G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s as Artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an Artist deep down inside all of us of as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles, and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best Artists do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Well g’day viewers, and welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well we are in Uki, the beautiful area in Northern New South Wales. It’s so picturesque, and we are at the studio – a fantastic studio with an amazing view, of Marie France France-Rose. How are you darling? (Marie France) Good. (Graeme) Good to see you. I have actually known Marie France France for a number of years and I live in the same area which is absolutely beautiful. And she uses clay and paint at the same time, and we’ve actually never seen anybody do this before. It’s very, very interesting. But she actually interoperates the people and the landscape through her work and it’s very, very three dimensional. You actually got a diploma in 1999 for ceramics. Is that correct? (Marie France) Yes. (Graeme) And then (Marie France) Visual Arts. (Graeme) and Visual Arts, so tell me a little about that and the start of your journey and getting to where you are now. (Marie France) Well I did the TAFE education in Sunshine Coast, and then I did the Post Graduate in Lismore, and started to make sculpture. And I went traveling around the world like all young student (Graeme) You’ve been all over the place haven’t you? (Marie France) That was at the age of forty I decided to do that. A long time I was traveling I was looking for what I wanted to do in life. I use to be searching for many, many years, (Graeme) Yep. (Marie France) and I was looking what can I import, what can I buy, what should I do, where should I live? I was really looking at everything and really doing my life. And each time I went to buy something or try to invest in something, there was always a little voice that was telling me you have to do your own thing; you have to do your own thing. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie France) And so I came back to Australia, and try to create – that’s all I wanted to do is play with clay. And it was like finding home, just the fact of playing with clay. (Graeme) Yeah. and I started making little sculptures and then I did a bit of painting. But I couldn’t let go of the clay, so my clay came with me to the painting, and I still love to blend both. And constantly I go from one to the other, like my sculpture – I like to finish them with paint. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie France) And my painting – I like to have the clay on it, and I’ve just been evolving from there. (Graeme) It’s fantastic work, it’s so colourful. But as I said it’s three dimensional, it’s almost like a painting that’s a sculpture at the same time. But Marie France does really fantastic sculptures, you’ll obviously see them as we go through the show today as well. But she’s actually prepared three different pieces today, so that we can go through the process to show you. And they’re – I think they’re brolgas, is that correct? Are they brolgas the birds? (Marie France) Yeah, the birds – they’re brolgas.(Graeme) They’re brolgas. So we’re going to make a start on this particular piece here. I’m going to get out of shot, but this is really going to be fascinating because it’s the first time we’ve ever seen somebody really paint with clay. That’s the best way to look at it. (Marie France) Yeah. (Graeme) So lets go and have a look at what she does. (Marie France) Okay, today I’m doing, I have done three painting to show you all the different stage that I gonna be using. Here is a board, I’m mainly working on board. (Graeme) It’s a Titan board is that correct? (Marie France) It is a Titan board. And I already got gesso on it, two thick coat because it absorb a lot of the paint. And so we starting from here, but the first step I gonna to do is make the clay piece. And I work on board especially if the piece are that big, because it keep it firm and no movement in the clay. So we gonna go over there, and I gonna show you how I make my bird. Okay, today the sculpture I’ve got to to make them with paper clay – Feeney paper clay. It’s a very good clay to work on canvas. So what I do, I work straight from the packet. I will cut the nice big slab. (Graeme) You just cut that with a bit of wire do you? Ah, there you go – there it is. (Marie France) Yeah, with the wire. