For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council revisits previously featured artist Irene Loire-Maillard. Her artistic interests include drawing, pottery, sculpting, stone carving, photography, and painting using various mediums. She said, “Anything and everything inspires me. Once I have it in my head, I have to transcribe it from brain to material. Not an easy task.”
In 2003, she moved to Pinawa to be with her new husband Roger Dutton. Prior to that, for approximately forty years, she lived on West Coast and also for a short time in Nunavut. Loire-Maillard and her husband now spend part of their time in Pinawa and the other part in their “apartment in the sky” in Winnipeg.
Loire-Maillard’s artistic education is also varied. Since the 1960’s, in locations across Canada, she has studied various art mediums through workshops, classes, tutoring, and other methods. She has even done “plein air” painting in southern Spain. This French term means “in the open air” and applies to painting outdoors, using portable paints and easels, trying to capture the changing qualities of light and weather. Her art is mostly expressionist or abstract.
She said, “I want the viewer to see what moves them and make their own interpretation.”
Her art has been exhibited in several places and won first prize for acrylic painting and photography (content) in the Eastman Judged Art Exhibition. Winners have gone on to have their work displayed at the former Assiniboine Park Art Gallery.
Her first prize acrylic painting resulted from a long study on light and darkness in the art of medieval Italian painter, Michelangelo Caravaggio. She noted that beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. “One person told that it looked like I put my brush in feces and smeared it on canvass. Another person offered me over a thousand dollars for it. This painting continues to hang on my living room wall!”
Her first prize for photography (content) depicted three Berbers at a sand-covered computer on the Sahara’s edge. She said, “When I finally got to use the computer, half of the keyboard was Arabic. Never did get to send an email. But it was a super snapshot!”
Presently, Loire-Maillard is working on creating abstract human figure drawings and cloud formations. She said, “Our Winnipeg apartment offers inspiration – a huge sky with a sea of green treetops as far as the eye can see.”
She has also studied stone carving with an Inuit carver in Nunavut and made a fairly large sculpture of an animal she loves – the muskox. And she loves to write, participating in a local creative writing group with author Donna Besel and, prior to that, taking courses at University of British Columbia.
Mentored by Metro Dmytriw, she recently created a bronze bust of her husband and it is not abstract. She is very excited about the bust and noted, “Roger has lots of texture, with his curly hair and beard, so it was a challenge!”