painting

Jean-Charles Bedard Painting by Eric Mailhot

eric-mailhot-february-2019-icon-ericzoneMy grandfather had his 100th birthday on September 8th, 2018 and passed away on January 7th, 2019. My mother and my aunt were with him during the night and i received the call early in the morning. The news did not hurt me as much as I thought it should have, to the point where I almost felt ashamed. It then dawned on me that I had, unconsciously and preemptively, been processing my grief while creating his portrait. The artwork is based on a photo I took of him during Xmas 2017 and is my first true attempt at a classical, figurative and large-scale painting. It is only fitting that this depiction would be of my grand-father, Jean-Charles Bédard.

About the process

The whole process began in the cold month of March of 2018. In order to prepare myself, I sketched and painted two portraits onto smaller canvases. The purpose was warm up my dexterous fingers,  but more importantly, to better acquaint myself with my grandfather’s face and to figure out certain technical details before moving onto the larger canvas. (see my Behance page for more images during the creative process)

jcbedard 9avril2019For this project, I also wanted to have my first attempt at gold leaf gilding. I had initially been interested by the idea of gold leaf by watching a BBC documentary about the color gold, in which the famous Richard II portrait is shown. Created in the 1390’s by a forgotten artist, this artwork (today exhibited at Westminster Abbey) was instrumental in my quest to understand this process. After watching a few videos on YouTube and doing some preliminary tests on other paintings, I was confident in my ability to make good use of this fascinating method for this project. The effect of the gold looks heavenly, akin to what the medieval churches of Europe hoped to achieve in their holy depictions hundreds of years ago.

Another significant actor in the painting is the blue window. This important element not only creates duality through the color symmetry and opposite light sources, but it also conveys the symbolic idea of time by adding depth of field to the portrait. As a teenager, I had friends that lived in the house that is seen in the window. So, on a deeper and personal level, the blue house encompasses those uneasy emotions we feel, looking back on life. The window also might represent mortality and the afterlife, which adds another level of conceptual contrast. In any case, whatever direction you choose to look at it, life or death, this painting is about contemplating time.

Fine art should always be in line with an intellectual pursuit that either stems from or brings about each given project. I’m a firm believer that art should always convey some form of social commentary. That is why I’m not a fan of purely decorative art.

A life story

Back in 2006, at the behest of my mother, I had interviewed my grandfather over the course of a few recording sessions. The stories of his life are very inspirational and helped me a great deal to push ahead in those late evenings where fatigue gnawed relentlessly at my artistic resolve. Hours of recording tell of his life as a kid growing up in Quebec city, then of his draft in the army onto the war in Europe and his later years as a family man. I hope to some day create a graphic novel out of those priceless recordings and to highlight his contribution to Canada’s historical heritage in the second world war.

A bit of history

Interesting fact, this was not the first painting of Jean-Charles Bédard. Following the end of the second world war, my grandfather was stationed on Wangerooge island as part of the allied occupation army. I believe that it was around that time that he had his portrait done by J. Menzel, a European artist in 1945.

I invite you to have a look at my Behance page to see a few more photos. You can find images of my other paintings on Behance and on Deviantart. As always, I invite you to have a look at  www.ericzone.com and to visit my Facebook page. Don’t forget to click «Like». You can also find me on YouTube. Ericzone is on Instagram. Have you sent me a contact request on LinkedIn?

Visit the Ericzone Podcast page on BaladoQuebec.com. For Google Play Music users, thank you for following my podcast. The show is available on Itunes and Stitcher. There is also an Ericzone Podcast album on Flickr.

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The Blue House – Acrylic Painting by Eric Mailhot

quebec fleur de lys ericzone”The Blue House” is an acrylic painting done on a 30×40 inch canvas that was completed sometime in August of 2017. Started in the month of April 2016, the project is based on the photo of a small rural house that was taken on October 22nd 2016 nearby St-Foy CEGEP in Quebec City. On publication of this article, the painting is in the hands of Renée Jacques, a friend and work collegue. With this gift, I hoped to show her my gratitude for her support since my arrival in Quebec City in March of 2016. More importantly, I’ve always been able to count on her throughout the production of the Ericzone Podcast. She has always been willing to offer carpool during the cold winter days. It was precisely during those first days of driving to work that we noticed the blue house and that the idea of painting it first dawned on me. And so, it only made a lot of sense that I would offer her the painting. Merci Renée.

The Blue House

As I mentioned, it was during those first weeks in Quebec City that I discovered the Blue House (located corner St-Foy et Chevremont), in a rather fragile state, painted with a surprising blue color. Even more surprising, is the fact that I developed such a strange fascination with this somewhat beautiful house that waited for its uncertain future. It’s in this context that I took a few photos with my cell phone in the last days of October 2016. Little did I know that, just a few days later, this modest little house would be demolished and replaced by a mundane parking lot.

A Bit of History

According to the information I was given about this humble house, the land had apparently been rented to the religious community of l’Hôtel-Dieu to Pauline de Villiers in June of 1939. The house was then built during the summer of 1939.

