Senior Highlight: Charlotte Perin

What defines you as an artist?

I don’t really know what defines me as an artist yet, because I feel that I don’t try to make a statement with my regular paintings. The paintings that I make are mostly created with this thought; “This would look very good in a living room/hallway/bedroom/etc.” My favourite artist is Claude Monet, because his paintings don’t make a statement, but just portray his everyday life, and would illuminate the room that they are hanging in. I enjoy it a lot when artists make pieces to make a statement, or show their opinion in a discussion, but my favourite pieces of art are always those that portray the peaceful glimpses of life.

How have you seen yourself grow as an art student throughout these four years?

My biggest evolution as an art student happened over these four years actually. Freshman year, I took a small ‘unimportant’ art class where no other students, but me, were actually serious with it. I wasn’t great, and would just paint with acrylic on a piece of paper that would crease as the paint dried over time. But it is the class where I was introduced to drawing, what I saw in pencil, and perspective.

I spent the next year at a very underfunded art school in Brussels. For the first time I was surrounded by people who were very serious with their art skills which was hugely intimidating. Here again I struggled, because the teachers seemed to make up whatever art assignment without explaining what they were looking for and the assignment would change over time as they realized themselves it made no sense.  But there I learned that I had a struggle to draw because I wanted to draw detailed immediately, and couldn’t just draw the outline of objects because they had “highlights, shadows, reflections, etc”. I would prefer drawing still lives instead of doing the insane projects they gave me (I failed my final because it was ridiculous and I didn’t have time to care for it, still don’t, no regret about that one). But in art school I learned more about other artists and I did truly feel at home. I still had a lot of skill polishing to do, because I could draw, but not paint. (they also kept my best artworks because “it belonged to the school”)

In junior year I had moved to America again, and there I took an art class where I met my beloved teacher Ms. Jackson! Junior year is the year where I went from not being able to paint, being slightly familiar with colors, and being pretty basic with portraits to being completely familiar with acrylic, becoming best friends with colors and painting my biggest portrait. A big part of this evolution is because of my teacher, who encouraged me to become serious with art, instead of making me draw a still life every day expecting complete detail by the end of class. She gave me time to polish the works I was working on, and with projects that weren’t pulled out of nowhere and that made sense. Yes I hold a grudge for my art school because of the year of BS they made me go through.

And then came senior year, which is what I consider my golden year. I had decided to take IBVA and Art 3H and to focus my year on art. This year I learned how to paint portraits and I spent most of my time at school getting covered in paint. It got so bad I wouldn’t spend a single day without some telling me “Charlotte you have paint on your face.” Not only did skills grow, but my confidence in my skills grew as well. My first oil portrait, “Phelicia Belle-Joie”, was an assignment given by the iconic Ms. Jackson. My class had to paint a master painting with a twist. I chose to use the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” from the famous Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer, and turned her into a flapper. My start with oil paint was poor, and I absolutely hated painting her, as I wasn’t used to the paint at all. But over time I understood how I wanted to work with it and now I consider the portrait one of my bests.

My senior year was my busiest year when it came to art, and I met a lot of people who were interested in what I could make. I absolutely loved this year and I’m glad when looking back at freshman year, to see how big the difference was. I hope my evolution hasn’t stopped here and I will continue working on my skills.

What has been your primary source of inspiration or style?

I had already mentioned Claude Monet, but we have very different painting styles. Mostly he inspires me for portraying slices of life paintings. They have something very pleasing and calming to them and it is something I find incredibly appealing in his art works. My style of painting is still mixed between rough painting and making the painting very smooth. I prefer the smooth painting style but it requires more time.

What have you learned through art that you will carry with you through college?

That art is always a topic starter! Well, that it takes time and a lot of process for a piece of art to become exactly what you want it to be. I would hate on my art work for hours long (ask my classmates Sofie, Ayu and Rachel, and they will tell you exactly how bad it was) before I would reach the point where I saw hope and a break through. I learned that I have to be patient with projects….but that doesn’t mean I still don’t hate on my art through the process. I also learned that art can be everything you want it to be.

What has been your more memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was when working on my self-portrait for IBVA. At that moment I still thought of  “Phelicia Belle-Joie” to be a disaster because I had hated on her so much and my confidence in my paintings was still pretty low. My friend Hannah Wheeler mentioned to me, when we were alone in the classroom, how proud Mr. Murray had been of my work. It boosted my confidence because it meant a lot to me then.

Mr. Murray had come up to me a couple of days previous to that, asking me if I could possibly finish the painting for that Thursday. I knew I could do it, but it would take me every single free and even after school to complete that promise. The day I finished it, Mr. Murray took it to this art show he had mentioned. And a week later, in the morning, Ms. Jackson told me to go find Mr. Murray for her. This was quite an odd request at first, but I didn’t question it more even if it was pretty suspicious. Upon finding Mr. Murray he expressed with much enthusiasm that I had won.

Winning the “best of show” award in the “Touch the Future” show was my biggest break through and the most memorable moment. I feel pretty dumb because I had only thought the show to be a show and not it to have been a contest. Winning that show was more significant than the little “halloween drawing” competition at my local bank I had won when I was an elementary school student (still got me 20 euros). But for me it was a breakthrough that helped me to stand up and see that people really enjoyed my works. And I am forever grateful to Mr. Murray and Ms. Jackson to have helped me to accomplish it.

A_CPerin_Maggie Smith.JPG

Maggie Smith

Oil on canvas-board, 11 x 14'

I painted Maggie Smith, an actress, that I adore!  


Acrylic on canvas-board, 9 x 12'

This is a portrait of my grandmother in her youth. The green background contrasts with the bright fluffy red coat that Babouchka is wearing. Her surprised expression lights up the scene as she gazes at the viewer.

Phelicia Belle-Joie

Oil on canvas, 20 x 24'

Self Portrait 

Oil on canvas, 36 x 24 inches

Inspired by the "Girl with the Pearl Earrings" painting by Dutch painter Vermeer and the character Daisy from the Great Gatsby, as I transformed the famous maiden into a fun living flapper.

Her initials "PBJ" are on purpose, as her dress reminds me of peanut-butter and jelly.