Max, le lézard de Muret (préface et Ch. 1)

Préface

En ce début d’année 2021, par ces temps de pandémie, il est difficile pour les grands-parents et les petits-enfants de se voir … Surtout lorsqu’un océan les sépare.
Alors il m’est venu l’idée de créer un pont par-dessus les nuages et les virus, par-dessus l’Atlantique aussi, pour entrer en communication avec mon petit-fils âgé de 8 ans. Il connaît la maison de ses grands-parents en France. Elle se situe à Muret, petite ville à une vingtaine de kilomètres au sud-ouest de Toulouse. Dans le sud de la France, traditionnellement on racontait des histoires aux veillées. Cela permettait d’alimenter l’imaginaire des plus jeunes et de valoriser les qualités des plus vieux. Dans cette tradition s’inscrit cette histoire : les personnages sont principalement des animaux. Des animaux qui parlent, lisent et ont des traits de caractère assez ressemblants à ceux des humains.
Depuis Muret, donc, j’ai entrepris de lui faire connaître les paysages proches de cette partie du monde dont je suis moi-même originaire. L’Espagne de mon père, toute proche, mais aussi l’Afrique du Nord, jusqu’au Sénégal, tous ces pays dont les cultures et populations se sont entremêlées au fil des siècles pour former la singularité du sud-ouest de la France d’aujourd’hui.

Au Canada, où vit ce petit-fils, l’écho du vieux monde parviendra par ce petit conte. Conte émaillé de faits historiques et de personnages ayant réellement existé. La géographie aussi est respectée autant que possible. Quant à l’idée du voyage « à thème » par un jeune solitaire, elle est fortement inspirée de la pratique de l’association Zellidja qui me tient à coeur. Cette association permet, par l’octroi de bourses, aux jeunes francophones de 16 à 20 ans de voyager seuls pour aller de par le monde étudier ou observer quelque chose. Il manque à Max, notre petit lézard voyageur, les contraintes de la restitution de son étude comme le demande Zellidja. Mais comme il est suivi par le narrateur … C’est tout comme !

Chapitre 1

Max

Dans nos promenades, au dessus de Muret, nous voyons fréquemment des animaux sauvages. Chevreuils, lièvres et parfois même des sangliers … De nombreux oiseaux aussi. Mais peu sont bavards et se laissent rarement approcher. Seul un petit lézard a surmonté sa frayeur et m’a laissé m’asseoir à côté de lui. Suffisamment près pour qu’on puisse entendre ce qu’il voulait nous raconter : voici donc son histoire. Elle est véridique !

Ce petit lézard, que nous appellerons Max, m’a dit qu’il aimait beaucoup les histoires, qu’il lisait beaucoup, surtout tout ce qui concernait ses semblables : la grande famille des lézards.

Il sait qu’en Espagne ses cousins sont plus gros que lui, plus verts aussi car ils ont certainement plus de soleil pour les réchauffer. Et oui, les lézards ont besoin de soleil : les reptiles sont des animaux à « sang froid ». Ça ne veut pas dire qu’ils n’ont pas jamais peur de rien et ne s’affolent pas facilement. Non c’est simplement qu’ils n’ont pas de capacité à réchauffer eux-même leur température corporelle. Quand toi tu as froid, ton corps frissonne et s’active pour brûler des calories qui maintiennent la température de ton corps. Les reptiles ne peuvent pas. Ils ont donc besoin de se prélasser au soleil pour chauffer leurs corps.

Donc, Max m’a expliqué qu’il aimerait beaucoup voyager et rencontrer ses cousins Espagnols : avec eux il se sentirait en sécurité ! Et il pourrait échanger sur leurs expériences personnelles, sur leurs menus, leurs loisirs, bref sur tout ce qui intéresse Max!

Ce qui intrigue le plus Max ce sont ses cousins d’Afrique ! Il a lu que ceux-ci sont capables de saisir un gnou par le mufle et l’entrainer dans l’eau afin de le dévorer ! Ça alors ! C’est incroyable !

Ces cousins Africains vivent dans l’eau la plupart du temps … Pourvu qu’elle soit chaude : quand on est un reptile, on a le sang froid ! Et comme Max n’a jamais vu de gnou, il a du mal à imaginer la scène. Est-ce que le gnou est aussi gros que le chevreuil qui passe souvent près de la souche d’arbre qui abrite Max ? Il ne sait pas : les images qu’il a vu dans les livres ne donnent pas une idée assez précise des proportions. En tout cas, même s’il s’attaquait au faon de chevreuil, Max ne pourrait pas s’en saisir en une seule bouchée et l’entrainer dans son abri pour le manger ! Mais peut-être n’y a-t-il pas d’insectes en Afrique. Peut-être les crocodiles, ces lointains cousins Africains, sont-ils obligés de manger du gnou parce qu’ils n’ont pas autre chose à manger … Voilà bien qui intrigue notre lézard. Du coup il aimerait aller voir sur place pourquoi ça se passe comme ça!

