A DAY WITH PIERRE AJ SABOURIN
Pierre is quite an adaptable individual, humble, giving, full of a rich spirit and intellect, a person of genuine compassion and kindness, attributes that magnetize his environment consequently inducing the potential to form meaningful relationships that eventually lead into enduring friendships.
Although his life has been turbulent, especially in the last 10 years, the ability to survive in difficult situations has brought us the revival of an artist with an endless passion to create. Against all adversity the paintings of Killarney were born continuously in full colour, vibrant in their character, simple in their detail and all being defined by thick and heavy brushstrokes, carved perhaps by a tumultuous past.
The evolution of his style is represented currently by works of impasto, using dense brushstrokes rich in texture and inspired by the famous painter of the 20th century, Van Gogh, one of Pierre’s favourite artists. Another aspect that characterizes his productions is that all the work, including winter scenes, is always executed “En-Plain-Air”, a movement originated by 2 French artists during the 19th century, but rarely used today. I have evidence of this procedure as I was present to one of his creations painted this past Winter at George Lake in Killarney. Surrounded by snow and ice, and with temperatures reaching minus 35, I will call this brutal but still a perfect example that nothing will stand before Pierre and his greater passion for documenting the outdoors. And this is where I would like to leave you all, with an account of my experience with ‘master’ Pierre:
Sunday, February 15th 2014 around 11 am we started the day by preparing everything needed for our trip to George Lake. While Pierre gathered his brushes, oil tubes, canvas and easel, I made sure my photographic gear was in order. All was going well but let’s face it, these trips can be difficult, especially if you do not have “huskies” as helpers to pull the sleigh required to carry all the necessary apparel for ‘on location’ work. The man ‘himself’ ended up doing most of the work and I could not stop shaking my head while hearing once in a while, amongst other alien sounds, Pierre’s voice crying out loud – Merde I have to buy a dog… shortly after and again… “Merde I have to buy a dog”. This time he immediately followed his comment with a notorious full and crisp laughter that kept resonating through the hills that encircled us. We were surrounded by green cedars sprinkled here and there with stubs all glazed in white and I assure you that his laughter reached and touched each one of them.
At 12:30 in the afternoon and after some settling difficulties, everything was ready and placed in an efficient manner so he could paint as fast as possible – the easel opened by the lakeshore, canvas properly secured to withstand the intermittent wind gusts, tubes of various colours placed in a pre-determined way depending on the need of usage, various brushes, bottles with turpentine, cleaning rags and a pair of large thick gloves appropriately camouflaged by being smudged with various colours from the repeated handling of oil paints.
The bay was clear and mystically quiet. Pierre steps back, looks to the horizon, approaches the canvas and with the precision and elegance of a maestro strikes the first traces that defined the contours of this cold winter landscape. The only warmth in the air was Pierre’s breath and the reddish color (Terra Cota) of the local rock quite characteristic of Killarney’s panoramas. Both were intangible and only meant to touch you spiritually.
Absorbed by the intensity of this vista and struggling between the tossing of paint on canvas and the mixing of colours, he laboriously painted away trying to avoid freezing or hardening of the media that he is accustomed to. The “artiste” worked rapidly, but even so, on several occasions, speed was not enough and when he pushed hard to squeeze the ink tubes, some bursted with holes caused by the constant pressure of his frozen fingers – within an hour the masterpiece was finished.
Magical is the experience of observing Pierre executing ‘expressionism’ within his favourite environment, nature in its full vitality. Mystical is the place that gives fruition to great works of art produced by any creative that decides to explore it, being such Killarney, the home of Pierre AJ Sabourin. During that same evening we were rewarded by the rising of a very unique and beautiful full moon bathing the shores of Sunset Rock.
Pierre lives and works out of Killarney, he is the artist in residence for Killarney’s Provincial Park and thrives on a busy schedule, painting, teaching and campaigning vigorously for the permanence and continuity of the beauty that Killarney has to offer. He literally lives in the footsteps of the Group of Seven, the most famous association of Canadian artists in our country’s history. This year is a very special one as it marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Killarney Provincial Park by the laborious efforts of the Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson.
I urge you to attend Pierre’s workshops or one of the numerous “En-Plain-Air” art demonstrations carried in the Park, you will have an experience like no other.
Artist – Pierre Sabourin Facebook
Studio – Sunset Rock Studio / Directions
Location – Killarney village / Killarney Park
Residence – Killarney village / Killarney Park
Website / Blog - Pierre AJ Sabourin
Killarney Park website: