Island life never fails to inspire
Alice Coutetís art reflects her belief that ďyou can never run out of things to paint in BermudaĒ.
Originally from the UK, she discovered her talent at an early age and has enjoyed painting the islandís traditional cottages as well as portraits and vibrantly coloured abstracts since her move here. Her latest display of work, Alice in Wonderland, is on show at the Bermuda Society of Arts through December 10.
Q: What spurred you to become an artist?
A: My mum would say Iíve been an artist all my life. My parents canít decide which side of the family I inherited the talent from ó whether it be my dad, who enjoys capturing the life of everyday moments through video and photography, or my late uncle Hervť who mastered painting the stunning scenery in Mauritius, or perhaps it was from both sides.
Drawing, painting, creating are all second nature to me and something I really enjoy doing. I do believe that God has given me these talents for a reason.
Q: Where did your inspiration come from for this exhibit?
A: Life inspires me and all the many facets and experiences that life brings. I have a couple of paintings in the show which are inspired by recent trips to New York. We all know New York is known as a place where dreams come true. On a recent sistersí trip, while we didnít get to meet Trevor Noah [the South African comedian who hosts The Daily Show] much to my sisterís disappointment, we did end up driving the newest Tesla through the streets of New York and landing courtside seats at a New York Knicks game without planning a single thing. Every time I look at the New York paintings, I think about the magical memories that Iíve experienced.
Q: Was your art shaped by anything else?
A: This year, I had the opportunity of representing Axis Capital, who partnered with Bermuda Overseas Missions, taking a team of 30 locals to Malawi to build houses for families in need. You think youíre going to help change the world but in fact these trips will change you. There are number of paintings in the show that were inspired by Malawi and its people.
Through my painting, I want people to think about their own responsibility to care for mankind. A percentage of each painting sold [that was] inspired by Malawi will go towards the Bermuda Overseas Missions Malawi Scholarship Fund, which enables children to continue to go to school from the ages of 11 to 16.
My children [Tai, Jaime and Cruz] also inspire me to paint. By watching and assisting me and through discussions, they are learning drawing, painting, composition, critiquing, commitment and dedication. They also enjoy making funny faces in the time-lapse videos.
Q: So the show is a mix of things?
A: The show features a range of different ideas that pop into my mind that Iíve always wanted to create, hence the title Alice in Wonderland.
Some of those ideas are significantly more important to me whilst others may have more importance to you or the beholder. The collection will show portraits, landscapes, still life, abstracts and, of course, Bermuda scenery, a known favourite.
Q: What do you love about painting in Bermuda?
A: One of my favourite artists is Georgia OíKeefe. When she visited Bermuda, she used so many different colours to capture the vibrancy of the flowers that she saw.
Iíve always loved painting Bermuda scenery and expressing the colours and scenes from my point of view. Iíve been here for about 17 years ó initially intending to come for two years ó and I know I will never run out of things to paint.
Q: What is your medium of choice?
A: As oils take a considerably long time to dry I decided after my first child was born I would switch to acrylics, which dry much faster, so that I didnít have to clean up beautiful colourful oil paint handprints off the wall.
Q: Where have you exhibited your work?
A: This is my fifth solo exhibition, the third at BSoA. Iíve participated in a number of group exhibitions throughout the years. My work has [also] been displayed at Gallery 117, Windjammer and Masterworks. My work is also embellishing the walls at Coral Dental Bermuda and In touch Therapy. Clients often get inspired by my artwork, which they have viewed at galleries and businesses, and then make requests for commissioned pieces.
Q: Do you work outside of your art?
A: Yes. Iím a full-time mother of three beautiful children and wife of a supportive husband, Jaime. I am also a senior claims specialist at Axis Capital Holdings, a Bermudian insurance and reinsurance company. In addition, through our Love Bermuda line, weíve designed a range of Bermuda-inspired items such as towels, key rings, photo frames and the like that are on sale locally and at Harbour Nights. An idea that my children and their cousin came up with, after much convincing they decided to provide the only slime experience available at Harbour Nights and we supported it.
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