Artist Spotlight: Darcel Deneau

Artist Spotlight: Darcel Deneau

Darcel’s artwork reveals the pulsating heart of Downtown Detroit.  She creates painterly cityscapes of Detroit that capture the energy of the streets of Detroit during different times of the day.  She gives us just enough detail so that the details inform us that we are Downtown, yet the details do not restrict her spirit and passion for this City.

Looking at her paintings you want to go out into the street and do something to allow yourself to be inpired by this City.  So before I go run around in the streets, here is a little background about Darcel. When did you start painting?

Darcel: After my father died, I started to look at my own life and I decided to redirect a greater portion of my time and efforts to art. Until that time, art had been a constant part of my life, but I had never made a serious commitment to one style or medium. So at age 33, I made my first oil painting. What style do you consider your work?

Darcel:  Impressionistic / urban landscape Does beauty play a role in your work?

Darcel: Yes, I love the city of Detroit and I enjoy painting the beautiful images I see. have you developed as an artist over the last five years?

Darcel: My work hasn’t changed too much, but I have become a more well rounded artist by increasing my awareness of the arts and artists that show in the Detroit area, attending many art openings and shows, learning better computer skills, networking with other artists, and being actively involved at the Detroit Artists Market as a board member. What is your process?

Darcel: I take photos of the city and I paint from the photos. I paint either on wood or canvas. Before I start sketching the image on the canvas, I paint a solid color with acrylic paint. I like to choose a bright primary color, usually red. Lately, I am drawn to a yellow-orange. I think the primer is important for making the painting have more depth. I start with a china marker, and loosely sketch the image on the canvas. Then I start painting with thin layers of paint, usually more turpentine than paint. When I think the drawing looks correct, I start putting on more paint in thin layers. As I build the layers, each layer gets thicker. I love to turn windows, or glare from lights into miniature abstractions. What is the most difficult part about your process?

Darcel:The mental game. I work from a studio in my home and there are times I find it difficult to have the discipline it takes to stay focused on painting and not worry about housework and other everyday distractions. I find maintaining a connection with other artists is critical to maintain my drive and enthusiasm. What inspires you?

Darcel:Seeing great art by other artists, travel, and my love building and creating. I am also elated about the positive energy and attention that is on Detroit and all of the efforts being made to bring back the vibrancy and population. When I started painting images of Detroit about ten years ago, I felt like I was desperately trying to get people to look at our city and try to see the rich history and potential for a bright future. Who are your favorite Detroit area artists?

Darcel: There are so many great artists in this city, where do I begin… Charles McGee, Clinton Snider, Kristin Beaver, Taurus Burns, John Azoni, Rick Vian, Stephen Matsig, Sergio Di Guisti, Tom Humes, Gilda Snowden, Marcia Freedman, and many more. We are a really fortunate town, great art is abundant and affordable. What’s next?

Darcel: Not sure?

You can learn more about Darcel by visiting her website here: