Richard Colombel has studied Art Décoratif in Paris-ensad.
After 7 years in an ermitage retreat and 21 years as a buddhist monk,
he returns to his initial vocation as a painter.
I am a treasure seeker, seeking truth. What truth ? The reality of the visible like light, shapes and forms, means everything we perceive and feel among the obviousness. Go to search for reality is hunting rainbows. That is why I am painting all day long, to travel and observe what is hapening in between. However painting and truth doesn’t match because painting has an end when truth doesn’t have.
At the age of eleven, I met my two painting teachers Mr. Andre Lauran and Mrs. Veronique Véron, painters of the Lyon School, who created “Sanzism” in the early fifties with Andre Cottavoz and Pierre Palué in 1947. They were as well involved in one of the very first few spiritual training groups of New York after the Second World War. Their outlook of life has had a decisive impact on their way of teaching Arts.
They taught me how to transcribe objects with lines and colors, how to question our relationship with reality. Magic of arts shows illusion of reality, impermanence of light, colors interdependency. A world itself between the world we are used to perceiving in a common sense, where emptiness and form are considered with the same emphasis; where the line does not exist, only two adjacent planes coexist; where the concept is the enemy of the artist since it distorts objectivity, etc.
This philosophy guides our perceptions into more curiosity, more towards questioning than to giving answers. This jumpstarted me into painting: Curiosity and questioning, what an exciting start to enter the world of arts!
Then, I studied bas relief and sculpture with Teachers who received the grand prix de Rome from Villa Medicis, as well as other basic technics from Rue Madame, in Paris. I finished my training in Art decorative of Paris in 1990, through studying architecture and knowledge of space. Studying volumes and architecture give another sight to transcribe reality. From language of painting to volume and volume to space, art became a tool for me, just a tool, a way to understand life.
Those disciplines have led me to wonder about the reality of our perceptions and the source of the perceiver. At end, the last tool useful for my research turned out to be, in the most natural way, meditation.
Thanks to meeting a very knowledgeable yogi expert on the subject of mind, Lama Gendun Rinpoche, I trained in meditation.
When mental consciousness ceases to be directed towards the world of concepts, the observation of this source, flawless thoughts become extremely interesting.
It is a form of spontaneous creation with a natural background, whose inspiration is perpetual motion. I quickly considered this discipline as an extension of my research. After graduating from Decorative Arts in Paris, I stayed in close retreat with this meditation master. This experience lasted 7 years.
Meditation frees from all forms of trapping creativity, customization traps, cult of “I”.
It simplifies the relationship between the brush and the guiding consciousness.
Mr. Lauran used to say, "If you do not know how to change your painting, let your brush do the work, it knows."
In this vision of painting, the spiritual knowledge of the artist is fundamental because it gives direct and unpolluted access when he paints a landscape. The "I" disappears serving the act of painting. The decor and its transcription are then free of middlemen and no longer suffer from the interpretation heavily loaded with conceptual references. If the artist sees his "expertise" of the foot of a model, regardless of what it sees, it will be far from reality. It is in this sense that the conceptual perception is a danger for the artist who wishes to remain authentic and sincere.
Today, I’m taking great delight in painting with the impression that all those studies have released me more than confined me. Usually, I start from nothing, no preconceived idea or direction. No concept to fabric or harmony to build. No beauty to look for or bad shape to avoid. At least, the form or the concept is coming after a long process. To reach authenticity takes time. I prefer to start from chaos and reach harmony. Then I destroy the harmony to go further, to get the magic of creation that cannot be coming from me, from the “I”. I must not be the one who trapped the final cut; it must be appearing by itself. The process of creation is primordial, the result is lesser. When the image is completed, locked, it must begin to move again, in an endless motion for the benefit of his its future owner. The Canvas must be alive.