Thursday, August 31, 2017

Standing on a Clue

14 x 11", acrylic on gessoed mounted hardboard ( cradle board)
painting #248, 2017 

During the spring of 2016, my wife and I spent two weeks in Europe visiting Belgium, the Netherlands and Oslo Norway. We flew to Brussels where we spent our first 3 days. We were a bit apprehensive about visiting the city just six weeks after the terrorist bombings. Some sections of the airport were still closed off. Things got off to a rocky start. Just four hours after our arrival, my backpack was stolen in the locked luggage room of the lobby of the hotel/ hostel where we were staying . The whole incident was caught on video by the hotel security camera. It was an outside job. The only things I did not lose was wallet, camera, passport and my day itinerary. After filing a police report we had to come to terms with what had happened and move on. We would have to rely on the kindness of others in order to move forward. I have to say the the police officers we met had a lot of empathy and were very sympathetic and kind to us. We spent a whole day just buying the essentials which included a backpack, clothing, battery charger, reprinting documents etc.... We had purchased bus tour tickets in order to visit the Hergé Museum which is located in Louvain-la-Neuve, 32 km from Brussels. The evening before our day trip we received and e-mail from the agency that they were going to have to cancel the trip since we were the only two who had made reservations. To compensate, the agency offered us a complimentary tour of a Belgium chocolate factory. Apart from those incidents, it was an AMAZING trip. We got to visit 32 museums and countless attractions and monuments. 

We did get to visit the Belgian Centre of Comic Strip Art in Brussels. The museum is housed in a beautiful 1905 Art Nouveau building that was designed by architect Victor Horta. It originally served as a textile department store. The building was restored and re-opened as a museum in 1989. It mainly pays homage to Belgian, but also Flemish and French comic strip artists such as Hergé (Tintin), Jije (Spirou), Edgar D. Jacob (Blake & Mortimer), André Franquin (Spirou), Morris (Lucky Luke), Jean Roba (Boule & Bill) and Peyo (The Smurfs). 

In my composition, the Tintin figuring was purchased at the Tintin Store in Brussels. Tintin is a young reporter and adventurer, but is often portrayed playing detective, solving crimes and mysteries. Under the magnifying glass, a finger print appears on the Clue board game.

Le Musée de la Civilisation is Québec City is currently hosting an Hergé exhibition which I am planning to visit next month. The installation closes on October 22, 2017.

Earlier this year I was invited by Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal to submit some artwork for a Photorealism group exhibition. I am delighted to announced that two paintings were selected for this prestigious show that will run from September 30 - October 10, 2017. 

Details of participating artists to follow and if an opening reception is held. I will be updating this post when the information becomes available.

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

-painting has been reserved

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

French Kisses, an homage to Robert Doisneau

16 x 12", acrylic on gessoed birch panel
painting #247, 2017 

I initially got this large Hershey's Kisses for my wife while picking up a Valentine's Day card at the store. When I got home, I opened the box and marvelled at it like an "Objet de désire". I decided to put it in my prop box for a future painting and ended up getting her a heart box of Russell Stover chocolates instead. 

The title inspired the narrative for this painting. The composition came to me when I uncovered this 1993 Robert Doisneau calendar that had been stored away some 23 years ago. Since my wife Suzanne and I were married on February 14, I arranged the pages so that "Baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville"(Kiss at Town Hall), was on the appropriate month. 

Robert Doisneau (1912-1994) was a French photographer who became reknown for his street photography and as a photojournalist. "Baiser de l'Hôtel de ville" first appeared in LIFE magazine on June 12, 1950. The couple kissing in the photo was only made public in 1992 and identified as Françoise Delbart, 20, and Jacques Carteaud, 23, both aspiring actors at the time. The story behind "Baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville" is well documented on his Wikipedia page - click HERE

During our six week vacation in Europe this spring, we were fortunate enough to attend "Bistro, de Baudelaire à Picasso", the inaugural artistic exhibition held at La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, France. The exhibit was comprised of about 100 works that included paintings, photography, drawings, literature and cinema. Dating from the 18th century to today, the show explored how artists from various movements were influenced by Café bars. A full wall was dedicated to the amazing photography of Robert Doisneau.

Earlier this year I was invited by Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal to submit some artwork for a Photorealism group exhibition. I am delighted to announced that two paintings were selected for this prestigious show that will run from September 30 - October 10, 2017. 

Details of participating artists to follow and if an opening reception is held. I will be updating this post when the information becomes available.

