Cherree Mallette

Dry Brush Painting

Nothing is as rewarding for me, as an artist, as creating something from nothing and then later hearing from a person who viewed my work tell me that something in it touched them and left them with great thoughts and a memory worth keeping. Some of those people I may never have even met in person. Amazing.

Growing up in an atmosphere surrounded with musicians, seamstresses, and interior designers, I learn to be creative and think out of the box. When young, I was told I had an eye for placing an object just right in a display. In high school, my teachers told me that I had a talent for art and complimented me on my whimsical innovative attire. I listen and made Art my major in college. Starting out, I learned about what it takes to be an artist. I ate, slept, and drank in everything to do with art. I was nicknamed “the surgeon painter” for my head was always down focusing on art styles, detail, and form. I have made art my career and I never get enough of it. Art is a constant thrill to this day.

What makes an artist? Good question. What elevates a common artist to become a Master Artist? That comes with time, talent, dedication and experiences in life. Are artists born or are they made? I say they are born, but appreciation of art and a desire to create lives deep in the hearts of all.

My entire body of work can be compared to different chapters in a book. A continuing character in my art may change and evolve in setting, reflect how I think, and how I work as an artist through out a ‘chapter’. Each chapter is titled as a Series. While working on a Series, my hands and mind seek surprises that surface and become personally meaningful in each piece of art. The older I get, the deeper the meaning becomes for me.

Being born premature, I was in an incubator for several months. As a result of this, as I grew, it was found my hearing had been affected. At an early age, this separated me from others at school and this made my learning harder than for most. But one day in first grade, I remember I was so happy to tell my Mother I had such a great day because we talked about bubbles. The Nun at my school asked me, “what do you like about bubbles?” and I said, “the colors in them”. For the first time I said the right answer and was not placed in the corner to be shamed.

Life brings me to today, for all that my childhood was difficult and isolating, it contributed to how the subjects in my ‘book’ came to be. When young, I taught myself to play the guitar, painted at an early age and formed my own world of being in a beautiful bubble. When pondering the how’s and why’s of actions and my purpose in this life, I realize I chose to see the beauty around me and in others. That makes me feel good and I smile. Because of this, I wanted my subject to express laughter, joy, happiness, and celebration. Those thoughts became my bubbles. Not just an everyday kind of bubble, but a combination of fun bubbles and exuberant splashes that help the everyday weight of the world drift away. They leave you with smiles of joy and in a great state of mind.

Two sessions are involved in creating my work. I first photograph bubbles and splashes. Using these photos as reference, I apply my technique on acid free paper by using a method called Dry Brush, which is oil paint applied without solvents. Dry Brush is one of the most demanding art forms, requiring patience and an obsession for detail, quality and perfection. Pigment is applied ever so lightly, repeating the application over and over to bring out the subtle tones and values necessary to achieve a photo realistic effect.

How art starts with nothing and becomes something means everything to me.