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JEAN CLAUDE ROY
Jean Claude Roy was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer on the west coast of France in 1948. He knew from the age of seven that he would be an artist, and was encouraged by his grandfather, a farmer of modest means who bought paintings at auctions. At the age of sixteen, Jean Claude attended merchant marine training and took his first job as an apprentice electrician on a cable-repair boat. There followed several years at sea, with much time spent in the port of St John’s, Newfoundland where his interest in art turned to landscape. In 1971 he emigrated to Newfoundland and for the next ten years worked as a marine electrician by day and an artist by night. He attended art classes for only two lessons and is essentially self-taught. By 1973 he was selling in local galleries and he had his first solo exhibition in 1974. There followed two exhibitions at the provincial art gallery and representation in galleries in other parts of Canada. In 1982 he returned to France to establish himself as an artist in his own country, while rebuilding the stone farmhouse in which he had grown up and cultivating his orchard. He maintained his ties with Newfoundland however, and since 1994 he has divided his time between the two countries. He describes his style as “expressionist-colourist”, working most frequently in oils with a palette knife. Since the late 1980’s a characteristic of his landscapes has been the presence of the sun; after staring at the sun, a black spot in front of his eyes was transformed into the sun on his canvas; he found that this added light to the landscape below, and it has now become an important part of the composition of each work. Painting almost every day, and usually on-site, his works reflect the season, the weather, the stories that passers-by tell him, his mood and the “feeling of the place”. Thus each painting is both a page in his diary and in that of the place he paints. In 2011, Breakwater Books published Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, the culmination of forty years of work and containing a painting of every community on the island. Jean Claude is currently working on a companion volume on Labrador, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2016.
He is represented by galleries in Canada, the United States and France, and his works form part of many public and private collections.