Monday, October 15, 2012

A Girl Goes to Paris

The Louvre

I recently made my husband take me joined my husband on a business trip to Paris.  His job requires travel to Europe, and I'd never been to France.  With my French-Canadian roots, some knowledge of French, a love of art & history & wine & cheese, I was happy to come meet him for a long weekend in Paris. 

I warned him that I had a serious art agenda.  This might not be the exclusively "romantic, walk along the Seine" kind of weekend.   Since he had to work for part of the time that I was there, I made plans to begin my trip by going to the Louvre solo and spend the entire day there. 



The Louvre, for those who haven't been, is massive.  It's hard to wrap your head around how physically big it is,  and how much art it holds.  It is truly a marathon event, and a bit of planning and strategy goes a long way toward getting more out of the experience.  
 Outside of the Louvre, the famous Pyramid by architect I. M. Pei.  

 The main courtyard.


 Walking up the stairs toward the Winged Victory of Samonthrace sculpture.
I loved how they placed her at the top of the stairs, one of the first experiences upon entering the Louvre. 



As I walked through the massive galleries of medieval art, I landed upon a painting that is near and dear to me.  This, my friends, was one of my first art experiences when I was a child. 

 An Old Man and His Grandson
by Dominico Ghirlandaio
1490
When I was a preschooler I came across this image in one of my uncle's school text books.  I was fascinated.  What a strange painting!  That old man's nose was so bumpy and a bit scary, but his expression is kind.  I thought it was a picture of a young girl, and was surprised when someone told me it was a boy.  Then there was the wonderful and strange landscape out the window.  This was the first time I really got lost in a painting, having the experience unfold before me.  

detail

The crowds continued to move around me while I enjoyed this painting.  It was so great to see the real thing.  I felt that way many times over while here.
 Then I joined the throngs and went in search of the Mona Lisa.  
This is about as close as you can get to her now.  There is no intimate art viewing when it comes to the world's most famous smile. 


After the DaVinci, I went in search for a William Turner painting that I knew was nearby.  It was great to have it mostly to myself, as the painting was in a little side gallery, away from the crowds.  I enjoyed examining it up close.  Here's a detail.  What I love is the scumbling and motion of the paint application.  You can see the wonderful combination of opaque and transparent layers, all coming together in a way that is purely abstract up close.  Great sense of atmosphere. 



I also enjoyed this wall of Rembrandt's in relative peace and quiet. 



In a place such as the Louvre, when it is bigger than words, when there is so much to see and take in... how do you carve out that experience that allows you to slow down?  To really see.  
My first view of the Mona Lisa was not the experience of the painting.  It was a sea of people holding up their digital cameras & phones.  They were all taking the "I've been there, done that" photo.  Honestly, if it was for the sake of enjoying the image of the Mona Lisa, everyone would have been better off slowing down, enjoying the painting up close, and buying a post card in the gift shop. 



What a different experience to find an image that stops you in your tracks and lose yourself in it, even for just a little while. 


Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost Home


Almost Home
36x36"
Oil on Canvas
2012

This painting will be available for auction this weekend.  The Gala is our kids' school's BIG fundraiser of the year.  It's a great evening with live music, fabulous food and a lively auction.  I'm happy to be part of it.

About the painting:  most of us who live in the Santa Cruz Mountains have a common experience... driving up Highway 17.  For those of you who are not familiar with our commute, this highway is essentially a steep and narrow mountain pass that connects Silicon Valley with the coast.  It takes some skill and fortitude to drive this road, as it's fast, narrow and the concrete barriers come right to the edge with essentially no "breakdown lane."  Throw in the occasional distracted driver, wayward deer, mountain lion or mud slide and it's a commute that is not for the faint of heart.  This painting depicts the curve in the road right before the Summit exit.  This is the exit that for many of us is a transition between life in "The Valley" and life on the Mountain.

For more about this great annual event, go to LPEF.org/Gala

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lost Dog


Lost Dog

Oil on canvas

20x20"

Private Collection


©2012 Giselle Gautreau

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Santa Cruz Mountain View


Santa Cruz Mountain View

20x20"
Oil on canvas

Private Collection


©2012 Giselle Gautreau


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Art Heist!

Recently I had a painting stolen during one of my art openings.  The gallery owner was duly upset and I found myself absolutely baffled on how someone could steal from an artist and still enjoy it on their wall.  As a friend of mine would say, it's just bad juju.  
After the incident, which I'm calling a heist, I realized what I needed to do.  I made just a few more paintings in a similar spirit.  One went to my young daughter, for whom this painting was one of her favorites.  This one, titled Anatomy of a Bird, is another.  I have another one or two, with different birds, but this will likely be all for this mini-series.  I like to keep my paintings one-of-a-kind.  



Anatomy of a Bird

Encaustic, thread and ink on panel
6x6"



The Way To San Jose


The Way To San Jose

encaustic painting & map on panel

4x4"

Gathering Threads


Gathering Threads

Encaustic, thread and ink on panel
6x6"


Speckled Hen


Speckled Hen

Encaustic painting on wood panel
6x6x2"

©2012Giselle Gautreau

Available

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Art Events: March & April 2012

March and April Art Events

Out of the studio and out into the world.  

First up,  the Pajaro Valley Arts Council in Watsonville, CA has a really great exhibit up right now called Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Works.    More than 70 artists are represented, showing an exciting range using encaustic wax as a medium.  


Lots of fantastic work.  I went to the opening and plan on getting there again to enjoy the show without the crowds.  I have three paintings which are included in this show. 



Art lookers at the PVAC show opening. 


Next up, be sure to check out the Spring exhibit at Many Hands Gallery in Capitola.  Birds & Bees are on display, with many of my mini paintings on hand.  At least 13 of my small-scale paintings are on view as part of the show.   

This exhibit will be up for March and April. 


Note:  Many Hands will be participating in Santa Cruz's First Friday art event.  I'll be there on Friday, April 6 from 5-8 pm along with many of the other artists listed.  Consider yourself invited!



Some of my small-scale paintings on view at Many Hands Gallery in Capitola. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Up From Below


Up From Below

10x10x2"
Encaustic on panel

©2012

This painting will be part of the exhibit Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Works

Open March 1st through April 15th

Timeworn & Forgotten


Timeworn & Forgotten

Encaustic, ink, paper on panel
10x10x2"

©2012 

This piece will be part of an exhibit at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council 
 Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Works, is on view March 1st through April 15th

For more information, click here

Friday, February 3, 2012

Echo


Echo
Encaustic, ink, thread and paper on panel
10x10x2"
©2012

This painting will be included in an exhibit titled Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Works
On view at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council in Watsonville, CA

March 1st through April 15th



Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year, New Work

January is often a time for new goals and looking ahead.  I am not an exception to this.  I do, however, tend to keep my goals and plans for paintings on the quiet side.  For me, talking about my intentions and inspiration for upcoming paintings has the effect of deflating the energy and momentum behind it.  I'd rather keep my ideas brewing, just between me and my sketchbook.  I want the work to be as exciting and fresh for you as it was for me in dreaming it up. 

That said, I'm excited about the new year in art-making.  I've been busy in the studio and have prepped, primed and sanded at least 40+ canvases and panels.  Time to get to work!




And currently in the studio... one of a few works in progress.... 

Stay tuned!