«I Fell in Love with Brittany»

At 34, Joëlle Leblanc is a young woman with an easy smile. Red hair and mat complexion – her mother has Irish and Spanish origins -, she’s been parading her lovely smile in Brittany for close to two months now and has just recently settled at the Concarneau youth hostel.
“I fell in love with Brittany, she declares enthusiastically. I arrived last June 30th and extended my stay by another month. I’m finally leaving on September 11… At least I’m supposed to, but I’ve already postponed my return home three times. Since I’ve been here, it’s been bagad, cheese, mussels and meeting people!”

Joëlle’s trip to France was initiated through her work as an engraver and painter. “I’ve been painting and drawing for over twenty seven years, but I’ve only officially been on the market for the past four or five years. Since then, I have won four national and international prizes. This summer, I was selected by the Office franco-québécois pour la Jeunesse to represent my country’s visual art. I first held an exhibition in the Charentes-maritimes before settling at the Maison du Québec in Saint-Malo.”

Since then, Joëlle has been visiting Brittany, preferably travelling along the coast. “I promised myself not to stray from the sea, it’s a passion, she says. That’s why the Concarneau youth hostel is perfect. In the morning I can cook my breakfast while watching the boats go by. My window is a real painting!”

Meanwhile she has taken thirty rolls of film and has fallen in love with the Breton culture. “People here are proud of who they are, they have an undying culture. I would like to compare it to Quebec. Because there are few of us who speak French on the American continent, it can also be a battle to protect our culture.” As to her Breton friends, they have already named Joëlle “Ar Gwen”. If this is not proof that her heart beats a little here…

Joëlle B. Le Blanc Exhibit In Saint-Malo

Joëlle B. Le Blanc’s works continue to accumulate honours and successes. This artist who studied at the Édouard-Montpetit college specialises in black and white ink and her paintings have already won her many prizes, in particular at the “Moutain, River, Village” (Montagne, Rivière, Village) competition and at the International Gala of Visual Arts (Gala international des Arts visuels).

Over the next few months, Joëlle will be hanging her works in Europe. More specifically, in Saint Malo and in Charente Maritime. Joëlle will also have the privilege of exhibiting her works at the Prague History Museum National Gallery. The artist is shown here with Mr. Guy Robert, founder of the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum.

Gold for Le Blanc

Joëlle B. Le Blanc, artist, painter from Mont-Saint-Hilaire last week won the gold medal in the “drawing” category of the 11th edition ofthe International Gala of Visual Arts (Gala international des arts visuels) which was held at Place des arts by the Quebec Circle of Artists, Painters andSculptors (Cercle des artistes peintres et sculpteurs du Québec).

This is the second prestigious award this brilliant young artist from Mont-Saint-Hilaire has won in just over a few months. It was her, you may recall, who won the jury’s Grand Prize at the Mountain, River and Village (Montagne, rivière et village) exhibition-competition held last September in Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
Her piece Fusion, that had won her that prize, is the same piece that brought her this new honour last week. It is an ink painting representing ballerinas in full action.

Joëlle B. Le Blanc was not the only artist from the region who distinguished herself at the Quebec Circle of Artists, Painters and Sculptors (Cercle des artistes peintres et sculpteurs du Québec) competition: Laurent Bonet from Otterburn Park, also received an honorary mention. He was a candidate for the jury’s Grand Prize.

Please note that you can see Mrs. Le Blanc’s works at the Saint-Laurent Complex in Laprairie until November 25. Her next exhibition in the region is planned for the month of May.

Bernard Blanchard

Delighted Visitors, Happy Artists

Organisers of the Mountain, River and Village (Montagne, rivière et village) exhibition-competition have once again met the challenge: no less than 800 people attended the huge première of the event, last Friday at the Mont-Saint-Hilaire Community Centre; approximately 7,000 art lovers visited the exhibition which ended Tuesday; and the artists, 250 of them from the four corners of Quebec, were happy to take advantage of such a fine showcase. Approximately 80 of the 250 participants were local artists from Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Beloeil and surrounding areas. Of this group, only Joëlle B. Le Blanc from Mont-Saint-Hilaire won one of the eleven prizes awarded. The artist won the jury’s first prize along with the $1,200 purse. It is her work Fusion, a black and white ink painting that won the hearts of the three judges, Littorio Del Signore, Claire Lemay and Josée Perreault. The second prize and the $1,000 purse went to David Brown, from Montreal, for his acrylic Returning Home. With her Jeune rebelle piece, Jacqueline Geinoz won third prize and $800. The fourth and fifth prizes were won respectively by Antonine Rodier and Pierre Lampron for their piece Travaux d’automne and Sieste africaine. The figurative arts institute award edits mention to Yvon Chartier for his piece Marabella, Espagne. As for thepublic, it appreciated more than any other, the lead piece titled Unity, from Collin Campbell a Saint-Mathias-sur-Richelieu artist who receiveda $100 purse. Mentions were also given to Noëlla Allard Forget, Diane Gervais, Françoise Gosselin and Anne Lemieux. Each of these artists received $100.

