Inside the Studio

Frederic Belaubre

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
Depending on whether I’m working on canvas (with oil) or on paper, different things appear. My work on paper is often figurative. It helps me to go with the flow of my imagination and explore all its ways: recurring dreamlike images like rivers or landscapes more or less deserted, or things seen through my life related to love, loneliness, death, others, and the relationship between human beings. Sometimes I also do portraits with or without a model. With regard to oil paintings, after having made many portraits in my youth, I arrived little by little to a reduction at the level of form that, by its current simplicity, seems to express better and better my feeling of light, clarity, and a certain dynamic order.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
The best advice: to paint what is around the figure.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Sometimes I begin by putting on some music (generally classical like Chopin, Schuman, Rameau, etc.) to get me going. I choose the music that corresponds to my mood and allows me to start letting out what I feel inside me at this time. Later, I often need silence and I stop the disc.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I do not know. There are many works that I like in painting and in music. Let’s say, the last self-portrait by Rembrandt.

Who are your favorite writers?
I read a lot of very different books, essays, and philosophy. I rarely find the balance between a lyrical style and ideas which seem fair to me. Let’s say that strong ideas can dispense with a very personal style, and that a captivating style without strong ideas is not enough in itself. I like strong ideas with style, that is, for example, Victor Hugo.