The text from Nathalie Paquin is hilighted in color. Pierre Desjardins has added his own comments in italic.
SHARING THE LIGHT
By Nathalie Paquin, associate at Art Parcours magazine
Translation by Kathryn Gabinet-Kroo
Pierre Desjardins’s artistic journey originates in his inexhaustible fascination with light and the effects of the sun, with beauty and harmony
And in 2007, I will add… Peace
Drawn to the challenge of painting light, he turned to the Impressionists “because some among them -- Monet, le Sidaner, Suzor Coté and a few American painters -- succeeded in rendering the luminosity that I see.” The technical effects of the great masters, particularly the striking impression of light emanating from their paintings, inspires Desjardins’s own explorations: “The Impressionists’ methods provides me with answers.”
Impressionism dominated my thoughts as I carefully perused the museums of Paris, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington and Ottawa. I was not drawn to the works in the Louvre, and in all these museums, the rooms housing works from earlier period failed to move me.... It was the paintings by the impressionists in the various museums that earned my admiration. Particularly after visiting Giverny in 1985, Monet’s influence grew and prevailed until the end of 1996.
The 1994 MONET retrospective at the museum in Chicago, where I spent three days, was a turning point, reinforcing my path toward an impressionist’s method of painting!
Copying impressionists’ paintings helped me to discover the technical recipe for this incredible light…and confirmed my direction!
Desjardins, a man with a scientific background, uses the empirical method for the series of stages leading to the completion of his oils. “My painting is a long process of diverse investigations.”
I have come to the conclusion that learning to paint requires every artist to develop a process of his or her own, and the steps are as follows: the vision, a reference system, the composition, the harmony of colours, the execution and … the final execution! My studio notebooks in which I record my observations, thoughts and musings have become important tools for preserving the evolution of my approach.
It follows that this painter’s preparatory work implies the use of specific tools that he carries with him everywhere in a knapsack: his “survival kit” includes camera, notebook, sketchbook, pens, and pencils. Thus equipped, the artist makes sure he will never miss an occasion when the light is particularly inspiring. By the end of his walks around the city, he has amassed a collection of meticulously recorded images and information in his treasured studio notebooks.
Subject matter comes to me in unexpected ways! I see something and then suddenly I see the painting I will do, as if I want to keep a part of the information offered to me. Sketches in my studio notebooks, photos, observations, all kinds of notes… it all finds its way into my backpack, which is always in the trunk of my car or close at hand!
Desjardins strives to transmit to the viewer “that moment of surprise, the wonder experienced at a scene.” Moreover, it is a vision that could become “internal”, leading the artist to ask himself if he has succeeded in recreating, through his paintings, the intensity of emotion he felt. Thus the artist continues not only his tireless quest for light but also the quest to share his emotions, which is in fact his ultimate goal. These sudden surges of emotion trigger Desjardins’s urge to paint, and he brings them back to life with his brushes in his own way, with fragmented strokes and complementary colours that overlap and answer each other.
I have marvelled at the beauty of nature since my childhood, and my best paintings are all inspired by nature. I therefore face the ever-increasing challenge of developing a personal vision that will help me to interpret the natural world.
Always pushing the limits of figurative painting without actually giving in to pure abstraction, the artist continues his long pursuit, and says, “Even after all these years, I’m still searching for luminosity. In fact, I’m hunting for something I have yet to attain, my own technique for capturing the Desjardins light and a contemporary vision of urban life.”
On the other hand, the city of Montréal, its life and its magnificent buildings have always fascinated me. Without a doubt, the years since 1974 that I have spent on the South Shore, the view of Montréal at different times of day this area affords and the choice of my home at the Estuaire de Longueuil with its panoramic view of the city strongly influence my choice of subject matter.
In 1995, I decided that I had to choose between painting the Québec countryside and painting the city…and I chose Montréal! But painting outdoors was still a priority.
Sometimes I truly believe I have found the light à la Desjardins…
I THINK I WANT TO PROGRESS TOWARD A CERTAIN FORM OF ABSTRACTION… THAT’S STILL TO BE DISCOVERED!
Here are several examples of LIGHT À LA DESJARDINS…