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie France) And so I lay the fairly thick slice and here is my slab roller, (Graeme) Yep. (Marie France) that always give me the thickness that I want. So I just roll the clay once. For this show I will do twice, because I’m gonna work from this side now. So I have my piece of clay and it’s the thickness that I want, and from there I get cut out, skewer, or whatever and I’m just going to make the shape of my bird. Voila. The beauty of it is because it’s soft I will shape it to whatever position I want to put it on my canvas. And I’m gonna use a little bit of this piece here to create the wing. So I just had it on top like so, and then I get a little tool, and with this I’m going to start straight away making my texture in the wing. And I start from the bottom and I bring little leaf in. So I just keep going with texture all the way like so. (Graeme) You don’t have to worry about that other piece of clay on top, that you don’t have to put any other liquid underneath to hold it down, it’ll will just settle it? (Marie France) When I do the leaf here, I blend them together. So by coming here and pushing it down, I also marry them together, and especially here at the top (Graeme) Okay. (Marie France) I really push them together so they become one. (Graeme) So what really inspires you within your work. (Marie France) Well nature, when you live in a place like here, I love observing people; I love human form. And so I like to freeze the moment and just capture something. And I like the challenge also my medium and come up with different shape, and different possibility. And I normally dream of peace, and they come in my sleep and I already pre-plan them. So I kind of have all my texture that I want for the wings now, and I’m going to put in an eye. Normally I put a little bit of flick of water and just make a little space where it’s just going to glue itself to it. There we are, so now I have the body done, I need to do some legs. So here I’m gonna to cut some nice legs, so yet again I can shape them. Okay, so I’m slowly getting the shape of the legs here. I’m putting it into form, they have nice tall, long legs and they also really like to cross one another. So we’re gonna do it that its doing a little dance perhaps, like so. And because one go on top, so I will take some clay and make a little space for the other leg to come over. (Graeme) So how long does the clay stay pliable for? (Marie France) Depending on the wether, if it’s windy or it’s too hot it might dry quicker, or if there’s too much sun on it. I say I got about an hour to work on it, but with paper clay the magic of it is you can rewet it and reuse it again. So if it starts to get too dry on me and I needed, or something break, and I need to fix it, I can use my water and a brush and smooth it together again. (Graeme) Now you’re also involved in a number of community projects in the area, and you actually, you’ve created the Uki Totems for the beautiful town of Uki, and you do community murals as well. You’ve done some fantastic murals for the local town and the local area. But your workshops are very entertaining, you get a number of people along to your workshops. And you also conduct residency workshops for people that come from overseas as well, so tell me about that if you could? (Marie France) Yes, that’s what I like to do, is have people who come and want to come and do a residency, and enjoy the beautiful landscape, and beautiful property that we have here. And all our organically grown food that we have on the property. And we have beautiful accommodation and it’s a beautiful place to come for a holiday and be creative. Okay, so now back to the board, I have to wait or the bird to dry a little bit, and if possible I need to prepare my board. I’m starting with some texture, and I have some modelling paste, and what I do is I go very random with lots of past, because especially for the bottom part. And I have put some color, some actual paint into my paste, and I go very random. So I’m just gonna move along and come back randomly again making it thicker. So, voila. And here I want to go thinner for the next row so I can change my pattern, I can just drop some and maybe not put so much impasto so it’s a little bit more, just little mark. (Graeme) Yeah. Speaking of sculptures as well, you’ve done some amazing stuff over the years. You’ve been involved in Swell Sculpture, with the Circus of the Sky, which you’ve been in three times. You’ve got some trapeze artists sort of hanging in the trees, because it’s the best way you could put it. And some of your other sculptures like the Bird of Paradise, which is just a beautiful piece. We also have one, the Wild Rooster, which is just a fantastic sculpture. There’s the Grounded Angel, which I think is quite beautiful as well. And the Street Girl, which is quite interesting also. So you know, you’re just a very, very diverse woman with you’re creativity. (Marie France) Yeah, it’s all very inspirational, and I go through different stage and I’m always like challenge myself and I like to do piece that are not too easy to make. Like the trapeze-an are pretty amazing because there’s no flat part they are