Sunday, February 11, 2018

French Kisses Deux, un hommage à Robert Doisneau

Acrylic on gessoed aluminium panel, 18 x 12"
painting #260, 2018

Just in time for Valentine's Day, this is a follow-up painting to French Kisses (painting #247, 2017). Retaining the same theme, I'm paying an homage to French photographer Robert Doisneau (1912-1994,) a photojournalist who became renown for his street photography especially around Paris.

"Chez Gégène, 1947" is from the Robert Doisneau- Graphique de France 1993 calendar. Chez Gégène is a restaurant with a terrace and dancefloor. The institution opened prior to World War I (1914-1918), more than 100 years ago. It's located in Joinville-le-Pont, 9.4 km from the center of Paris in a southeastern suburbs of French Capitol.  The image depicts two couples kissing on the terrace. This photograph is more than 70 years old, so the younger couple would now be around 90 years old. 

In the first French Kisses painting, I chose the month of February since my wife Suzanne and I got married on Valentine's Day. For this work I chose the month of June. The year 2018 will mark 30 years since we purchase our house, and moved in on June 24, 1988. Symbolically, we looked like the younger couple when we made that house a home....we now look like the older couple.  

I'm going to Paris later this spring. Time allowing, I might try to have lunch here! 

To acquire this painting, please contact:

Galerie de Bellefeuille
1367 avenue Greene, 
Montreal, Quebec H3Z 2A8 Tel: 514.933.4406

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hockey Night in Canada, 1972

12 x 16", acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminium panel
painting #259, 2017-18

The majority of my artwork is about documenting aspects of popular culture and paying homage to luminaries who have made a difference in their fields. Ken Danby (1940-2007) is one artist whom I instantly gravitated to when I started to paint more than 30 years ago. I've flipped through Ken Danby: The New Decade written by Paul Duval (1984), so many times that the pages are falling out. I was especially fond of his egg tempera and watercolour paintings and the direction he took with the imagery. Also his earlier work that seemed influenced by Andrew Wyeth.
Over the years, I've acquired three books and several catalogues of Ken Danby’s artwork. The most recent was published in conjunction with a retrospective held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in the fall of 2016,  entitled "Beyond the Crease". We were visiting the Niagara escarpment four days before the show opened and we were able to view a portion of the exhibition as it was still being mounted. I was very fortunate to view his solo show "Earth, Sky and Water" at the Bernarducci-Meisel Gallery in NYC, during the fall of 2002. I also own two of his serigraphs prints, the most recent acquired last summer from a German art gallery. 

Art Gallery of Hamilton, October 2016
Ken Danby's sudden passing on September 23 2007 shook me to the core. He was only 67 years old. He collapsed while on a canoe trip with his wife Gillian and some friends in Algonquin Provincial Park. Paramedics were unable to revive him. He was still playing hockey in a gentlemen's league called the "Guelph Goodtimers''. 
In 2017, one of my paintings was published in the book, "Ingenious" written by the Hon. David Johnston, the past Governor General of Canada and Tom Jenkins. The book celebrates Canadian inventors who contributed in making the world a better place. My painting used in the book was a commission piece paying homage to Edward R. McDonald who invented the first version of the Scrabble Board Game.
The idea for this new painting, "Hockey Night in Canada, 1972" (La soirée du Hockey, 1972) came to me after flipping through the book. Canadians are credited for inventing the game of hockey (p.180), the championship Stanley Cup (p.185), Jacques Plante inventing the goalie mark in 1959 (p.110) and Donald Munro for creating table top hockey in 1932 (p.194).
Ken Danby's iconic painting, "At the Crease" was painted in 1972.  The Canadian Encyclopaedia has called  At the Crease - "a National Symbol".  An episode from the BRAVO! docu-series, "The Artist's Life" featuring Danby aired on television shortly after is passing. Here, he discusses his intentions behind the imagery.
"I did that painting because I had to get it out of my system, based on an actual experience right here on this river playing hockey. Playing a game, the goalie, a young goalie was wearing a mask. Well it was the first time in my hockey experience after being away from it for some time that I was actually at ice level, skating on with a goalie, wearing a mask. That's why I painted that painting. It's a work that I resisted for 3 years because I felt that it was kind of Sports Illustrated".
The team crest was intentionally omitted, allowing viewers to see the goalie as a symbol of personal confrontation rather than an illustration of a particular goalie from a specific team. When the CBC Life & Times of Ken Danby that aired on November 2, 1998, it was stated that 100,000 reproduction prints of At the Crease had already been sold around the world.
After researching as much as I could, the whole narrative came to me. I used 1972 as the timeline for my composition. That year, I was 10 years old. I remember clearly that Canada and Russia were playing game 8 in the Summit Series since the whole school gathered in the cafeteria to watch the last period on TV with Paul Henderson scoring the winning goal for Canada. It is also the year the I started to play pond hockey prior to playing in an organized league (Pee-wee & Bantam).
With all of this said, I'm checking off several items from a list that is not just meaningful to me, but to millions other Canadians.
  • - First off is paying homage to Ken Danby and his artwork.
  • -Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the NHL in 2017.
  • -Paying homage to Jacques Plante, who invented the goalie mask. In 1972, he was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and wore #1 on his jersey. I added the mask to the goalie in my painting
  • -Paying homage to my 10th cousin, Henri Richard, who in 1972 was team captain of the Montreal Canadiens. He holds the NHL record for the most Stanley Cup wins as a player with 11. I actually change the face of a generic hockey player to more youthful Richard, aka “The Pocket Rocket” because of this stature at 5'7" and 160 lbs, and added the “C” on his jersey. We share the same ancestor, Michel Sansoucy Richard who immigrated  from France to Port Royal , Acadia in 1654 (now Nova Scotia).  
  • -Celebrating the longest rivalry in NHL hockey between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