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

-painting has been reserved

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bonne Maman

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 7 x 5''
painting #246, 2017

This small painting was a hospitality gift for my friend Françoise and her husband Michel who generously offered to pick us up at the airport in Lyon, France and welcomed us into their home for a two night stay in Annonay. On May 8, my wife Suzanne and I would embarked on the ''Puy Way" (GR 65) part of the greater network of trails of the Camino leading to Santiago the Compostella. The moderately difficult hiking trek from Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France is 720 km in length, with an elevation reaching 1300m in the Aubrac region of the Massif Central. The whole journey should have taken us about 26-28 days to complete. Françoise did join us for the first day and hiked with us until noon before we said our goodbyes. 

Everything was going well until day 8, then Suzanne started to have pain in her left knee. By the end of day 9, the pain would turn into an injury. I continued solo for an additional day, while Suzanne took a shuttle bus in order to rejoin me in Figeac. After 3 days of rest, she saw very little improvement. So with heavy hearts, we decided to leave the trail and remain in Europe for another month as tourists. Not having to carry an 18 lbs backpack or tackling mountainous terrain permitted her to slowly recover. It would take 18 days for her to walk without a limp. I was able to hike 270 km during our 10 days on the GR-65. With this said, I feel I have unfinished business. I will be returning to Figeac by myself to complete the Puy Way hiking trek to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port next year.

After visiting the tourist information center in Figeac, a very kind lady helped us map out a new itinerary. We travelled by bus or train visiting Cahors, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bayonne and St-Jean-de-Luz in France. We then crossed the Spanish border and made our way to San Sebastian and Bilbao. From there we boarded a plane to Barcelona where we stayed for 3 days, then flew to Rome for an additional 3 days before returning home. We swam in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, visited 21 museums plus countless historical landmarks and churches. Some of the museums included the following: 

  • Musée des Augustins and the Bemberg Foundation in Toulouse
  • inaugural art exhibition held at La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux 
  • the jaw-dropping Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao 
  • Fine Art Museums of Bordeaux and Bilbao 
  • Picasso Museum and the Antonio Gaudi masterful architecture in Barcelona 
  • Vatican Museums with the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City 
  • Galleria Nazionale d'arte Moderna in Rome 
  • but my hands down favourite was the Museu Europeu d'art Modern in Barcelone, dedicated to figurative contemporary realism 

The whole trip was a wonderful whirlwind. 

Bonne Maman means "Good Mother" in English. Symbolically, the image is in memory of my mother Emma, and the painting will remain in the country of her ancestors. Since her passing in 2006, during our travels, we often see her name or it will just come up in casual conversation with others, a reminder that she is watching over us. This trip was no exception. This always brings me comfort and a validation that I should live out my dreams.

-private collection France 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Crush bottle on crushed Crush cans

Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 24 x 16"
painting #244, 2017

This painting is my largest to date and took a whole two months to complete. The idea and concept had been on the back-burner for a few years. While the Crush soda pop cans are readily available and are sold in rainbow pack which includes these three flavours + Mugs Root Beer, the bottle was a challenge to find and even more so to paint. I ended up acquiring the bottle last summer from the most gigantic estate sale imaginable in Summerside, PEI. They had thousands of vintage pop bottles, mason jars and other bottles. I did end up buying several which will certainly appear in future paintings. 

Orange Crush soft drink was invented by American chemist Neil C. Ward and was introduced and marketed in 1911 as Ward's Orange Crush.  The shape of this particular bottle was designed by industrial designer Jim Nash in 1955. Click on this LINK for a great article on the bottle design. 

It is difficult to estimate the age of this bottle, since the province of Prince Edward Island only lifted a ban and started to sell soft drinks in cans in 2008. Prior to this, carbonated beverages were only sold in refillable, money-back bottles. With Canada adopting the metric system in the 1970's, this bottle was certainly produced afterward.

I am pleased to announce that this painting will be part of a two-person show this fall being held at the Fog Forest Gallery in Sackville, NB. 

