On Her Own Path
For Isabelle Truchon, life is a journey, an adventure, a game of strategy. Perhaps best summed by a quote at the close of an email we exchanged, “I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.” (attributed to Muriel Strode)
And more simply stated on her website – nature. spirit. life. Isabelle Truchon is influenced by history – her own and the broader recent and ancient past. Her art and conversation resound with themes of resurrection, freedom, courage, peace, nature and roots. Art soothes her soul as it flows onto oversized canvasses that sit tall on easels in her studio, are rolled and stored in racks, or tucked behind stairways in her home, originally a log cabin built in the 1800s. Everything relates. Each collection she mindfully assembles is cohesive. When she is satisfied, she exhibits and hopes, ultimately, her work will be placed where it will continue to inspire.
“Wild-Free” by Isabelle Truchon
Her palette borders on monochromatic; her strokes long, bold, confident and sometimes repetitive. She harnesses on her canvas, pure unbridled emotion and captures the obvious and passionate bond she has with her subject(s) and conveys the awareness she has of the delicate relationship they share with the environment. One is struck by a sense of the artist’s own and her subject’s vulnerability. Each collection speaks to the story of her highly expressive and creative process.
Her favored medium is a mixture of charcoal, inks and gesso mixed with dry pigments and sometimes organic materials. Sparingly applied warm tones of Venetian Red and Siena breathe life into her paintings. Thin layers build the story and provide texture. Her gestural and expressive strokes convey energy. The repetitive lines, the changes she makes, not quite disappearing in subsequent layers, lend a historical perspective to her work. While she creates abstracts and landscapes, presently the studio is alive with dramatic canvasses of horses.
“Stillness And Silence” by Isabelle Truchon
Isabelle Truchon has been expressing herself through art – visual, film and stage – her whole life. Mostly self taught, in 1993, at a difficult personal juncture, the French Canadian native made the conscious decision to become a painter. As her life took a turn, she relocated to Sacramento, California and began producing creative decorative treatments for inside and outside the home. This work was inspired by the Byzantine era, employing gold and rich, jewel toned color and featuring ritual and religious icons. She also founded and directed the premier decorative art school in Sacramento. Though she came to realize teaching took too much of her energy, keeping her away from her own projects.
In 2006 she found herself at another fork in the road. She began formal studies, leading to a BFA, completed in 2012 in the Department of Contemporary Art at Shepherd University, West Virginia.
Isabelle’s art rises from deep in her soul. Only occasionally does she accept commissions. Simply stated she tells me “Don’t do it unless it’s a matter of life and death – it compromises you every time.” She will insist, on those rare occasions, that the client grant her total artistic license. Even then, she finds herself distracted; constantly worried the painting won’t satisfy.
When asked, the list of artists that she is drawn to includes, Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, abstract expressionist Franz Kline, Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, contemporary American sculptor Petah Coyne (her large-scale sculptures are composed of unconventional, and often organic materials/Wikipedia), British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist Andy Goldworthy, environmental artist Christo, American painter Ashley Collins (creates massive scaled contemporary works integrating portions of figurative horseheads amongst layers of collage/Wikipedia). On the table in her studio,
among her own carefully composed journals is an oversized volume of Susan Rothenberg’s horses.
“Following Intuition” by Isabelle Truchon
Isabelle is always focused on the road ahead. Her deadlines are self imposed. Strictly disciplined when developing a collection, she posts a chart in her studio. The time line usually extends 3 – 6 months: 2 months spent in preparation, 3 months painting and a month labeling, inventorying, and preparing for exhibit. She is keenly aware of how many paintings she must produce in a given week.
“And Then” by Isabelle Truchon
Currently she is in the preproduction phase of a Kiger horse collection. She, her camera and a writer have headed West on a thoughtfully mapped journey beginning in Sebastopol, California and continuing up the coast, turning inland toward the Bureau of Land Management Facility in Burns, Oregon and, finally, to Steen Mountain Ranch in Diamond, Oregon.
“Happy to be Together” by Isabelle Truchon
She will be in the field and in the streams with the horses she loves; her telephoto lens will bring her close to her subject. She is passionate about these majestic animals. Her own horse, Lola, Isabelle’s muse and the subject of many of her over sized canvases, is a Kiger born in captivity.
And when she returns home she will have thousands of images. She knows where she is headed. The timeline has been set.
Isabelle never loses sight of art as a business. Branding her name to a style is of high importance. She strives to regularly exhibit and to produce work that is cohesive. She develops one or two collections a year, unveiling them, as a whole in an inaugural show. “Wild Free”, her recently completed collection, was exhibited this summer at The Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville. On social media, the gallery described “Paintings full of energy and heart.” Some or all of the collection will continue on to other venues. Perhaps her gallery wall at MAE or as part of exhibits at Sotheby’s every other month. She sends out newsletters to her patrons and posts often on Instagram. In her driveway is parked a new van which makes the job of transporting her over sized canvasses more manageable, but is also slated to serve as a sort of pop up gallery. She is working new
connections, focused on exhibiting at a prominent gallery – in a major metropolitan center. She aspires to having her work included in a museum collection.
With a respect for the past and well defined goals for the future, she continues on the journey. Works in progress include small thumbnails and studies of flamingos. I admired her clay sculpture of a horse head that may, eventually, be cast in metal. Isabelle is honest about having lived through many dark and trying times, always confident that people and her life experiences would make her better and carry her to a brighter place.
My wing has mended, my heart is healed, and now it’s time for me to fly.
Follow Isabelle on her journey, on Instagram @IsabelleTruchon and subscribe to her blog on her website http://www.isabelletruchonart.com
Should you have the opportunity, stand in front of one of her works. Digital images do not do justice to their size, textures and energy.