Mme De Villiers would go on to own the house until April of 1975, when she sold it to Godfroy Lamarche, a man from Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier. M. Lamarche, a teacher, would be proprietor until june of 2001. M. Lamarche was no longer living in the house when it was sold to M. Normand St-Cyr in June of 2001. The latter owned the place up until 2016 when it was sold to Immocom Ste-Foy Inc.


A sad ending

I would have hoped for a more honorable end to this humble house. I feel that, in light of its proximity to the CEGEP St-Foy, the house could have been converted (had it been in better condition) into a student cafe of some kind. With its fragile demeanor and its outlandish color, I can’t help but draw a parallel between the blue house and the future of Quebec. As a cafe, it could have housed future generations of students, inspiring them by the smell of coffee and Quebec music. All it would have taken to give this house a second life and to possibly make it a part of Quebec city’s heritage, would have  been an astute business person with the right amount of foresight.

The memory of this house is forever engraved in my memory. I feel happy that I was able to contribute to perpertuating its story post-mortem, through my art and this article. If ever you have photos or anecdotes to share, please don’t hesitate to write in the comments or through email.

The Blue House @ Ericzone Podcast

August 20th 2017, I had the opportunity to talk about my painting of the blue house with la Serveuse du Nelligans, while recording the Ericzone Podcast. You can click on the video below to watch the excerpt from that episode. Manon Choquette (Serveuse du Nelligans) is not only a writer and blogger, but also a talented painter. (excerpt is in french)

I invite you to have a look at the Flickr album and the photos that recall the evolution of the project. You can find images of the painting on Behance and on Deviantart. As always, I invite you to have a look at  www.ericzone.com and to visit my Facebook page. Don’t forget to click «Like». You can also find me on YouTube. Ericzone is on Instagram. Have you sent me a contact request on LinkedIn?

Visit the Ericzone Podcast page on BaladoQuebec.com. For Google Play Music users, thank you for following my podcast. The show is available on Itunes and Stitcher. There is also an Ericzone Podcast album on Flickr.

La maison bleue – peinture acrylique par Eric Mailhot

quebec fleur de lys ericzone«La maison bleue» est une peinture acrylique réalisée sur canevas (30×40 pouces) que j’ai terminée au mois d’août 2017. Entamé au mois d’avril 2016, le projet est basé sur la photo d’une petite maison rurale, prise le 22 octobre 2016 à proximité du CEGEP St-Foy dans la ville de Québec. La peinture est (en date de la publication de cet article) entre les mains de Renée Jacques, une amie et collègue de travail pour qui la peinture était destinée. J’ai toujours pu compter sur son support tout au long de la production de mon projet d’émission web Ericzone Podcast et elle n’a jamais hésité à m’offrir du transport pour aller au travail. C’est justement lors de ces premiers jours de covoiturage que nous avons remarqué la maison et que l’idée m’est venue d’en faire une peinture. Il était normal que je lui offre la peinture. Merci Renée.

La maison bleue

À mon arrivée dans la ville de Québec, je découvre donc la maison bleue (située coin St-Foy et Chevremont) dans un état plutôt fragile et peinturée d’un bleu étonnant. Je développe malgré tout un attachement étrange pour cette petite maison rurale en attente d’un futur inquiétant. Je prends donc quelques photos à la fin du mois d’octobre 2016, ne sachant pas que quelques jours plus tard, la maison serait démolie et remplacée par un stationnement.

Un peu d’histoire

D’après l’information que l’on m’a donnée au sujet de la propriété, le terrain a été cédé à titre de rente foncière par la communauté des religieuses de l’Hôtel-Dieu à Pauline De Villiers en juin 1939. La maison aurait été bâtie durant l’été 1939.

Mme De Villiers en a été la propriétaire jusqu’en avril 1975, moment où elle l’a vendue à Godfroy Lamarche, un homme de Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier. M. Lamarche, un professeur, a été propriétaire jusqu’en juin 2001. Ce dernier n’habitait plus la maison lors de la vente. La maison à été vendue à M. Normand St-Cyr en juin 2001 qui en a été le propriétaire jusqu’en 2016. Aujourd’hui, le terrain appartient à Immocom Ste-Foy Inc.


Une triste fin

J’aurais espéré une fin plus honorable pour cette petite maison pas trop belle. Il m’a toujours semblé, vu sa proximité au CEGEP St-Foy, qu’elle aurait pu être convertie (avoir été en meilleur état) en petit café d’études. Avec sa couleur bleue qui donne soudainement envie d’être patriotique, je l’imaginais habitée par des générations futures d’étudiants, inspirés par l’odeur du café et la musique Québecoise. Il n’aurait fallu qu’une personne en affaires avec un peu de vision pour donner une seconde vie à cette maison et peut-être lui donner l’espoir d’un jour faire partie du patrimoine historique de la Ville de Québec.

Le souvenir de cette maison est à jamais gravé dans ma mémoire. Je suis heureux de pouvoir contribuer à son histoire post-mortem par mon art et par le biais de cet article. Si jamais vous avez des photos ou des anecdotes à raconter, n’hésitez pas à écrire dans les commentaires ou à m’écrire directement.

