Meeting: Isabelle Outrebon, creator of vegetable canvases

Meeting: Isabelle Outrebon, creator of vegetable canvases

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After doing abstract painting, Isabelle Outrebon had the idea of ​​combining her two passions; art and gardening. For the past five years, she has been playing on the mixture of materials and textures to create original paintings. She is also part of the Parisian collective Boiling which organizes events in the fields of art and creative leisure.

Hello Isabelle. Tell us about your world and those who inspire you.

I seek to restore the emotion of nature through painting. For my plant canvases, I am inspired by the painter Nicolas de Staël for his geometry and the photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand for his photos seen from the sky. Regarding plant art, I appreciate the work of Patrick Blanc, a French landscaper known for his plant walls.

How are your canvases designed?

I worked with a landscaper on the shape of the frame, so that it was well suited to the plants. My paintings consist of an acrylic background and natural pigments such as coal or hot earth. I also use sphagnum, a dry Chilean plant which, moistened, swells and retains water. Thus, it acts as a water reserve for the painting. Finally, a drip system is used to feed the plants. I enhance everything with one or more living plants. My next step: make natural pigments and vegetable paints with red cabbage or beetroot and additives like sodium bicarbonate or lemon. My goal is to quickly abandon chemicals. For plant canvases, we must anticipate the movement of the plant, in order to create evolving tables. The plant seeks light; it grows vertically then turns towards the sun. People appreciate the idea of ​​"ephemeral garden" because it is very easy to garden, but don't forget to take care of it!

How do you compose your paintings?

First of all, I make suggestions to customers, these are not orders. Then, I work according to the seasons, I am very sensitive to time, as were the famous impressionists of the 19th century. The colors of the paintings therefore vary according to the seasons: yellow, blue, mauve in spring, bright red in summer, brown and orange tones in autumn and a predominance of white in winter.

What plants do you like to work with?

I like to work with the vine shoot, pine cones, lichen, bark, but also century-old wood and noble wood such as cork, oak and chestnut. For wall gardens, I use fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, I adapt to plants, I do not use succulents in winter because they need dryness but plants that live in arid environments are good for summer fabrics. Due to lack of time, I buy plants and not seeds except for the clover and radish seeds that I grow. I like the idea of ​​recovering with the plants around us.

What messages do you want to convey?

There are more and more gardens in town and the reintroducing nature into the city is one of my convictions. For a year, I have been making smaller paintings (from 15 €), which brighten up the kitchens (especially for the paintings with aromatic herbs) but also the bathrooms because the water vapor nourishes the vegetable paintings. The city dweller dreams more and more of a gardener, he wants to make a homecoming. I also bring a educational character and educational to my work while remaining fun. Indeed, I like working in schools because the children are amazed by nature and ask themselves lots of questions. With them, I watch the evolution of plants and this allows them to discover the 5 senses. In addition to the educational walls, I designed medicinal walls with plants that our grandparents used to look after themselves.

What are your projects ?

I am currently in charge of the decoration of a cabinet of bio estheticians who work with plants. Otherwise, I always attach as much importance to raising children's awareness and I want to create a fragrant vegetable or garden in schools. I exhibit my little gardens in galleries, in Beauregard for example. Finally, in my workshop (Rue Saint Blaize passage J6 in Paris) we design a green wall for letter boxes by recovering crates. Find the work of Isabelle Outrebon on her website.


  1. Jeraldo

    There is something in this and an excellent idea, I agree with you.

  2. Kedrick

    Brilliant idea and timely

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