Norman painter recognized, Annie Puybareau dreamed of oil-base paints on canvas since the childhood, fascinated by the know-how of the artists of whom she observed the works. She practised a long time as an amateur before launching out in the adventure the day when her family life hustled. Today she lives by her Art.

Pleasure of painting: Which are your memories of childhood related to painting?
Annie Puybareau: I wanted to be a painter very early in my life. In my family, nobody painted, but both my parents had a « nice » pencil stroke. We lived in Paris. My father was a wig maker in the troop of Jean-Louis Barrault. I loved to attend the rehearsals. I was very admiring of the costumes and sets. But as he travelled a lot and worked the weekend, my mother often took us along, my brother and me, to visit the museums, the gardens, the monuments, to occupy us. I drew a lot. At school, I had fun making caricatures of my teachers!

PDP: Do you remember your first pictorial emotions?
A. P.: It was not in the museums but in my parents’ living room! Above the settee, they had hung two paintings of a somebody no-one has ever heard of which fascinated me. They represented a Norman thatched cottage and cliffs in the Pays de Caux . I wondered how the painter had succeeded in revealing a light on the chalk cliffs. Finally, everywhere I went, I looked at the pictures and I wondered about the technique. At the time, I dreamed to test true painting, with oil on canvas. But I only had gouache and colouring pencils, like all the 10 year old kids.

PDP: How did you "train yourself to become a painter" at this age?
A. P.: I drew continually. I reproduced photographs which I found in books; I made the portraits of my parents, my friends, my dog; I painted the bunches of flowers of the living room. Then I bought booklets such as How to draw the human body, how to make a portrait....

PDP: You followed courses at the Art School of Rouen?
A. P.: First of all I studied literature at the faculty of Rouen, but at 22 years, I registered to the courses for adults of the Art School, with Mr. Lasguy, who is the current director. Then, I attended the courses of Robert Savary (note: Great price of Rome in 1950, he was named painter of the Navy in 1987) during ten years. He made us work on alive models, and we exchanged opinions, criticisms. It is there that I acquired a speed of execution because the poses lasted sometimes only three to five minutes. It is there, also that I took taste with the portraits and the figures. I painted each day with passion and I started to make some group exhibitions and to gain prices.

PDP: And when could you carry out your dream to work the oil-base paint?
A. P.: Very gradually. In the Art School, I did pastel a lot, to which the gestural is close to that of the drawing, and who allowed me to approach the color. Then I tested painting with acrylic, but I quickly gave up because the speed of the time of drying did not suit me. Then, I worked with alkydes (note: oil-base paint added with alcohol of Winsor & Newton), which dry less quickly than the acrylic and which have the same consistency as oil. Now I work essentially with oil.

PDP: How did you become professional?
A. P.: Little by little, but a radical change in my life precipitated things. It was necessary that I acquire a financial independence. I had already started to make a name for myself in Rouen and in the area. I opened a course of painting to be able to live of my passion and to practise it everyday. I continued to take part in group exhibitions, and I began the personal exhibitions. It is very fascinating, because you have to do everything yourself: posters, invitation cards, framings... Then a gallery proposed to expose my paintings, followed by a second, a third... Thereafter, I met an American picture dealer, a Japanese gallery owner.

PDP: Did your relatives support you in your desire to follow this way?
A. P.: My parents and my friends played a very important part. They helped me to organize my exhibitions. Customers who became friends made my work known. It is very important, because to become a "painter" - a term which I prefer with that of " professional painter " - is not done from one day to the next. And it is not always easy. There are doubts that attack you...

PDP: What kind of advices would you give to young painters?
A. P.: It is necessary to often question yourself. Nothing is acquired, all is to be discovered; it is what is enthralling. In the Art School, Mr. Lasgy said to me one day, by looking at a portrait which I had just made: "This is bad, you make by heart". In other words, it is good to have technique, but it is necessary to let your emotions speak. It is important to find the right balance.

Annie in a few words :
Born in Paris in 1955, Annie Puybareau draws since childhood. After studies of literature in Rouen, she registers in the evening courses of the Art School of the city, where she will stay more than ten years. Married and mother, she does not practise any profession, but paints everyday and starts to become well-known in group exhibitions. After a change in her life, she makes the choice to try to live of her Art. And she succeeds. Exhibited permanently in about ten galleries, she obtained many prices and is one of the most appreciated Norman painters of the public and collectors.

The breath of the plein air
A friend introduced me to the painter Albert Malet, neo-impressionist very well known in our area and who worked a lot with the United States. He took along a small group of impassioned by painting in plein air (at the time), by any weather. I joined them. This man was one of these former countryside teachers who adore to pass on their know-how. It is with him that I discovered work in outside. Since this meeting, I like to paint in the animated places, like the beaches or the markets : I like to have fleeting moments, people who pass, a light... In painting from life, inspiration is unceasingly renewed, and emotion always new.
Isabelle Kersimon.