“There are no straight lines.”
— French artist Jean-Claude Roy on why he loves to paint Newfoundland.
The only thing lovelier than a stroll down old St. John’s is a stroll past an oil painting in progress of old St. John’s by Jean-Claude Roy.
I happened upon Roy one recent Saturday morning as he worked on a canvas on the corner of Duckworth Street and Hill O’Chips looking west.
Roy, who splits his time between France and Newfoundland, broke from his painting each and every time he was approached by a curious tourist or local — which happened quite often.
At one point, an American even offered Roy cash on the spot for the painting he was working on.
Roy sells his work exclusively through the Emma Butler Gallery, which has a showing of his new works until Sept. 1st.
Roy says the skies in his paintings are all abstract to give more power to the landscape.
Roy has a new book set for launch by Breakwater Books on Sept. 25th in St. John’s.
The title, Fluctuat nec Mergitur, is a Latin phrase meaning “He who rises with the wave is not swallowed by it.”
The phrase also happens to be the motto of Paris, France.
The book, a 5-year project, includes paintings of all 806 Newfoundland communities.
There will only be 160 books for sale — at $1,000 a copy.
But it’s incredibly unique in that each book will have a hand-painted cover of a different Newfoundland community.
Roy says it’s never been done before.
“The outports are disappearing,” Roy told me, “and I get to paint them.”
His next project will be a book of Labrador paintings, both the communities and the Big Land itself.