Artist Statement

I was born in 1948 into an artistic family. My French grandfather lived and worked in Provence, my grandmother was a well-known wood engraver, and my mother and two sisters also paint. So for me it was the natural thing to do and it has always been part of my life. I remember from an early age the intoxicating smell of turps, and the atmosphere of an artist’s studio, and even then I could see that she inhabited a world of her own which encouraged me to create mine. It soon became the underlying reality in my life, and the thread that I return to in any situation, it seemed the obvious choice to go to art college and at 18 I managed to scrape together the “O”levels necessary to do a pre-diploma year at Hornsey Art College which I found confusing and demoralising, so when I was rejected for the painting degree, I was almost relieved. After that I went to India, fell in love and came back to live in a small isolated cottage in the moors near Lancaster and had 2 babies. To remain sane I took up painting again but for my own pleasure this time. Away from the pressures of tutors and other students I started to develop a style that was mine and by the time all 4 kids were going to school I was ready to start painting full-time. I met Richard Di Marco in Edinburgh and he introduced me to a gallery in London and I continued showing paintings in London for the next 15 years. When we moved to France in the early nineties I realised that the style that I had evolved was becoming cliched. Instead of taking an image in my head and then finding a way to put it down in paint, I wanted to discover the image that is hiding somewhere in the canvas and allow the paint to show me the direction

My inspiration has always come from my own life, the little everyday situations and the predicament of human existence in a strange and beautiful universe. My influences range from early Italian painters (Giotto, Fra Angelico, Botticelli) to Turner, Poussin, Bonnard, Vuillard, the Japanese artists of the floating world; and more recently Jackson Pollock and the contemporary Chinese artist, Zao Wouki, and the photographer, Francesca Woodman. For me a painting is successful when I am pulled into it and have the feeling that it’s the painting that is looking at me, at once the observer and the observed.

after 1998, my painting became a lot less figurative, while still using techniques that I evolved in the last 25 years: building up and rubbing away layers of paint, allowing the painting to indicate where it’s going and then finding out where that is. Since 2010 ,the work has become even more abstract and much bigger ( 200 x 200) and is about finding the point at which any quality transmutes into its opposite , inside /outside, empty/full, light/dark, easy/difficult, big/little, far/near etc,etc ,

Lucy Raverat
La Voulte
34390 Mons La Trivalle

March 2009

Je suis née en 1948 dans une famille artistique: mon grand-père français vivait et travallait en Provence, ma grand-mère etait une graveuse sur bois connue en Angleterre, ma mére et mes deux soeurs sont également peintre .Donc pour moi c`etait quelque chose de naturel, et cela a toujours fait partie de ma vie. Dès mon enfance, je me souviens de l' odeur intoxicante de la terabenthine, et de l`atmosphère d`un atelier de peintre. Dès mon plus jeune âge, je ressentais bien que ma grand-mère habitait dans son propre monde et elle m'encourageait à creer le mien . C`est devenu insidieusement le fil conducteur de ma vie ,t l'univers où je me ressource perpetuellement.
Il est apparu comme une évidence que je devais faire les Beaux Arts , et j`ai reussi de justesse à avoir les qualifications neccessaires pour le faire. Mais ça m`a perturbé et decouragé, alors quand ils m`ont refusé, je fus soulagée.
Ensuite je suis allée en Inde, et je suis tombée amoureuse . puis nous sommes rentrés en Angleterre pour nous installer dans une petite maison trés isolée dans les Yorkshire Moors; deux enfants plus tards, j`ai repris les pinceaux mais cette fois pour mon propre plaisir. En dehors des exigeances des professeurs et des autres etudiants , j`ai reussie à trouver mon propre style, et quand les 4 enfants furent a l`ecole j`ai pu commencer a peindre à plein temps . j`ai rencontré Richard Di Marco à Edinbourgh et il m`a introduit dans une gallerie londonienne, où j`ai continué à exposer pendant quinze ans. Quand nous avons déménnagé en France au debut des années 1990, j`ai constaté que mon style avait evolué mais risquait de se scléroser…….. Au lieu de prendre une image qui etait deja dans ma tÍte j`avais envie de decouvrir l`image qui se cachait quelque pars dans le toile

Mon inspiration vient toujours de ma propre vie, les situations quotidiennes, et le predicament de l`existence humaine dans un univers étrange et beau. Mes influences sont diverses, les peintures rupestres , celles du debut de la rennaissance italienne (Giotto, Fra angelico , Botticelli ) jusque`à Turner , Poussin, Bonnard , Vuillard, Klimdt, les artistes Japonais du monde flottante, et plus reçemment l`artiste chinois Zao Wouki , et la photographe Francesca Woodman. Pour moi un tableau est reussi quand il m'attire vers lui, et me donne le sentiment que c`est le tableau qui me regarde , a la fois l`observateur, et l`observée.

