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  • Inside the Saatchi Art office
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    Posted on by Claire

    I took a quick trip to the West Coast, to visit the Saatchi Art office, in sunny California. As luck would have it, they had a big party for artists and collectors, on the evening that I was there. There was food, drinks, and best of all, lots of art and the people who create and sell it! I got to meet the SA team in person (finally… After doing business with them for the past few years!). I arrived early in the day, and was invited to a lovely lunch, that afternoon, sitting under shade umbrellas, outside their uber trendy warehouse-like building. But don’t let the exterior fool you: the inside is contemporary and beautiful, and the walls are covered in art! 
     
    More photos of the event, here, courtesy of artist Marlene Picard.

    CEO, Sean Moriarty, and Head Curator, Rebecca Wilson, address the crowd of Saatchi Art staff, artists and art collectors.

    CEO, Sean Moriarty, and Head Curator, Rebecca Wilson, address the crowd of Saatchi Art staff, artists and art collectors.

    Delicious nibblies were on hand, at the event.

    Delicious nibblies were on hand, at the event.

    Saatchi Art's Braden Woods chats with artist Mark Hobley, over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

    Saatchi Art's Braden Woods chats with artist Mark Hobley, over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

    There were over 300 people in attendance. 100 of them were Saatchi Art artists.

    There were over 300 people in attendance. 100 of them were Saatchi Art artists.

    Artists, art collectors, and Saatchi Art staff met and mingled.

    Artists, art collectors, and Saatchi Art staff met and mingled.


    My love affair with Vermont: I’m having a solo exhibition!
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    February is an exciting time for me: you see, I’ve been given a solo exhibition at the Helen Day Art Center, in Stowe, Vermont.
     
    My family had a home not far from Stowe, for nearly fifty years, which they sold just a little over two years ago. It’s where I spent much of my childhood, learning about rock gardens, bugs, snowflakes, and snakes. The clean air provided a backdrop for me to learn how to swim, ski, and create art. Drawing with my wax Crayola crayons was a favourite pastime of mine, as was making magical moss gardens, outside on the rocks, bathed in golden sunshine.
     

    Bright As Quiet - original acrylic painting by Claire Desjardins at Helen Day Art Center, in Stowe, Vermont.

    Bright As Quiet - original acrylic painting by Claire Desjardins at Helen Day Art Center, in Stowe, Vermont.


    While in Vermont, I had close encounters with nature, daily. When I was there helping my parents pack up a lifetime of belongings, in preparation for their move, a brown bear appeared out of nowhere. He meandered down the path leading to the old sugar shack (now a collapsed pile of wood and odd, rusted, metal pieces), and, partially concealed by leaves and branches, watched my mum, as she worked in her garden. My mother called out to me, just in time for me to see a large brown rump turning, and quietly heading back into the woods. Ah, Vermont. The love affair continues, even though my visits are far and few.
     
    Options - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins, at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont.

    Options - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins, at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont.


    With all of this in mind, I was delighted to receive an email from Rachel, at the Helen Day Art Center, in Stowe, Vermont: they had room for an exhibition in February, 2014, and would I consider the opportunity? The answer, of course, was a resounding YES. And so, my solo exhibition in Stowe, Vermont materialized, and it runs until March 3rd, 2014.
     
    For details on the exhibition, click here.
     
    Could It Be So? - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins.

    Could It Be So? - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins.


     
    Quien Esta? - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins.

    Quien Esta? - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins.


     
    God Watches TV Too - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins.

    God Watches TV Too - Original abstract painting by Claire Desjardins.


    Home again: back in my studio!
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    Posted on by Claire

    I was excited to receive the box: I had been expecting it ever since I had left China, two months ago. I knew what was inside, but that didn’t dampen my excitement, as I eagerly cut through the neat cardboard packaging. Someone had taken great care to ensure that the contents would make it all the way back to Montreal, Canada, in tact.
     
    Carefully, I cut open the long, skinny box: it contained paintings that I had worked on, while in my artist residency, in China… It felt like an early Christmas present to myself!
     
    After viewing them all, one by one, I rolled them back up, and loaded them into my car, to take them to be re-stretched. I had painted a total of ten paintings, while away, and I had nine with me now (I left one painting behind, at the residency). See my photos, below.
     
    Have a look at the final result of my re-stretched canvases, here.
     

    My precious box of rolled-up paintings arrived!

    My precious box of rolled-up paintings arrived!


     

    I unrolled my tube of paintings, onto the floor of my studio.

    I unrolled my tube of paintings, onto the floor of my studio.


     

    It was great to see my paintings again... Like old friends!

    It was great to see my paintings again... Like old friends!


     

    I took note of their dimensions... Have to get them re-stretched.

    I took note of their dimensions... Have to get them re-stretched.


     

    Back into the tube, and the box in which they arrived: off to the canvas stretcher!

    Back into the tube, and the box in which they arrived: off to the canvas stretcher!


     

    The unrolling begins.

    The unrolling begins.


     

    Seeing my paintings again brought me back to where I was when I made them: China.

    Seeing my paintings again brought me back to where I was when I made them: China.


     

    Mike and Carlos carefully measure each side of each painting.

    Mike and Carlos carefully measure each side of each painting.


     

    Mike checks for discrepancies.

    Mike checks for discrepancies.


     

    There are nine paintings to be stretched.

    There are nine paintings to be stretched.

    Check out “Made in China“, a collection of the paintings I worked on while in residency, at Da Wang Culture Highland, in southeastern China.


    A last look at my fall 2013 artist residency in China
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    Posted on by Claire

    I returned from China exactly two months ago, from today, on November 1st. The memories, while still relatively fresh, are already becoming a part of the muted wallpaper that makes up the background of my life. Before I move on, I want to show a few more photos of the residency at Da Wang Culture Highland. It was hard to stop taking photos, while there.
     

    To begin with, the night before I left, I gave an artist talk, followed by a studio visit to those interested in seeing my work up close. It was an opportunity to show my wares to the locals, including my fellow resident artists, and exchange ideas. We each worked in our studios, daily, not really sharing our work with one another, and so this was a nice opportunity to do so.
     

    My studio, in China.

    My studio, in China.

    Studio visit: the night before I left Da Wang.

    Studio visit: the night before I left Da Wang.


     

    The pottery studio was located in the neighbouring building to my own studio. It was a large room, much like an airplane hangar, in which the potters fashioned their creations with loads of space around them.

    The pottery studio at Da Wang.

    The pottery studio at Da Wang.


     

    The pottery studio at Da Wang: get your tools here!

    The pottery studio at Da Wang: get your tools here!


     

    The pottery studio at Da Wang: the glaze room.

    The pottery studio at Da Wang: the glaze room.


     

    The inspiration? It’s easy: the day-to-day of life in China and in Hong Kong brought my senses much to savour. In particular, I found myself drawn to the markets, where all chattels are sold.
     

    I developed a fancy for juicy, bright orangy-red persimmons.

    I developed a fancy for juicy, bright orangy-red persimmons.


     

    The street market in Hong Kong.

    The street market in Hong Kong.


     

    Little turtles for sale.

    Little turtles for sale.


     

    Pigs' feet in the market.

    Pigs' feet in the market.


     

    Fish market.

    Fish market.


     

    Chicken and rice in a bowl.

    Chicken and rice in a bowl.


     

    Get your koi fish here!

    Get your koi fish here!


     

    All things jade.

    All things jade.