01/23/14 By Janessa Osle
Alain Picard, talented and refined pastel artist and author of Pastel Basics, discovered his love for art at a very early age.
Always drawing or doodling or copying comic characters, Alain has been drawing since he was a young boy. "I remember drawing a portrait of Bill Cosby in the seventh grade that got a lot of attention," Alain says.
After that, Alain knew he had a talent for drawing, but it was not until his junior year of college that he declared art as his major; he has now been drawing consistently for 18 years!
Alain has been inspired and influenced by many great artists, but most strongly by those who focus on portraits and figures, including John Singer Sargent, Edgar Degas, Joaquin Sorolla, Thomas Eakins, N.C. Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell, among others. His parents have also supported and encouraged his talent and his pursuit of art.
Another great source of inspiration and guidance is his high school art teacher Ms. Bogart, who would enter Alain's paintings into art competitions to encourage and push his development. "I recently returned to my high school to teach a portrait workshop to Ms. Bogart's AP art students. That was great fun!" Alain says.
In addition to pastel, Alain also works in oil. "I enjoy working in two mediums; I like how they influence each other and push me to take different approaches with each one," Alain says. In his approach to composition, Alain likes to narrow in on subjects, drawing the viewer's eye with the use of contrast and dramatic lighting.
With age and experience, Alain has become more painterly—bolder with marks and more interested in the way color and edge can impact the viewer. "Once the challenge of painting realistically has been achieved, you look to develop your style with a more personal approach. For me, I just love loose backgrounds and bold strokes combined with very subtle and refined passages," Alain says.
For Alain, motivation and inspiration are the result of living life and remaining open and curious about the world around you. "Sometimes creating is a discipline, but inspiration always comes," Alain says. He is forever inspired by the beauty of the world around him; he sees beauty in people, in creation, and in the play of light and shadow.
Aside from art, Alain has a strong passion for God and his faith. He also loves spending time with his beautiful wife and two adorable sons. "That's my favorite thing in the world: spending time with my family. I feel incredibly blessed as a father and husband, and I've developed a pastor's heart for people," Alain says.
After traveling to Africa with his church and being involved in relief work there, Alain was inspired to develop his Rwanda Collection. "Life is a gift, and it's so important to live it fully," Alain says. The reason he enjoys teaching art so much is that he gets to encourage others in their talents.
Alain's advice to beginning artists is to work hard, practice the craft of drawing and painting, and find a way to study with a master artist who inspires you. "The more comfortable you become in your medium, the more freely you'll begin to express your own vision. Be patient with yourself and celebrate successes," Alain says.
He also advises to become involved with art associations and share your work with others. According to Alain, getting feedback is a great way to grow quickly. And most importantly, "Keep creating throughout all seasons of life!" Alain says. Being able to see the beauty in the world is essential to living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Janessa is Assistant Editor at Walter Foster Publishing. With strong opinions about everything, Janessa has an insatiable appetite for life and a profound love for the Ramones (and music in general), literature, art, nature, and her cats.
Art, like life, should be free, since they are both experimental.
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