Jean Claude Roy
Once upon a time there was an artist! Jean Claude Roy was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer on the west coast of France in 1948. He knew from the age of seven that he wanted to be an artist, and was encouraged by his grandfather, a farmer of modest means who occasionally bought paintings at auctions. Jean Claude recalls attending early-morning produce markets with his grandparents and making his first "sculptures" from the coloured paper used to wrap apples and oranges.
In 1971, he immigrated to Newfoundland and by 1973 was selling in local galleries with his first solo exhibition in 1974. There followed two one-man shows at the provincial art gallery and representation in galleries in other parts of Canada. In 1982 he returned to France where he was eager to make a career as an artist in his own country and to try to live from his art alone. While in France he rebuilt the stone farmhouse where he had grown up, cultivated his garden and orchard, and painted during every spare minute. He supplemented his income by giving lessons and offering painting holidays to Canadian visitors. He maintained his ties with Newfoundland however, and in 1994, established a second studio near St John's. He now divides his time between the two countries.
Jean Claude describes his style as "expressionist-colourist" working most frequently in oils and with a palette knife. Since the late 1980s, a characteristic of his landscapes has been the presence of the sun, initially a black sun, -which is an important part of the composition of each work. Jean Claude prefers to work outdoors, and has frequently done so even in freezing weather. He paints every day, and often finds himself in the evening re-living a drive through the countryside, choosing a spot for the next day. By the time he arrives to do the painting, he says, most of the work of composition and colour has already been done and there remains the relatively quick job of putting the paint on canvas.
And then there was a glass of wine! Years ago, I spotted a large and stunning work by Jean Claude Roy in the foyer of Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino, says Maryann Pousette Gebauer. It was love at first sight and I was determined to own a piece one day, but time got in the way. Fall 2013, we visited Newfoundland and while there, made arrangements to meet him in his studio in St. Johns. Meeting Jean Claude and his wife and viewing his stunning art collection triggered a response. I was determined to find a suitable gallery in Vancouver to represent his work. A few days later, after mulling over our options, we returned to the Roy’s for a second visit. Over that glass of fine French wine, we proposed an outrageous idea. We were going to open an art gallery ourselves. Fortunately, our far-fetched idea was soon embraced by the Roy’s, and voilà, here we are representing gifted artists and their beautiful work. We now have a special rooftop gallery located in Gallery Row in Vancouver and are showcasing 14 wonderful Canadian artists, all exclusive to the Vancouver art scene.
Courtesy Maryann Pousette Gebauer