I happened to come across these large format abstract paintings by Claire Desjardins quite by chance on my recent visit to Old Montreal and I found them very appealing. It made me laugh because Claire is an old friend of my brother’s and he had already arranged an introduction. We had a studio visit scheduled for a few days later and here I was seeing her work in the flesh. Big juicy canvases with smooshes and blobs, drips and lines in lovely glowing colors that quite made my heart sing.
Claire comes from a long line of painters and artists. Her bright happy colors are undoubtedly influenced by several years spent in the Caribbean. We compared notes as both of us had worked on charter boats and private yachts. This pretty tropical flower had just opened up and brought a welcome boost of Caribbean sunshine right into her well lit studio. Her studio is in the Complexe de Canal Lachine studio building and she has been here for a year.
Claire was surprised and pleased to see that her recent rescue dog Lily warmed right up to me and was happy to just let me pat her relentlessly. Gigi, a toy poodle was also pleased to have a guest as work days often are quite solitary (and boring for small dogs) for an artist with often only the occasional UPS man dropping in. See how cute they look on the carpet in the painting area which shows traces of the colorful canvases being created here.
Claire works in acrylics and occasionally works with lacquer-based paints for a thicker, shiny effect, working with these smelly paints outdoors in the country, and not here in the studio.
On a nice big work bench, acrylic paints are arranged by color families so she can put her hand on just the right one when the work really gets going and the muse is happily in residence.
This canvas was just beginning to take shape on its easel with colors going on in very thin washy layers. Water stood with paint brushes just sitting in it in glowing colors: pinks, oranges, yellows, her tools of the trade just waiting to be picked up and swizzled across the surface.
This tiny Popsicle stick masterpiece was made by her god son, Cullen Riley, many years ago, and looks right at home, almost like a miniature Claire Desjardins original itself.
Claire's work appears at Anthroplogie in Montreal, New York and Chicago, and she exhibits in Toronto at the Muse Gallery, in Montreal at Lydia Monaro and she is one of the top selling artists at Saatchi Online.
We closed up the studio, took the patient small dogs for a little piddle out on the grass then tooted back to Claire’s apartment where we continued chatting about art and swapping family stories as we sipped our wine and she prepared us some tasty shrimp and salad.
Claire’s work brightens up her classic old heritage apartment and would look great in many decors, maybe even yours.
Thanks Claire. Bye bye Lily and Gigi.