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Daily Inspiration: Meet Corinne Cotereau

Today we’d like to introduce you to Corinne Cotereau.

Hi Corinne, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a French native who lives in San Diego since 2020; I arrived one month before the shutdown. I already lived in San Diego 10 years ago, fortunately, I still have friends here.

I used to be a lawyer back in my thirties. My artistic sensibility caught up with me in California in 2006 during my first expatriation in the US. We camped in the Joshua Tree desert. Amazed by the natural beauty of the place I decided to return to my first love: painting. I took classes at the “San Diego Art Department”. I discovered the basics of oil painting, found freedom from the figurative style and learned to indulge with my own creativity.

Meeting this wonderful artistic community was the first step to take me on the path I was meant to be on.

Today I am a full-time artist.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I have been a creative person ever since I was a kid but studying art seemed too unrealistic. I needed to be sure I would be able to make a living so I studied law. I became in-charge of an airline’s legal service in Paris. It drained all the creativity out of me. Moving to San Diego with no work visa was the perfect opportunity to change path. It is a big challenge to give up on a paycheck. For me it was a leap of faith but I had to listen to my inner voice.

Life is about finding what you are meant to, right?

Doubts and questions are still part of my journey. But I can tell you it is easier to believe in success when you are surrounded by positive vibes. San Diego is such an inspiring city. Here more than anywhere else I can believe in myself.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am an encaustic painter. It is important for me to use only natural materials. The encaustic medium is made up of beeswax and dammar resin (tree sap) that are melted together. They are then mixed with professional grade pigments to make the encaustic paint. All layers must then be melted and fused together with a torch to create this beautiful sense of depth that you cannot get with any other medium. The paint can be opaque or translucent, allowing the viewer to look deep into the painting and the layers beneath. The wax also maintains sculptural qualities, inviting marks, carving and texture. Even 3D work is possible.

I am proud of my little pieces of art I called my “petits bijoux”. Thanks to an inventive technique, I am able to create a full universe in small sizes. I believe that art belongs in all our homes, not only in museums and galleries. Art should be enjoyed on a daily basis because it brings beauty, enhances our lives, improves our well-being.

I am happy to teach in workshops because creativity flow is for everybody.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can only be explored by those willing to take risks, like Mark Rothko said.

Be wild, adventurous. Don’t compare your work to others. Compare your new work to your old one. Really good work takes a really long time to make.

Be patient with yourself. Keep learning and creating. Even with a full-time career. At some point, the stars will align.

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