Draw me a mountain (English version)

Élise Tremblay, Hebdo Charlevoisien

On his way to school along the Rimouski beachfront, Jean-François Racine had to walk 1.2 km morning and afternoon, good weather and foul weather, year-round. Unbeknownst to him, the artist-to-be was developing resistance to the cold, a talent that would later catapult him into the limelight as the world’s first and only artist skier! “I simply don’t freeze and I think it’s because of the chock treatment I received as a kid. A bit like when Obelix fell into the cauldron of magic potion — in my case,I had breezes, snow and tons of wind! So today, it just doesn’t bother me”, explains the artist, who has been painting scenes alongside Le Massif’s trails and glades for six years now.

Although skiing and art are Jean-François’two lifelong passions, he never dreamt of bringing the two together. By chance, one day he found himself painting up in the mountains. “I went out west on a trip, to paint and ski. Once there, I realized that I didn’t have an easel, so I planted my skis and noticed that by driving them into the snow in a certain way, I’d found true freedom”. However, as he developed his technique Jean-François realized that he needed more than endurance and “a skeasel” to create a work of art mid-mountain.

Quebec’s rigorous winters do indeed present a few challenges:“wind is my worst enemy, so I often find myself heading off-piste into the glades to avoid it. Another advantage is that it’s not as cold tucked away in there”. When the mercury dips down low, protection becomes essential: “knees require padding and mitts are necessary to warm the fingers every now and then” explains the artist, who works bare-handed on detail, and to keep his dexterity.

Even his colours need to be coddled, since oils tend to congeal in the cold: «I use a blend of linseed and orange oils to dilute my paint and if arctic conditions prevail, I use a hot pad under my palette to keep it at a reasonable temperature”. And the snow?He maintains it’s not a problem, because snowflakes stick to the canvas without damaging it: “when my canvas turns white, I head indoors and stand it on its side to let the water evaporate. It interrupts my work, but it’s not an obstacle”.

Jean-François adores painting out on themountain because “it’s excellent for yourhealth!” and because results are often unexpected: “when you transport a canvas to the summit, sometimes you drop it, or it gets snagged in a spruce tree. This releases creative flow, it’s part of the adventure and it always makes for a more spontaneous, more lively and interesting form of art”. He adds that often people come to see him to be included in his renditions, so human interaction and social dynamics also play on the work in progress. Jean-François Racine, an extreme artist? Better still, a passionné — an aficionadowho enjoys depicting his era from an ethnological standpoint. After spending close to sixty-two days last year capturing the atmosphere at Le Massif, he affirms that he never grows tired of it, and that many years still lie ahead before he’ll have come full circle. “I’m not under the impression that I’ll be lacking in subject matter, because there’s always something new out there. And to be honest, Le Massif has three peaks, so possibilities stretch to infinity!”


VIDÉO

24 heures de Trembant
Bilan du RSVP de la galerie Iris
Splendeur et pinceaux 2011

PHOTO


REVUE DE PRESSE

L'odyssée d'un peintre skieur
Diane Laberge


Pinceaux sous zéro! (English version included)
Diane Laberge


La table honore ses chefs fondateurs
Sylvain Desmeules


Les artistes à l'oeuvre au Massif
Sylvain Desmeules


Un formidable artiste...
Michel Flageole, Flagworld


Dessine-moi une montagne
Élise Tremblay, Hebdo Charlevoisien


Draw me a mountain (English version)
Élise Tremblay, Hebdo Charlevoisien




All rights reserved ® Jean-François Racine / FRANKOY design / Programmation : Nomadique / Photo : Marc Archambault | Français