Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

Here are two spring exhibitions I am participating in :

The first one is for the wonderful Spring exhibit from the Lakeshore Association of Artists I am part of. This year again, approximately 45 artists will exhibit at the Fritz Farm Community Center, located at 20477 Lakeshore road in Baie d’Urfé H9X 1R3. One third of artwork sales and all raffle tickets sales will be donated to NOVA West Island, a non-profit health care organization that supports the people of the West Island, offering services such as palliative and oncology care, grief programs for children and adults, home support and adult day centers.

The opening takes place tonight on Friday, April 20th from 7pm to 9:30pm and the exhibition continues on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd from 10am to 5pm.

Do not miss this special event! It will be my pleasure to see you there on Friday night and Sunday morning.

The second exhibition brings together for the first time in Drummondville «the elites of contemporary representational art», the members of the Institut des Arts figuratifs who exhibit from April 19 to April 29, 2018. The vernissage will be held Sunday, April 29 from 3pm and all the exhibiting artists will be present.

The Axart Gallery is situated at 219 rue Hériot, in the heart of downtown Drummondville. The gallery is open from Thursday to Sunday from noon to 5 pm I will be there on April 29th with my colleagues from the IAF.

Hope to see you there !


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“What brings a smile to your face?” I was asked this simple question the other day and here was my answer:

My grandchild!

The love of my life is two years old.

Câlin Mamie, huggies for Mamie

Everything about him makes me smile

His smarts, his sense of humour, his beauty, his energy

His ruff and tumble attitude

Everything about him!

I decided to write a book for him. It might take me a while but the story is fully written and I started on the 17 illustrations I planned.

Here are some of the first colored sketches for this project:

As a next step I will paint these that are all drawn on gessoed canvas paper.

Think about what makes you smile and see the effect it has on your mood.

Best to you!


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Connected by Suzanne Belair

©2018 Suzanne Bélair
Acrylic on canvas 30 X 30 in

My inspiration for this artwork was the coming spring


For this painting, I wanted lots of textures and to show the flow of energy between all the animal and plant worlds. Insects, fish and birds are connected. Doing the endangered birds paintings inspired me to complete the two loons I saw in the paint strokes of the background. There is a couple of loons that come to nest on our lake each summer and we get to witness the chicks being carried on their backs and their interaction all summer. They are majestic! I wanted to portray their return and their habitat, their lifeline and also their excitement at coming back here.


In the painting, a large butterfly is close by, they are looking at fish in the river below, and the plants they use for nesting are represented. They will soon mate and there is an explosion of leaves and joy at seeing summer on its way back, at witnessing life!


Because of its great public appeal, the Common Loon (Gavia immer)  is an iconic Canadian bird specie and one of the best studied birds in North America. Many organizations (non-governmental) are dedicated to conserving this species since they are widely-recognized symbols of northern wilderness and indicators of aquatic health. Both individual loons and the overall population seem resilient and able to tolerate landscape alterations, habitat disturbance, fishing practices and pollution, which is good news.


Loons are found throughout Canada, breeding on quiet, freshwater lakes of 5–50 hectares in size. They are an important top predator in lake ecosystems and their wail call is one of the most identifiable bird calls heard around lakes. It symbolizes wilderness and solitude.


When you hear the loon, you know summer has arrived.


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Yesterday, I had my creative writing workshop. I have been writing non-fiction for many years. I started this workshop a few years ago and it motivates me to write short fiction pieces as well now. The class is very interesting and useful if you manage to be alert for the full two hours.


The man who leads the workshop is quite special, having worked for over 30 years as an English teacher and writing throughout his life. He credits his supporting mother for going into this field. He claims she was always respectful of his interest in reading and writing from the time he was a child. His knowledge of the language and his attention to our reading are quite extraordinary, and his comments are always pertinent and on point.


Anyhow, he came up with a statement yesterday that took me out of my comfort zone: “When you get to be a certain age (over 60), you realize you are stuck in certain patterns and no matter what you try to do to change them, they always come back.” Hum!


Well, it might not have been said exactly this way but this is what I got from it. When I told him I found this very discouraging, he rephrased the statement talking about our patterns of writing but I think his thought ran a lot deeper than this.


Strangely enough, just that morning, I had been walking and pondering my own struggle with change specifically that of my moods and the sadness that sometimes engulfs me. And just that morning I was thinking back to my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and on, realizing how I had not changed that much over the years. My anxious core is still the same despite all my attempts to be less serious, more relaxed, less worried, to focus on the positive and forget the negative.


I am a perfectionist and no matter what I do to change this, I always go back to it and it has been so all my life. What happens when you are a perfectionist is you tend to focus on what can be improved instead of what is good.


I often say I have learned to live with this, to accept it, but whenever I manage a week of:  “I am letting go, I can do it, it’s all good”, I go back to rigidity with a vengeance, especially with myself. It is a constant internal battle for me.


