Lili Anne Bertrand in front of her nine ethyl ink paintings on yupo paper at Le Chenail Cultural Centre. Photo credit : Maxime Myre

Unique Christmas gifts at the Fine Arts Market at Le Chenail Cultural Centre

Unique pieces made by artists from all over are still on display at Le Chenail Cultural Centre’s Fine Arts Market. The event, ending on December 23, showcases hand-made items with price ranging from $10 to thousands of dollars. Creations range from jewellery to intricate sculptures, paintings and even unique furniture.

Lili Anne Bertrand is a local artist originally from L’Orignal who lived for a long time in Montreal and held a designer job, but since retirement, she has pursued her passion in painting. She has nine paintings showcased in the corner of the Maison de l’île at the Fine Arts Market.

She usually does aquarelle paintings, but this year, after taking a class, she opted to create paintings using ink made with ethyl alcohol on yupo paper, which is a made out of plastic. Techniques are very different from aquarelle because yupo paper doesn’t absorb ink.

“It’s all about gliding the pigment where you want it to go. You can use brushes, some as thin as a hair and I also use a compressor with a very fine tip to push the colours. You also can’t work with an easel, you have to put the paper flat on a surface, which can become a strain,” explained Bertrand.

She can only do 30 minutes at a time because the ethyl alcohol creates fumes which forces her to work with a mask. Artists who use yupo paper and ethyl ink can employ a methodic approach which requires a lot of technique. Bertrand opts to go with her feelings instead of working methodically, because she enjoys the freedom.

“I start with the ink of the colour of my choosing, then once it is spread around the yupo paper, I look at it and decide what it should be. Some turn to flowers, others to arctic scenery with a polar bear or an underwater scene with lively coloured fishes. It’s really freeing, more so than regular painting, I really fell in love with the technique,” said Bertrand.

Her paintings are available until December 23 and the artist can be reached at [email protected]

Update on the renovations

Renovations at Le Chenail Cultural Centre should be complete by January 24 2018. These renovations include a service area, a new floor, bathrooms and the opening of a wall that would enable the venue to hold more seats in front of a stage for performances. A grand piano is also part of the plan.

“It was very important for us to keep as much as possible the look and feel of the old Maison de l’île back when Hamilton ran the mill. Obviously for safety reasons we had to modify certain things, but we will have woodwork done on all windows to recreate the look. We can’t wait to put all these renovations behind us and start our 2018 program!” said Lynda Clouette-Mackay, artistic and executive director at the Cultural Centre.

Funds for the renovations were provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Canada 150. The indoor renovations, including the creation of the service area, were funded by a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The outside stonework, which required attention, is funded by the Canada 150 funding program with a $52,000 grant.