One River, Five Views: The Journey of the St. Lawrence Painters
They are five professional painters from Quebec, united by the same topic of work and the same attachment: the St. Lawrence River. Since 2016, they have traveled the shores of the river, in search of the most beautiful light, the most beautiful landscape. They have reported, each with their own style and vision, their relationship with the St. Lawrence. For Living with Rivers, they comment on their creations and, much more, their love for this giant.
Behind the collective “Painters of the St. Lawrence”, there are five painters: Gérard Boulanger (Quebec City/Cap-Rouge), Yvon Lemieux (Quebec City/Beauport), Raymond Quenneville (Champlain), Robert Roy (Sainte-Perpétue) and Yvon St-Aubin (Château-Richer).
Between 2016 and 2020, they produced a rich collection of one hundred paintings, on the coastal villages and natural environments that border the St. Lawrence River, from Ontario to the eastern tip of Quebec, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One year, one region, and the production of paintings that depict the same place but with five different brushes.
For Gérard Boulanger, this project has changed his way of painting:
“Before, I worked with sketches and then I put the colors in the studio. With this project, everything changed. I worked according to the emotion of the moment, to capture the essential, to drop the superfluous. I paid attention to the emotion because water is linked to emotions. »Gérard Boulanger
And beyond the paintings and sketches, this project gave birth to a human adventure over five years, as Yvon St-Aubin says:
“Quebec is magnificent. Our objective to reflect it in our works is a beautiful cultural and historical journey in color. I will also keep an exceptional memory of this great human adventure with partners that I consider today as brothers”.Yvon St-Aubin
So it was a human adventure between the painters but also with the riverside populations. They wanted to share with the general public their attachment to the river and continue to bring it to life. The St. Lawrence has been a link of communication and a source of inspiration for all the peoples who have used it since long before the arrival of Europeans.
According to Raymond Quenneville, one of the members of the collective and the instigator of the project.
“People love the river and each one in his own way describes it with pride and passion. People make it their own, they make it “their” river and they quickly become its guardians. It is the common child of an entire nation. It is large, rich, powerful and fragile at the same time. It is ‘our’ St. Lawrence that we are talking about here, the one that inspired the works in this exceptional work.”Raymond Quenneville
And in the end, this adventure has strengthened their own attachment to the river! “This experience made me fall even more in love with the river” says Yvon Lemieux; “If someone told me: you’re going to spend your life going around the river and painting it, I would do it” adds Robert Roy.
This journey and this work are now recounted in a book La collection ” Hommage au Saint-Laurent “. Their works are also exhibited at the Pierre-Boucher Museum in Trois-Rivières (Quebec), until the end of February 2023 (free admission), before going to other places in Canada in the coming years.
Check out the selection of paintings the collective comments on for Living with Rivers on our Instagram account and the video dedicated to them, by following Robert Roy.