“I’m chasing colors that I cannot see,” says French landscape painter Jean Claude Roy, in a short video made for The Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board.
“When I look in my tool box, its full of colors, but they all look the same. One is yellow or red but if there’s one color we’ve never seen before, if I could see that, it would be my dream. I’m so obsessed with colors I wish that there were more. Some people ask me what do you want for your birthday? I don’t want anything else but to paint and maybe, a bottle of wine.”
Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters On Nov. 4th, the artist will attend the opening of his latest exhibition at Savannah’s Grand Bohemian Gallery located within the Mansion on Forsyth Park, before continuing his tour to the other five hotels and galleries within the Kessler collection.
“This is the Kessler collection of hotels biggest art event, and this is Jean-Claude’s seventeenth year,” said Gallery Director Carmen Aguirre. “The Grand Bohemian Galleries are his sole representative in the United States. He will go to Mountain Brook, Ala., then Savannah, Orlando, St. Augustine, Charleston and finally Asheville, North Carolina. But the fourth is Savannah’s opening night, it’s the artists reception that’s open to the public and always ends up really full”
The notably prolific Roy spends most of his days driving around the countryside and coastlines of both Newfoundland and France stopping to paint as he goes and defines his style as expressionist-colorist. Through this daily practice Roy has amassed an astounding number of completed paintings and believes his works reflect "…the season, the weather, the stories passer-by tell him, his mood, and the feeling of the place.”
“Seeing what I did in my life time is amazing when you step back and look at it,” said Roy in a short video produced by local Nicholas Mullins which will be featured at each of the galleries openings. “I’ve done over 8,000 paintings now. I never realized it’s good to be like that when you start, you don’t realize but they start to add up, one every day or two a day sometimes.”
“These paintings are a page of his life,” said Aguirre. “The night of the dinner, attendees come back inside to buy paintings and Jean-Claude has a great time. He’ll personalize it on the back but you can see in his face that it’s a bittersweet moment. He’ll tell you what happened that day, what was going on, and he’ll point certain things out in the painting, and you can see a transformation in him and he’ll say, I’m giving you a day out of my life. He’s happy but you can see that moment transpire in his face, just imagine whipping out your diary, ripping out a page, selling it to a stranger and trusting them to take care of it.”
“You record almost all your life,” says Roy brush in hand, framed by a beautiful Newfoundland shore, “You would see my life through those paintings if you looked at all of them. This is a diary, is what it is, it’s my diary”