La vie m'a fait passer par des périodes de bonheur, de victoires, de douleurs et de pertes. La peinture a toujours été pour moi essentielle, pour mon équilibre, pour guérir, pour m'arrêter, respirer, et retrouver parfois la paix. Ce sont ces sentiments de sérénité, lumière au milieu de l'obscurité, que j’essaie de faire passer à travers mes toiles. Mon style est vu comme poétique, une façon d’échapper au chaos de la vie, une invitation à faire une pause et de reconnecter avec l’essentiel.
Cette poésie s’exprime dans mon travail à travers des toiles surtout abstraites, où parfois se devinent des silhouettes, une ville, ou des éléments naturels. La nature est en effet mon inspiration prédominante – les couleurs du ciel, la clarté des mers, la texture de la terre ou du sable, les échappées de lumière ou les impressions de végétation. Les couleurs vives comme le turquoise, le jaune, le fuchsia, jouent avec le blanc dominant et les tons sombres. La texture de mes touches de pinceaux douce, paisible et forte à la fois donne l’impression d’entrer dans un brouillard ou dans un ciel nuageux. Tout est flou, rien n’est défini. On y entre chaque fois différemment, on en ressort parfois transformé.
Ces dernières années m'ont aussi amenée à écrire. Ecrire l'histoire, les aventures, de notre petit garcon Gaspard avec qui nous avons vécu 3 années riches et intenses.
Une lecture qui transforme, également.
Merci de découvrir mon univers.
Below are one article and some speeches I gave during solo exhibitions' opening nights (2019, 2017, 2014). That might help you to understand better my creative world and my experiences.
Article featured in Art+ Magazine (June 2019); it summaries a bit the journey.
Speech during opening night solo exhibition “City and Poetry”, May 2019, Manila
Thank you for being here tonight. Thank you for coming and seeing this exhibition. I hope you enjoy it, I hope my paintings allow you to stop, to take a short break in your busy day,
I hope they also make you feel something, maybe they make you think about your town, about your life, about our planet Earth.
Art is made to be shared, so if you were not here tonight, my paintings would be meaningless.
When I booked the date of the exhibition, a bit less than a year ago, I did not realise this exhibition will be such important. Indeed, as you know, my family and I just decided to leave the Philippines in 2 months, so it might be the last exhibition in Manila!
Really, each solo exhibition is an accomplishment, but this one, therefore, means even more.
It symbolises the end of à cycle, and, if there is an end to something, that also means there is space for something new, for a change, for a start.
I guess, somehow, it is not completely a coincidence, that this exhibition here is a tribute to Manila, city that hosted me and my family for 10 years! So much happened in 10 years, Manila has been the witness of so many important events and stages in my life. It could only inspire me.
The way I represented Manila on my paintings might call something in you. That might remind you something. A view from the top of a building, the city appearing in the middle of the clouds when you drive back from the beach, or from Tagaytay, and you suddenly see this towers, breaking up the skies vertically, looking beautiful and massive at the same time.
My paintings might also remind you some of the dreams you made, or they invite you to dream.
Really, we all know the city we live in is chaotic, oppressing, polluted, grey. But there is more. À city like Manila, you need some time to like it, to adopt her. And if you give her time, she will please you, you will find your ways, if you work with yourself to find beauty in it.
Because there is beauty, there is passion, there is poetry in Manila. It is just a question of seeing it, making space in your mind, in all your senses, to find it.
I hope this poetry, this beauty, can be seen or feel in my paintings, through the clashes of vivide colors such as pink, red, yellow or turquoize, through the peacefulness of the brushes strokes, the soft texture of the clouds.
But not only the city itself, nature around us also inspires me.
For those of you who followed me during all those years, you remember that my first inspiration was nature in Asia. Coming from Europe, I was amazed to see how wild and powerful nature is in South-East Asia. The shapes of the leaves, the size and weirdness of trees, the blues, greens of the seas and the skies… That was my first main inspiration here.
Even if my painting has changed since then, even if it has evolved as I have, I have not abandoned this nature, it is - and will always be - present in my art: you can clearly see around you how natural elements influence me: you may guess the colors of the skies, the transparencies of water, texture of sand, holes of bright lights in the dark clouds, between realism and abstraction, you will see leaves, trees or nature trying to take over the cities and human civilisation, trying to find a way to live together.
