Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Quebec Show - October 15-18, 2009

Hi all! I have been so very, very busy lately and almost too busy and tired to post (yes, hanging head in shame here); however, my life has been filled with going to the painting convention trade shows with a large booth and painting and scrapping and cardmaking and family and ... well, life, lol. So... no excuses, but "reasons", lol.

I've just come back from a very successful "new" painting convention.

Wow and Wowsers! It was SOOOOOO very exciting. The Salon des Arts Decoratifs 2009.

This show "replaced" the "defunct" Passion Couleurs, previously held in Montreal (and a few other locations around Montreal the last few years). Natacha Watier, very able Editor of the Coup de Pinceau, and organizer supreme, and a few of her very close friends and colleagues, made the decision that should the Passion Couleurs show fold, they would put on their own painting convention. On the way home from the SDP in Tampa, the seeds were borne, lol.

Held in Boucherville, Quebec (east end Montreal), it was easy to get to and a fabulous venue. It was a CLASS act and event. The excitement was palpable and the exhibitors, attendees, teachers and public were treated to an A+ experience. Advertising was extensive in the area and Natacha 'bout wore herself out circulating throughout the event ensuring everything was as perfect as could be and that everyone was happy and had what they needed. She is VERY passionate about our industry and the Quebec show and it showed from beginning to end.

Yes, the language was a bit of a barrier, but not insurmountable. I spoke "franglais" (French/English), lol, most of the week and was 'bout wore out, but the registrants and public were so very helpful and patient. I don't think anyone was "in the dark" 'bout what was said or was going on [grin].

There were close to 10,000 people thru the event on the three Exhibit days! 10,000! Friday and Saturday were but a blur ('bout 7 to 8 thousand just on those two days). We even had a visit from one of THE biggest celebrity singers in Quebec... Ginette Reno (who just "happens" to be Natacha's mother). The show also happened to be planned on the weekend of a large Wood Show held up the street from our location. Kudos to Natacha and her crew (including her very able and handsome husband who also had an exhausting schedule of work).

The Quebec market is BOOMING. It is overwhelming and heartening to see the interest in decorative arts here. I don't think it is any bigger anywhere in the world right now than right here in Canada in the French-Canadian market (also spreading to France with a few people coming from France just for this very show). Also, the demographic profile of the average painter here is... young! Yes... the younger (maybe 30 something) crowd is alive and flourishing here. How exciting for our industry. I'm hoping that the excitement will roll out from this province/location and snowball across the country and border.

What was new: Faux Vitrail. Yup. Faux Stained Glass. It was EVERYwhere. I have been to 5 painting conventions this year (Mississauga, SDP, HOOT, Edmonton and Quebec) and nowhere was it a phenomenon until this show. And it is GORGEOUS and striking. They are using, almost exclusively, the Pebeo Vitrail paints plus the Gallery Glass crystal clear. I think this is kinda similar to what Jan Cumber was doing with her Gallery Glass projects that she debuted at a few of our conventions over the last couple years but in a much bigger way. I'm also thinkin' (ya it hurts, especially now I'm still so tired, lol) that perhaps the DecoArt glass stains and leading combined with the Gallery Glass might make a similar effect. In any case, it was widespread and beautiful and I think we will be seeing a lot more of it.

The Coast to Coast show in Mississauga April 28-May 2 is hoping to be able to offer some bilingual classes and attract some of those from the Quebec "French market". Audrey DeJong, Judy and Sonia were very visible promoting their upcoming spring show and had a lot of interest at their booth. I think this is a big step forward and hope it will encourage these painters to branch out into our conventions and perhaps imbue some new life and excitement for our art. By the way... they really don't advertise decorative art as "Decorative Art" or "Fine Art" in Quebec. It is ART only. A small terminology change, but seems important.

Many of the artists there were already familiar to me as I've been a regular "reader" of the French publication Coup de Pinceau (a very classy and professional decorative art publication). Meeting them in person was terrific. Whenever I "escaped" from the Princeton Brush/Willow Wolfe booth I wandered the Trade Show floor and checked out all the booths and the artists and introduced myself and told them I was gonna "talk up this show", lol. There were a lot of Quebec artists that you won't be familiar with, but I'm sure you will be seeing them in future throughout the country and at shows or magazines near you. Lise Rancourt was one of them. What a "pistol" this little lady. Just dynamic and fun and friendly. What a treasure. And a CDA that some from the SDP may be familiar with. I call her the French Strokework Queen. What a sweetie this woman is and a fabulous painter.

