vəˈräɡō/: a woman of strength or spirit; a female warrior.

Feature Artist: Malinda Prudhomme

Malinda Prudhomme - Feature images from Curvy Beauties series
Malinda Prudhomme – Feature images from Curvy Beauties series

Given the climate in fashion these days, it is refreshing to find an artist that creates images of of woman as strong and substantive. Malinda Prudhomme works in a variety of styles and mediums, but what first drew me to her work was her wonderful images of women as real people with attitude and bodies that aren’t ethereal, but glory in their fullness. Above are three images from her Curvy Beauties series. She’s a Zena Warrior Princess fan, and it shows.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: What got you interested in art? Have you taken any art classes?
I have always had a love and talent for art. My father is a master wildfowl woodcarver and his father was a very prominent wildfowl carver as well. Though it is a beautiful art practice and is something they would have liked me to continue, I could never get interested in sculpting birds. Sculpting in general never really interested me.

An early sign of my talent came when I returned home from school one day, only four years old. I gave my mother a picture I had painted in school and asked her: “Mommy guess what I’m going to be when I grow up?” When she asked “What?”,  I told her “An Artist, Madame Cheff told me that.” It seems my kindergarten teacher knew I had the artistic skills that would allow me to become a remarkable artist.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years I immersed myself in art. I was awarded the grade 8 art award and later began a secondary art major at a school for the arts. I was even awarded the grade 12 art award, competing against my peers whom I felt were incredibly talented. Yet even with all of this success I did not feel being an artist was a possible career. It never really entered my mind. I attribute this to growing up in a small northern community where the arts were given little importance.

It wasn’t until I moved away and took a minor in art at Nipissing University that I truly believed I could “make it” as an artist. Even though the registrar and head of the art department did not believe I would be able to keep up with the work load, I received special permission to do my two year minor in one year. I’ll admit, it was a lot of work, but it was work I loved doing. The year went by and soon the graduating students would have their exhibition. I decided to apply in hopes of being accepted even though I was not graduating and had only been in the program one year. I was shocked when I found out that out of the 12 pieces of artwork that had been accepted two of them were mine. During the opening night of the exhibition I was told something I had never been told before. My amazing first year art professor, Eileen O’Connor, took my parents and I aside and told us that she truly believed I could become a successful artist.

The next day the students who took part in the exhibition anxiously awaited the results of the “People’s Choice” award, the only award given at this show. As I was not graduating I didn’t even think about it. I casually opened my e-mails and couldn’t believe that I had won. I cried and in fact the memory still makes me cry. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

What is your preferred medium and why?
This is a tough question for a mixed media artist. My most favourite medium is oil paint. However, I also love to work with willow vine charcoal, watercolour paint, and my homemade encaustic (wax) paint.

What’s your website’s URL and are you represented elsewhere?
My website is www.MalindaPrudhomme.com. I am not currently being represented anywhere else.

Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?

My favourite artist is Botticelli. He has been my favourite artist since I was around 16. My favourite piece of his is “The Birth Of Venus”. I’ve always been in love with the artists of the renaissance. What draws me to their work is the immense amount of realism they could achieve. I also enjoy the myths or stories being told. I’ve always been fascinated with ancient Greek and roman myths.

Can you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/photographed, etc.? What makes it memorable?
I have been drawing and painting since I was a baby and do not remember anything that early. I can remember the first time I really impressed myself and felt confident with my skills. I was probably around 13 years old when I began to draw women. I had just discovered magazines for women such as Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan, and became fascinated with the beautiful women depicted in the advertisements. I soon got my hands on a Victoria Secret catalogue and picked a stunning woman to attempt to draw. This would be the first women, body and/or face, that I had ever attempted to draw realistically. It was pretty incredible when I was finished with it. It was as if my hands just knew what to do.

Being an author, I have to ask, have you ever designed any artwork for an author (cover image, maps, interior art – including font styles – etc.)? If not, would this be something you’d be interested in doing?
I have not yet designed a book cover but this is something that I would absolutely love to do. I am an avid reader, particularly fantasy novels, and it would honestly be a dream come true to be commissioned to do a book cover.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work?
I gather my inspiration from the women in my life as well as women who are models and/or actresses. True natural beauty draws me in, regardless of age or fame. I also create work that is inspired by my travels. Cultural beauty is something I have a huge passion for.

Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out?
I’m quite comfortable creating many styles of artwork. I love to create everything from portraits, landscapes, and even abstract expressions. I was once asked to create a huge 48”x48” abstract piece for an insurance company’s lobby. This was different for me. I do not usually work so large nor is abstract something I do very often. In the end it turned out beautifully and the patron, as well as the staff at Mitchell Sandham Inc., loved it. I still receive comments about it to this day.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
Is traveling considered a hobby? I absolutely LOVE to travel. Seeing new places, learning new histories and cultures, eating good food, what could be better? My work often depicts natural female beauty, but after a trip to a new country I can’t help but feel inspired to depict the beautiful places I have visited.

Where can we reach you if we are interested in commissioning you for our own projects?
I can be reached in many ways. I try and make myself accessible as much as possible. You can e-mail me anytime at Info@MalindaPrudhomme.com. I can also be found on Twitter @MalindaArt and on Facebook as well: www.Facebook.com/MalindaPrudhomme. I check all of these platforms many times a day and love to correspond about my artwork. And, if all else fails, you can call me! My business number is 1-647-348-7992.

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?
The hardest part is getting through the “ugly” stages. What I mean by that is blocking in the colours, blending, repeat. These layers take a lot of time and need to be done with care. During these layers the piece doesn’t look pretty. Not always, but most of the time I find myself questioning whether or not the piece will look right in the end. It’s not until the final details, particularly the facial features, are put in that the whole piece comes together and any fear I had is completely washed away.

And finally, I would like to give you this opportunity to share three to five images and tell us a little about each:

Virago - Malinda Prudhomme - Curvy Beauties
“Curvy Beauties” January 2013 Oil Paint on Canvas 6” x 12”/each

“Curvy Beauties” January 2013 Oil Paint on Canvas 6” x 12”/each

This beauty art series was created in order to celebrate the beauty of curvy women. Unfortunately we live in a time where the media is constantly pushing thin women into the spotlight in hopes of brainwashing us into thinking that only thin women are beautiful and sexy. I believe this is the case because many corporations have a lot to gain from women with low self-esteem. Women who feel poorly about themselves are more likely to buy more makeup, hair dye, gym memberships, weight loss gimmicks, corsetry, and so on. My ideal world would be one in which ALL women of ALL shapes and sizes feel happy and confident about themselves. Thus I took the opportunity to portray just how beautiful and sexy lusciously large women can be.

 

Malinda Prudhomme - Winter Beauty
Malinda Prudhomme – Winter Beauty

“Winter Beauty” March 2013 Oil Paint on Canvas 9” x 12”
This luxurious oil painting expresses the spirit of the naturally beautiful Ashley Sirianni. The first time I met Ashley was during my very first winter exhibition.Seeing my work for the first time she burst with excitement and awe. had never met someone who connected so deeply with it and understood its meaning without even asking.

Ashley filled my cold dark winter days with light and warmth and so it was only a matter of time before she became my “Winter Beauty”. The diamond ice crystals falling delicately from her hair allude to the cold of winter. Yet it is the warmth of the candlelight on her face that exudes her personality and emphasizes her naturally beautiful features. This piece strives to comfort the viewer with a sense of warm beauty.

 

Malinda Prudhomme - A Mark of Beauty

 

Malinda Prudhomme – A Mark of Beauty

“A Mark Of Beauty” May 2013 Oil Paint on Canvas 6” x 8”/each

This black and white beauty portrait series was created in honour of the beauty mark and in celebration of freckles. So often I see women who strenuously cover their beauty marks and freckles, ashamed at not having airbrushed looking skin. And how many women will not feel confident without a layer of makeup? As someone who is passionate about natural female beauty this has always puzzled me. I do not have freckles (as much as I wished for them throughout my life) but I do have many beauty marks and I have always been proud of them. It adds detail and interest, making each and every one of us that much more unique. Every woman in this series has freckles or beauty marks and I can’t help but feel that this only enhances their natural beauty.

 

Malinda Prudhomme - Modern Warrior Beauty
Malinda Prudhomme – Modern Warrior Beauty

“Modern Warrior Beauty” November 2012 Oil Paint on Bamboo Board 6.7” x 12.7”
This beauty art piece was inspired by the fierceness found in all women. Some women feel the warrior inside of them and choose to depict this part of their personality on their skin. Tattoo culture is something that has always fascinated me as I too have tattoos. I truly believe that tattoos can be a way of expressing your inner soul and that is what I tried to portray in this stunning bamboo painting.

My personal inner warrior woman was fostered throughout my life as I am a huge fan of Xena Warrior Princess. Aspects of this can be seen in the painting as the tattoo depicts a breast plate and breast dagger similar to that of Xena. Also, her unique earring/ear plug is designed liked Xena’s legendary chakram.

About Jessica Fisher-Willson

Jessica Fisher-Willson
Jes (Arts & Independent Music Editor) is a nerd girl who needs constant validation. To this end she invented White Light Tarot TM, a reiki-tarot deck that validates one's concerns and helps balance one's energy. It is available as an online app, a download for free, or as a book and tarot deck available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and White Light Tarot's website, as well as finer independent New Age purveyors. Mostly she is writing fiction as fast as she can and learning to be socially media-phoric. http://jessicafisherwillson.com/
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