bottom photo - Original mask worn by Jacques Plante, 1959

Jacques Plante, invited guest at my hometown 
Summer Festival in Cap-Lumière, NB -circa 1971

Finding the props was somewhat challenging. I purchased the vintage 1960's Coleco tabletop hockey players on eBay, from a seller living in BC. The hockey net was from a seller living in Nova Scotia while the puck was purchased at the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame store in Toronto during our visit this past October. The puck was larger, so I digitally reduced it to size and affixed the NHL logo.  Just outside the NHL store, the atrium opens to retail outlets where a large bronze sculpture of Danby's, At the Crease is on display.  Outside the museum itself was a display case that had the last hockey jersey worn by Henri Richard as team captain.  

 Hockey Hall of Fame - NHL Store - Toronto, Oct. 2014

 Hockey Hall of Fame display - Toronto, Oct, 2017
Jersey worn by Henri Richard during is final season 1974-75
Order of Canada awarded to Maurice Richard
Hockey gloves worn by Guy Lapointe (my favourite player growing up)

To acquire this painting, please contact:

Galerie de Bellefeuille
1367 avenue Greene, 
Montreal, Quebec H3Z 2A8 Tel: 514.933.4406

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Easel in the Colville House, Sackville

12 x 16", acrylic on mounted gessoed birch panel
painting #258, 2017

In 2016, Mount Allison University was the recipient of a generous donation from the family of the late Alex Colville, gifting the entire content of his art studio as he left it at the time of his passing. A variety of easels, furniture, artefacts and art supplies now have a new home in the Colville House located at 76 York Street in Sackville, NB.  It was in this house that Alex Colville with his wife Rhoda raised their four children and lived from 1949 to 1973. Colville was a professor with the Fine Arts Faculty at Mount Allison University from 1946 to 1963. They continued living in the house for another decade after he left his teaching position prior to moving to Wolfville, NS. The original studio in the Colville House was located in the attic, a tight space with a 6 ft head clearance. It is here that he painted many of his best known work, including To Prince Edward Island (1965) that graces the cover of the book in my composition. This book was published in 2014 by Goose Lane Edition in Fredericton, NB in conjunction with a major lifetime retrospective exhibition of his work organized and held at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), then later at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Photos taken at the Colville House, July 26, 2017

The Tasco binoculars belonged to my late father Raymond and are the exact same model as in To Prince Edward Island. I've been wanting to paint these binoculars for at least a decade. I grew up in Cap-Lumière, NB along the Northumberland Strait. On a clear day, we could see PEI even without binoculars. After I acquired the book all I needed was the proper setting. When my wife and I visited the Colville House last summer, the whole narrative came to me. I would return a few weeks later with book and binoculars in hand to do a quick photo session. This painting is an homage to two men who greatly influenced my life and my art.   