“We have to say that it was a success from start to finish, stated Mrs. Suzanne Chevrier, responsible for the event. We metall of our objectives. I believe that Mountain, River and Village (Montagne rivière et village) just keeps improving.” Mrs. Chevrier mentions that the visitors appreciated the wide range of works. “At least 25 artists sold their painting. As for the judges, they were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pieces that were submitted to them. They even asked us if it were not possible to award a few additional prizes.” According to Mrs. Chevrier, the “creators” section which featured six artists from the region in as many disciplines was also a success. Paul Chabot, President of l’Association des peintres populaires de chez nous, which puts on the event in co-operation with the Town of Mont-Saint-Hilaire,whole heartedly praised the work of all participating artists, “the rich palettes of noble involvement and rich in colour” as he calls them.


Joëlle's Happiness

MRV First Prize Winner

Joëlle B. Le Blanc is not happy to have won the jury’s 1st prize in the Mountain, River and Village (Montagne, rivière et village) exhibition-competition. She’s ecstatic. The artist who divides her time between Mont-Saint-Hilaire, where she has been living for approximately twenty years, and Montreal, where she has her workshop, will probably still need a few days, maybe even a few weeks, to recover from her emotions.
“What touches me the most, is to have won a competition that was open toall mediums with an ink wordand, in addition, to have won it with a black andwhite work. For me, it is proof that I must always listen to my heart. In the past, I tried to seduce, I asked myself what people wanted. I strayed from mypossibilities” declared the creator of the famous Fusion ballerinas, the piece selected by the judges at the MRV. In an always very realistic style, Joëlle B. Le Blanc works with ink orwash-paint, but also with oil. She is also an engraver and masters the techniqueof high contrasts to perfection.

If dull and silly seduction is no longer part of her daily life, Joëlle B. Le Blanc does not shy away from recognition. Not at all. Contrary to other paintbrush professionals, her pleasure is certainly not limited only to the stage of creation. “Art is a form of communication, she states, otherwise it would be masturbation. What people appreciate in a work of art, is not the subject for the subject, but rather the poetry that the artist has put into it. Therefore, it’s when I realise that people understand my poetry that I’m happy. It’s as if they were holding out their hand to help me come out of my little bubble.”

With her high heels, her high fashion clothes, her meticulously done hair and her impeccable manners, the artist looks more like an accomplished professional than a young painter. And it is not altogether untrue, as she manages her art like an entrepreneur, with precise objectives, a business plan, etc. Furthermore, before taking up painting and engraving on a full-time basis, she studied law at the University of Montreal two years ago. “I was always painting, engraving or drawing, but I never would have dared, until justrecently, come out of my closet. Now that I’ve done it, I can’t imagine myself working in any other field. By giving up the security and stability card, I made the most important decision of my life”, she explains.

“Today, every time I have the opportunity, I encourage people to make the most of their talent. For doors to open up foryou, you must do what you love most. You must not fade away, life is too beautiful,” she explains. What Joëlle B. Le Blanc does not say is that she would not have time to fade away anyway. Her agenda is full. Among other things, she will hold exhibitionsin Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and in Mont-Saint-Hilaire at the Faubourg des arts. She will also re-edit Paul Morin’s engravings as a “Posthumous Tribute”. She is to illustrate a collection of Marc Labelle’s poems, attend a burin-engraving workshop with George Ball in Paris. And she plans oncontinuing to enjoy her most recent honours and carefully examine any new offers, which could consequently come her way.


Another Prize for Joëlle B. Le Blanc

A few weeks ago artist Joëlle B. Le Blanc won an important prize at the “Mountain and River” (Montagne et rivière) competition in Saint-Hilaire. This young woman who studied art at Édouard-Montpetit College in Longueuil, does it again as she has recently won a prize, the gold medal in the “drawing” category at the 1994 Visual Arts International Gala which took place last November at Place des arts in Montreal, just prior to a Toronto exhibition.

The next step for Joëlle is a solo exhibition in Saint-Hilaire, next May or June.

Joëlle B. Le Blanc Has Come A Long Way Since Leaving Édouard-Montpetit

Joëlle B. Le Blanc has come a long way since leaving Édouard-MontpetitCollege. In 1984 she successfully graduated with a DEC in Plastic Arts, but it was onlythe tip of the iceberg. She never stopped improving and is presently finishing a Bachelor’s Degree atthe Univerté du Québec in Montreal. 

Engraver and painter, Joëlle is not only good, she’s an excellent drawer influenced by the hyperrealism trend. She particularly likes black and white contrasts and has developed an inking technique that allows her to emphasise contrasts and better detail her subject’s outlines. Moreover, her works quickly drew attention and since 1994 she has been awarded a dozen prizes including 7 at the international level as well as grants from the Office québécois pour la jeunesse and the Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec. She has represented Quebec in France in several events, has exhibited her works at the Carcassonne Art Centre and at the Kolin Museum in the Czech Republicwhere she received an honorary mention for her ink works.

More recently, Joëlle received the international first prize in visual arts, in the engraving and drawing category, which again has drawn attention to her work on the international scene.
She was in fact offered a stage at Workshop 17 (Atelier 17) (Countrepoint), a Paris workshop that is renown worldwide for its engraving techniques. Among other things, she will further improve etching and burin engravingtechniques on pewter and brass.

She has been in Paris since Sunday May 2 and will come back in a few months to offer us her best works, and with Joëlle, we can expect a few nice surprises. Here’s a little tip for art lovers, remember this name… Joëlle B. Le Blanc.

François Laramée.