In the Marelle series, I revisit the homes where I grew up in the catholic francophone east side of Ottawa. Eastview became the city of Vanier when I was a child, and it was amalgamated to Ottawa in 2001. In the alleyways between houses, children played hopscotch. The French version, la marelle, was filled with religious symbolism. If played correctly, the stone you carried with you was your soul. Number 1 was Earth, number 10 was Heaven, and you had to avoid number 9 because it was Hell.
The Ottawa Alleyways series was inspired by my interest in the history of the charming back lanes tucked away in dense neighbourhoods of the city. There are still more than 100 back alleys in Ottawa, although several disappeared after the 1950s. Once a sign of middle-class affluence, these alleyways were a place to hide the unpleasant business of running a household.
Created in 2001, the Canadian Forces Artists Program gives “professional Canadian artists the opportunity to research, understand and reflect on the participation of men and women of the Canadian Forces in a wide variety of activities at home and abroad.”
Contemporary CFAP artists are volunteers. They choose their subject matter and interpret the military experience from their personal perspective, free from constraints.
For more than a decade, a few of us met every Friday to paint en plein air. One of our favorite places to paint was the Gatineau Park in the National Capital Region. To highlight the importance of preserving a vast natural territory which greatly contributes to and enhances the quality of life in the area, we focused on the park’s popular vista at Champlain Lookout. Every Friday for an entire year, seven of us painted the changing moods and colours of the majestic panorama.
The COLOURFUL PEOPLE series consists of 25 life-size acrylic portraits of visual artists who were my contemporaries back in Ottawa. Friends and colleagues, skillful and creative, they have influenced my work in some way or the other. Their passion and dedication to their art inspired me to organize and curate an exhibition that would include their own artwork and their words, making each portrait more complete.