50 Interview Isabelle Beaubien
riginally from Montreal, Canada, Isabelle Beaubien gained her Master’s degree in Contemporary Art from The Villa Arson in France before moving to London to live and work.
Her dynamic mixed media paintings combine layers of vibrant acrylic colours applied with energetic strokes using handmade tools. Her unique aesthetic is enhanced by the use of resin applied directly onto the paint, creating an amazing gloss while pushing the limits of texture to create a sculptured appearance to the completed work. Your method involves making your own tools, painting in acrylic and then using resin on top; how did you develop this technique? Well, everything started when I was in art school. I was very interested in the pattern that happened when you paint with a spatula. At the time, I have to say, it didn’t look anything like my work today, and my teachers strongly recommend me not to pursue, so I stopped for a very long time, but I always had an obsession with the technique. So with time and lots of trials and error I manage to get to something quite interesting in terms of shape and motif. Using a spatula wasn’t an option anymore, so I had to build something that allowed me to create my unique design instead. It just came very naturally; some tools have been upgraded because they work very well, whereas some definitely didn’t and just created a mess on the canvas! Another component to make it work was to
paint the same colour on top of each other, by applying the resin onto some parts of the canvas. That’s where the resin made my work possible, as it does not matter anymore if it's the same colour, the texture is so different we don’t realize that it's actually white on white, for example… and those patterns pop out even more. With acrylic, when the paint is still wet, the colours are very bright and deep, but as soon as it dries they lose this beautiful effect and they become more faded and very matte. The resin brings them back to life, giving them more depth and power. But, I also have to confess I just love the thickness of the resin and the shininess that it produces. It’s impossible to get that finish with a regular varnish. It brings the painting to a different level, giving a little bit more of a sculptural feel, almost more like an object than just a painting on the wall.