The characters and themes brought to vibrant, colorful life in artist Yvonne Morell’s artworks are familiar and yet strikingly original. Her depictions cast a fresh light on everyday occurrences, habits and objects with an engaging warmth, wit and humanity. In this interview she tells us what inspires her in life and in work.
Yvonne, please describe your path to becoming an artist.
Creativity has always been part of my life but it was only at 22 that I registered for a drawing class at Ceruleum in Lausanne. Every Saturday morning I went there and just drew all morning…pots, plants, flowers, anything: I didn’t care what, I just LOVED it. I felt a whole new world opening up to me. From there it was years of painting and learning until I decided to dedicate myself full time to it.
How have you developed as an artist?
I didn’t do a ‘proper’ art school. My artistic education came from many different sources. I took courses at art schools, with artists, I did home studying via correspondence, online classes, and I have always spent a lot of time trying things out on my own as well.
Which artistic media do you prefer to work with?
I like a lot of mixed media. I guess it’s the freedom and playfulness that attracts me. To mix all sorts of materials and techniques is so much fun! I use mostly acrylic paints, add collage paper and oil pastels. For example, I make my own stamps to print patterns on collage paper that I then integrate into most of my paintings.
What are your favorite subjects or themes?
My inspiration comes mostly from everyday life. An old sofa, two people riding a bike, but I also love townscapes. The last two years I have painted a lot of imaginary portraits…of best friends, grumpy old ladies, whatever amused me.
How does creating art give energy to or inspire the rest of your life?
To create is very fulfilling but also absorbing. It automatically has an effect on what I read, the films I watch, exhibitions I visit, the friends I make. It would be difficult to separate it. But mostly I am sure it has an effect on me being a happy mom, wife and friend.
I love sharing my passion, encouraging others to create and to simply enjoy contact with others.
When you lack creative inspiration or motivation what helps you get back on track?
I have to say, that hardly ever happens. My problem is more the opposite. My mind is full of ideas and I need to channel them so as not to go in all directions. The only time that happens is after a long vacation when I get into my studio and think, what was I trying to do before I left? That is when I just putter around my studio, clean up, drink a cup of tea, look at my sketchbook and just stay there! Picasso’s quote definitely works for me: Inspiration exists but it has to find you working. “Never stop and you will not have a creative block” is my way of functioning.
Is there an ‘artist’ in any given field who inspires you? Do you have an inspirational “mantra” or routine that guides you in work and/or in life?
There are so many artists that I find inspiring. I love aboriginal art in general and what it represents. Mel McCuddin, for his work and his way of being. Ivy Newport is also so inspiring for her work and how she was able to make a living from her art. Speaking of routine, I have made a habit of sketching or writing ideas regularly in my sketchbook so as not to forget about them and also to free my mind of them at the moment.
I am a painter, a teacher, a student, a wife, a mom, a daughter and a friend always seeking to improve, grow and…enjoy life.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow a creative path or to earn a living from his or her creative passion but is afraid to try?
I would give the advice to keep a part-time job at the beginning to have some regular income but enough time and energy to develop the artistic activity. Spend the rest of the time creating, learning and improving, sharing on social media, showing your work and participating in events. It is extremely time consuming but worth it.
You offer weekly classes, online art courses and group workshops; what can students expect to learn and gain from them?
In the weekly classes we discover together all sorts of different techniques and themes so that everyone will find something that really speaks to them. The weekend workshops or the online class mostly cover a specific theme and are for people who work all week or who want to know more about a specific technique. What is also really nice is that we are like a little creative community. We paint together, become friends and have a lot of fun.
How do you balance your work/business (painting, teaching, exhibiting…) and your home/personal life?
I try to balance my life but it’s not easy trying to do everything. I spend time with the family, read a book, do some sports. But I have to say when I wake up in the morning I can’t wait to go to my studio to paint, give a class or prepare for them, or film for an online class. Besides that, there is all the ‘office work’: keeping my website up to date, editing videos, making flyers and learning new things. I would say that I balance my work and personal life more or less by not going to my studio on weekends and evenings.
Do you have any upcoming events where people can view and/or purchase your art?
In September I will participate in two events: “Open Art” in St-Prex and “ZicZac” in Rolle. Both are events where artists open their studios to visitors for a weekend. It’s very casual and has a lot of success. If you would like to be informed about these and any other upcoming events you can sign up on my website for my newsletter and I will be happy to keep you up to date.
I also receive people directly in my studio who want to see what I have been painting lately or who are interested in buying something. My art can also be purchased through my website or Artfinder. ♥