I never could have thought my keyboard transforms so naturally into a grand piano every time I write. The prelude, the exposition, the recapitulation: it's my mind that creates; the fingers execute.
It’s only when I started working on replicating Luce Maximilien’s, Lucie Cousturier in her Garden, that the profundity of something that was once repudiated as ‘Impressionism’ and the artists themselves being scathingly described by the then critics as ‘painters of mere impression’, actually hit me. I have found myself being drawn to the Impressionists from as long as I can remember. There is something about these works which had gained prominence in the nineteenth century – in their exuberance of colour, the minimalistic use of line, the transparency of execution, the artists’ ability to capture fleeting nuances of an ephemeral world and freezing it upon their canvasses, the utmost simplicity of form and especially the co-creation between the viewer and the work that has always been fascinating to me.
I realised that by trying to replicate an impression I was actually negating the very idea of impressionism because the gradations of light and shade, the lines that must have struck the artist himself and what he must’ve then depicted in colour and form was his own little pang that he would have felt at that moment. The least I could do was produce an impression of the impression he must have then been moved by. It was like trying to catch within the framework of my canvas a soul that the artist had left in his painting and which roved about somewhere out there, playing with my senses, teasing me visually or viscerally; and yet ungraspable.
When you copy realist works then you have all the lines out there in front of you – the face, limbs, torso…but with the impressionists, you are essentially trying to capture the impression of the impressions they must have had. Monet himself said once: ‘I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house and the boat are to be found – the beauty of the air around them, and that is nothing less than the impossible.’ That’s where the irony of replicating an impressionist work lies then – in something as magical, as elusive as the air.