This week, I spent some time working on a painting I started in 2016, a semi-abstract that is turning into a semi-realistic piece (Isn’t that the same?). For months, it leaned against the wall, staring at me, in creative limbo. I wanted to put a lot of textures and show the flow of energy with birds and flowers, a sort of large bouquet.


But once I started to paint it, I didn’t really like the concept. The painting is now going in another direction especially since I decided to include a large butterfly which I love. This often happens when there is a component missing at the planning stage and I decide to just start anyway and see where it goes. I like the element of surprise. Unfortunately I now think the butterfly will have to go…


Doing the endangered birds artworks inspired me to complete the two ducks I saw in the paint strokes. I decided they would be loons to bring strong contrast and because I love them. They are nowhere near finished and will end up being quite realistic. I do have hope it will eventually turn out beautiful. This piece is really exploratory and it is a long process.


As a side note, I saw a great demo last night with Alcohol Inks on Yupo, canvas and tile. It was quite inspiring to see the artist playing with the inks without focusing on a specific result. Liberating!


Finally, how is this all linked together? The demo last night gave me hope, hope that things CAN change and that I can relax and lose that perfectionist streak in painting as well as in life one day. So here I am sharing this unfinished work that is moving in one direction even if I am very unsatisfied with it for now. But it will get better.


You cannot lose hope that you can change or improve for this is what Life is all about. I get the pattern thing and I also agree with the fact that it is difficult to change permanently but I refuse to give up hope that we can better ourselves. After all, Life is about movement and impermanence, we are all “Works in Progress” so everything is possible!


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A little over ten years ago, in December 2007, I started this blog. My original intention is reflected in my tag line: This is a blog about art, the environment and the angst of life and creation. This has not changed since and I still hold the views I was presenting in 2007.


I am leaving on vacation for a few weeks and thought that instead of posting while away I will revisit some of my earlier posts.


I used to write a lot about the environment, climate change and air pollution. I also wrote a lot about painting, feelings and life.

©2009Suzanne Bélair
Oil on canvas 10 X 8 in


So here is the first post I would like to share with you. It was first published on June 5th 2008.


Reflection on painting

June 5, 2008 by Enviroart


Today, I am reflecting on the art, on the work of painting, on the world of painting. It is often difficult to get going and start a new painting. The famous blank canvas… Some say that if you put a coat of background color or rather an undercoat, you erase the stigma of the blank canvas. But this is not true. If it can be useful to judge the tone or unify the painting, it remains a blank canvas. The blank canvas might be yellow or brown or blue or white, it still represents a challenge. Will that first touch of paint, that very first brushstroke be right? Will the color show how my mind’s eye expects or sees it or will it be totally wrong and send me in a tailspin of wondering, of corrections and self-doubt, of inquiring and research?


True, there is technique and we can learn to mix colors. It is an art in itself to be able to do this properly and rapidly, but the best way to learn and reduce this anxiety of the first stroke is really to practice, practice, practice. Some days are better than others but all days spent painting, each minute, are a step on the path the painter wants to follow, meaning forward, learning, progressing.


Just like writers are told to write everyday no matter what comes out to exercise the writing muscle, painters, sculptors, artists must practice their craft everyday even if we can give it only half an hour. When you love painting, this anxiety is mixed with expectations and questions. Expectations, because you want this new painting to be better than the last one, to be truer, to expose you a little bit more. Are we just asking for people to understand us a little better? Difficult to say…  Questions, because you just don’t know how your painting will be received.


Unless you are a really experienced artist, that knows what his public wants, it is hard to judge how the painting will be received. This depends on so many different ideas and criteria, that vary according to the individual staring at the painting. When you offer a painting to an audience, you are trying to touch the onlooker. To go deep into his or her soul and somehow touch a part of them, light a switch, create a “Ah !”  moment before the analysis takes over. Before they wonder will this fit in my living room, in my dining room? Is this the right color?


I think we are looking for understanding, for people to peek into our heart and soul, to share something joyful we feel in our core, or sad in some cases. The only way to do this is to paint first and foremost for ourselves. I think this is the main difference between doing artwork and doing “decorative art” or “crafts”. Unless you create, you don’t normally see the difference. Actually a friend of mine said one day that decorative artists are only “good technicians” and I felt a bit insulted by this statement. But now I see the difference. It is true that decorative art is all about technique except for those that actually create patterns and designs. There is a bit of sharing when you pick the pattern you want to reproduce or paint. But is nowhere close to the opening of the soul that happens when you create from your core.


I am speaking for me but there is no emotion when I simply paint someone else’s design. There is the satisfaction of completing a project but none of the excitement, no skipping of the heartbeat, none of the quiet joy of just working at transferring your soul to the canvas.  In conclusion I would like to say that the main thing is to make ourselves happy with what we are painting. I don’t mean to be 100% satisfied with the finished product but to paint for ourselves, about things we like and appreciate. It is not about painting what is trendy now if we hate it (unless we are painting strictly to make money). There is so much talk about finding your style and being unique, but each of us is unique and it is by painting what you believe, what you are, what you like that your uniqueness comes out. We have to live with ourselves, we are the only constant in our life and painting first and foremost for this individual that inhabits our body is a good way to start. So paint what YOU like and do at least a little bit everyday.


