Thierry Duval is a French aquarelle painter with an active artist career for over 40 years. During the past 5 years he has taken the internet by storm, with his soulful realism when portraying the beauty of Paris. We sat down to have a talk with the artist himself.
Like many others, we are blown away by your very realistic yet somewhat impressionistic works. Where does your fascination with soulful realism come from?
Thierry, – “I have always liked to represent the poetry of places, and my work is closer to an augmented reality. My watercolors are very realistic without being hyperrealistic. They keep something classic or impressionistic, everything being very modern.
What I try to do is to restore as beautifully as possible, the colors that the mesmerizing perspectives of Paris take on in the different seasons. I hope to give the supplement of soul which I believe goes beyond the simple hyperrealistic representation.”
Today, the depth and atmosphere of your soulful realistic watercolors make it difficult to distinguish your works from reality and photography – how did your career begin?
Thierry, – “I worked as an artistic director in many large advertising agencies in Paris, but it was a very stressful job, I wanted to move on. Framer friends of mine, who knew my watercolor work, offered to exhibit my work in their shop, and it turned out being a real success – the 30 exhibited works were all sold within 2 weeks. This was the confirmation for me that I think I needed. Telling me I could embark on an artistic career. During an exhibition of my work in Montmartre I was discovered by a great gallery owner in Japan, who exhibited me and the works of mine – for several years in a row. I was invited to Japan for each of these exhibitions. But again, I decided to stop these too stressful collaborations – in my opinion, because the obligation to provide a large number of paintings for these exhibitions did not allow me to work at my own pace, and to spend enough time on each watercolor. Now having stopped with that kind of exhibitions I now work for private collectors. Much less stressful for me, and I can spend a lot more time on each work.”
Do you have any favorite colors – both in brand and in color palette?
Thierry, – “My favorite brands are: Sennelier and Winsor & Newton. The color palette would be this one (see image).”
What are your 3 tips for the artist who is starting to work with watercolors?
Thierry, – “My 3 tips are:
1, Draw inspiration from the work of the old masters. Try not being alone in your workshop – but work alongside others. Going to see exhibitions, these can be great sources of inspiration.
2, Participate in group exhibitions, meeting with other artists can be very formative and motivating.
3, And finally, my main advice would be: Work, work and work! There are no secrets or miracle recipes, only hard work pays off!
I have been watercolor painting for over 40 years, and I’m still learning new things everyday!”
Where can we see more of what you do, as well as videos and more information?
Thierry, – “You can see my videos on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thierry.duval.5/ and on Instagram: thierryduvalaqua where I share a lot of my craft and techniques in multiple videos. You can also see more on my YouTube page: Thierry Duval Aquarelle.”