By likemindblog


 MARTINE L’ÉTOILE’s journey since her birth has greatly inspired her art, her values, her vision.  Martine, tell us a bit about yourself. 

“I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1970 and soon after my family moved to Malaysia. There, my father had a business making miniature furniture for dolls houses. I believe growing up in a tropical wonderland away from everything, planted some seeds of imaginative thinking. We came back to America where I lived until I was 19. After high school,  I was sent to Paris to take classes at the Alliance Francaise while working as an jeune fille au pair. My father thought it would be a good idea for me to understand the French language and culture. When coming back home, I thought I’d continue the adventure by living in  New Orleans and going it’s University as a psychology major. Art soon took over and I had a calling to go to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I met my husband there and after graduation we moved to western Massachusetts, being the state he’s originally from. I fell in love with New England almost immediately. Currently, I reside in Nottingham, New Hampshire, a rural area where there is a kind and beautiful community.”

Thank you so much  for participating in this project and answering the following questions:

1.      What is art (painting) to you and for you?Martine L'Étoile - attachment I

Painting to me is a place where I can landscape the stories and images in my mind. Painting is an escape from this world and a way to create another. The process is about letting go, freeing up myself and allowing my imagination to take over. Ever since I was a very young art has always been an act of joyful contemplation. Still, to this day there is such simple joy in reflecting my thoughts on canvas. After all, a picture does say a thousand words, so much of it is subconscious, reaching far into our memories to pull out an untold emotion perhaps. 

2.      What inspires you?

Music is my number one inspiration. I listen to everything from Hard Metal to Classical. Whatever it may be, the music helps guide me to a place and creates the tone of the picture. Music is pure energy, it has a way of providing me with an emotional environment. Black and white photography is another way I find inspiration. Since there’s no color in the image and by concentrating on just shapes and light it makes for a stark simplicity that really gets my imagination going. Pure abstract art is deeply motivating as well. It works on a subconscious level, creating harmonious space. No wonder so many people love having pure abstract paintings over their couch in the living room. Lastly, silent, short art films, animated or live action are a great source of inspiration. “Street of Crocodiles” by Brothers Quay is one of my favorites. Such beautiful energy goes into moving pictures. It really helps emotions come to the surface.

3.      When you are creating, painting, where does it take you?

My mind goes to different places, depending on the series. For “bleedthrough (past) my mind/spirit travels to a long lost Earth like planet where there’s kind of a 1940’s feel behind the scenes with rooms of machinery that have gone untouched for centuries and where there’s a green, damp tone growing  over everything. When I started work at this old mill building in Easthampton, Massachusetts  in 1999, the story of the “bleedthrough”series came to me and has stayed ever since. “In the Tailor Shop” series, I travel to a fictional story of obsession with late 1880’s fashion as the centerpiece. They are familiar but strange places.

Martine L'Étoile - detach4.      Do you think visual arts, music and health are related  and if so, how do you see this?

Yes, I do believe there is a strong connection with the arts and health. Coming up with stories, using your imagination, especially as a child, so you can retain that feeling of making things up and knowing it’s your world, is such a healthy mental activity. I think art is like a spirit that flows through you and by allowing it to take you where it needs to go, a vibrant energy happens, keeping you healthy. Creating keeps you young. As an artist you’re always young at heart.

5. When you are painting, how do you feel?

When I’m painting I feel centered and complete. I also feel challenged. There are so many decisions to make when I take a step back and look at the canvas from a distance. All in all, it’s a great feeling that passes through you because you’re creating exactly what you see in your mind and feel in your heart.

 6.  Do you identify with your subject and if so, on what level?

 “In the Tailor Shop” series, the female has no head. She’s lost it in a way. It’s what defines her. I do feel like this sometimes, but it’s also a feeling of being disconnected to the world around me.

In the “bleedthrough past” series, it’s all about space, the perspective of the rooms take you deep inside them. This is something I constantly do with my imagination, I create an interior “space” for the emotion and design the room to emphasis it. I guess the identity takes place on what seems like a spiritual plane. In every painting I try to have the raw canvas showing through scraped pieces of wax. It’s like finding a source of light that’s pure, a kind of resolution for the subject.

7. When do you do your best work?Martine L'Étoile - itwaslikebeingsm

When I’m really listening to my inner voice and that’s usually when I feel completely alone. Also, when I’m consistently working on a few different series.  Sometimes I’ll paint two or three canvases at the same time so I can have a choice, depending on the mood, to go into different worlds. I’ve noticed this really helps me feel fresh about the piece as well.

8. Does painting help you connect with your higher self, whatever that may be for you?

 Yes, when I paint it’s just me and the intent. All I can do is completely immerse myself in the canvas. This is when I’m most happy and being happy to me is connecting with the Great Mystery. I love starting out and knowing it’s going to take me on a long journey.

9. Some people feel that the school systems kill creativity? How do you feel about that?

It seems as though the system is designed to dull the senses. When we’re sitting in rows facing one direction and being drilled in what is the “right” answer, boredom sets in. It’s as if we must look for only one answer written in a book led by one person who explains it to us. Although, I do remember having some teachers who were truly inspiring. They were the ones taking a more radical approach to the school system. Looking back, these teachers spoke to us with great passion for their subject and injected a tremendous amount of images in our mind with their colorful stories, so we would remember. I think we went away from the class as more creative students. Creativity in “the system” can’t be completely destroyed.

Martine L'étoile - putting out the fire10. If you agree with question 9. What would you suggest as a simple solution?

Maybe one solution would be setting up the class rooms differently. Sitting in circles for instance allows us to discuss the questions with one another and maybe a more creative process would come through. Interacting with people makes for better listening skills and helps us remember what’s being said. Life is just that much more interesting when we talk with a live person. More fun and laughter ensues and that’s when we learn countless details about people and life. Some of the best creative academia come from schools where they have smaller classroom with students sitting around one table.

Thank you so much for this most interesting and inspiring article.  You have been most generous and I’m certain people will enjoy this a great deal.  Until we meet again, I want to wish you love, joy and light in all aspects of your continuing  journey.  Be blessed!


You are invited to visit Martine’s links below and to read her most fascinating life story under Health and Wellness.  Your comments are appreciated.  ENJOY! L'Étoile - intropratentsm  (tips + picks)

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Filed in: ART • Friday, July 23rd, 2010


Visited your site after I first saw your work on Original Art 4 Your Home. Reading your article and thoughts here enhanced the experience of viewing such imaginative work. Thanks for sharing with us…your fans..Cecelia
.-= Cecelia Gay´s last blog ..Westward Toe! =-.


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours