When crankandpiston asked me to write a piece about my art and Cathy Deniset Artiste Peintre, I was very excited. I’m very passionate about my work and about cars, and I hope I can explain why.
As you’ve probably guessed, exotic cars and motorbikes are my favourite subjects to shoot. I’ve always liked cars and I really enjoy driving. So you can imagine when I arrived in Dubai I was like a child in front a Christmas tree. So many wonderful cars on every street corner!
When I was younger, my father would buy new cars quite regularly, and my two brothers would teach me to recognize the different sounds made by a Suzuki and a Kawasaki, or between a BMW and a Honda. And soon it was really easy! So when I first got my motorcycle license, I bought a small 125 Honda to cross the Parisian pavements.
My two sons are the same. When they were younger, they preferred drawing cars to playing with dolls(!), and so they were very proud of me when I painted my first car. Now they are faster than me at the Dubai Kartdrome, and will forever be petrolheads!
The most important thing that inspires me is light. Light on any items: the reflection of the sun or the contrast of a backlight. First, I take pictures of this magical moment: when something is speaking to me; when I feel it; when the car is telling me something. I know then that one day it will become a painting. And it’s generally with the first photo I have taken.
I like to find my models on the street because they are in the real world: natural light and the sound. Often I’m disappointed with showrooms or motor shows because the cars all say the same thing: ”look at me, buy me”. Yes, they are still beautiful, but there’s nothing else there. No inspiration.
Racecars speak to me too. They are like athletes, all performance and concentration, and matter-of-fact. And I like classic cars, with their sleek lines and soft pretention. There’s a kindness and gentility that’s always there with them.
When it’s time for me to paint them, I take my brushes into my art room and give birth to a new view of the car. I never have exactly the finished image in my mind. I know where I’m going but according to my mood I like to maintain a haphazard brush movement and shift colouring. I use oil painting on linen canvas and mostly use large brushes.