Thursday, October 25, 2018

L'as du volant ( The Driving Ace)

12 x 12", acrylic on mounted claybord
painting #266, 2018

Where does inspiration come from? For me it is often from getting a visceral response when I see something. I'll make a mental note, then eventually when other elements present themselves, much like making a small jig-saw puzzle, the image is revealed to me as a concept.

It is funny how a mundane moment can inspire a painting. During my month long vacation in Europe this past May, I met a lady from La Rochelle, France while on my two-week, 330 km hike on the Camino. When I told her that my French ancestor, Michel Richard crossed the Atlantic in 1652 from La Rochelle, she replied that her first husband was actually a Richard and both of her children have Richard as their family name. After my return home, I received a friend request from her on Facebook. Some time had passed when she wrote me a short note on messenger to see what I was up to. She mentioned that their lives had return to normal and her husband was re-joined a club to play Tarot. I only knew Tarot as cards used for divination or fortune telling. 

When I Googled French Tarot, I learned that it is a card game using strategy played with 4 players. Among the Google images that appeared on screen was the French card game “Mille Bornes”. I got an immediate visceral response upon seeing this nostalgic game and the wheels started turning. Thirty minutes later, I would find a Tintin at the wheel of a race car on eBay. The die-cast car that also features Snowy and the Thompson Twins was inspired from the comic book, “Les cigares du Pharaon” (Cigars of the Pharaoh), page 66. I would also acquired a 1971 edition of Milles Bornes on eBay. I wanted to use this edition since it was that one that I played during my youth. 

Hergé's comic strip from "Cigars of the Pharaoh)

Milles Bornes was created by Edmond Dujardin in 1954, with the card illustrated by Joseph Le Callennec. This card game based on a road trip is for 2 to 6 players, usually played by 4 players, 2 on each team, as a partnership. The object of this game is the first player or team to accumulate a total of exactly 5000 points in several hands of play. In so doing, players try to complete trips of exactly 1000 km/miles= 1000 points in each hand played. The term "Bornes" refers to the kilometre milestones found on many roads in France and Europe. 

My son Jean-Luc on a roadside borne in France, 2006

During my research, I also found a special edition of Mille Bornes based on The Adventures of Tintin. Ironically, as I was searching for an image for this blog post, the same sports car with our merry cast is featured on one of the cards. 

Trivia- The pop band Thompson Twins,  part of second British invasion of the 1980 was named after the two bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson from Hergé's comic books.

This is one of two paintings that will exhibited at Art Toronto with La galerie de Bellefeuille of Montreal. The exhibition will be held from October 26 to 29, 2018 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West, Toronto.