Alex Colville in his Wolfville studio, 1984.
Still image from "Order and Splendor" 
National Film Board of Canada
Click HERE to view the documentary 

My wife and I visited Toronto two months ago to visit the city and attend Art Toronto. While exiting the Princess of Wales Theatre after attending the play ''The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" we came across Alex Colville's Star on the Canadian Walk of Fame located on King Street. 

This painting is available from the Fog Forest Gallery in Sackville, NB, located 650m from the Colville House. 

To acquire this painting please contact:
Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street, Sackville,
New Brunswick, Canada, E4L 3N5
Phone (506) 536-9000

Monday, December 18, 2017

Et Hergé créa Tintin

Acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminium panel, 14 x 11''
painting #257, 2017

This painting was inspired after viewing the exhibition, Hergé à Québec held at le Musée de la Civilisation in Québec City in late September. Last year we had planned to visit le Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve, 32 km outside of Brussels but our bus tour was cancelled at the last minute when my wife and I were they only ones who had booked on that day. Everything happens for a reason, so if we can't go to the museum.....let the museum come to us. 

This travelling exhibition was organized by le Musée Hergé. After stops in Paris, London and Geneva, the city of Québec was honoured and excited to host the show for a five month stint. Hergé à Québec was seen by 420,593 visitors, breaking the record for the most ticket sold in the museum's 30 year history. 

Hergé meets Andy Warhol in NYC, 1972

The exhibition explores the world of Georges Rémi, the talented Belgian born artist known as Hergé who created Tintin and other comic strips. Among the show's treasures was of a selection of valuable documents and artefacts of his life, original drawings, storyboards, 3D-models, illustration art from his early artistic career, a selection of his own private art collection and a mural of books of The Adventures of Tintin translated in 70 languages.

Mural of The Adventures of Tintin books

Model of the Rocket featured in two books

In this composition the museum plan and exhibition leaflets were the jump off points that ignited the narrative. A wonderful picture of Hergé by Belgian photographer Robert Kayaert (1920-2007) graced the covers of both.  The small figurines of Tintin and Milou (Snowy) were eBay purchases I had acquired a few years ago who were waiting in the wings, while a set of pencils were purchased at the Museum Gift Shop upon exiting the exhibition, unsuspecting that they would soon appear in a painting. The background imagery is from the book, Musée Hergé with preparatory drawings and final illustration for Tintin in Tibet. The book was a Christmas gift from my wife two years ago purchased that same fall at le Salon du Livre in Shippagan, NB (Book Fair). 

Selfie at le Musée de la Civilisation, Québec

The painting on display at Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal in early December, 2017.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Styling an Icon

Acrylic on gessoed mounted birch panel, 11 x 14"
painting #256, 2017

This painting was sparked by a previous painting done five years ago, "Famous for more than 15 minutes". (Click HERE to view). It was an homage to Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Coco Chanel but it is the last luminary, William Travilla that prompted me to re-examine this subject matter for a new still life painting.  

 William Travilla (1920-1990) was an American costume designer for theatre, film, and television. He is perhaps best known for dressing Marilyn Monroe in eight of her films including the pink dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (click HERE) and the pleated ivory cocktail dress Monroe wore in the 1955 film, The Seven Year Itch while standing on a New York City Subway ventilation grate. Photographs of the scene as her dress rises around her have become synonymous with Monroe herself. The iconic dress, which was later purchased by actress Debbie Reynolds, was sold for $4,600,000 (USD) during a 2011 auction. The eight films Travilla designed Marilyn's outfits are: Monkey Business (1952), Don't Bother to Knock (1952), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), River of No Return (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), and Bus Stop (1956). Travilla would receive four Academy Award nominations during his career, winning the Oscar for the 1951 film, Adventures of Don Juan starring Errol FlynnTravilla was nominated for Emmy awards seven times for his work in television, winning twice.

Monroe once wrote to Travilla, "Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn."

Madonna would use Marilyn's song-dance sequence of "Diamonds are a girl's best friend'' as inspiration for her 1985 music video, "Material Girl". The set decoration was reconstructed complete with staircase, chandeliers and a number of tuxedo clad chorus boys. She wore a replica of the pink dress with long gloves designed by Travilla from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Click HERE to view. 

Chanel no. 5 enjoyed publicity when Ed Feingersh photographed Marilyn with a bottle of the perfume. In the 1950's the glamour of Chanel No. 5 was reignited by Monroe, whose unsolicited endorsement of the fragrance provided invaluable publicity.“What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course,” the Daily Mail quoted Monroe as saying in the ad.

