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Since last Saturday, the Circuit des Arts Memphremagog event has been taking place and my studio-gallery has been opened to all that show up at my door up until 5pm this afternoon. Today is the last day and as this exhibit is ending, I though I would share a few photos of my paintings set up in two rooms of my home.

 

Weather-wise, the week was eventful, with strong rain storms and hot sun, a mix of everything. Today for the last day, all is quiet, sunny and cool.

 

I always enjoy that event that puts viewers directly in front of my art without any distractions and helps them understand what is behind it, the motivation for creating it, the difficulties and joys encountered during the development of each painting.

 

For me, there is nothing like direct contact and conversation with the viewer. This exchange is enriching on both sides and more interesting than during a group exhibit or a symposium where the person is trying to see as much as they can in a very short time.

 

This was a wonderful 9 days and I feel I learned a lot about art lovers and their needs and expectations.

 

A big THANK YOU to everyone who visited me!

 

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The Circuit des Arts Memphremagog is just around the corner and this year marks its 25th anniversary.This event gives visitors the opportunity to admire and purchase artworks from professional artists, see their creative space and admire beautiful vistas along the road. I truly enjoy this event and meeting people that show up at my studio door during the Circuit.

 

As usual, I will have two rooms full of paintings and many new works. Situated at 123 rue Du Lac des Sittelles in Austin, my Township studio will be open from 10 am until 5 pm starting July 21st to the 29th . There is also a collective exhibit at the Magog Visual Art Center, located at 61 Merry north in Magog where each artist is showing one piece of artwork representing his or her production.

For more information, go on the Circuit’s website: Just click here.

I am also participating in the 20th Edition of the Bromont en Art Symposium that takes place in the Old village of Bromont from August 24th to 26th from 10 am to 6pm. For more information please click here.

There is also an exhibit from July 7th to 15th at the St-Patrick cultural center in Bolton East where I will have one piece of art showing with other regional artists.

Everyone welcome!

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I have been having wild dreams lately. Some leave me happy and delighted and others, anxious and worried. I guess my brain is working out some stuff.

 

Trajectoire oblique
Oblique trajectory
©2018 Suzanne Bélair
Oil on canvas 10 X 10 in

Lately, I have been listening to Quebec singers and one of them has this song that says: “I thought when I grew up I would always know what to do, like my father” (1). What a great comment on how we view our parents. Now that I am grown up (supposed to be anyhow) I see that life is full of questions and uncertainties and that often, most of the time for some, we don’t really know what to do or in which direction to go. Of course, it all depends on which area we’re talking about but I find myself increasingly questioning my smallest decisions for some unknown reason.

 

We live in a world full of instability and insecurities and, especially lately, full of hate. It is sometimes difficult to navigate through all of it while keeping focus on our own life and keeping hopeful for a better future or at least a peaceful one for our children. This is what I am working on, trying to keep my mind above the bad and the ugly that is plastered all over the news, invading our daily lives.

 

This morning though, some wonderful news as the Thai boys from the soccer team and their coach have been brought out of the cave where they have been prisoners for over two weeks. Wonderful news! A great show of human resilience and cooperation as the world watched the courageous rescue mission and prayed for the safety of the boys and their rescuers. An event that reconciles all with hope, love and goodwill.

 

On another front, I am happy I found some time for painting amidst all the preparations for three exhibitions coming up this summer and other obligations and chores of everyday life.

 

I pretty much decided to go back to my beloved oils I so enjoy working with. Since my time is very limited these days, I have decided to work on small paintings. I still have my two large paintings of Italy that are moving forward even if they are turning out to be real puzzles and I can only work on a small section at the time but they are coming together. Here is the progress so far, obviously not finished:

Work in Progress
© Suzanne Bélair

Work in Progress
©2018 Suzanne Bélair

And here are the links to the beginning of these paintings:

https://enviroart.wordpress.com/2017/05/06/work-in-progress/

https://enviroart.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/work-in-progress-bis/

 

This is why I don’t want to start anything too big. It just seems daunting right now with all the exhibits coming up, my new granddaughter arriving soon and my precious little grandson I want to see as often as possible.

