Light in Life, both in people and our surroundings, inspire me.
The human figure has always fascinated me and inspires my work. It is such a complex subject matter. I love that I will never know everything about figurative painting even through a life time of study. In quiet moments with a model I get a sense of all their insecurities and vulnerabilities, all their strength and inner beauty.
It’s in the first layers of the painting the figure, the underpainting, where most of the spirit and personality starts to be described. I use mediums that are best suited for the art piece. Most of my work is in oil paint, yet I am fluent and confident in acrylic,gouache,
and water color painting. I am an avid sketchbook keeper. I often do drawings and sketches using a variety of mediums such as pencil, charcoal, and conte. When starting an art piece I tend to use energetic strokes that come from the process of seeing past the things we label as ‘nose, mouth, ears, hair, eyes, skin’, and meditate on the subtle tonal shapes and colors that are easily overlooked. I push and pull areas into fine detail or leave others as painterly gestures hinting at what the underlying gesture suggestively represents. I enjoy the play of busy areas that may suggest details and texture juxtaposed with flat areas. I am interested in how a single image can take a viewer’s eye through a journey of the composition as if guiding the viewer through a thought process.
Though the main study and subject of my work is the human figure, I also dabble in representational landscapes, city scapes, and still life. By painting other subjects helps to inform and improve my figurative work and also keeps my brush wet in between figurative projects.
When painting I place a greater emphasis on looking at the subject. I find that painting is an exercise in seeing light and discovering the subject before me. The act of painting is a recording and a form of communicating thoughts and emotions that to me go beyond words in my search of further understanding the world around me. I like to dig out the beauty, purpose, and essence in everything I see.
Daphne Côté was born in Camrose, Alberta. She received her BFA degree from the University of Alberta where she majored in painting and minored in drawing. She has been painting and drawing since she was a small child and as a teenager started winning awards and commissions. While her work is primarily focused on figurative subject matter she also ventures into landscape, cityscapes, and still life. She currently works out of her home based studio in Stony Plain, Alberta with her loving and supportive family. Daphne continues to educate herself through traveling to art galleries and participating in major art conferences. She has been instructing art since 2004. She has won awards from the Portrait Society of Canada and the Portrait Society of America. Her work is carried by the Art Gallery of Alberta. As well as gallery pieces, she also creates commissioned and public art works.