Nature versus Nurture? That is the question. Are we born intrinsically creative or does creativity require fostering and nurturing so that it becomes a natural part of our daily existence. There are those who live a creative life while others seem to lose or forget how to be creative. Maybe being creative requires a bit of both.
Marie Antuanelle is a Sydney based seascape abstract artist who has been painting as a professional for the last two years. Since the age of five, creativity and art had a huge impact on her life and it saved her from insanity. It was a form of psychotherapy and meditation at a time when everything around her was changing.
Growing up in Siberia during the political crisis whereby the Soviet Union was under reconstruction both economically and politically as well as socially, with the announcement of Perestroika. This changed the political landscape of the Soviet Union which lead to a major economic fiasco and a fatal division between the Soviets themselves. Creativity was Marie’s saving grace.
“It was a really tough time. The country was in ruin, lots of theft and robberies and there was no protection. It was hard for my mother, raising three kids alone, we were barely able to live week by week,” Marie said.
“Art became a therapy for me. It was the one thing that I could alone. It was the one thing that was for me, without having anyone want something of me.”
Marie travels all around the world trying to capture and portray the different oceans in her artworks under the slogan, ‘Four Oceans in Seashells, Resin and Fire’. She tries to capture the emotions evoked in different places using fire and items that she picks up along away from each location.
“I like the constant movement when you see the reflection of light on the surface of the ocean. The power of nature, constantly moving, endless, it really stirs something inside of me,” Marie said.
“I like to portray the texture of the ocean. Most of my paintings are oceanic, not realistic but you still have a feeling of the texture of the water. It’s about expressionism, expressing the feelings rather than showing the actual nature of the ocean.”
Like all creatives, Marie begins with a vision in her head, an inspiration. She has done away with paint brushes and uses the pouring to mix method. She uses resin mixed with colour pigmentation and incorporates items like seashells or golden leaves into her work. Some items are clearly obvious, while other items are only known by her.
She would then pre-mix the colours till she is satisfied with the shade and tone as well as the viscosity and density of the resin. After that, she will begin the pouring process. She paints with music on and moved into a meditative state whereby, she is guided by her emotions and not her logic. She has only 30 minutes to pour the resin before it sets.
“To create one layer, you must prepare for a long time, be very focused and ready. You have 30 minutes to pour the colours, after that you shouldn’t touch it. It still continues to move on the board and you have to monitor it to make sure it hasn’t fallen to the floor,” Marie said.
The painting continues to change after six to eight hours, and after two days, it will set and the next layer can be added. Resin is like liquid plastic or glue when it is not mixed with a colour pigment. It is translucent and you can see one layer through another.
“This creates depth and very organic shapes. What I am trying to do is make it less man-made and more natural. The most important thing is to stop at the right moment. The more you interfere, the more artificial it looks. Whereas, I want it to look spontaneous and natural,” Marie said.
Knowing when to stop is crucial, during the setting process, Marie sets the painting aside for several days. She comes back to it, walking around the canvas, back and forth, trying to understand it, tweaking it to perfection and moving it from one side to the other.
‘I am trying to understand which way would the painting evoke the feeling that I want. If I walk into the room and see the painting on the wall and it gives me the impression that I want, it means it’s done. Sometimes I end up changing something that doesn’t look right for that piece,’ Marie said.
Like many artists, Marie tries to capture the fading beauty of the moment. When you see something beautiful but it dissolves and disappears in an instant, at the very moment when it is seen. Something that can’t be described logically. States of perception that can only be emotionally expressed.
“Life is very short, you don’t know how many days you will have left. I made the change into full time artist after working in business and being successful at it,” Marie said.
“You have to enjoy the ride, do something that really evokes the feelings and emotions that you want to feel and value that.”
Marie grew up in a land full of fields and forests and for three months out of a year she was sent to the south of Russia to stay with her grandmother, by the sea. Her grandmother was the driving force which ultimately saw her make the decision to immigrate to Australia and settle in Sydney to be closer to the ocean.
“My grandmother has been the most influential person in my life. She allowed me to do everything that was forbidden. Different parents have different rules and when this rule paradigm switches off, you realise that rules can be changed,” Marie said.
Coming from a traditionalist method of painting, her love of fluid artwork began when she watched a video on YouTube. This love was instantaneous, she admired the way it made her feel and this ignited her curiosity and she spent a year researching and really understanding the materials involved.
At first she found it difficult, until she found a woman in Melbourne who owned a shop that sold all the necessary equipment and materials needed to pour resin. She was the only person who spoke to her, other resin artists refused to talk with her.
“It took me about a year to experiment, to find my own way. I didn’t want to look like other resin artists. I wanted to have my own style and I think I have achieved that,” Marie said.
“Over time, you develop special little tricks that makes things easier. You can see them on my time lapsed videos that I post but you don’t know why I did them or how I did them. These things are so tiny but they are important for the success of the piece,” Marie said.
“It is all about viscosity. It is important that you see and touch the resin to understand the different affects gravity will have on the resin. It is all experimental.”
With all things creative, there are elements with pouring resin that can be controlled while others that are left to gravity and the universe. With resin pouring there is limited amount of control. Marie has control over the colours, the viscosity and density of the pigments and the stability of the board.
“When you first start pouring resin, in the first five seconds you see such beauty but it is all disappearing. It is moving and you just want it to stop but it doesn’t. That can be quite stressful at time,” Marie said.
“You need to experiment and understand that different pigments have a different weight and how they will interact with each other. It is not the viscosity but the density of the pigment.”
Marie has had a busy year of exhibiting her work, doing commission work and running workshops to teach people how to pour resin.
Not too long ago, she finished a group exhibition at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. It was a group exhibition that involved the art societies in Sydney.
Before that, she had an exhibition at the Children’s Hospital which also incorporated the works of the children into the exhibition. Marie donates part of her sales to the hospital.
“There was no charity in Russia during the political and economic crisis. There was no organisation that would help. Helping children makes me feel nice, emotionally it makes me feel good. It gives you hope that you can help change something for the better,” Marie said.
“The exhibition went for three months and I ran two workshops with the children in the hospital, teaching them how to pour resin. We incorporated their paintings in the exhibition and hung them in the hospital so the children could see them. It was quite successful.”
Last year, her painting was accepted into the Mosman Art Gallery as part of a group exhibition. Marie also took the prize at the Hunters Hill Art Prize and her artwork was sold on the night. She also entered five of her artworks in five different classes during the Royal Easter Show. Her artworks were accepted and they we all sold.
Marie has another busy year of creating more artworks and inspiring other people to achieve their dreams, no matter what. She will participate in group exhibitions and will have a solo exhibition with dates and venues to be announced.
“There is going to be an Autumn period with a lot of group exhibitions. I will be in the Mosman Art Gallery and the Hunters Hill Art Prize, and the Royal Easter Show which is what I am currently working on. After that, I will be preparing for my next solo show, mid-winter,” Marie said.
If you are interested in finding out more about Marie Antuanelle and her work, visit her website www.antuanelle.com alternatively you can check her out on Facebook and Instagram (antuan_elle) to get in contact with her about purchasing some of her work or her workshops. You can also find her work on the Blockshop website.
“I want the viewer to be puzzled, calm, to get the feeling of meditation. I want my artworks to be something that stops you for a second. To help you focus on your inner soul and get the feeling of, ‘Yes, I am here now.’ I want to drag you from your future plans, from your past and pull you into the present. Enjoy the beauty of the now and see how beautiful life is right now.”