Fascinating underwater-themed pastels by Michele Poirier-Mozzone portray scenes filled with light, color, and distorted shapes.
I was the kid sitting with my sketchbook drawing people and portraits for hours. My pastime was spent copying figures from fashion magazines and drawing faces from out of my imagination. My natural path was to major in art in college and graduate with a BFA degree.
While raising children, I always tried to keep my hand in something creative. Watercolor was my medium of choice for its beauty and portable, no-mess, fast-drying properties.
As my family grew older, I felt a need to explore this lifelong passion and devote myself to it once again. Eight years ago, in hopes of “loosening up” and learning something new, I began to use soft pastel and found it intriguing.
A friend mentioned that with the right paper, it is possible to do a wet underpainting with watercolor, let it dry and then begin adding layers of velvety pastel. Being comfortable with watercolor, it felt natural to begin my pastel paintings this way. I quickly fell in love with the technique.
It is remarkable that I am still portraying basically the same thing I did as a kid, figures and faces. These days, most of my time is spent on my Fractured Light series of paintings which depict the figure in water.
I am not an abstract painter by nature. Previously, my work had sometimes been too “tight” and highly rendered for my own liking. This series gives me the opportunity to explore areas of pure abstraction in the reflections, bubbles and distortions of form, while still painting what I love–the figure.
The idea for this series came about after a fruitless foray into abstract painting and an afternoon photographing my daughter in our pool. I found the underwater distortions and play of light extraordinary.
I decided it couldn’t hurt to try painting her figure into some of my abstract pastel pieces and the results were fresh and exciting. I began to receive a lot of recognition with this new body of work and it has continued to evolve over the years.
My models are often one of my daughters, myself or a friend. The paintings are not about anyone in particular, but about capturing a common experience, memory or idea. Most of us have experienced the sound of bubbles rushing past our ears, the broken ribbons of sunlight, bizarre reflections and the weightless, slow dance of movement below the surface.
Water brings change, gives life and can take life away. Bubbles are ideas and intentions that rise to the open air while each figure is interpreted reacting to a moment in this surreal, wet world.
Link to Carolyn’s original article here.