Because life is like that : it is made of contrasts.
Like the Philippines, between Nature and massive cities.
Amongst chaos and amongst hard time, we need to continue to work on finding pieces of beauty and poetry inside our own world.
That might bring peace inside of you, even inside chaos.
TRANSFORMATIONS, EXHIBITION IN MANILA, 2017 – speech, March 22 2017
Thank you for being here tonight. This exhibition means a lot to me and I would like to take the opportunity to express some thoughts with you. I chose the title “Transformations”, as my art has always represented the different stages of my life, and the last 2 years have been full of changes and transformations. My friends know that I prefer not to talk about some things, and keeping my thoughts or emotions secret or hidden. But as a painter unveils her masterpieces on the night of the opening, a painter also reveals at the same time a part of herself. May I please remind - or tell - you some of the events I have been through - that might help you to understand better the art works around you, as well as the labels written next to them.
My previous exhibition in Manila was in November 2014, in a gallery on Pasong Tamo. Many of you were there. In my speech during this opening night, I dedicated this exhibition to my son, Gaspard, as he is, I said on that night, one of my most beautiful and special creations. I did not know, at that time, he would leave us, 5 months later, just before his third birthday. That was his journey. It took me a long time to understand that his journey was different than mine, that we won’t be together forever, that my main source of inspiration was gone.
Since then, life has been tremendously chaotic and beautiful at the same time. Few weeks after Gaspard left us, I got pregnant. That was a gift, from him, from life. And I was pregnant of two babies! But the process of grieving had just started and I was sent into a very tough pregnancy. My heart was in the state of death, but my body was creating 2 lives. I was thankfully carried by the community here, my family, my husband Fred and my first 2 children, Sarah and Hugo, my friends, my school, my students. Thank you to all of you. You kept me going. I did not paint at all, for more than a year. I had no inspiration. I gave birth to my twins, it was exactly a year ago, in March 2016. 2 healthy and beautiful girls. Our home, which was full of emptiness and sadness, was suddenly brought back into joy and happiness.
As most of you know, I completely passed out during the delivery, my body was broken and I lost all my blood - I stayed 8 hours in coma and few days in ICU - yep, I know what you think, I keep my life interesting! ; The community in Manila was fantastic, they - you!- gathered together to save me. Everyone did something - coming to the hospital and giving me your blood, if you did not have the right blood type, some of you came to give us your presence, or you help by calling and messaging around, finding donors, sending positive vibes, prayers or lots of love. And I am here tonight! Look at me, it worked quite well! Please, give me the opportunity to say thank you tonight. Thank you to Fred who stood up and managed to keep his nerve during this highly demanding situation, and thank you to all of you, who responded to his calls. Well, I got 15 blood transfusions on that day, that is more than a complete renewal, and I survived. And my girls are healthy. And Gaspard is in my heart. Then, I felt ready to start something different. I went back to painting. I stopped teaching. After all of this, I felt the urge to create and dedicate all my time to my passions! I have been writing a book about the value of life, as a tribute to my son, and a testimony that might help other people facing their own struggles and issues. I am also using this year to my art: painting again, finally, and letting myself expressing all of these very mixed emotions.
So, let's go back to the specifics of tonight: the art! You heard my story, the last 2 years have shown a lot of changes, a lot of transformations. You can see it in my art - my previous neutral colors have been moved to vivid ones. The pure abstract and peaceful cloudiness I used to paint has moved to portraits hidden behind clashes of colors, dragonflies ready to take off, paintings of Nature keeping my body grounded with my head in the stars, or even paintings of my city, Manila, wearing green or pink dresses… All these paintings are the evidences of transformations happening in my mind, my body and my heart. Thank you for being here tonight, it is a privilege to share them with you. For the anecdote, many of these paintings were painted first few years ago, but they were apparently not totally finished. I took them back on the easel this year, one by one, and I gave them a second life by adding these colors and changes on them. And I think they are even more beautiful now.
