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Born and raised in Montreal, Joan Dumouchel demonstrated artistic tendencies at a young age. As a child, she constantly drew objects and figures. Drawing gave Dumouchel a creative outlet which allowed her to express her inner thoughts and emotions, a trait which can still be seen in her artwork. Dumouchel developed her interest in portraiture and figurative painting while studying at the University of Quebec in Montreal.
Dumouchel’s subject matter is inspired by her daughter’s work as a circus performer. She was interested in examining the unique world of circus performers in her artwork. Her lively, theatrical figures exist in a timeless, dream-like world that is full of colour and exuberance. Although these figures cannot speak, they reveal themselves emotionally in their eyes and facial expression.
When beginning each of her works, she starts by creating charcoal drawings to experiment with different expressions and then elaborates on these when creating her final composition. By working away from her original drawings, Dumouchel steps outside of reality to create images that open up the viewer up to the realm of the fantastic. While maintaining contemporary mannerisms, Dumouchel’s style of composition harkens back to Renaissance sensibilities in portraiture and ornamentation using gold leaf. The majority of her work is guided her instincts and created on artistic impulses. Her use of colour is explicitly dictated by the emotions she sees in these figures and used to convey these emotions to the viewer.