The Words of the Brosseau Family

Interview of Rebecca Brosseau

August 2011

Rebecca Brosseau is currently going into her junior year at McGill University where she is studying Joint Honors' Political Science and Geography with a minor in Religion and Philosophy.

She lives in Montreal, Canada with her parents and her two cats whom she sometimes pretends are her siblings. She would love to get in touch with other artists in our church community.

Question: Describe your process, please.

I'm not sure that I could say that I have a process. Drawing and painting are certainly one of my passions but I rarely put enough time aside to invest in them. That said, I progress and challenge myself to draw or paint by making small projects to push my boundaries. I have never taken a real art class but am without any doubt an art enthusiast. Therefore, I have an immense appreciation for great painters such as Bouguereau, Manet, Waterhouse and Klimt and often try to learn from their brushwork and technique by studying paintings in museums and galleries. Furthermore, one possibly unique aspect of my "process", if that's what we can call it, is that I am only ever satisfied with my work right after I have completed it. The satisfaction fades after a few hours, or a day if I'm especially lucky. Therefore, I feel a never-ending push to learn from my mistakes and do better the next time. It often happens that halfway through the painting, once I am finished with the hardest parts, I don't want to be working on the same work anymore and am unintentionally brainstorming for my next project. There are shortcomings to this process but it is an innate ambition that I hope will enable me to improve over time.

Question: Where do you take from for inspiration?

I have an infinite passion for people. I love talking to people and trying to understand them and I believe that this carries into my art. For the past few years I have only painted portraits because people's faces bring me such joy. Since I have unfortunately not yet worked from live models, I get inspired when I see a beautiful photograph of someone or a wonderful portrait. Actually, I was in Paris a few weeks ago and, of course, spent a significant amount of time in the museums there. At one museum in particular, the Musee d'Orsay, I became overwhelmed with emotion and couldn't control my tears because of the incredible beauty that surrounded me. When I got back from that trip I decided that I would try to make a reproduction of the work of an extraordinary French painter named BoLiguereau. My attempt is the painting of the young girl pretending to pray.

Question: Do you ever create art with other mediums?

Growing up I was very drawn to making jewelry and clay sculptures but since I got into painting, which was approximately four years ago, I have stuck to this one medium. I started painting portraits using strictly watercolor, but have now turned to acrylic. I would love to use oil paint but, because I paint at the kitchen table, my mother thought it would stink up the entire house and, therefore, forbade me. For a short time during high school I also did some acting and received good reviews, but I have not pursued it as a medium of art. Finally, I enjoy singing in private, but feel very self-conscious about it in public because I do not have an exceptional voice and I come from a very musical family. Painting is the one medium that I feel truly fits my character and, therefore, I plan to stick with it!

Question: Can you tell us what first drew you to this art-form and why?

I have always had a strong affinity for art. I remember loving art projects as a kid in school and spending much more time on them than on my other homework. In my last year of secondary school (we have a different school system in Quebec; this year would technically be equivalent to grade 11) I had to create a personal project in addition to my other classes and decided that I would use the opportunity to try painting. You see, I had never really painted before, but, for some reason, felt pushed to try. Therefore, that year I invested a lot of time into trying my hand at painting. There was a lot of trial and error and, even though I was not able to create the most beautiful paintings, I did get a feel for the medium. At the end of that year, I was on the yearbook committee and got inspired to paint the portrait of each of my grade's teachers. This was a tremendous task, but, again, I felt compelled to do it. The portraits were all done in watercolor and they were only about five inches tall, but they awoke in me a sort of curiosity and amazement that I could use paint to make people I loved come to life. I received many compliments for my work have, since then, been passionate about painting portraits.

Question: What are your future aspirations where the art world is concerned? Any long-term plans?

That's a good question. I have actually been struggling with that exact question for the past few months. I am currently doing a double major in Political Science and Geography at McGill University, which is in no way connected to the art world. That is because I am very interested in both diplomacy and painting. That said, I have yet to pursue both fields and am considering going to art school after I finish my undergraduate degree. Many of my friends are encouraging me to do that, but we will have to see. My plan so far is to continue teaching myself and doing art part- time during my last two years of undergrad and then seeing what feels right when the time comes. Of course, I would love to become a famous artist someday. 

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