This week’s cover artist, Adeline Heurteau, aptly writes on her website that “elegance, fierceness and grace are ever present in my paintings. I am trying to show the most subtle, the most precious aspects of reality.” We couldn’t agree more. The artist also explains how she establishes these qualities regarding her “Rabbit Series,” one of which is on the cover: “The Rabbit Series is created with an emphasis on compositional elements which are very similar to music, composed with harmonies and textures to create mood and feeling.” Again, we couldn’t agree more.
Heurteau’s realistic techniques, while often mirroring Old Master paintings, also evoke Expressionism. Consider her portraits of women and nudes where brush strokes are both gentle and fierce. Yet her rabbit images can also be interpreted as surreal. (She has a particular penchant for Dali, Ernst and Magritte.) A rabbit sculpture looking up at another bunny painting on the wall evokes the intriguing idea of “the doppelganger.” So does the piece wherein a reclining nude female is looking at a real bunny beside her, suggesting the commonalities between them.
Q: Even though you live in New York now, what do you miss most about Paris where you grew up?
A: I miss most walking down the street in the morning, smelling the croissants. And at the end of the day, when Paris wakes up, having an aperitif, like a kir, at a café. But New York wakes up then, too, and I can have a kir. I miss Paris but not always the people. They complain all the time. Doing business they act like old people. Here older people act like 20-year-olds. That’s great. People talk to you, especially when you have a dog like I do.
Q: I know you are living across from Central Park now on the West Side, but you have to move soon. No matter where you move, however, you like to stay here at Cedar Point. Why is that?
A: New York is great, wonderful, but I need to get away from distractions and to have a place to paint. I like both worlds. And I like change.
Q: Speaking of change, where will you move next in New York?
A: I don’t know. I like to live in different neighborhoods. I don’t get attached to one neighborhood.
Q: Coming to New York was certainly a big change for you. And adventurous. How did you get there?
A: It’s a long story. In Paris, I was in fashion design, and I met an Englishman from Canada. One of his best friends was Dubai’s Prime Minister who offered him a job in Dubai. My boyfriend asked me to come with him. I was always attracted to North Africa; I had visited Tunisia and loved the colors of the country, the joie de vivre. But we had to be married to go to Dubai. So I became a housewife, getting my license so I could drive there, painting and taking classes. We had a huge house with five bedrooms and a maid.
And I really didn’t want children. After three years, I came to New York with one suitcase for a summer program at the New York Academy of Art to escape the heat in Dubai. I never went back.
Q: Why did you leave? Really.
A: I needed a new beginning. I needed to study art. This is my life. I want to travel the world. However, 12 years later, I’m still here.
Q: Regardless of that, going from an affluent lifestyle to New York was an adjustment for sure.
A: I lived in a small room at a women’s residence hall when I first came to New York, but it didn’t matter. I wanted to learn art. I became friends with one of my teachers who was my mentor, and we painted together privately. Then I got my own studio, but he’s still in my life. He gives me good critiques.
Q: You have certainly come a long way. Why are rabbits a special subject for you?
A: I have had rabbits since I was seven years old. In Dubai, I had a rabbit with his own room. I took him with me to New York, but I had to hide him where I lived. But having a rabbit reminds me of when I was a child. My father told me, “Never forget who you were as a little girl.” I have a dog now, a dachshund named Bobby. He’s like a child to me.
Q: Do you have any other life lessons that you take with you?
A: Yes. To go fast, you have to take your time. And, the more you paint, the more you learn.
For more information: www.adelineheurteau.com