Other artists: Isabelle Desroches, Sandra Paul, Gisele Dumas, Manon Gagnon, Claire Marquis, Nathalie Lacrois, Marie-Claude Labbe (beautiful and really cute hangers for children in themes of princesses, firemen, hockey players, cowboys, etc), Gisele Bellem, Nicole Laurence, Marie-Claude Richer, Carole Marcotte, Suzie Fortin, Isabelle Desrochers (no, that's not a typo, lol... there was an Isabelle Desroches and Isabelle Desrochers), Johanne Morin, France Quirion and more. There were also booths/boutiques featuring several artists such as Atelier Plume et Pinceaux and DiffuzArt.

Some you would be more familiar with: Sue Beckerton, Tracy Moreau, Heather Redick, Joan Dixon, Willow Wolfe, Debbie Cotton, Holly Hanley, Lydia Steeves, Connie Clark, Gladys Neilsen, Mary Owens, Sharon McNamara Black, Wendy Fahey, Brenda Levert and Belinda Harris. Heather was looking elegant as always. She is such a fabulous artist. From strokework to die for to absolutely gorgeous children's designs and now seascapes in oils that are breathtaking. I was in the booth across from hers and got to gaze at the beautiful seascapes. Her art is more striking in person and her booth is well-turned-out. Della Wetterman was also there with her gorgeous tinware.

Joan, as you know, is battling cancer right now. But bless her heart, she did not want to disappoint her students and friends and came out with a full booth. Gladys helped her out with her Saturday evening class and Joan's husband, John, was there to support her and bully her into taking power naps for energy (bully is not really the word, lol. That man is a true keeper and loyal supporter of his soulmate). What a neat, neat lady. I was truly amazed and incredulous at her stamina and the fight she is giving this horrible disease that has invaded so many of our lives. If anyone can win this battle, it is this woman. My prayers and thoughts are with Joan and so many of our painting family that is fighting this. My hat is off to all of you and my great respect and admiration for the grace all of you meet this demon with.

Tracy brought her lovely daughter along. Her booth was always a busy hive of activity as Tracy demoed the DecoArt mediums and glass stains and showed how she is using them in her art.

Sharon McNamara Black was there with her husband Marty and friend Martha and their booth, too, was always hopping.

Our booth was incredibly busy as we had three artists present (Willow, Lydia Steeves and Debbie Cotton) as well as many Speedball products and a full line of the new Select Brushes by Princeton Art & Brush. Willow has worked alongside Princeton to design these and they are being very well received by students and teachers. They are a fabulous workhorse of a brush and the prices are phenomenal (if I may say so, lol). Their unique and eye-catching pale blue is also something that is being noticed and commented on positively. Can't miss 'em . Holly Hanley is also one of our Signature Artists however Coup de Pinceau (the store - no relation to the magazine, surprisingly) had made arrangements well-ahead of time to have her demonstrate in their booth as well as teach a seminar off-site. Holly was kept pretty busy and of course, was demoing with the Princeton Select Brushes which were flying out of our booth.

There were quite a few multi-media/altered art artists as well. Some were sculpting with a paper-clay type product that is truly incredible and interesting. I would love to take a class with one of them.

Madame Pickwick, one of the largest art stores in the Montreal area, was there, along with one of their other businesses, Studio Backstage. Apparently the artists from here have also done movie set make-up for many large productions. Wow. This you've gotta see. They did full body make-up/paint on a model on Saturday (with a body to die for, of course, lol). Wish I had had the time and the foresight to pull out my camera. She had the underwear "skin" on so of course was not nude, but if you didn't know... . They did her up like a beautiful lizard-type creature (ya, beautiful really is the word in a macabre type way, lol). She had medusa-type hair, forehead extension glued on and then was airbrushed and truly "vamped up", lol. Then she strutted around the Trade Show floor in her stillettos. You had to see it... what a work of ART. Really.

Willow was convinced to get her face painted up on the Sunday. Kind of like a beautiful dracula. She, too, was gorgeous in a macabre-type way. Now that was a photo op, lol. Hmmm, maybe my pics can be used for future bribery .

Natacha planned a Wine & Cheese get-together for the artists and exhibitors on the Friday night and it, too, was done with class. The wine, hors d'oeuvres, beer and conversation flowed and there was a draw for prizes (nope, didn't win anything, but had a really good time).

All in all, this was a terrific show and I am so very glad I got the opportunity to experience it. It is so very exciting for our future. Mark next October 15-18, 2010 and try to attend. I will venture to say that you will not be disappointed as it promises to be even bigger and better. Natacha mentioned that she hopes to be able to do the catalog with an English version. Also... google some of the artists and sites I mentioned above and get ready to experience some fabulous art.

That's it for now... I'm all "talked-out" (ya really ).

~ Shelley

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