Mireille Printemps' painting is in-keeping with the diffuse lightness that her surname 'Springtime' evokes. The sea, music, and travelling nourish that part of her imagination that fuels her inspiration. Light colours and glazes dominate her ethereal and flirtatious approach to the subject.
At school, she admits she was a quite a withdrawn pupil. Only drawing allowed her to affirm herself fully. There, she found a freedom that no other school subject offered the children. "I found it difficult to apply myself, and nothing's really changed since then," she explains "but I always paid a great deal of attention to people and things around me." Mireille Printemps would, a little later, express this fondness for observation through charcoal portraits. When she became an adult, she was required to put her passion on hold, but only temporarily.
Preoccupied by open spaces, Mireille Printemps confers particular importance to empty space in her painting and the need for escapism that it illustrates and suggests. Hazy horizons lengthen
the seemingly floating atmosphere and contribute to the dream-like quality that she is so fond of. That is why we never see the feet of her female characters that are, very often, surrounded by an
imposing desert of sand (see the water carrier series). Adept at glazes that give her painting a certain transparency, she seems to be on an eternal quest for solitude, and finds a very precious aid in music.
Chopin is the composer to whom she likes to refer. Apart from painting on canvas or panel, Mireille admits that ink and wash appeal to her, undoubtedly beacuase they meet her need for lightness.
She also refers to poetry, drawing inspiration from it as she might a life-giving source. A line, a rhythm, a rhyme and the tone is set for an image to suddenly take shape : a boat, a flight of seagulls,
a faraway island of treasure, or the sketch of a still life come into being on the blank canvas. There is, in this nostalgic soul, a need to confront the forces of nature, which she likes to be clearly
defined, and this is why half-seasons hold little appeal for her. Mireille Printemps embraces the ochres as much as she is fond of the blues. At the moment, it is the sea that occupies her mind almost
continually. Its murmerings and convulsions appeal to her, since they are in-keeping with the flow of her roaming and free thoughts. Is it not a reflection of herself that her paintbrush is seeking
to capture in the waterways of her paintings?
Luis PORQUET, art critic
When she devotes herself to figurative painting, PRINTEMPS's art can appear strange, particularly when the almost monochrome marine paintings are associated with the serenity of mysterious ships, inordinately high masts and troubling reflections in an atmosphere that is nevertheless fascinating. Even when she commits herself to a more picturesque realism, her characters, locations, and edifices represent no less than a rather menacing presence despite the skilful use of nuances in her painting of the ground and sky. They are, consequently, fine paintings that encourage dialogue and trigger very often a reflection that surpasses formal representation of space, locations, rituals and countries under the attentive gaze of the artist. Yet, consequently, PRINTEMPS achieves perfectly a more dynamic and more informal direction in her creative thinking: she conveys the subtle play of a musical impulsion with pretty pearly colours, and with expressive spirals, the charm of which adapts to a brushstroke that is as elegant as it is bold. And yet the personality of the artist is always profoundly present in these works that are ambiguous in terms of the technique, yet ambitious and convincing in their conception and interpretation.
André RUELLAN, art critic