empty, for people who know to make ceramic. And doesn’t have a base that you can actually work from, it’s actually all around the full piece is a full composition. And that’s what I love doing. Okay, so now we got the texture everything is silhouette, I’m gonna add the bird. Do I have more over here, and I’m going to put a bit of glue on him first so I generously put some, Weldon is the glue I’m using. It’s a Canadian glue (Graeme) And it’s specifically designed for that? (Marie France) Well it work really well, I have not had any problem using this glue, so I am sticking to it. Okay, i might help myself for an outcome. That’s when I need three hands would be very practical. Right, off we go. So (Graeme) There you go. (Marie France) We have one bird down. So with the paper clay, the beauty is like now it has separated, but because the clay is still all moist and fresh I can just put it back together again. (Graeme) From here, you’ve actually had one that you’ve prepared that’s got three birds in it, but they’re all dry. So we can just about more onto that one and see how we go, but you’re actually going to put some color on that as well. (Marie France) Yes, definitely. (Marie France) Okay, so we moving on to painting number two, because this type of thing is twenty-four hours to dry properly – the clay, all the texture. So I’m now ready to go and I’m going to use a pretty big brush, and I’m doing it with water, so it’s really runny. I want it to be (Graeme) Soaks right in (Marie France) right at the base. (Graeme) Now a lot of these other pictures that you’ve done over the years, as we said before they’re very much a regional flavour, but there’s some that are just fantastic. There’s one called Nimbin, it’s a really bright piece but it’s really fantastic and fun to look at. And then the Old Uki Pub, that unfortunately burn’t down, where we’d go and have a beer every so often, (Marie France) Yeah. (Graeme) which is a great one too. And then some of the other towns in the area, like the picture of Tumbulgum, and then one of Murwillumbah, which is my home town with Mount Warning in the background which is just, just beautiful. And then some of our beach areas, like Life at the Beach, which is up at Currumbin – that’s fantastic. And then the Byron Bay pics, which I think are really beautiful as well. So you know, there’s a real flavour, I mean you’re very much a regional Artist that just loves, loves the area. (Marie France) Yeah, I love living here and I think that’s why I want to share it to the rest of the world. (Graeme) Yeah, and a place where people can come and stay with you, you know, we have huge fans all over the world now. So if anybody wanted to get in touch with you about coming to do these workshops on your beautiful property, what is your website address? (Marie France) It’s Marie France france dot com dot au (Graeme) Okay, Marie France france dot com dot au, and you can have a look at all the things Marie France France has got in there. And also if you want to come to Australia, or even in the area – give her a call and you can book one of these fantastic residency workshops. (Marie France) So now I’m gonna let this dry and I’m gonna move onto the sky, and I’m gonna put my base coat with a little bit of white. (Graeme) Tell me a bit about the exhibition that you did in Dubai? (Marie France) It was really interesting because I was trying to bring some sculpture. Before I sent them, I sent some photo and they told me don’t even try to bring them in the county otherwise they will not let you in the country. And that was the sculpture of my girls: We Are All Woman. As for me to go in Islamic county I was trying to make us all equal, no matter of how we are. (Graeme) You did one, a couple of pictures of the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world, and actually went up it of course, sort of staring out over the rest of the city. (Marie France) Yeah, that was really nice. Actually Dubai was kind of surprisingly interesting in a way, but it is a big playground palace, like it’s not very sustainable, and like here I have a total sustainable life, and to go there see how much energy is wasted is a little bit of a shock for the system. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie France) Yeah, it was interesting, but I think I had like the exhibition I did in Canada, (Graeme) Aha. (Marie France) and that was also fantastic. I’m nearly finished with the base coat of the water and the sky I will be coming back to it. Okay, so I get the base color a little but everywhere, it’s still very wet, so I’m gonna have to put this in the sun and we will be back onto it very soon. (Graeme) Okay, Marie France France, well you’ve let that one dry, you’re going to put some colors on it. (Marie France) Yep. So we got the base coat, an idea of where we are going with it. I have placed a few colors on my palette here, and now I’m going to come back with pretty much a dry brush. So I’m just gonna, because we don’t want to loose all that dark brown, so I’m coming pretty much just brushing the surface (Graeme) Yes. of what I already got here, and I’m (Graeme) And it doesn’t matter if you go over the bird because you’re going to color them anyway aren’t you? (Marie France) Exactly. (Graeme) I mean looking at those paints, the colors that you’re using at the moment, remind me of the tribal sculpture series that you do. (Marie France) Yeah. (Graeme) You’ve got all these really strong colors like in the piece, Flaming Girl and also another that you’ve done, very colorful, one called Dreamtime. And another aboriginal piece, A Man and His Dog, which is quite good too, so very versatile. (Marie France) Okay, as I’m doing layering and layering, and it has to kind of dry in between layer, and I might come back and add more texture. I have prepared another canvas that I’m a little more advanced to it, so I can show you some more technique of finishing on the last one. (Graeme) Sounds great. (Marie France) Okay. So I’m just gonna place this one here. It’s almost finished now and I can show you some more technique for the bird, I start with the lighter color at the top. I’m painting in the direction of the feathers so we can have the dark coming through without filling it in. (Graeme) You can see the feathers sort of poking out through the(Marie France) Yeah. (Graeme) It’s quite good isn’t it? (Graeme) But you’ve got another community project coming up as well for the town of Uki, fantastic little town. Can you tell me a bit more about that? (Marie France) I’m doing a sculpture for Tommy, and he’s helped a lot of people in the community for years and years, and I think the last twenty-five of his life he’s just cleaning the town, the little township of Uki. And he would go every day pick up all the leaf. He died at the age of ninety-nine, and I really feel its a man that need to be remembered. (Graeme) It’s a fantastic tribute to a man that dedicated himself to a beautiful little town. (Marie France) I know, he needs to be remembered. (Graeme) That was wonderful. So, Marie France France, we’re almost at the of the day, but how did this all begin for you? What started your journey to sculpture and painting? (Marie France) Well after I came back from traveling, I decided that I wanted to pursue my career as an Artist and I made all this work and did an exhibition in Byron Bay, and as I was going to set up for the exhibition, I’m carrying this little sculpture that was of Michelangelo, who I was not really happy with. But he looks okay, but I thought no, he’s not coming back with me. As I’m transporting him I wanted to drop it, and I said no, he’s going to do this exhibition and that’s it. And so I went to the exhibition and its the only piece that got sold, and the lady who brought it, a year she came back and visited me at my place, and she brought every single piece of Art I had done. She went and picked up all the work that I had in the exhibition at the Hyatt, plus an exhibition I had in Brisbane at the time. And I had enough money to buy myself a new car the next day. That was really (Graeme) And hence, (Marie France) amazing. (Graeme) and hence the career began. (Marie France) And that’s how the career began. I say, this is it; this is my life – what I love doing. (Graeme) That’s a great story – really well done. Well, beautiful area in Uki, I swear guys, come up and do some workshops with Marie France France, she’s fantastic. Her home and her studio just overlooks the most spectacular place. It’s just full of animals and birds. It’s an amazing, amazing area. Thank you my dear. (Marie France) Thank you so much, Graeme. (Graeme) That was an absolute pleasure, we had a great day. Now for anybody overseas that wants to come, I live in this area – I came back from America – who I do love of course, but I came back to live again in this area because with all my travels, I think that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. (Marie France) Oh it is. (Graeme) And you live smack in the middle of it. So come along and experience this place with Marie France France. Your website address is? (Marie France) Marie France france dot com dot au. (Graeme) That’s correct. And obviously you can come to colour in your life dot com dot au and see what we’re doing as well. And our YouTube channel – as always go in and subscribe guys, we’ve got some great things going on, competitions all the time now, you’ll have a fun, fun, fun time. Uki, Murwillumbah: they call it the Green Caldera. It’s a fantastic area; it’s just so pretty. So come along and spend some time with this lovely lady. Until be see you guys again – remember: make sure you put some color in your life, and we’ll see you next time. Bye now, guys. (Marie France) Yay. (Graeme) See you.