Enter the dreamlike work of Fleur Palau’s oil on canvas paintings and illustrations, many of which feature rabbits and their human friends in beautiful, colorful and serene settings. To see more of her work, please visit her website.
I grew up surrounded by art. My mother, Mary Rose Palau, was a professional fine artist and my father, Julio Palau, was an architect. The house was full of music, paintings in progress and books. Models and students of my mother traipsed in and out of the studio which was attached to the house for painting sessions. So for me, to paint or to draw was to breathe.
I knew of no other reality than to follow my interior life of dreams and to this day, the same inspiration comes to me as technique and dream merge and I witness the transformation of color as it appears as if by magic on my palette. Often mixing the color is the thing that guides me within the realm of an already envisioned idea.
My studies included lengthy drawing sessions from plaster casts and live models at the National Academy of Design in New York City. Nearby was the Metropolitan Museum which was my refuge and playground for many years.
Poor me now! For lack of funds and cooperating models, I have ended up just pulling my portraits out of my imagination and very little of what I do is accomplished by observation of the natural world. Rather it is the remembrance of people and things I have seen that resurface on the canvas – sometimes I think of their own volition!
It isn’t so much that I “create” – it’s more what I “discover” while painting or doing a preliminary drawing that leads me to something illuminating.
My portrait themes range from damsels of the Spanish court to Jeanne d’Arc, to a young girl holding a brown rabbit, inspired by a poem by Emily Dickinson, or Nastassya Filippovna of Dostoyevsky.
My Rabbit World series is another vein into which I escape and is dreamier than ever as I use the rabbit to convey mood and a certain psychic state while set in a nebulous landscape or mocking flowers. How did I come to this?
While living in Italy, I started to include my pet rabbit in occasional landscapes, not choosing per se to create a theme, but just for fun. Living up in the mountains at the time with my son Giulio, then seven years old, our rabbit Tom was part of the family. Gradually Tom began to take a more central place in my paintings, and the rabbit theme evolved in quite a new and unexpected dimension.
Soon the rabbit became the theme and the landscape was almost incidental, even though I still painted outside. In retrospect, I found that this mysterious and proud animal guided my creative interior life and had opened to me a new and sometimes strange world. It was almost that through this animal, I was able to explore certain states of being that otherwise remained moot points.
More recently, I have written and illustrated a whimsical tale entitled Roberto Rabbit’s Search for the Perfect Pizza, which at this moment is available only in mock-up form through me!