Mona Awad wants the legacy of her late husband’s artistic talent to be remembered. 

Painter and engraver Daniel Gautier of Hudson died on June 2 of this year, but an exhibition of his work is on at Le Chenail Cultural Centre in Hawkesbury until November 28.  

“These are his last works,” said Awad.  

The name of the exhibition is ‘Le ciel et La mer sauvage’ (The Sky and the Wild Sea). It is a collection of paintings depicting vibrant skies, sandy beaches, cliffs, and brilliantly-coloured homes found on Les Iles de la Madeleine – where Gautier lived for 12 years – and of  Newfoundland. 

It was while living on Les Iles de la Madeleine that Gautier – who was originally from Longueuil – gained a strong appreciation for island life and immersed himself in it, according to Awad.  Gautier opened his own gallery there and became involved in creating a thriving arts community on the islands. 

If the sea is not the central focus of Gautier’s paintings, its presence is always there in some form, usually complemented by vivid cloud patterns or the sloping lines of the shore. Anyone familiar with the landscapes of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, or who has visited a Newfoundland outport, will be easily transported to those places for a moment when observing a Gautier painting. 

The Gautier exhibition presently on at Le Chenail was planned before the artist’s unexpected death. Awad said she is still grieving the sudden loss of her husband. 

“Every day is a challenge.” 

Awad is uncertain of her future plans, but one thing is for sure when it comes to Daniel Gautier’s paintings. 

“I do want his work to live and thrive.” 

More information on Daniel Gautier’s works is available through his website.

Mona Awad, wife of artist Daniel Gautier, with examples of her late husband’s work on display at Le Chenail Cultural Centre in Hawkesbury until November 28. Photo: James Morgan