Mais voilà une question qui le tracasse : qu’est-ce qu’il va manger en Afrique? S’il n’y a pas d’insecte, devra-t-il manger un gnou lui aussi?

Merci de me laisser vos commentaires.

Special times call for special projects | Des projets spéciaux pour des temps spéciaux

Like many artists who lost their exhibition opportunities and teaching gigs back in 2020, I found myself quite at a loss in the first year of a global pandemic. Towards the end of that year, I entered a Holiday Sale and had to prepare for an Alumni show for early 2021 that lasted a month but due to a province lock-down never got to be seen by the public. Introducing deadlines helped me focus again. I also took an online course with an artist friend of mine to keep me motivated by having 3 online meetings a week to talk about our progresses.

Meanwhile, in France, my father who couldn’t come visit his grand-son, started to write a story to connect with my 8 year-old boy who likes to read about his favorite topics. This is how “Max, le lézard de Muret” started. 29 chapters later I agreed to illustrate this lovely adventure about a curious little lizard who decides to travel across the south of France, Spain and go all the way to Senegal to find answers to his many questions about his cousins from Africa.

It’s in French only for now. I will post the first Chapter soon. Tell me what you think in the comments section. Thanks.

Atelier Céramique de Saint-Amans (31600 Muret), France

I know it’s been a long time since I last wrote on my blog. I spent 3 years of my life managing every aspect of an art Gallery and while it was a lot of work, I had a lot of fun as well. As if it wasn’t hard enough, I also had to deal with health issues with a thyroid cancer diagnosis right after I turned 40. It was during a trip to France to get my operation done earlier than in Canada that I visited “l’Atelier Céramique de Saint-Amans” in 2018. Here are the pictures I took of this lovely studio space, set on top of a sinuous countryside road in the middle of beautiful hills. Sylviane Perret, the artist, is a lovely lady who kindly agreed for me to visit her place. Her work has strong Japanese influence and she uses local clay for both her functional pottery and sculptural work.
Here are the picture of her magical space.

Inside her studio she had built a very interesting gaz kiln with an opening mechanism that made it easy for her to fire her work.

You can find her work on Sylviane Perret’s Website or visit her Facebook Page.

The latest flyer for our Gallery

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Here is the latest flyer for Galerie Côté Créations. Wishing Hanna MacNaughtan all the best in her artistic pursuits. Her work is available at Santini Gallery and Kevin Dodds Gallery in Ottawa and in other galleries outside of town. We are pleased to welcome Wendy Feldberg in our group. 🙂

gcc-flyer-poster-2017_72dpi_f

260 Fingers

Last week-end, I went to what now feels like my personal pilgrimage, my annual rendezvous with local clay artists and friends: 260 Fingers (Glebe Community Centre, Ottawa). I usually peruse the aisles, mostly chatting with colleagues, longing for work by mentors and friends Leta and Don Cormier, checking out what other artists have been doing, discovering the year’s guests, wishing I was one of them some day, except that this year I came back with 2 pieces. Part of the reason I bought pieces this year is because I have been working as a Gallery Artist/Curator/Manager and I often hear people saying ”I’ll buy from you next time, next year…”, which always feels as a missed opportunity for both the artist and the potential collector. And I realized I had been doing the same for a few years, though to be fair I haven’t had any so-called “income” in a while being a full-time artist and mother to a toddler. This year though I allowed myself to indulge in buying art pieces I will treasure, while also choosing consciously to reinvest some of my earnings into the Arts Community.

I talked to Toronto artist Chiho Tokita, whose sculptures allude to functional work. I loved the fact that she works with coils and through addition and subtraction, constructs her pieces without the use of a mold. My favourite was the one that looked like a boat, of course…

This year, one of the guests’ work by Toronto artist Jeannie Pappas, reminded me of local artist Stefan Thompson, whose work I always found a little creepy but fascinating to look at. This is what I mean.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the direction artist Susie Osler is going. I knew of her colourful work but it never resonated with me as much as her series called “Objects for the hand and heart” does now. I can’t wait to see where it will lead her. The pieces are so tactile, soft like bones and antlers can be, “spirit-like” in their white porcelain body, cold to the touch, organic in their shape and “shamanic” in nature. Loved, loved, loved.

