“Art that speaks to the heart”
Hi, I’m Paulette, the Director and Artist at Art de Joulie.
You must be wondering, how did we come up with such a strangely spelt name? Well, let me give you that story first :).
After what seemed like an eternity of writing different ideas on paper as possible names for the company, out of the blue, when I least expected it, the name came while I was painting!
“Jolie” in French means pretty. “Art de Joulie” would then mean pretty art or beautiful art. I inserted the letter U from my first name to change the spelling, so the concept of the name became beautiful art for U!
How a Dream Came True
A twist of fate I would say pointed me in the direction of creating art and my dream company.
I was teaching art at a secondary school in Trinidad and was quite happy doing so. In fact, I thought that I had finally settled into what I loved. I was so engaged in my role as a teacher, though, that I had little to no time to create any art myself. Although I was relatively happy, something was missing.
On a day off, while driving, I got into a vehicular accident. I suffer from a chronic illness called fibromyalgia. As the impact from the accident amplified my pain, it took me quite some time to recuperate. After much deliberation, I decided to resign from teaching and concentrate on healing as best as was possible.
During that time, I stayed with my daughter in New York, and she encouraged me to start painting again. It was the most therapeutic way for me to push past the pain. I cannot express the stress reliever that it was and, as I became less tense, I was actually able to go out walking and exploring. Slowly, I felt renewed and positive and hopeful!
I visited art supply stores and spent time excitedly looking through lanes of art supplies and learning about new products on the market. I felt like a child in a candy store! I experimented with different media and styles, and slowly felt more confident in producing pieces. Before long, I had amassed over thirty paintings and my daughter surprised me by inviting some friends over to see what I was up to.
To my surprise they loved the work and I was encouraged to print my artwork on various products!
That was confirmation for me, because when I was not painting my form of relaxing was surfing the internet for information on how to make art into a business. I looked at different artists whose artwork was on various items and I was excited about the possibilities for my own work!
I returned to Trinidad in 2015 and began the process to register my company.
My art presently
I have no one style of art-making. I feel that I am always learning and exploring and it’s therefore a continuous process. I want to try different things… it’s like I have to make up for all the lost time now that I’m “breathing again!” So curiosity and intrigue motivate me to not limit myself but to challenge myself and even to move away from my comfort zone.
I would say that the techniques that I explore presently on canvas and wooden surfaces are influenced by what I did as a textile artist, especially Batik. Prior to studying art formally at the University of the West Indies, where my daughter and I both completed our first degrees together, I was a textile artist for approximately 18 years. I used techniques such as Batik, Fabric painting, Applique and Tie Dye for my creations. My finished pieces such as beach sarongs, scarves, kaftans and soft furnishings found themselves all over the world, and a quilted piece made for an entirely different purpose was worked into a design for a model on the runway of a fashion show in Australia! (A sign of things to come.. maybe :D)
Since I became allergic to the dyes among other things, I decided that I would explore other materials and fell in love with acrylic paints. I am also allergic to oil paints! Go figure.
I outline my abstracted pieces in black or a dark colour so that the colourful patterns are contained within the dark lines. In batik, the wax was used as the resist to contain colour and prevent it from seeping into other areas. Sometimes I think that the way I do my abstract pieces also has to do with all my years of teaching – in making charts for classes, for example, the borders drew focus to what was inside the lines. I also tend to be able to function best when things are neat and tidy. For me, everything has a place!
I love colour, texture, lines and shapes and I love abstracting from my surroundings. I combine the feelings conjured up inside me with the externals and then the magic happens!
I am also surprised by the outcomes because I mostly paint intuitively. At other times, I have set ideas for what I think I want to see, but very often what is in my head does not materialize! Sometimes, it can be frustrating, but I don’t think that this is necessarily a bad thing.
I’m learning to let go of controlling and just see where I’m being led! It can be a very freeing experience.
I’m inspired by culture and traditions generally, especially those that are relevant to my beloved twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region, and so I do love incorporating these elements into my work. Some of these are seen, for example, in my own rendition of our traditional Trinidad and Tobago mas characters, and in the themes and colors of other paintings such as Island Life, Fishing, Fun in the Sun and others, that reflect the vibrancy and spirit of our Carnivals and people more generally.
My mixed themes of Indian, Amerindian and Spanish are also dear to my heart because they are inspired by my grandmother and from my trips to Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico and Venezuela. My heart melts completely when I see these tiny, aged, wrinkle-faced women and their long plaits or hair rolled up into one, bun style, the way my paternal grandmother would often wear her own hair. For me, the plait represents the stability of families with women as the centre, the backbone, and the heart of the home. I also love the clothing that represents various indigenous cultures. Each piece has its symbolism to me. Paintings in this style are my tribute to earlier times, and so I tend to texturise these paintings because I see this as adding to the authenticity of the time period.
Art is and has been a form of healing, a form of therapy, and a way for me to freely express myself; a way for me to find a voice and a way for me to communicate and to share with others and to help them to explore their own creativity.
Art has brought me out of a deep dark place at times and, in physically and emotionally challenging times, it has helped me to relax and to work things through subconsciously while I create. Through all of my life’s experiences, no matter the many challenges and disappointments, I have found a way to experience joy, gratitude, happiness, laughter, hope, faith, peace and to find ways to look at things positively.
Through Art de Joulie, I wish to share my artwork with you, in the hope that it makes you smile. I hope that my pieces bring joy to your soul in the midst of any challenges that come your way.
With my art, I want to keep focused on the positive and beautiful things around us, to bring some balance to this crazy world we inhabit!
Art de Joulie is about sharing and caring and giving back in gratitude to God for all that He has blessed us with. At Art de Joulie, we believe that when we are blessed, we must bless others, so from time to time we will highlight different causes that we will contribute towards to help to make a difference in the lives of other members of our human family.
When I came across the Ubuntu Philosophy, which speaks about a “universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”, which essentially means “I am because we are”, it resonated with me, because it captures the sentiments of the concept of Art de Joulie.
A team of vibrant and creative people with exceptional team spirit powers Art de Joulie. While I am the Director and Artist, my daughter is also Director as well as Secretary and my main sounding board. The latter is definitely not an easy job!
We also have an incredibly talented team comprising graphic artists, a photographer, marketing agents and a webmaster, working to ensure we always put forward our best.
We hope that you like what you see and feel inspired to shop with Art de Joulie, where happy art makes happy hearts!