I am a Canadian artist from Montreal, painting since over 30 years, now living in Panama... and a bit of an animal rights advocate.
"For as long as I remember, I paint and live surrounded by animals."
Quite early, at the age of 18, I had my first solo exhibition in Montreal. I knew I wanted to paint, I knew I was an artist, and I knew that animals would always be with me on my journey. As a child, I had a guinea pig, ducks in my bedroom, dogs and cats. I used to spend hours playing with them. Nothing was too good for them. I was stealing the nicest towels and sheets to make them beautiful beds. My mom was not always happy about that! They were my best friends. During the summer, I was the life-guard of our pool... spending days saving lives of all bugs and ants, that were drowning in our pool. Later in my adult life, I rescued a few orphan raccoon, squirrel, rabbit, rat, and of course dogs.
Now, my husband and I, live with 12 rescued dogs that we adopted here, in Panama and Costa Rica. There is about one million stray, abandoned and starving dogs in the country. No governmental shelter. I have a son, who is 35 years old. He is an artist as well and an engineer. I had a great career as a professional artist, with my husband as my agent, painting children, mostly little girls with cats, rabbit, dogs, raccoon. All those years, I think i was painting myself, as a child and my deep love for animals. But now, I realize, that it goes way beyond that. I always wanted to paint the beauty and the vulnerability of children and animals.
About 25 years ago, i read "Diet for a new America" byJohn Robbins. I finished it in tears and told my husband and son that I will never cook meat again for them, because I love them and the animals too much. Few years ago, after seeing a post on Facebook that said that "there is more suffering in a glass of milk than in a steak". I did some research and discovered that yes, it was really true. Then, we watched the film Earthling and read some books like Melanie Joy's "Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows". Since then, we are VEGAN!
Moving to central America did really change my view on things and my paintings. For few years I did explore abstraction. But two, three years ago, I realized that the talent I was born with was for a greater purpose than the mere pictural research or the aesthetic goal. I really feel I have a little mission, to show the beauty, the sensibility, the similarity and the vulnerability of the animals through my art. With my paintings, I want to raise awareness about the non-sense of exploiting those sensitive and conscious beings. These defenseless animals that are exploited for our pleasure...pleasure of the palate, pleasure of entertainment, pleasure to look great with leather and animal skin products. It cause too much unnecessary sufferings. I find it sad and difficult sometimes to focus on all the atrocities animal endure for human greed. So, to paint them with all my love, patience, skill and compassion, to paint them in all their beauty, almost eternal, relieves that pain a bit. I feel I do something for them. I would love to do so much more.
Also, after a day of work, when I go playing, with our dogs in the ocean, it soothes my heart to see animals, now, so healthy, happy, and loved. I really feel we are in the middle of one of the biggest historical mind shift revolution, about how animals are seen and treated. I am so happy, and feel so fortunate to be part of that rising movement. At the beginning, some people in my surrounding thought I was a bit crazy... they’re saying things like "Who in the world would buy a painting of a pig or a cow to put in their living room?" "You should continue painting abstracts". I am now happy to tell them that people such as Nicole and Alex Payne (The founder of Twitter) and Lucie Berreby and Jim Greenbaum (Founder of Access Long Distance and of the Greenbaum Foundation) are among people who collect my art. ;)