A young artist from Grasse is getting a lot of attention for her delicate yet powerful water colour paintings. The early promise of a great career?
It may have been a year or two ago that you first saw her paintings pop up on social media, on canvas bags or on mugs: light, poetic, purist, colorful renderings, often animals, sometimes flowers, occasionally portraits. And suddenly her name is passed around in insider circles as a secret hot tip: Caroline Desombre is the talented artist whose work touches so many through its skillful simplicity.
Aquarelle is a difficult, if not the most difficult, painting technique. “With water colours, you are not allowed any errors”, as the famous truism goes. Mastering them first and foremost requires a clear understanding of the interplay of shadow and light. Known as the “painting the light”, it requires much greater precision and a sense of anticipation of space. Once a brush stroke is placed, it cannot be undone.
If Caroline has chosen this complex technique, it is the result of a long evolution and rigorous training. Her talent, on the other hand, comes from her creative family. Growing up surrounded by art, music, paintings, and sculptures – her uncle Thibault Desombre is a well-known designer for the French high-end Ligne Roset furniture brand – it was only natural that she stepped in the same tracks. Her brother was her first inspiration. But she did not rely on her gift alone…. She studied for ten years under her arts professor Laure Guigou, training in various styles.
Over time she found herself most drawn to aquarelle painting. Its delicate transparency offsets the elegance of Caroline’s drawing and the vivid, vibrant colours she uses to perfection. Her forte, and signature, is juxtaposing stylized objects in block colors against a translucid background, often with a whimsical note. The images she creates are magical in their simplicity; they tell stories and evoke emotions with nothing but a few well-placed strokes of her brush. It takes a closer look to detect the complexity, finesse and accomplished craftsmanship of the artist’s work. The filigreed lines that often trace the motif betray a rare patience and love of detail.
And meeting Caroline, you understand why she has this particular artistic vision, based on a philosophy of purity. This is a young woman who stands apart from her peers – highly intelligent, reflective, and perceptive of the world around her. She cuts straight through the noise and sees the state of society with a clear eye. Some of it troubles her deeply but she refuses to let it get her down. Instead she channels her feelings into her work, translating complexity into clarity, and hardship into dreams.
If animals are a recurrent motif, it is not by accident. Caroline is deeply attached to nature in general, and to cats in particular. “You can learn so much from them – resilience, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness… qualities that are increasingly missing among humans,” she says. This commentary is informed not just by her perspective of a 32 year old woman in today’s world but also by her volunteer work for various animal rescue organizations.
At this early stage in her artistic endeavor Caroline is still focused on building a solid foundation so that one day it can become her principal source of making a living. Today, she still works fulltime but even there she is never far from design, whether it is at an architect’s atelier or a company trading in fine stone. But she diligently toils to make her work known to a larger audience. She exhibits at art fairs and she fulfils custom orders for paintings through her website and online shop. She loves doing stationery such as greeting cards or bookmarks but she is just as happy printing her designs on eco-friendly tote bags, mugs or t-shirts… you name it, she does it. A greeting card sets you back by a modest 4 euro, an individual order for a unique piece can be as low as €50.
But… true to her compassionate and caring nature, Caroline is considering a way how to kick back a portion of her proceeds to organizations that matter to her. A final determination has not yet been made but that could be one or two animal welfare associations, and/or one in the service of underprivileged children. Putting her money where her mouth is, she currently also sponsors a teenage girl in Burkina Faso for the Monaco branch of Mission Enfance, a humanitarian NGO dedicated to the well-being of children in underdeveloped countries.
True talent rises to the top, and this is why we are confident that Caroline Desombre and her work will be known far beyond the confines of France. If one not-too-distant day, hers will be a household name, you will be proud to own one of this fine artist’s first originals.
– 12 May, downtown 83510 Lorgues
– 17, 18 and 19 May, Hôtel Royal, 23 Promenade des Anglais, 06000 Nice
– 8 and 9 June, Indian festival at Parc de la Moulière, 06750 Caille
All photos courtesy Caroline Desombre