Finally, I would like to share some things I tell myself every day. Just remember that we are all alive and healthy, today, right now. Let’s be grateful for that. Gratitude is something that my little boy gave me. And when you feel that life treats you badly, take each difficulty as a challenge, as an opportunity to grow, to change, to transform. Nobody says it is easy, but you need to give it a try. Surround yourself with love, good vibes and energies. Find that strength inside you. Accept your changes. Accept you are not thesame person than before. It is not about was it better or worst beforehand? Things happen, we change. And we carry on. It is a slow and long process, but embrace these changes in your life. Embrace the transformations.
Thank you very much.
Solo exhibition November 2014, NOW Art Gallery, Manila - speech during the opening night
Thank you very much to all of you, for coming tonight and for your continual support. Friends, colleagues, art lovers, friends of friends… Art is made to be shared and your presence tonight means a lot to me. Thank you to my husband Fred and for his continual love and patience – last month he had to endure me getting (sometimes) stressed, as well as 45 canvasses with oil painting getting dried all around our house! Thanks for Xavier for making the Embassy of Belgium sponsor of this event and making us so happy with nice wine and food – which is part of the celebration.
Tonight is a very special night for me. Even though it is not my first exhibition, it is the first one with such a long stop in between – more than 3 years, as my last solo exhibition was in Greenbelt in February 2011. It has not been 3 years of break, as you can see with the amount of work on these walls, but it has been 3 years of changes. The paintings here are the reflect of this. During these 3 years, I was still working hard on painting, and teaching, but I was also dedicating a lot of myself to my youngest baby who was born in 2012. He is a very special child and is surely one of my most beautiful creations. That might explain the long break in between the last 2 exhibitions! Within the last years, I sometimes thought that I would never exhibit again, or find my balance again, in between work life, private life and family life, and painting. I honestly found it hard to juggle with everything. That is why having all of you tonight around me, around us and around my canvasses, and seeing all my art pieces reunited on this beautiful place, all together, that shows there is hope and you can trust in life. I feel moved, I must say, and grateful for all the presents life is giving me.
The paintings here reflect my own journey. Please take a moment to observe them. Take a step back, look at them, get yourself enveloped by them, and reflect also about your life. You also might sometimes feel like you live a crazy life. You maybe want to take the most of everything and sometimes forget just to enjoy the actual moment. You might want more, and you find yourself racing against imaginary, or real, things. In this sometimes chaotic and demanding world, you need to find your way to stop, to breathe and to listen to yourself. Hopefully, my paintings will help you to do so, as they have been helping me, every day, to find this way to stop and to be grateful. Appreciate the moment through Art and meditate. Meditation and Art are both deeply connected. Art has the power to bring you back to Essential. In my paintings there are essential feelings, essential colours, nothing superficial as you can see. A superposition of transparent layers, that invite you to go inside and get lost. Lost in a positive way, “lost” in the meaning of let it go and feel free. Painting allows me to reflect on my own journey, on life in general, and to realize how beautiful life is. Art has also the power to bring you serenity and peacefulness. How beautiful are the natural elements around us: soil, air, sky, water, light … You will definitely see them – and feel them- in my abstract paintings. How beautiful is Nature, and especially this small details/close-ups you see on barks, or leaves, or flowers… Beauty that most of us pass by without paying attention – you might appreciate them on the photographs I took on the room aside. Art allows us to emphasize Beauty in people. The serie of meditation portraits, the silhouettes of People you can see in some of my work, women or men, sometime you cant really tell. They are all serene and in peace. They all have their own story, their own background, their own injuries, as all of us, but they all have found the light in themselves. Some people look for answers around them; I believe that answers are inside all of us. You need to find your own light in your own soul. Take the time to listen to your soul, enter it, get through the different layers of your soul until you find your core. This explains the title of the exhibition.
As a conclusion now, I will just say that I am so lucky of being with you tonight, being so well surrounded by people like you, having the privilege of sharing this moment together. I am so grateful to see all my paintings all together here; I consider them as my own creations, like my own children, and I deeply love each of those exhibited. I have a special connection with all the paintings you can see tonight and I feel proud that they are all watched by all of you. And that maybe, somehow, they will touch you somewhere and you will also find some connections with them. Thanks again for being here with me, with them, for this special night. Let’s have a drink to Art and to Life!