Standing with the exhibition banner 
"Marilyn, Celebrating an American Icon" at the Jepson Center in Savannah, Ga
held from April to Jul, 2014.

The book featured in this painting was written by Andrew Hansford with Karen Homer. It was published by Goodman Books in 2011, in the UK. The Andy Warhol box in the same pinkish hue has her dress contains 20 note cards. 

The year 2017 marks 55 years since the passing of Monroe, 30 years since the passing of Warhol and 95 years since Coco Chanel brought the world's most famous perfume to market! 

To acquire this painting, please contact:

Galerie de Bellefeuille
1367 avenue Greene, 
Montreal, Quebec H3Z 2A8 Tel: 514.933.4406

On view at ART TORONTO with Galerie de Bellefeuille - October 28-30, 2017.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Recent paintings included in Harvest / Moisson, two-person show

These recent works will be included along with 
the nine new paintings in 
Harvest / Moisson
a two-person show with the Yvon Gallant

Fog Forest Gallery
L to R: self, Janet Crawford (gallery owner) and Yvon Gallant

Storm brewing in a teacup on Downton Abbey
  12 x 16'', acrylic on gessoed hardboard
painting #241, 2016B
Blog post - HERE

Tangerines in a Hurricane Vase ( homage to Edgar Degar)
Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, #159
15 x 11'' - 2009-2012
Blog post - HERE 

A Car on The Cars
Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
painting # 229, 2015
Blog Post- HERE

Vintage Fashion
Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
Painting # 223, 2014
Blog post - HERE

Lost a Marble over a Girl
Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 12''
2011, # 192
Blog post- HERE

Sightseeing in 3-D
Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
painting # 231, 2015
Blog post- HERE

To acquire any of these painting, please contact the gallery.

Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street
Sackville, NB, Canada
(506) 536-9000
website- http:/

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Shooter Marble in Shooter Glass

7 x 5", acrylic on gessoed hardboard
painting #255, 2017

A play on words inspired the imagery for this study. During the spring of 2014, we visited Coca-Cola World, a museum of everything Coke in Atlanta, which is also where their headquarter is located. I picked up a few items in the gift shop on our way out, this shooter glass was one of them. The glass study rests on blank card with Andy Warhol's "Three Coke Bottles", 1962 on the cover. 

Coca-Cola is by far the most popular soft drink in the world, sold in 200 countries, with 1,8 billion servings consumed daily.

Part of my two-person show with Yvon Gallant entitled ''HARVEST'' at the Fog Forest Gallery from October 12 - November 8, 2017.

Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street
Sackville, NB, Canada
(506) 536-9000
websire- http:/


Friday, October 13, 2017

Marbles for Anne Shirley

Acrylic on mounted gessoed birch panel, 6 x 8"
Painting #253, 2017

The spirit of Anne of Green Gables remains alive and well, 109 years after Lucy Maud Montgomery brought the Prince Edward Island icon to life in her series of novels. Anne of Green Gables: The Musical has been performed every summer at The Charlottetown Festival - Confederation Centre of the Arts since 1965, making it Canada's longest-running musical. In March 2014, the production was officially recognized as the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world by Guinness World Record.

Anne with an E, a new critically acclaimed Canadian television series based on the book started airing on CBC earlier this spring and is available for streaming elsewhere in the world on Netflix. Amybeth NcNulty was chosen to play the role of Anne Shirley from approximately 1800 girls who audition for the role.

This painting was inspired from Anne of Green Gable, the animated series, episode #20 (2002) entitled "Marbles". These marbles are resting on the 2015 Charlottetown Festival Program. 

Part of my two-person show with Yvon Gallant entitled ''HARVEST'' at the Fog Forest Gallery from October 12 - November 8, 2017.

Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street
Sackville, NB, Canada
(506) 536-9000
websire- http:/


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Evangeline, an homage to Longfellow

16 x 12'', acrylic on gessoed aluminum panel
painting #254, 2017 

Evangeline is an epic poem written by American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was published in 1847, 170 years ago. Longfellow was born in 1807 in Portland Maine. His best works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. I've had the chance to visit his childhood home twice. The Longfellow house was built in 1785-86 by the poet's grandfather, General Peleg Wadsworth. It is one of the oldest brick structures on Portland's peninsula.

