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As a child, Martin Bourbeau spent his summers visiting national parks with his family. These were transformative experiences, filled with wild black bears and breathtaking scenery. When he began painting, the natural world was never far from Bourbeau’s mind. An affinity for the work of Van Gogh led him to experiment with texture early on, but Bourbeau kept building and building, creating work that straddled the line between painting and sculpture, eventually creating his current art form – Paint Sculptures.
Bourbeau does not paint with a brush. Instead, he relies on a variety of palette knives and paint applicators, at times spending months on individual pieces. “My goal in each piece is to have a striking contrast between motion and calm,” Bourbeau says, pointing to his detailed foregrounds and the abstract light swirling behind them. There is an ever-present warmth in his work, emanating from flowers or the sky itself. “I find that the world around me gives such inspiration for new works,” Bourbeau says. “I always challenge myself and my medium to a new level with each piece I create.”
We have come to describe Martin Bourbeau’s very personal and unique style of painting as Paint Sculptures. When asked what he creates, Bourbeau identifies most readily with Sculptor.
Before a drop of paint touches the canvas, Bourbeau has a vision, the stage is set. Taking his palette knife, Bourbeau works quickly, he has only a few minutes to spread his background paint and create his signature backgrounds.
The fun now begins! Martin has previously completed all his detailed sketches and research of animal anatomies, geographic structures and areas, and any other pertinent information necessary to his Paint Sculpture’saccuracy. Each bit of paint applied has a purpose to accurately depict the subject matter at hand.
Bourbeau paints layer upon layer, often creating a sculpted base for many of his animal structures. He uses only paint, much to the chagrin of many of his critics. Martin applies detail after detail with his paint applicators, never a brush, sometimes taking his palette knife in hand to shape paint in a particular fashion. The time and mental stamina Bourbeau applies to each detail of his work is often overwhelming to those watching his process. When every detail is perfect and the paint sculpture has passed approvals, it is set aside to dry completely before the finish is applied. This finish is of archival quality and multiple layers are applied to insure the painting is preserved. After the finish has cured, the paint sculpture is complete.