French artist Marchal feels that nature is fragile, easily destroyed by man. His paintings of vast meadows dotted with bright poppies are a testament to his love of nature and desire to preserve it. "Man does not appear in my paintings, because man is a destroyer of nature", said Marchal in a recent interview. "I am inspired by the light which plays on the open fields of Provence, particularly in the springtime when the fields are full of wildflowers. To be renewed and inspired I need to walk in these fields, witness the changing light, the softness of the air and the magnificent variety of colors and smells of the wildflowers. I either paint on the spot or go to my studio and recreate the image from my mind's eye. My work is also sort of a reminiscence of my youth, when in the heat of summer, during our vacations, we would run freely in fields, arms brushed by the wildflowers."
In painting the flower-filled fields of Provence, Marchal attempts to capture the special light which heightens the golden colors of the grasses and releases the intense red of the poppies. "Now that the farmers no longer use pesticides to kill these wildflowers, they are growing back. The red is amazingly beautiful," said Marchal.
Like the Impressionists before him, Marchal treats the grasses and flowers like abstract objects, which vary and change with different light and atmosphere. For Marchal, nature is part of his life, a spiritual force.
Marchal grew up in Africa where the light was particularly intense. It was there he developed his respect for nature, unspoiled and pristine. He started drawing at a young age, and when he moved to France, realized that he was destined to become a landscape painter.
Marchal lives in the countryside outside of Paris. His works are in private and public collections throughout Europe and now in America.