Artist Brigitte Balbinot creates richly textured abstract paintings that reflect her life experience. View more of her portfolio on her website.
Painting is a form of expression that allows me to compile and distill my life’s experiences within the world I live in. The inspiration is multifaceted and originates from various sources, starting with the love I have for the landscapes of my childhood.
I grew up in Switzerland and spent quite a bit of time in the countryside as well as in the mountains. These experiences nurtured a love of form and textures. I was also fortunate enough to travel quite extensively during my young years and beyond. I lived in Africa for some time and spent time in the northern part of Italy which is where my mother was originally from. This exposure contributed to my creative vocabulary and broadened my horizons.
I began my artistic journey during early childhood by showing an interest in drawing and painting, though I chose to pursue a career in science. It was much later in life that I came to painting. Ultimately I made it a full-time activity.
Like many artists, the choice of subject matter and medium weren’t initially obvious. Eventually I discovered oil paint and both cold and hot wax. These mediums became a part of the formula I use which allows me to create works that align with my core values and aesthetic preferences.
Cold wax is a paste made of beeswax and mineral spirit. It is mixed with oil paint to give texture and body, as well as helping to speed up the curing process. Hot wax, commonly referred as encaustic, is a mixture of both beeswax and damar, a tree sap found in Asia. It is applied molten, and requires the fusing of each layer with a blowtorch or heat gun.
I grew up in the “old world” which has made me a lover of history and classical art. Via the juxtaposition of hundreds of layers of materials, I aim to create patinas and textures reminiscent of old walls and stones that carry energy and convey a story.
My process is very complex. It takes many months to complete a single painting. For that reason, I choose to work in series and have several paintings going at once.
The use of organic materials, oil paint (crushed rocks suspended in liquid fat such as linseed oil), wax and various aggregates like marble dust and raw pigments allow me to create very intricate surfaces. These can resemble marble, stones and various patterns and forms found in nature.
My technique involves the building and tearing down of many layers of material, then destroying and rebuilding. It mimics the cycle of life—birth, life, decay and death.
In my most current work, I reveal a more linear approach to composition as it relates to the natural world. Vertical lines equate to trees while horizontal lines equate to the landscape. My work also reflects spiritual laws. I embrace the Japanese philosophy and aesthetic of wabi-sabi which states that beauty can be found in the imperfect. When looking at my work, a definite nostalgia about time passed can be felt along with a deep reflection on life’s impermanence.