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Today is one of my favourite days of the year. This passage from old to new, this moment when time stops and we realise we are now entering the next year, one always full of hope and possibilities, the new beginning to the rest of our life.

Since I sometimes have a hard time living in the present moment and enjoying life without worrying about expectations and commitments or what I could have done better, I thought of writing about the importance of this today, but it will have to wait. Because on December 31st, when the clock strikes midnight, this moment it is all about hope, the future, the coming year, and the events that will surprise us along the way.

I see the beginning of the New Year as a promise of an expansion of the self, more growing, more learning, more steps on the road to life, a new adventure, cheerful anticipation.

On a more global note, I am still hoping for world peace and the waking up of our governments as well as individuals to act in a more responsible way to save our environment and our children’s future.

I love to take a moment to reflect back on the past year and take note of everything good that happened, the new friendships, the strengthening of some bonds, all the new ideas that were triggered by the many encounters that took place in the last 12 months.

Happy New Year 2014 to all, may life bless you with Love, Joy, Health, prosperity, Happiness and lots and lots of creativity!


I really enjoyed painting these two small artworks. They represent the present moment when it is literally bursting with energy, when it wants to break free, when it is out of control, life, birth, the other side of tranquillity, creation and letting go.

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Friday evening was the opening of the theme exhibit I was participating in.

This art gallery is an interesting space. An approximately 40 feet deep rectangular room, a separation has been installed approximately 2/3rd of the way in. This serves as extra space to put up paintings but can also permit two different shows at the same time by different artists.

Going in, I looked around for my artwork. The room was filled with about 60 paintings and photographs of various sizes, most overwhelmingly yellow as the theme of the exhibit called for.

When I didn’t immediately see my work , I realised at once that the Janet, gallerist, had installed my paintings on the back side of the partition. I was a bit disappointed with this choice because you could not see my work right away when walking in but on the other hand, it gave me a whole wall to myself which made my artwork really pop. I saw that I was also in good company in the back part of the gallery where other quite interesting, even impressive artworks, were hanging.

In the front section, everything that was strikingly yellow was featured and in the large window, two small pieces were installed. I wondered about this but realised that by putting up smaller work, people strolling outside could easily see all the way to the back of the room and may be enticed to come in.

While seemingly similar, each vernissage has its own ambiance, its own vibe. Contrary to last year when I first showed there, I sensed Janet was somewhat nervous even if the atmosphere was fun and the room filled with people. What might have contributed to her uneasiness was the presence of an intrusive older, and quite weird photographer. It didn’t seem like she had hired him but he took it upon himself to take hundreds of unsolicited close-ups of everyone, including the few children, invading our space and making us uncomfortable. He was disrupting the mood.

He wasn’t alone. An old, witch looking lady, maybe his wife, was also taking pictures. She looked full of confidence, talking to everyone and inviting them to pose for her.  At least she was asking!

I think Janet might have thought the couple intrusive to the guests during an event  she was responsible for.

The rest of the crowd was your regular busy vernissage crowd, with some people talking animatedly while others were sulking in corners, holding their little plastic glass of wine between nervous fingers and looking around for someone to talk to, for a friendly face, but thinking in advance that it would be hard to approach anyone.

The family and friends were there to support their loved ones, which is always much appreciated, and were having fun telling stories and basically having a small party at the gallery. Some others were looking at the art and commenting with their partner or friend, trying to imagine what the artist was thinking while creating, critiquing the composition or colors, the medium, the size. Some others were carefully examining details of artworks that seemed more intricate. Most people attending looked like they were having a good time.

As for the artists, well a lot of us are basically loners. The process of creativity demands long periods of introspection and it is not easy to break this pattern, especially in a room full of strangers. Critique frequently turns into criticism. It is often what we fear at the beginning of our journey. What will they think of what I am trying to express here? Or am I even trying to say anything or simply enjoying the play of colors and light on my canvas?

Despite this, it is important that we, as artists, whether painter, writers or performers, put ourselves out there, find venues to exhibit and try to explain where we are coming from, what motivates us, what we perceive. And it’s fun to interact after being closed up in our studio. Each time, we learn something new, something of value that we can carry either in our work or as a life experience to move forward.

After each vernissage now, I have renewed determination to create my own thing. I am happy with my work, with my research and dedication to the technical aspect of it, with the way it is evolving and the surprises it brings. I enjoy sharing with other artists but also sharing myself with each piece of art, putting a little bit of my soul on canvas.

And the more I see other artists’ work, the more I find that my creations are really special and different. Just like I would not want to be anybody else, I don’t want my art to resemble anyone else’s.

Even though it is sometimes difficult to tear ourselves away from our work, the occasion of the vernissage generally supplies us with good exposure. And we usually walk away from these evenings with a renewed sense of purpose and a reminder of our own uniqueness.

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