Artist's Paradise

Trip Start Nov 14, 2011
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Trip End Feb 28, 2013


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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mary's Impressions:
Whenever I have been in Quebec touring among the art galleries, I am always drawn towards these paintings depicting the Charlevoix region. I can't explain why I’m so fascinated by these paintings – whether it’s the landscape, the colours or how serene these paintings make me feel but there is definitely a pull to find out what this area is all about.  Jeff and I had hoped to take a ride on the Train of Le Massif de Charlevoix (http://www.lemassif.com/en/train).  The train leaves from Quebec City to La Malbaie travelling along the Laurentian Mountains with views of the seashore while dining local cuisine prepared by the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Executive Chef, Jean-Michel Breton.  I was looking forward to taking this train and to be able to see this picturesque landscape that I only have seen captured in paintings.  Unfortunately the train had shut down for the season to only reopen again later in the year for the ski season.  Undeterred by this minor setback, Jeff and I chose to drive (you need to be ever so resourceful when one plan falls through).

Our destination was Baie-Saint-Paul – a town that is known for its many art galleries and good restaurants.  Driving along the highway as soon as we came upon the top of the hill where the road descends and takes us into the valley where Baie-Saint-Paul is located, it immediately became apparent why so many artists, musicians, writers and poets have fallen in love with this area.  Jeff and I stopped our car and got out to take in the striking views.  There was an incredible light that reflected against the mountains which contrasted against the Saint Lawrence River.  Perhaps this is the essence of what the artists wanted to capture in the paintings I have admired all these years.

Before deciding on where we would have lunch, we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art of Baie-Saint-Paul to get an introduction of the type of art we would find here.  The museum however was in the midst of changing their exhibits but they did have an intriguing exhibit on the International Symposium of Contemporary Art of Baie-Saint-Paul.  This Symposium held each year throughout the month of August is designed to bring artists and the public together in one space.  The artists work together in the same arena while exchanging ideas on their concept and how the work is completed.  While this work is going on, the public is allowed to observe and provide comments from the point of the artist’s initial conception to the final product.  This free exchange between art and the public is one of the founding principles of the Symposium and why it has become a major and influential event for the cultural life of Quebec.  We found out that about 400 artists from Quebec, Canada and the rest of the world have come to this event creating 550 works over three decades of encounters and creation.  Some of the artists who have participated in this venue include Jean Paul Riopelle, Guido Molinari, Françoise Sullivan and Marcelle Ferron.  I would love to be here in August to watch how the artist and their work take shape.  Another trip to plan – why not!!

In addition to touring Baie-Saint-Paul and the area, Jeff and I also stopped at Le Massif – a ski hill that overlooks the Saint Lawrence River.  There was lots of construction going on as the ski hill is still under development but what a view and what gorgeous ski terrain.  We had first heard of this ski hill from our Montreal friends who make a point to ski here each year.  Standing at the area where a ski chalet has now been constructed overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, you can imagine the feeling of skiing down with this spectacular scenery as your backdrop.  Jeff and I will definitely come back to try out these fabulous ski hills.  We left the Charlevoix with the views of the landscape – its mountains and waters imprinted within our memories to be forever recalled.  Is it any wonder that this area has touched so many people – truly an Artist’s Paradise!
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