Marie-Elaine Cusson May 14 2014

Marie-Elaine Cusson's worldly travels greatly influence the way she approaches the canvas. Teaching in West Africa, working as an au pair in Spain, exploring France, immersing herself in the Italian culture, architecture and sense of aesthetic, have all helped her develop observation skills and an eye for simple details, necessary for a good composition.

Markers and pencils on illustration boards and acrylic paint or gouache on canvas form her collections. Playing with texture and thickness of the paint, she creates images that reflect harmony and balance. "Nature plays a central role in inspiring me," she says. "I compose images that ring with positive feelings and a sense of inner warmth and simple happiness."

Everyday adventures inspire her work. She says: "I am always on the lookout for inspirational elements, whether walking my dog or on the road. The brick color of a building, the shape of a window or the vibrant colors and layout of a garden are all wonderful snapshots."

As a little girl, Marie was surrounded by her grandfather's artistic influence and stories of painting frescos on churches' ceilings. Later, French Impressionists such as Theodore Rousseau and Jean-Baptiste Corot, with their gift of being able to catch the natural light of the moment, inspired her.

Marie works from her home studio in Montreal, surrounded by her toughest critics. "Often my youngest will come and sit with me, and while doing her homework will comment on which parts I should take out and which ones I should keep!" she says. She shares her life and pursuit of art with her husband and their three children.  

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