Michelle Breton is an artist who moves you, from a place deep inside. How does she do it?
Breton is a master of the organic abstract landscape. Her work is filled with movement, chaos and control. She combines colour, composition and texture to create space, action and excitement.
The end result creates a feeling that can’t be captured in words. Painting like archaeology backwards
Breton describes her process as an archeological dig in reverse. She starts by making marks. After that, she builds up layers and scratches them back. It’s a combination of pushing and pulling, guided by her intuition. The process can take days, weeks or even months.
“I’m guided by feelings and ideas. The painting tells me what it wants. Something will take me and I’ll go with it. Over the years, I’ve learned when to stop. It’s when I know it has all the elements it needs to make it harmonious.
Her paint palette, like her process, is organic. Colours speak to her, they show themselves. Breton’s inspiration comes from many sources.
She mentions Cy Twombly for giving her permission to embrace wild compositions. Pierre Bonnard’s lucious colours, so rich and deep and bright. And the Australian abstract painter Elizabeth Cummings is a hero. Giants like Matisse and Louise Bourgeois are also influences.
An intuitive journey to art Michelle Breton came to painting in her thirties following a career as an actor in film and television.
She had an awareness that there was something inside her that she wanted to explore, but she didn’t know what it was. She still remembers her first experience of painting, during a workshop with Kerry Johns in the Blue Mountains.
“I didn’t know how to hold a brush, but I felt that it was something I needed to do. After that first class, I came home and sat down and cried for three hours. It opened up something in me.”
She returned to study Fine Arts as a mature student. Today painting has become something she can’t live without. It’s an ongoing relationship that brings her so much joy.
The painting in the window
Our special connection began when she spotted one of my works in a CBD window. But it was several years afterwards when we first met.
She tells the story like this…
“When I was at art school, one Saturday morning on Collins Street I saw a painting in a window and went closer to have a look. I read the artist was Thierry B. I looked him up and kept him at the back of my mind.
Three years later, when I had finished my first batch of paintings I put images of them on a CD – as we did back then – and dropped them to Thierry’s place. I didn’t expect to hear anything, but before I got home, he called me and said, ‘Can you bring the paintings now!’”
That was the start of a beautiful relationship that continues today. Seeing the works in person is an experience not to be missed.
Mixed Media On Italian Cotton Canvas 193 x 182.5 cm Signed, Dated and Titled Verso
Mixed Media On Italian Cotton Canvas 199 x 183.5 cm Signed, Dated and Titled Verso