“Painting is not work, it is a joy, an exhilaration, and every work is an adventure…”

Welcome to Franck Bailleul’s studio, which he calls his “den”; a cave where the artist indulges in all manner of pictorial experiments. He is continually starting, rubbing out and starting again, scratching with the knife, smoothing with a finger, applying a sponge, wiping or scrubbing using a jumbled collection of unlikely tools. A magical place that he invites you to visit by appointment, with music in the background!


Peinture à l'huille de Franck Bailleul

Initié à la peinture dès le plus jeune âge par son père formé aux Introduced to painting at a very young age by his father, who trained at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Franck Bailleul found his own style through practice. He paints mostly using linseed oil, which he dilutes with spirit of turpentine. He makes generous use of medium in order to enrich the colours, make them more enduring and accelerate drying time. His mentor? Xavier de Langlais’ collection Techniques of oil painting, which was his bedside reading for many years.


“What a life lesson the sky has to offer us!”

Atelier de Franck Bailleul

Franck Bailleul paints on two types of support: Wood, which enables him to attain particularly delicate effects and possesses the advantage of holding better over time, and Linen canvas for initial sketches out of doors before continuing in the studio.
One of the artist’s idiosyncrasies is the frequent use of his fingers to touch up, mix colours, obtain a subtler mix of hues and to perfect shapes… He likes to feel the materials, the pigment sliding under his fingers, and through successive swirls, he achieves greater aesthetic fluidity. At times he also abstains from applying a base coat to the wood in order to play with the colour, in the manner of van Goyen, who used the same technique. The transparency of blue is revealed by the umber colour of the wood, giving depth.
As for linen canvas, Franck Bailleul first prepares it using a thin base, heavily diluted with turpentine so as to obtain an ivory or ochre tone. The he paints increasingly “greasily”, wiping frequently with a rag to rectify the colours and using an over-grainer or large brushes for shading and to improve the blending of colours. Occasionally, he scrapes with the knife to reveal the tinted threads of the canvas. He likes them to be either coarse, if he wishes to create a painting that is brutal, full of movement and strength, or very fine in order to bring out the elegance of the colours blended together in the case of more serene landscapes such as sunsets.

The pathfinders

This month’s message from Franck Bailleul,
passionate about words and poetry!

What I seek is a heightened sensibility; to have poetry in my right pocket and my paintbrushes in my left.
I want to see life straight out of a tube of cool pink and ultramarine blue on a canvas of pearl.
I want to listen to the crystal-sharp concert of drops of spring dew falling and echoing on the tender green foliage,
to the dance and violence of the sky before thunder, to admire the art of the dance in the changeability of clouds,
the harmony of their movement in the endless variation of their forms
though always a complete whole
a complex mass of silhouettes and unrestrained colours!
What a life lesson the sky has to offer us!

© FB 2014