Oils & Acrylics|
View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with MICHELINE HADJIS|
Micheline Hadjis creates her artworks using multiple layers of translucent colors and textured highlights of opaque acrylics, which results in an explosion of color that captivates her audience. Using this technique, Micheline brilliantly portrays the texture, color, and vibrancy of her exotic and tropical subjects taking the viewer on a personal journey within her imagery
You have been very successful in a number of art related careers, at what point in your life did you realize that you were destined to become an artist?
I have always worked with colors and shapes as a fashion designer but tole painting was the inspiration that led me to work on canvas. For years I did not want to depart with my paintings but as people were asking me all the time to buy them I finally agreed and it was the beginning of a career.
What formal or informal training have you found most useful?
My sister-in-law gave me this book on Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers and for two years I copied just about everything in that book. That showed me how to paint flowers. After that I started creating my own vision of flowers, the most sensual and bizarre the better. Over the years I took courses with all kind of mixed media and that was an eye opener as well as liberation from the constrictions of figurative painting with all the details. With time I have tamed and came to understand the creative process of abstract work.
During your career, whose work do you relate to most and what has given you the most inspiration?
Georgia O’Keefe’s sensual flowers were definitely been an inspiration for me. The apprenticeship of the technique where you can paint on fabric with all kinds of water media was the most important step in my evolution. Also the discovery of the Japanese paper called “Yupo” brought my artworks to another level of creativity that is most enjoyable.
Your work is very colorful and exotic, have you always painted these kinds of images and what experiences have most influenced your choice of subject matter?
Yes, painting colorful and exotic paintings brings me to another realm where I forget our long and cold winters. Not being able to experience the sight, smell and beauty of all these exotic sensual flowers and the fascinating tropical fish in their habitat all becomes an evasion of the senses.
I understand you use a number of different mediums to create your artworks. Could you tell us a little about the technique that you use?
I always paint on a canvas wrapped with a100% unbleached cotton that I prepared with a medium acrylic when painting the figurative subjects. This prepared canvas gives me the fluidity that I prefer for my background and then the subject is superimposed and painted with fluid acrylics with all the details. This process takes many hours before the desired effect is achieved. “Yupo” paper is another story…this Japanese paper is almost like a photography paper and the pigments (always fluid acrylics) stay on top and pretty much have a mind of their own. With experimentation I learned to control and guide them but it is always a big surprise at the end, one that I enjoy most of the time. On this, I sometimes use molding paste, granular gels, gold mica, iridescent acrylics etc…
How did you arrive at this style and technique of painting?
With time, experimentation and a lot of passion for visual art.
Do you have an idea or a sketch before you start to paint and do you work on more than one piece at any given time or do you do one artwork to completion before starting on another?
When I paint figurative subjects, I usually work from photographs. My subjects come from my garden and in the summer I take hundreds of pictures at different times, look at them on the computer and start the process of altering them with Photoshop. This great tool permits me to enhance the colors, get a sensual close-up and apply all kinds of treatments so that this flower becomes mine. Sometimes the photograph is stunning just as it is, other times I take photographs from books and also make it mine. The background is always the most fun to do and with a little guidance, I let the pigments do their work.
The most creative and difficult paintings are my marine scenes. One can guess that I don’t plunge in the ocean every time I need references! I scan exotic fish, corals, anemones, and all kinds of marine vegetation from books and then from these elements I compose a totally original scene that is always based on colors. I like to finish a piece before starting another one but sometimes I leave it aside if it is too laborious. I start another piece and come back to it later, but I try to avoid doing that as I could very well just leave it forever. With abstracts I work many pieces at the same time as I have to see what comes out of the pigments doing their work, then I give the artwork focus, depth, light etc…a life of its own.
You paint both realistic and abstract pieces. When you paint, does your subject matter have anything to do with your mood?
Very much so! Some days I cannot paint all these little details so then I go to the abstractions, but sometimes I am ready for the details and hard work and the result is very rewarding as there is always a great pride in viewing the finished piece. Abstracts are a challenge but very therapeutic in their own way as you can only control the pigments to a certain degree; it is like working with a partner, he gives, then you give.
Where do you paint and what is your ideal working atmosphere?
I paint in a vast room with lots of light and I like quiet when I paint, no music, no television. I am at peace with myself then and not distracted.
What have been your greatest success and your biggest setback?
My greatest success was when a gallery came to my house and bought a load of paintings. There are always aches when you are rejected with different events or galleries but you learn that it is not necessarily your work but the parameters of their needs.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I love the fact that my paintings are appreciated by people from all over the world. It gives me great pride to know that these people do not hesitate to pay good money for my artworks and that they also get great pleasure to look at them.
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