The softly glowing romantic oil paintings of artist Hilarie Couture capture the spirit and energy of her subjects. To see more of her expressive artwork, visit her website.
Painting allows for reckless abandonment. My greatest passion is painting people as subjects. For me, it is not about producing a photographic likeness, but more about recreating the spirit, energy and mood of the person at the moment we connect as artist to sitter.
I capture souls–their pain or happiness–on the canvas. When I look at a person, I don’t see “eyes,” “nose” or “mouth,” I see the shapes of shadows, subtleties of warmth and coolness in their skin tone, or how light wraps around their silhouette.
On rare occasions I have been so in tune to my work that the image is before me on the canvas even before I’ve made a mark. Those are the best times. I am most content when the image seems to have a life of its own. Only then do I feel I have completed a work of art.
My process is direct, working “Alla Prima” or all at once, from life. Looking at my subject, I will continually ask myself what is the value, temperature and hue that I see. How is the light affecting those things and what is the shape of the lights and darks?
I mix my paints directly on the canvas, realizing that it is the relationship of the colors next to each other that influence the entire painting. I love when strings of another color are evident in a brush stroke. I also love using the palette knife to put down bits of pure clean color.
I will assess the piece, being aware to economize my brush strokes and think about the play of opposites, thick and thin, smooth and rough, warm and cool, line and shape, while striving to create a “painting.”
I struggle to translate the value of color to my canvas, to make the painting sing with glowing light through correct harmony and fresh energy. I need my work to have meaning, tell a story, and express and evoke a response in the viewer as well as achieving a sense of sophistication that words can’t describe. That is my goal.
My style expresses my sense of Romanticism through the subjects that I choose to paint. I am currently working on a couple of themes. One is a series of Women with their Exotic Animal Counterparts; another is Modern Vamps influenced by the past.
If you are a gallery curator, a collector, or a peer, please take a look at my world… I invite your participation.
Hilarie Couture invites you to follow her on Facebook.