On December 12, 1999, the ship “Erika” sank off the coast of Brittany, leaking 20,000 tons of heavy fuel oil. The whole coast of my beautiful peninsula was soiled. The air reeked of fuel oil, volunteers came from all over France and even from abroad to try to clean up our beaches and cliffs. It was like the myth of Sysiphe, we cleaned the beach and after the next tide we had to start again. We were exhausted and desperate because this huge ecological disaster killed several hundred thousand birds. And the cleaning of the rocks completely sterilised the coast, which took years to really revive.
After working on the beaches to recover oiled birds I then worked with other volunteers at the bird sorting place where an ornithologist would list them and then sort them according to “salvageable” or not It was dramatic you could only see their eyes in the black mass, the red eyes of grebes, the blue eyes of gannets.
And this was not the first “oil spill”. The polluting spills had followed one another, 1967 Torrey Canyon, 1976 Olympic Bravery and Boehlen, March 1978 Amoco Cadiz, March 1980 Tanio. Each time tens of thousands of birds died in atrocious suffering and all the marine fauna was impacted and our coasts needed several years to regenerate. On the other hand, our economy (fishing, canneries, tourism) was partly destroyed. I will never forget….the Breton people will never forget…. And there are also the oil tankers which degas off the coast several times a year , other ships too and they make mini oil slicks which destroy our coasts regularly WHEN WILL THIS STOP ?
In 2008, I was asked to collaborate in the Gala Art-thérapie organised for the benefit of the Oncology Department of the Salpetrière Hospital in Paris. It took place at the Chateau Colbert in Maulevrier in the Loire Valley, a chateau built in the 18th century by the builders of the Château de Versailles, for Colbert the captain of the musketeers of Louis XIV. This castle is next to the largest Japanese water garden in Europe, I recommend this visit …….
I decided to exhibit small formats, small seascapes, easier to take in a suitcase and on a plane. I was only painting large formats at the time, but it was great fun to paint on small canvases that were no more than 20cm long and/or wide.
I didn’t think of photographing all the little paintings, I only have 12 photos. I donated 50% of the sale price to the association Art Thérapie. As I can’t stand up for long, I’m thinking of starting to paint such small paintings again. If you would like a portrait, a landscape of your home or anything else please contact me.
Over the years I have painted many portraits of people and animals in different techniques. This technique is a mixed media on watercolour paper. I draw with graphite and add watercolours, coloured pencils, inks and gouache as well as gold leaf sometimes. I like to personalise these portraits by adding the passions of the people represented. The young boy on the left dreamed of being a sailor. As for the girl on the right, she was a real bookworm despite her young age (she is wearing a swimming costume but the position does not allow it to be seen)
Jasmine on the left is surrounded by Jasmines in reference to her name, Natty in the middle loves flowers, while Laetitia on the right had a cheeky little look