Ingrid de Jong
Qualicum Beach, B.C.|
Oils & Acrylics|
View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with INGRID DE JONG|
Ingrid works almost exclusively in watercolors and with the use of powerful light and strong, rich colours her floral and landscapes demand the viewers’ attention. Although she is a realist at heart, she has recently experimented in abstractions and representational portraits that let the viewer linger and think about what the artwork represents.
When and how did you decide to become an artist?
I might have been born an artist. I remember having physical comfort when colouring in a colouring book as a child, which shoots the anti-colouring theory to pieces. I was picked out and given special projects when I was in elementary school. Going to university I chose to study the subject I got the best marks in (French) and the subject that I loved the most - which was Art.
What formal or informal education have you found most useful?
My education at UBC was like an art school training and it provided me with a great base to grow from. We produced rather than just studied about art. The professors had to be practicing artists and they were excellent.
You have a number of artists within your family. Has this influenced you in any way?
I have always been surrounded by art in my mother's home. My sister encourages me to reach for the interpretive rather than the realistic. We all love art.
What other life experiences have influenced your work or your choice of subject matter?
I studied in Geneva, Switzerland at their art school. My teacher immediately disliked me because I was not European and he made my life miserable. I was never granted permission, which was a prerequisite, to doing a painting idea I presented, and I finally just did whatever he told me to do. He failed me in painting! I was so angry that I swore I would prove him wrong that I would never be good at painting. It made me very determined to do what I wanted to do.
During your career as an artist, who or what has given you the most inspiration?
An American named Wolf Kahn woke me up to strong colour and I loved his semi-abstracts even though I was not interested in doing them at the time, but the seed must have been planted. Linda Kemp, at a recent CSPWC workshop opened a floodgate of inspiration for me. She works in "negative painting" doing amazing landscapes and florals. I was incredibly inspired by her.
What is your ideal working atmosphere? Do you listen to music while you paint?
I absolutely love to wake up on a painting day, have a coffee at hand, stay in my pyjamas and paint in my wonderful sunroom. I confess to finding myself still in pyjamas at 4:00 p.m. on several occasions. I love listening to Sting, Eric Clapton Il Divo, Rachmaninoff.
Do you have a sketch or an idea before you start to paint?
No I don't. I work with my camera. I know exactly what I want when I take a photo. I work from either 1 photo or I use 4 or 5 to develop a painting. I see life as a series of possible paintings. I am always seeing painting possibilities in my daily life.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
Being failed in front of an entire student body. It was very difficult to defend myself at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts as my French was not strong at that point. It was a painful experience.
Could you tell us what has inspired your most recent works “Semi-Abstracts” and how this transition has affected your overall style.
I went to a week's worth of workshops in Calgary, Alberta this summer, given by the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor. I spent two days with an instructor who was doing painting in a style that I had been experimenting with beforehand. She was the right person at the right time - my skills soared after being in her classes. Afterwards I did 15 paintings in two months. Her way of painting, however, is completely opposite to the traditional way of painting, so this technique conflicts with what I was doing before. I haven't yet returned to my previous style. It will take time to integrate it all.
What role do you think your emotions play in the creative process?
I feel a lot of happiness when I paint and it takes my breath away when something unexpected but awesome happens in my painting. If I'm sad or sick, I can't paint at all. Colour makes me happy.
Tell us what you enjoy most about being an artist and what your aspirations are for the future?
I love the unexpected while doing a watercolor. It moves me when poeple like my work and when people tell me that one of my paintings has made them very happy. Aspirations? I want to get much more skilled than I am now. I have a few ideas about future projects but I am keeping them under my hat for now!
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