very social person; I love people, and I love social gatherings, but I don’t paint people in my art. I prefer landscapes that offer some kind of Escape to a happy place, perhaps a vacation destination like Hawaii, Paris, or Provence, Italy…. I love to travel myself, and I love coming back with ideas and subjects from them. And again, I’m always trying to create a happy place to escape.
CH: Your work is known for its bright palette and bold strokes. How has your style changed and developed over time?
MCB: The colors I use and prefer have always been pretty much the same, bright and colorful. I have tried more pastel tones, but it never seems to work as well for me. So I stopped fighting it and just continued with that bright palette. The red often seems to dominate a piece, a bit like the heart is the motor of our body. It becomes a focal point of the piece.
Through the years, my brush strokes have become more bold and more spontaneous, reflecting my confidence, I believe. I am no longer worried about pleasing anybody but myself, doing what feels right, and letting spontaneity guide my stroke and my art. When I look back at my early works, I can see the hesitation and lack of confidence. But I believe it was an important part of my journey as an artist; confidence only comes with time and practice.
CH: Can you describe a day in the studio life?
- How a painting gets started – techniques employed, colors chosen?
- What the space looks like?
- How are things organized or not organized?
- Are there specific steps taken when starting/continuing a painting?
- Time spent on paintings?
MCB: A typical day for me is arriving in my studio at around 10 (after a run and a walk with my dogs). The music right away is put in super loud; it helps me get in the zone. I never know what I will be creating that day; I really wait and see what I feel like doing at that moment. I love spontaneity, then it doesn’t feel like work but more like playtime. When I start a piece, it has to be done the same day, or the “feeling” of the piece gets lost the next day. I will do some touch-ups in the following days, but the main scene is pretty much completed the very same day.
My studio is always messy and disorganized, with lots of natural light coming in and a nice view of lac Saint Louis.
CH: What do you think brings the most inspiration to start painting?
- How do everyday occurrences get translated/reimagined into motifs and take shape (what is your progression between an idea to a physical painting)
MCB: I think my travels inspire me the most, The memories that are kept afterward. I never rely on pictures to guide me, I paint what I remember, and I paint happy settings that I would want to go back to. It’s really about creating happy escapades. I love adding little details, items to create some sort of a story to go with the landscapes, a bike, a surfboard, and a bottle of wine….
Lately, I have been painting Hawaii… one of my favorite places. The palm trees, for me, represent a wild and unstructured life, just like being on vacation, away from a rigid routine.
CH: You are an avid traveler and runner. How do these interests inform the work you make? What places have been particularly inspiring?
MCB: Trail Running, for me, has always been a way to escape and bring things back to perspective, a reset. Being in nature for hours, just running, is some sort of meditation and helps me clear my mind of negative thoughts. I think it’s an integral part of who I am, being a happy person and wanting to share that through art. I always notice the shapes of trees, clouds, and the color of the sky…. It’s a natural source where I get ideas for making art.
CH: Has anyone influenced you significantly in your artistic journey? If so, who and what did this change? Are there any other artists/artworks that you are inspired/influenced by that you think are important to mention?
MCB: I really don’t have any specific artists that inspire me. I try to focus on what I do and my style. I believe my technique has been perfected throughout the years; it’s, even more me than ever. I want my art to represent who I am and what I believe in, which is so simple, just be happy!
CH: What does the term “art” mean to you? How does it identify with your practice?
- What kind of connection do you feel between you and your art practice?
- What does your artwork mean to you?
MCB: Art, for me, is simply a way to communicate how I feel and how I see life. I’m really not a complicated person; I like to keep it simple and accessible. I don’t like arrogant and pretentious people, and I am not trying to be someone else. I like authenticity. My work says everything about me, colorful, bold, in your face, and authentic. It’s a mirror of me, simple as that!
CH: What do you do in your leisure time when you are not painting?
MCB: My favorite thing to do when I’m not painting is trail running. It provides a real escape from everyday life.
CH: What has been the most enjoyable part of your art career so far?
MCB: The thing I enjoy the most is knowing that my art provides a bit of happiness to people. Life is hard, and if I can bring a bit of brightness and happiness to someone else’s home, it’s mission accomplished!!
CH: What are your goals for your art practice for the next year or two?
- Any particular direction you wish to go in your artistic practice for this year?
- Are you revisiting old motifs, old media, and techniques you’ve worked with?
MCB: Lately, I have been working on a new fun technique with different mediums (pastel, ink, acrylic). I have created a few pieces but only for me. I’m not ready yet to share it. I think I am on to something fun, whimsical, and interesting…. But it’s not quite there yet. I always try to keep it happy and playful!
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