Michel Coumes - Peintre

Michel Coumes, in his fruitful fifties, has long been travelling around the world of images, graphic arts and creative advertising. He is now an independent consultant, after many years as an artistic director in publicity. The image in all its forms, using constantly experimental visual supports : this world is his trade, his craftsmanship, that has driven him throughout his professional career.

But there were also other images, other colours, ever since his childhood in Hérault, which were revealed to him early by a drawing and painting teacher whom the pupils at her Béziers academy remember dearly. Michel then acquired not only a technique, a know-how, but he also inherited a passion which was to stimulate him throughout his career. When he settled in Uzès ten years ago, he wished to pass on this taste for shapes and light and created “l'Artelier”, his drawing school, which allowed him to renew his childhood passion. This was in homage to his Béziers teacher, it was also a coming back, a rebirth. Until now, he had never reached the stage of pure, free, intimate creation, which slowly imposes itself upon you, holds you, and then grabs you and reveals secret gardens which one never suspected before. That was when he took the plunge with no hesitation, like someone who has been waiting for a long time until he says to himself, "this is it, I'm ready for it".

As easy as that? One might think so: he quickly found his style, his construction, his colours, his atmosphere, as if this small universe of flowers, fruit, daily objects had been ripening for many years without him knowing, and at last revealed itself with the onset of maturity, serenity, awareness and the art of living.

They are not mere still life paintings coming from nowhere. They are day to day pictures, life and light bubbles, bursts of shade and brilliance captured alive and caught in their intimacy. All these companion objects which we do not notice anymore, are pictured just as they were when we left them. The gardener goes towards his chair, the smoker's hand slides into the picture, one hears the voices of pastis drinkers, the iris shines, the jacinth opens its green wings and the solitary reader has gone out for a while. Indeed the fruit, the flowers, the corner of a table, a small area of terrace painted from life, as if suspended and forever still, which tells us about even the smallest details of our ordinary lives. They are suddenly revealed bigger, reinvented in their bare and crude reality with the dazzling light of the south triumphing and where words themselves melt in the sunshine.

Michel also has a passion for Morgans, and his brushes now tackle the mechanics and the ever so sensual and generous curves of these ageless cars. Those who love Morgans will undoubtedly love his very intimate way of featuring them.

Michel Coumes does not like to talk about his painting and gently retires in his atelier, a half open window with a sunbeam coming through. He who wishes he had written this Giacometti's sentence: “In art, what needs explanation does not deserve it”.

Jacques Maigne