Riopelle was born in Montreal, where he studied at the school of art from 1943 to 1945. In 1947 Riopelle moved to Paris, where his work was influenced by Surrealist automatism. By the 1950s however, he had developed his own personal style, using paint directly from the tube and applying it with a palette knife so his paintings became denser and more powerful in effect. This technique created a vibrantly coloured and layered mosaic-like surface. Riopelle's work is inspired by nature and his paintings often contain suggestions of landscape forms.