Recent Work by Yvon Gallant and Alvin Richard
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
to acquire this painting, please contact the gallery

Friday, March 31, 2017

Inclusion in the book, INGENIOUS


Last summer, I was contacted by Carol Elder, a photo researcher who was working on a book written by the current Governor General of Canada, his Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston and Tom Jenkins. She was requesting my consent to publish a photo of my painting " Edward R. McDonald's Crossword Game'' for an article about Mr. McDonald's inclusion that is entitled, "Wood-tile Crossword". Just in time to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday, "INGENIOUS" is a richly illustrated volume of brilliant Canadian innovations whose widespread adoption has made the world a better place. The book appeared in my mailbox today directly from the publisher, Signal- McClelland & Stewart / a division of Penguin Random House Company. I am very honoured to been asked to contribute to such a publication.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Thomas Edison lights up the Electric Company

5 x 7", acrylic on gessoed hardboard
painting #243, 2017

Thomas Edison (1847–1931) was born in Milan Ohio from a Canadian born father and an American mother. He received very little formal education and was home schooled as a child. He acquired knowledge through self-study and reading. Often considered America's greatest inventor, he held 1,093 US patents to his name. He developed and innovated a wide range of products from the phonograph, the motion picture camera and was influential in developing the first economically viable way to distribute light, heat, and power from a central station.

Early experiments of the electric light bulb dates back as far as 1802 when Humphry Davy invented the first electric light. While it produced light for a brief period, it was much too bright for practical use.

Thomas Edison is credited for inventing the first commercial light bulb. In 1878, he formed the Edison Electric Light Company (later General Electric), the world's first industrial research lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. There, he began serious research into developing a practical incandescent lamp. In 1880, he discovered a carbonized bamboo filament that could last over 1200 hours. Soon afterwards, he started manufacturing and marketing this new product that would impact the world for the betterment of humanity.

The "Electric Company" on the Monopoly Game Board refers to the Atlantic City Electric Co. that was incorporated in 1924.

The commonality they both share, the incandescent electric light bulb was invented 100 miles from the "Electric Company", both located in New Jersey.

About 5 years ago, a hot new decorated trend appeared with reproduction of nostalgic vintage looking globes featuring long separated or criss-cross filaments, a nod to it's inventor, Thomas Alva Edison.

To acquire about this painting, please contact:
Ober Anderson Gallery
101A West Argonne Drive, 
Kirkwood, Missouri
(St Louis, MO)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lindbergh again flies the Air Mail

14 x 11", Acrylic on gessoed mounted birch panel
Painting #242, 2016-17

Commemorating the upcoming 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh historical solo transatlantic flight in the "Spirit of St. Louis" from New York City to Paris, May 20-21, 1927.

                With "The Spirit of St Louis" at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. Easter 2012.  

Prior to his exploit, Lindbergh was an aircraft pilot during the early years of the US Air Mail. He provided service for the newly designated route between St. Louis, Mo and Chicago, Ill. with intermediate stops in Springfield and Peoria. Ill.

During a three city celebration tour of the US following his achievement with stops in Washington, DC, New York City and St. Louis, many honours were bestowed upon him. In Washington, DC, on June 11, 1927, the Postmaster General presented Lindbergh with the first special airmail stamp which was also the first time a stamp had been issued in honour of a man still living.

The top letter in my composition- postmarked St Louis, on June 18, 1927, also bears a special ink stamp in celebration of his crowning achievement on the same day the city would honour him.

Although Lindbergh never returned to service as a regular U.S. Air Mail pilot, he used the immense fame that his exploits had brought him to help promote the use of the U.S. Airmail Service, who's catch phrase was ''AIRMAIL SAVES TIMES''. Lindbergh would return to his former route of St.Louis to Chicago in a CAM-2 for two days so that he could pilot a series of special flights (northbound on February 20; southbound on February 21) on which tens of thousands of self-addressed souvenir covers sent in from all over the nation and the world were flown, back stamped, and then returned to their senders as a further means to promote awareness and the use of the Air Mail Service. Souvenir covers and other artefacts associated with or carried on flights piloted by Lindbergh are still actively collected under the general designation of "Lindberghiana." The bottom letter postmarked with a lucky horseshoe -''Lindbergh Again Flies the Airmail'' was one among those thousands he carried and that I was so grateful to acquire.

I've attached the Lindbergh Stamp in mint condition and both letters to the back of the painting, as a special token for a any prospect collector.

Five years ago I did a similar painting for a group exhibition entitled "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" held at the Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, Ca. Click HERE for further documentation on this painting. 

It becomes a full-circle moment to have this painting exhibited in St. Louis, Mo, the city where Lindbergh lived while he orchestrated his dream. Without the eight St Louis men who financed the project that included building the custom design monoplane, none of it would have been possible. "The Spirit of St. Louis" was named in honour of his supporters.
To acquire this painting, please contact:

Ober Anderson Gallery
101A West Argonne Drive, 
Kirkwood, Missouri
(St Louis, MO)
tel- (314) 821-6241