La maison bleue au Ericzone Podcast

Le 20 août 2017, j’ai l’occasion de parler de ma peinture de la maison bleue avec la Serveuse du Nelligans. au cours de l’enregistrement d’un épisode du Ericzone Podcast. Cliquez sur la vidéo ci-dessous pour voir l’extrait de cet épisode. Manon Choquette est une écrivaine/blogueuse et une artiste peintre qui est absolument à découvrir.

Je vous invite à jeter un coup d’oeil à l’album Flickr qui démontre l’évolution du projet. Vous trouverez la maison bleue sur Behance et sur Deviantart. Comme toujours, je vous invite à consulter mon portfolio sur www.ericzone.com et à visiter ma page Facebook. N’oubliez pas d’y cliquer «Like». Vous pouvez également me trouver sur YouTube. Ericzone est sur Instagram. M’avez-vous envoyé une demande de connexion via LinkedIn?

Visitez la page du Ericzone Podcast sur BaladoQuebec.com. Pour les utilisateurs de Google Play Music, merci de vous abonner. L’émission est disponible sur Itunes et Stitcher. Je vous invite à visiter l’album photo du Ericzone Podcast sur Flickr.

Votez au concours ARTBORÉAL – Vote for your favourite painting

contemplate_winter_2014

Le 21 mars 2014, Greenpeace a lancé le concours ArtBoréal, qui a comme objectif de promouvoir la santé de nos forêts boréales. J’ai été immédiatement motivé à soumettre ”Contempler l’hiver”, une oeuvre collaborative que j’ai réalisée avec la belle artiste Brigitte Blais. J’ai besoin de votes! Rendez-vous sur la page Facebook du concours et cliquez ”Like” sur la photo de la peinture. Si l’envie vous prend, vous pouvez écrire quelques commentaires. N’hésitez pas à partager l’image sur votre mur Facebook afin d’inviter vos contacts à cliquer ‘like’ également. Le concours termine le 30 avril! Merci! Comme toujours, je vous invite à jeter un coup d’oeil à mon portfolio www.ericzone.com  et à visiter ma page Facebook. N’oubliez pas d’y cliquer ‘’like’’.

On March 21st 2014, Greenpeace launched the ArtBoréal contest which has the objective to promote awareness for our forests. I was immediately compelled to submit ‘Contemplate Winter‘, a collaborative work i did in December 2012 with the beautiful artist Brigitte Blais.  I need some votes! All i ask is for you to visit the Facebook page for the contest and click ‘like’ on the painting. Feel free to write some comments. Feel free to share the image from the contest page on your Facebook wall and to invite your contacts to ‘like’ our painting as well. Contest ends April 30th! Thank you! As always, visit my online portfolio at www.ericzone.com and visit my professional Facebook page and click like in order to keep in touch.

Collaboration & art

mac saint ericzone eric mailhot brigitte blais acrylic painting 2013March break is always an inspirational moment for art. 2014 was yet another prolific week for painting. Accompanied by Brigitte Blais and her acrylic paints, I had the opportunity to leave town for a few days. We tried to make the most of our time and spent a few days working on some new ideas for a series of paintings. Feel free to visit the photo album of the week of painting on my flickr page. The featured image in this blog is titled ‘Mac Saint‘ and is a collaborative effort. Honestly, Brigitte did most of the work … Go visit her Flickr page and ‘like’ her work!

Le congé du mois de mars 2013 fût une semaine idéale pour la peinture. Il est toujours plaisant d’avoir l’opportunité de quitter la ville pour quelques jours en compagnie de Brigitte Blais et ses peintures acryliques. Faisant bonne utilité du temps à notre disposition, nous avons parlé d’une nouvelle série de peintures que nous aimerions réaliser en collaboration. Je vous invite à jeter un coup d’oeil à l’album photo de cette semaine en peinture. L’image présentée ici s’appelle ‘Mac Saint‘ et sera la première peinture d’une série. En toute honnêteté, c’est Brigitte qui a fait tout le travail … Visitez sa page Flickr et regardez ses autres oeuvres!

Artsy Weekend

What greater way to enjoy a cold winter weekend in the forest than with a hot cup of tea, some paints on canvas and a beautiful artist with whom to share the brushes with. It took us a few minutes to decide on the composition using a blend of photos borrowed on the net and then a few hours to create the painting. As a first experience of collaboration for a painting, i must admit that i am very pleased by the result. If you wish to know more about my fellow artist, please visit her site at www.brigitteblais.com. Feel free to visit my deviantart page and have a look at other work i’ve done.

Il n’y a pas de meilleure façon pour passer une fin de semaine dans un chalet qu’en buvant une tasse de thé, observant un canevas avec ses peintures, accompagné d’une belle artiste avec qui on peut partager ses pinceaux. Cela nous a pris quelques minutes pour décider de la composition en utilisant quelques photos empruntées sur le web et quelques heures pour terminer la peinture. Pour une première expérience en collaboration de peinture, je dois avouer que je suis très content du résultat. Si vous désirez en savoir plus au sujet de mon amie artiste, visitez www.brigitteblais.com. Vous pouvez également visiter ma page deviantart afin d’y voir d’autres oeuvres.

contempler l'hiver