What would you do if you lived in a time or location where art materials were not readily available? I have spent some time considering this question & my solutions included burning wood to make charcoal, creating sculptures from natural/found materials & using natural substances to make my own pigments. One artist took this idea to the extreme.
Seraphine Louis was a French domestic and, unbeknown to many of her employers, a committed & driven artist. Due to her impoverished life, she could not afford to buy commercially produced materials. Her ingenious solution was to gather everyday substances, such as wine, soot & oil & transform them into vivid pigments which she used to depict her natural surroundings.
Yolande Moreau plays Seraphine in Martin Provost’s 2008 film of the same title. This charming & gentle film reveals the artist’s delight in the beauty of her natural surroundings. She is depicted as both grounded by her life of domestic work yet somewhat detached from the society in which she lives by her compulsion to paint.
The film centres on the relationship between Seraphine & Willhelm Uhde. Uhde was both an art dealer & collector who had exhibited Picasso as early as 1908. He organised the first exhibition of naive art in Paris, which included work by Rousseau alongside those of Seraphine Louis & others.
Seraphine believed that the angels were commanding her to paint. One day she said that the angels had gone and she never painted again. Seraphine developed mental health difficulties & ended her days in an institution.
The film deservedly won seven French academy awards when it was released in 2008.
The image above is a link to the film on Amazon.
Should you decide to use this link to make a purchase I will receive a small percentage in commission. If you do, I thank you.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about my attempts at making paint by clicking here.
I also had a go at making egg tempera & that post can be viewed here.