soleil de plomb no.1 - an artwork's backstory

Soleil de plomb – literally sun of plumb - french expression that means that the heat of the blazing sun is so heavy that you barely have the energy to grab some water or to do anything.

For some reason, when it comes to my work, I don’t like to explain the meaning of it as I believe that the moment of sharing happens between the artist and his work then between the person who looks at it and the artwork itself. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me but oh well…
Now, what I’m going to do is to share with you its backstory, what inspired me, how I painted it and generally how this painting came out as it is.

This is soleil de plomb no.1...


As you may have understood, the weather in France has been boiling hot this summer (like most of the time). I used to complain about the fact that you can’t even go outside past midday, the constant tiredness and the unflattering sweat. But somehow, I came to the realization that summer wasn’t that bad (see summertime happiness for more details!).
When it's hot, our body burns for attention, craves hydration and sweats for salvation. That’s what inspired me.
This artwork came out to me like a vision and it was as crazy as it sounds.
I was sitting in the living room around 10pm, lost in thoughts and I saw it for a split second, it was crystal clear, the colours, the lines…everything.
I saw that woman, she wore burning colours all over her body and she appeared to be very calm with her eyes closed in front of a candent background.


Soleil de plomb no.1 is an oil painting on canvas I did two days ago. As the number in the title gives it away, this is the first painting of a series I haven’t finished yet!

I remember exactly the process of this painting, as I said, it was 10pm when the idea came out to me, I didn’t think of anything but that idea.
I haven’t felt inspired for a year so I remember feeling my heart flutter with adrenaline and utter joy as I grabbed a white canvas with my shaking hands, some paint and brushes left in my room for what felt like an eternity.
I didn’t mind it was late, in fact I could’ve painted all night because inspiration never strikes when want it to, you just have to grab it while you can because inspiration never waits.
But when you feel “in the zone”, when you feel inspired or whatever you call it, you can feel that really deep connection within yourself and that’s something I can’t explain with words.

I haven’t used any references to represent her, I’ve literally painted what I saw in my head and that took a few hours.

Oil paint seemed to be the perfect medium for this painting, its shininess emphasizes the sweat on her skin while the heaviness of the texture reminds the weight of her body under the heavy sun.
I barely even used blue, my palette only consisted of cadmium red -hence my name ;) -, cadmium yellow, black, white and burnt umber (brown).

And that’s basically it…
But when I put my brushes down after a few last touches and took a few steps back, I felt the most peaceful I’ve ever felt and it makes me feel a bit emotional as I’m writing it down on my faux-leather notebook. After feeling a bit lost through the year, painting has brought me back to what I needed and I couldn’t be grateful enough for that.

But I want to know, what do YOU feel when you look at it?

The lovely introspective zines made a beautiful post about this painting, you can check it out HERE! I love their dreamy blog so much!!


M xx.