The deportation of Acadian people from their lands by British troops (1755-1764) becomes the backdrop for the poem. Recounting the tragic tale of a young Acadian woman named Evangeline Bellefontaine who was separated from her fiancé Gabriel Lajeunesse on the eve of their wedding during the great upheaval in 1755 in Grand-Pré. (in Nova Scotia). The prose follows Evangeline on her long and arduous journey across the eastern landscape of America as she spends all of her adult life in search of her long lost love. Now an old woman working as a Sister of Mercy among the poor in Philadelphia, at long last she finds Gabriel among the sick while caring for the dying during an epidemic, only for him to die in her arms. Even though Evangeline is fictitious character, she is perceived as a heroine and became a symbol for faithfulness, courage, hope, perseverance and love.

 The eloquence in Longfellow's writing is evident from the first paragraph:
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

Instead of reading the book before starting the painting as I've done before, I read it only once the painting was completed. Being myself an Acadian, it is a painting that carries a bit more weight within the narrative of the imagery. 

I found a vintage Evangeline soda pop bottle in an estate sale last summer in Summerside, PEI. I can't recall ever seeing this brand. After doing a bit of research, it would have originally contained Ginger-Ale and was bottled by Seven-UP Ltd in Halifax, NS. The book used for my composition was acquired on eBay from a seller in Newfoundland. It was published by Airmont Books in 1965 and sold for 75 cents.

Antique Evangeline crate. 

Two months before spending our 2012 Christmas vacation in Louisiana, I found my genealogy on-line dating back to 1630. My French ancestor and 8th times grandfather, Michel "Sansoucy" Richard, born in Saintonge France immigrated to Port Royal, Acadia in 1652. During the deportation of Acadians, my 6th time grand-father, Michel Richard was deported from Fort Beauséjour to Charleston, SC and died shorty thereafter. Avoiding the deportation, his wife and children had exiled themselves on Prince Edward Island when tension was mounting during this period of great uncertainly and resistance from both sides. To pay homage to my ancestors, I returned on the grounds of Fort Beauséjour, located in Aulac, NB and used it as the setting in the composition. With views of the Tantramar Marsh, the waterways opens up into the Bay of Fundy. From here, you can make your way by boat to Grand-Pré. In the poem, Longfellow writes, Shaking his head, as in doubt; then, heaving a sigh, he continued:- "Louisbourg is not forgotten nor Beauséjour, nor Port Royal".

While in Louisiana, we visited the Acadian / Cajun region of St James Parish, Broussard, Beaux Bridges, St. Martinville and the city of Lafayette. St Martinville is widely considered to be the birthplace of the Cajun culture and traditions, and it is in the heart of Cajun Country. Between the dates of 1764 and 1785, upwards of 2600 Acadians took exile in this state, then under Spanish rule, but previously owned by the French.

  My wife Suzanne with the statue of Evangeline, St. Martinville, LA

I've recently had by DNA done through Much to my surprise, I am only 5% western Europe which would include France. As it turns out, I am 41% Great Britain, 12% Irish, 12% Spain/Portugal, 8% Italy/Greece and 6% Western Europe.  I may consider myself an Acadian or French Canadian, but in the end, I am a citizen of the world.   

In 2013, the Charlottetown Festival produced "Evangeline" a musical that ran during the summer at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. We were fortunate to attend a presentation. "Epic, ambitious, Canadian...comparable to Les Misérables" wrote The Globe and Mail. It was reprised in 2015 for a one month run at the Homburg Theatre in Charlottetown. 

In 2005, I was among a very fortunate small group of four in the entourage of one of the judges during the Moncton stop of the auditions for very popular TVA reality-TV singing competition, Star Académie". A then unknown singer, Annie Blanchard from Maisonnette, NB sang Michel Conte's ''Evangeline'' with so much heart and conviction that I could no longer hold back tears less than half way through. This link is not the audition taping but a similar version with piano accompaniment, click HERE to listen. At the conclusion of the show, Evangeline was release as a single on the compilation album. It would climb all the way to #1 on the Quebec charts. Annie Blanchard would go on to win the Félix for the song of the year at the 2006 Gala de l'ADISQ with this title (highest musical distinction in the province of Quebec).

Part of my two-person show with Yvon Gallant entitled ''HARVEST'' at the Fog Forest Gallery from October 12 - November 8, 2017.

Opening reception - Thursday October 12, 6:30- 8:00 pm

Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street
Sackville, NB, Canada
(506) 536-9000
website- http:/