My artist residency in Dinan ended on a high note with articles featuring my work appearing in Dinan’s local papers Le Télégramme and Ouest-France.
Journalists were invited to the final review of my work by Les Amis de la Grande Vigne (some of whom are pictured with me, below) who came to select one of my paintings for the Jean-Haffen Museum’s permanent collection.
I hosted a lively crowd of committee members, journalists and local residents at my studio and made a formal presentation of the works I completed during my residency.
The selection committee were particularly pleased with the different artistic approach I took to their charming village, in particular my focus on the local box making factory, Norman Emballages, that has been in operation for close to a century. I created several portraits of workers using their own wooden boxes as my painting surface, creating gold embellished contemporary icons influenced by my visits to the Louvre earlier in the month.
I was also smitten by the ancient stone that make up the walls and buildings and streets of Dinan. These stones symbolize the very beauty and history of the place.
I got to know the local stone mason and on a whim I painted his portrait on one of the wooden boxes. Ironically, that was the painting ultimately chosen by the committee for their collection.
A huge ‘merci’ to Les Amis de La Grande Vigne and to the late artist Yvonne Jean-Haffen whose generosity and foresight allowed for the establishment of the artist-in-residency program in Dinan. I will be forever grateful. Thank you for a memorable stay in Dinan and to new friendships. Au revoir.
This cute little house – “La Vignette” – is my home in Dinan, France for the month of February. It accommodates the artist-in-residence selected by Les Amis de la Grande Vigne under the auspices of the Yvonne Jean-Haffen Museum. La Vignette is situated at the base of the large property that belonged to celebrated painter Yvonne Jean-Haffen. The late artist bequeathed her home to the city of Dinan in Brittany as a museum, and the little house at its base as a residence for visiting artists. Eleven artists are selected annually and offered the exclusive use of La Vignette for one month. I am this month’s fortunate recipient.
The medieval town of Dinan is beyond picturesque: Ramparts, aqueduct, cobblestoned streets, river port, ancient churches and clock towers, quaint houses….the question is not whether one can find inspiration here but rather, what to select as a focus of one’s work.
And of course, it doesn’t take very long to figure out what famous food specialty originates in this area….
Between tasting various crêpes (citron, nutella, caramel, sucre, beurre) I have been working on an interesting direction involving portraits of local factory workers. More on that when the work develops further but in the meantime I can’t resist painting a few watercolors of some beautiful architectural details about town.