Interview with L’Ogresse de Paris

Octobre 2016 / Paris, France > Leenane, Irlande

When we talk about journeys, we usually consider destinations, places or weather conditions. I want to talk about encounters instead. Loving travelling means spending time to discover and open up to the others.

Hello Stéphanie! Could you introduce yourself to the blog readers?

My name is Stéphanie Chéron. I am French, but adding Cielecki to my surname, I want to underline how much proud I am of my Polish origins. After a university career in graphics, I fell in love with travelling and I made some pictures to express my international experience.

Tell me something that I don’t know about you. When have you started drawing, painting?

Everything started in 2012. Passionate for discovery, I decided to end my studies at the Beaux-arts University of Martinique. I was alone for the first time, in the middle of an environment I had never seen before. The humidity rate, the coloured districts I used to cross to reach the university, the impressive cockroaches, the rich vegetation of the surrounding area…everything was astonishing to me!

Which was your first subject?

I made a series of three 400x600mm watercoloured sketches representing the topology of the streets of Fort-de-France.

Have watercolours become your favourite technique?

No, I also use pencils, dry pastels, acrylics, collage, or the collection of objects found on site and many more techniques.

We have met in Martinique. What have you retained from your experience down there?

It’s nice to have passions. This experience allowed me to discover how to express my feelings through illustrations. I focused on several landscapes and scenes of everyday life, but I preferred to represent the architecture of the island.

Then, I lived in Malta.

You are living in Ireland at the moment… What do you like in Connemara?

The grey colour, the varied nuances of green and the strong contrasts between warm and cold colours you can find here. The colour of mountains varies depending on the weather. After the rain, the sun. After the sun, the rain. And between the two, you can appreciate fog, rainbows, showers, mist and often, sun and rain at the same time, resulting in nice shadows reflecting on the mountains of Leenane. Given that I draw in situ, that confers movement and clumsiness to my works. My new subject: lights and shadows.

To paint on the ground, the weather conditions must be favourable. How do you select your subjects?

In Ireland, I wear a good oilskin, a pair of boots and I am ready to go! I keep my diary under my arm, so that the material does not take place in my backpack. I follow my intuition. I stop, I take a breath, I listen to the nature, or, more often, to Chopin and I start drawing to mark the passing time. In any case, I never draw from a photo, I always stand in front my subject to paint it!

How much time does it take making a painting?

It takes me about 30 minutes to paint an A5 format, 4 hours for an A3 format. I’m really looking forward to focus on A2 paintings at the moment! The mountain in front of me is so great that it deserves such a scale. If the subject is personal, I attach much more importance to it and I take the time to transcribe my emotions on the paper. I am patient, and I can stand drawing on the same place for up to 6 hours.

Do you have any suggestions for those who want to start drawing?

Do not throw anything, try to preserve everything! Come back on the painting if needed, but be also able to stop. Watercolours are interesting, because they leave trace of the instantaneity. The lowest layers preserve the first gestures, the clumsiness remains visible, and that’s charming to me.

Any dreams?

I’d like to collaborate with a publishing house …

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to travel through the blog today. Your work is very inspiring. I love the spontaneity that emerges in a moment in which many artists intellectualize a lot their creations. That’s exhilarating!