Depuis 1998 , mon travail est devenu beaucoup moins figuratif, je continue de me servir des techniques que j`avais developpées pendant ces derniers 25 ans, c`est à dire creer une surface avec une mutitudes de couches que je détruis en laissant la toile me diriger.
Depuis 1998 , mon travaille est devennue beaucoup moins figurative, je continue de m`enservir des techniques que j`avais developer pendant ces derniers 25 ans, c`est dire de creer un surface avec pleine des couches et en les detruissant de laisser le toile me dirige , des 2010 mon travaille est devennue encore plus abstrait et beaucoup plus grand (200 x 200) et s`agit de trouver le point ou chaque element transforme dans son opposè , interier /exterieur ,plein/vide, lumiere /tenebre , facile /difficile , grand/petit , loin /pres , etc

Lucy Raverat ,
La Voulte , 2011

Lucy Raverat on her James Joyce-inspired art
BY Lesley Thulin
"Good morning, James"
Although James Joyce’s novels have been noted for their musicality and practically beg to be read aloud (think the sirens episode in “Ulysses,” or really any portion of tongue-twister “Finnegans Wake”), a new exhibit at the Francis Kyle Gallery showcases visual interpretations of the Modernist master’s literature.
“Jumping for Joyce: Contemporary painters revel in the world of James Joyce,” which runs until Sept. 25, includes he work of more than 20 artists. Since the exhibit features an overwhelming number of paintings inspired by “Ulysses,” I was intrigued by the only one that, as far as I could tell, braved an interpretation of “Finnegans Wake” — Joyce’s elusive final novel that has inspired scholars to pen their own skeleton keys.
I talked with the artist, Lucy Raverat, about her three contributions to the exhibit and how consciousness “doesn’t give a s--t” about plot in “Finnegans Wake.”
Lesley Thulin: Can you tell me about the process of painting “riverrun,” “Molly Bloom’s dilemma,” and “Good morning, James”?
Lucy Raverat: I’m not actually a very literary person — I mean, I do read. I kind of dipped into it, but I didn’t read “Ulysses” from beginning to end. I could quickly see that the way Joyce writes is, he just kind of mixes everything up into a great big soup. He takes ideas from everywhere and mixes it all up. He takes ideas from all kinds of different times, so time doesn’t really start in one place and go through, continuously. He takes everything all at once.
So, for my style of painting, that seemed to suit me very well, because I don’t like to take an idea and put it into my mind and then illustrate. That’s not the way I work. So the way I work is to simply... I just paint and see what happens.
"Molly Bloom's dilemma"
LT: What do you see as Molly Bloom’s dilemma?
LR: That’s more or less from her soliloquy at the end of the book. There’s a bit where she’s lying in bed and just all these different things are coming into her head, drifting through, and she is talking about her life in a very free and easy way. Things that are important to her are all mixed up with completely small things — just things that are happening in her day — and the painting I did was really about that. It’s about the strange little pathways that everybody’s life is taking. It seems to be going from A to B, but these pathways are very random and can be going from anywhere to anywhere. And so for Molly’s dilemma, it’s just about these odd trains of thought that seem to travel that seem to shut her up in different directions and crossover and mix up. Some are beautiful and some aren’t. It’s really just about the randomness of a mind, really... of all the circumstances that come together that get that human being to be that human being.
LT: Could you tell me about “Good morning, James”? 
LR: It’s the most figurative of the paintings that I put in there. His [Francis’] gallery is quite a figurative gallery. So, I just took the feeling of Dublin, which, if you notice in that painting, there’s a skylight above the door. In Dublin, a lot of the doors have that sort of Georgian feature. It’s just imagining James and his life in Dublin, getting up in the morning and then he’s going to write his book. He’s tapping into this kind of great sea of thoughts.  
LT: I’d also like to ask you about “Finnegans Wake.” The book is notoriously difficult.
LR: Yeah.
LT: Did you read it in its entirety?
LR: I have read it. I didn’t read it this time, but I have, a long, long time ago. But I just dipped into it this time and remembered. That’s where “riverrun” comes from, actually.
LT: Right.
LR: In fact, he spelled it wrong. It should be spelled with a small “R” and it should all be one word. So the idea in that is loosely connected to something that’s got nothing to do with James Joyce. We were just recently in India for the Kumbh Mela. You know what the Kumbh Mela is?
LT: Is that when millions of people bathe in the Ganges?
LR: Yeah. It’s a huge, huge meeting. It’s the biggest meeting of human beings on the planet. It’s like 15 million people come together at a certain time to bathe in the Ganges in this month which is auspicious. We went to see that. I was still, at the time, thinking about the Joyce show, and it occurred to me that “Finnegans Wake” and the Ganges — there’s a lot going on. The way that Joyce treats his writing, and “Finnegans Wake,” in particular, and he treats the Liffey — the river that runs through Dublin — you could connect it with the Ganges. The Ganges has a physical aspect, but in Indian spirituality, has another thing... The place where the Kumbh Mela happens is actually the meeting of three rivers. And one of them is the invisible river — the Sarasvati. So the most auspicious place to bathe is this place where the invisible river rises. And that is because this meeting of rivers symbolizes in each human being the place where our humanness can come into touch with something much more universal, which is what I think James Joyce is doing in “Finnegans Wake.” He’s using the Liffey in the same way as the Ganges is represented in Indian thought.
LT: Is that why you decided to focus on that one word, “riverrun”?
LR: I find that that’s what the whole book is all about. All of the stuff that a life contains, which is all of the thoughts, all of the people, all of the actions, everything that goes up to make a life actually is flowing into this river which is a river of consciousness, you could say.
LT: Some people say that “Finnegan’s Wake” lacks a plot. What’s your take on this?
LR: I think that it is completely without a plan, and that plans are human-made things, and consciousness doesn’t give a s--t about plans. Plans have got nothing to do with life. Plans happen within life, not the other way around. So, in that way, I think James Joyce is right. It’s all completely random and you can’t get a hold of it, either. It’s just escaping in all directions. And to try to keep it going in all direction is a bit of a human mistake.