 

I now consider my contemporary forests series in reds and yellows finished (except for one painting still in the works) and am going for something else all together. A complete change of palette is interesting and I’m going even more abstract with these new ones. I had explored this style last year and really enjoyed it so here it goes!

 

“Oblique trajectory” is the first of the series and has softer colors. The painting reminds me of all we have to go through in life and how we often have to travel in an oblique fashion to get where we want. Nothing in life is in a straight line but we get there eventually. I completed this small 10 X 10 a few weeks ago and am now working on a 12 X 12. I really enjoy the process, the colors, everything.

 

When I start a new painting, there is an excitement, a panicky feeling almost overtakes me until the first coat is pretty much finished and the canvas is covered in colors. Then I calm down and start relaxing while putting each touch of color where it belongs.

 

In a similar manner, starting a new series is exciting and scary at the same time but I love the challenge!

 

(1) “Tout simplement”, Album “Qu’on se lève”, Jonathan Painchaud, 2007

 

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For the last six years, there is an event that takes place in Montreal, called the Montreal Mural Festival. Since its creation in 2013, Montreal has become a world leader in public art and contemporary urban art.

 

The event celebrates the international urban movement. There is live art, live music, exhibitions and artists talks and the festival has become an important gathering of the artist community.

 

This cultural celebration takes place mainly around Saint-Laurent Boulevard which is Montreal’s main artery. This year, this 6th edition took place from June 7th to 17th.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go and visit during the festival but the art is outside and free for anyone to see and enjoy. There are now over 80 major works of art created by the participating artists of the Festival.

 

I thought I would share some of the photos I took today. Outside of the event’s schedule, I just found out there are some walking tours every Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The time I spent there today was truly inspiring because of the different styles, the quality of the works, the feel, impressions and messages they leave you with, the tremendous amount of details and intricacies. It was truly impressive and we probably saw only about 25% of the works. A good reason to go back!

 

If you are interested, there is a map here

 

For more information on the walking tours, click here

 

All photos ©Suzanne Bélair

 

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I have been travelling through Croatia for two weeks now, starting in Dubrovnik, on to Split, the Plitvice lakes and finally Zagreb where we arrived 4 days ago.

We have visited many museums all super interesting, and galleries, especially that of Ivan Mĕstrović, the most famed Croatian artist, set up in his summer house in Split and depicting his drawings and many of his sculptures. Entrance also gives you access to the Kaštelet, a small fortress that houses his works of religious theme on wood, they are set in the chapel that still celebrates mass every Sunday according to his wishes when he donated the property.

What I want to share today is a children’s exhibition set in the Grič tunnel, under the upper town of Zagreb, specifically the neighbourhood of Grič, also called Gradec or Gornji Grad. This tunnel was first built in 1943 for use as a WWII air-raid shelter and has not been used a lot since.

The central hall is connected by two passageways to Mesnička Street in the west and Stjepan Radić Street in the east, and four passageways extending to the south. In 1990 it was used again for hosting one of the first raves in Croatia, and also functioned as a shelter during the Croatian War of Independence. In 2016, the tunnel was opened to the public, serving as a tourist attraction and hosting cultural events. (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gri%C4%8D_Tunnel_(Zagreb))

A few entrance ways:  

We were so lucky to find the entrance that is not easy to discover when you are walking and don’t have the specific address, and to find it was hosting the 22nd Children’s Garden of the City of Zagreb exhibition. Here are a few pictures of the event that finished on the day we visited.

I love the fact that this city puts emphasis on art at an early age. Back in the days, they made drawing classes compulsory for all. I don’t know if this is still the case, but you see children in museums and galleries a lot more than at home, and they are very interested in discovering art, asking questions and listening to answers, learning.

Art should get back into schools in a big way. It is an extremely important part of education and helps in developing a critical mind and an eye for beauty no matter its form. Creativity, improved motor skills and confidence, perseverance, focus, are a few of the benefits of learning and practicing art for children. It is an important part of their education that unfortunately is being increasingly ignored by our government here in Quebec and Canada.

I hope it changes one day and art finds its rightful place in our education system.

 

All photos and text ©Suzanne Bélair

 

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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 !

Suzanne

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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!

Suzanne

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