I sign my paintings ‘‘JBChicoine’’ but otherwise I’m known as Bridget Chicoine.
During the 60’s and 70’s I lived in Amityville, on Long Island’s Great South Bay, with my parents and six siblings, all of whom have an artistic bent. We spent summers on the water and winters creating stories, drawing or making anything we could piece together in my dad’s woodshop. Aside from basic art classes throughout my school years, I'm a self-taught artist.
I received my first set of ‘real watercolors’ from my father for graduation, and thereafter briefly attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. I loved working with textiles (still do) and enjoyed designing, but it didn't take long for me to discover that my temperament did not lend itself to such a competitive industry, nor did I enjoy the city.
By the early 80’s I had begun raising a family and pursued art only intermittently. When I bought out time from domesticity (which I also enjoy) my results improved and as my time freed up, my interest in watercoloring rekindled. Remarriage, in 1990, to my husband Todd, also an artist, gave the most impetus to my desire and ability.
I have relied mostly on instructional watercolor books, and trial and error. The only art-related class I’ve taken was Basic Design. In fact, inadvertently I ended up taking it twice; probably one of my better mistakes. I should also mention that I have won a few awards over the years, but nothing that would look particularly prestigious on a resume; but then, I haven’t made any concerted effort to compete.
I began with the idea that watercolor paintings should be loose and flowing, very light and ethereal. The more I tried that approach, the less I liked to paint. My paintings always felt unfinished and I found myself needing to add mote detail. So, I simply gave in to my compulsion. Once I realized I was capable of accurately reproducing what I saw in front of me, I figured, what the heck, maybe I could paint a person and make it look just like them! I prefer to paint my subject engaged in whatever they enjoy. I find more pleasure in the process and the finished work is more meaningful to them. I also like the challenge of painting varied textures—glass and textiles are my favorite.
Generally, I work from photographs: The project starts with a subject or setting I like, I arrange it with interesting lighting, and take dozens of photographs from various angles. I enjoy sifting over the different compositions and look for the most appealing arrangement, taking into account the small scale that I prefer to work in. I love the challenge of painting with meticulous detail using fine brushes to which my small-scaled work is well suited.
Currently, I live near Lake Huron in Michigan with my husband Todd, renovating yet another old house, and painting when I can clear away the debris and sawdust. When I'm not involved with a painting, I'm working on various writing projects.
A complete collection of my work can be viewed at my Website, JBChicoine.com.