Jacqueline Chesta studied art and living model at the Place des Vosges Public Art School in Paris. She then spent 10 years practising water colour and its techniques at Jean Louis Morelle‘s studio in Montreuil and discovered a gift for this spontaneous means of expression adapted to her personality.
She has been practising wet on wet watercolour technique in her landscapes, still lives and sketches of animals. She began working on the theme of disarray, the natural disarray of things seen at random, which enabled her to match shapes and colours in a complementary research far from realistic representation. She aimed at showing the mystery behind the objects and beings.
“Les Vieux Bistros Rétros”, old cafés in Paris were her next topic. In fact both the traditional and the new, yesterday’s and today’s cafés. With watercolour or oil she aimed at grasping that particular warm and nostalgic atmosphere of familiar historic meeting places where people belong and are happy to communicate.
From cafés to dancing places there was but one…quick step.
She has regularly exhibited her work in Paris and the Paris area since 1993, notably in Chatenay Malabry, Versailles and Meudon and at the Bastille Grand Marché de l’Art Contemporain in 1999.
In January 1996 she was awarded the Watercolour Prize of Chatenay-Malabry’s 41st Artshow.
An active member of the MontparnasseMarché de la Création, she has been showing her work boulevard Edgar Quinet every Sunday since 1996.
Her Parisian solo exhibitions at Dessertenne, rue Hallé in 1997 and 4 years in a row at Hotel Napoleon, avenue Friedland, were extremely successful.
Since September 1999 she has shown her watercolours at Aux Fruits des Arts, a gallery in Meudon.
In September 2000, she got an award from the Versailles Compagnie Régionale des Commissaires aux comptes and joined the October 2000 Paris City Hall art exhibition.
On June 16th 2001 she got the award from the City of Versailles for a water colour entitled La Taverne Moritz, café concert, around 1867.
In 2002 La Maison des Arts de Bagneux exhibited a series of her cafés watercolours.
In 2004 She exhibited her work on cafés at France Télécom Espace Alleray.
In 2005 She had a personal exhibition in Lagny sur Marne, Maison fluviale during the Marne Festival.
In May 2006 she was awarded the Bronze Medal Award from the Arts Sciences et Lettres society at Grand Hotel Scribe, Paris.
In 2006 and 2007 she exhibited at Jean Louis Garreau’s, rue de Berri,Paris.
She was filmed for a French Television program on Brasseries de Montparnasse onFrance3 in2006.
In March 2007, she turned to a new style of work, which she called underground headscape: a series of sketches painted in mixed technique on uncoated linen canvas, showing an urban underground landscape of heads.
20 of these paintings have been bought by international and French collectors.
They can actually be seen in her Bagneux workshop.
“I’ve been sketching people on the RER since 2006. I’m using a Japanese pen brush with a black ink cartridge. I’m watching people trapped in the metro and drawing them swiftly as they are getting on, sitting, standing, phoning, getting out, listening to music, reading, talking, day dreaming, looking at me and mostly running away from communication. I’m spying and stealing things. I don’t want to compose a picture; I’m drawing what is in front of me. I have to be quick, relying on my memory when necessary. Whatever is standing in my eyesight, somebody’s bottom, handbags, metro bars, I’m keeping drawing, stealing instants, thoughts, hidden feelings, attitudes of the metro riders like me.
Since March 2007 I’ve been showing my sketches enlarged on canvas. The off white colour of the linen conveys the underground and somewhat smart atmosphere. I sketch three times on one canvas before I get the final painting: graphite, walnut stain, oil washes. For contrast I’ve been using whites yellows and light colours in oil on faces and hands. The light comes from people without their knowing. All has something to do with the watercolour techniques, each gesture must be precise, strong and no mistake is allowed. “