Lucie Bernadette Bellemare paintings at the Eptek Centre in Summerside
by Michelle René Sexton
Artist Lucie Bernadette Bellemare. Lucie’s art was displayed in January in the gallery of the Eptek Art & Culture Centre in Summerside in a solo exhibition called Doors, or The Woman from Away.
Upon entering the gallery, a large painting of blues—navy blue, blue, light blue, turquoise, white, and a splash of peach (“Bathing in the Ocean”)—grabbed my attention. Mixed with blues is a silhouette of a woman (a common theme in Lucie’s art) reaching out, as if surfacing from the depths of the ocean.
“Bathing in the ocean is a healing process. It’s when you get in and out of the ocean and the feeling better afterwards,” remarked Lucie. “This painting started in the summer and I felt the colors. I put it away for three years and rediscovered it, the same spirit. I finished it so I could move on to another project.”
The color of each painting is vivid and eye-catching. PEI sand and rocks make their way into a few paintings to give a distinctive texture. Some works are three-dimensional with skeleton keys, antique doors hung on paintings (doorways to the galaxy; your soul), antique door knobs, and key holes.
Each painting has a message. Poetry and words written in French fit into the theme, such as “J’Attend,” which means “I’m Waiting.” Poetry and music are very influential parts of her work, as is the message of being a woman.
She is a woman “from away,” and has moved to an unknown place to follow a dream. “It’s not easy to know yourself better if you’re always sticking to what you know,” says Lucie, who moved here with her three children from Quebec. “If you want to know yourself better and grow, you have to leave the safe place and seek the unknown.” This is true if you really look at her paintings.
When asked about her artwork Lucie explains as best she can in English how the art speaks to her. In her painting “At Last the Day has Come” Lucie does not remember how she created it. “It just came to me and I painted it!” she exclaims. She then explained how art is something she’d always wanted to do since age five. “I can explain myself through my art. The spirit paints. It’s like a bridge and crossing from away. Being a woman who has to open doors that she doesn’t know is there. Re-finding yourself as a woman and not let the past bind you,” says Lucie.
It was hard for me to choose a favourite painting. Each one spoke to me differently, and I found the exhibit to be unique, motivating, and captivating.