Galerie Côté Créations

Early June this year I have embarked on an exciting journey as an Artist, Curator and Manager for a Pop-up Art Gallery in Westboro Village (in between two trendy Ottawa neighbourhoods Westboro and Hintonburg).
It is called Galerie Côté Créations after the artist who got the space in the first place, Yan-Éric Côté (a painter from the Mont-Tremblant area).
We’re located on the ground floor of a complex of condominiums in an unfinished retail space and it is gigantic so much so we’re using only half of it.

Front of the Gallery.

Front of the Gallery.

We give part of our proceeds to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.
We’re now 12 artists + a pianist-in-residence who comes to play almost every day we’re open on his baby grand piano.
Our address is 98 Richmond Road (just west of Island Park Drive, across the CIBC). We are open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm except for the first Thursdays of the month (until 9 pm).

First official donation to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

First official donation to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

I am proud of what we have accomplished so far and will keep on improving our customers experience.

Panorama of the Gallery.

Panorama of the Gallery.

Gail Bourgeois and Paula Murray at the OAG

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

While distributing pamphlets downtown at the Ottawa Art Gallery I visited the exhibitions of two of my friends/colleagues were having an exhibition this summer: Gail Bourgeois and Paula Murray.

“Correspondence” – From roots to rhizomes to mycelial networks by Gail Bourgeois
June 4 – Sept. 18, 2016
I was particularly attracted to her abstract shapes on Mylar.

“You are me” by Paula Murray
June 24 – Sept. 25, 2016
Here a my favourite pieces. Guess why…

The gift of giving

MMDU_ArrestedDevelopment_P1120628_studiogpgRecently, I had one of my pieces (one of the 3 ”Arrested Development” black and white pairs from the Series ”Mute Message Down Under”) purchased by a customer from Laval, QC.

It is meant as a gift for his mother’s birthday. Since I found it was a lovely reason to buy one of my pieces, I decided to make a box for it to travel safely and be worthy of the gesture.

I have always admired the Japanese for being very thoughtful regarding the packaging of their work as they believe it to be an extension of the work itself. Called ”Tomobako” (accompanying box) it serves as a means of storage for the artwork and a way to authenticate the piece as the maker often puts his mark/brand on it.

 

Here are few interesting sites to learn more about Tomobako:

http://www.e-yakimono.netvase_tomobako

https://eastasianart.wordpress.com

http://www.shibuiswords.com

http://the-et-ceramique.blogspot.ca (French only)

 

For this project I had in mind to use one of the available laser-cutters that our city library owns, in Ottawa’s first public makerspace. I had been ”certified” to use it in 2014 and had not had the chance to use it yet. It took a first failed attempt to realize that even with the knowledge I have in design softwares, Inkscape or SketchUp are hard to understand. Because I needed to deliver the artwork in the following weeks, I had no time to learn how to use them, which meant I had to look online for shortcuts.

While I was told one could get designs from Thingiverse where I found an awesome box (maybe for later), due to size constraints I instead went for an online software that is especially designed to deliver a file to make boxes called MakerCase.

Once the pieces were cut by the laser, I realized the thickness I entered for the wood was not quite right so the junctions do not fit seamlessly. As well, there was a strong burnt smell. So I thought I’d get rid of it by rubbing the cut parts with baking soda… It made it smooth and less smelly but I left the pieces outside for a few days to air as well. I used No More Nails glue on all the pieces except for the lid of course and since it didn’t dry transparent (yikes!) I resorted to painting the seams with Van Dyke Brown acrylic paint. It made the seams shiny again.

Being a first, the result is not perfect but overall, I’m pretty pleased with it and was proud of the astonishment of the buyer’s friends who would deliver the box later in the week. I just hope my customer’s mom doesn’t mind that I put my artist statement in English only…

 

THE SEAHORSE PROJECT – The interview

Tags

, , , , ,

Finally I found time to go to the Ottawa School of Art to use their movie editing software and put this interview together. Mind you the next day there was a giant sinkhole downtown right where I passed by to go home afterwards. Being an artist is risky business. 🙂
TheSeahorseProject_interview
It is now up and running on my YouTube Channel. This was done last year during the opening of my end of Artist Residency at the Ottawa School of Art.

Dawn Dale, artist, friend and mentor, was kind enough to do it and did a great job. I’ll let you be the judge of it.

studiosixtysix – Vernissage

I went for the first time to studiosixtysix which stands for the actual address of the Gallery (66 Muriel Street, Otttawa). There was a vernissage for emerging artist Alana Latincic. The show title was ”the game doesn’t start until you say YES”. It had digital prints of abstracted shapes of video game consoles, a video one could influence by using a game controller and 3D printed objects reminiscent of her printed images all pertaining to her exploration of the video game culture.

In the Gallery, there are a few professional studios and art practices as well as some walls that were showing works from recent past exhibitions. I found it was an interesting concept. It took a few pictures without the flash so they’re a bit dark.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.