Our staff profile series continues with a Canadian landscape painter.
Jean-Claude Roy was born in Rocheford-sur-Mer, France, in 1948. His grandfather, a farmer, encouraged his grandson’s artistic interests and Jean-Claude says he knew he would be an artist “from the age of seven”. At sixteen, he attended merchant marine training, and took his first job on a cable-repair boat as an apprentice electrician. Thus began his years at sea.
By 1971, he had emigrated to Newfoundland and for the next decade divided his time between marine electrical work and artistic pursuits. Though he attended a few classes here and there, he is largely self-taught, and the time spent in port at St. John’s turned his focus to landscape painting. He describes his style as “expressionist-colourist,” preferring to work in oils with a palette knife. Jean-Claude’s work is vibrant, emotive, and bold—all while evoking the subtleties and charms of his east coast subjects. He paints nearly every day, and more often than not paints on-site; his work thus reflects seasons, weather, stories told by passers-by … the mood of the place. One hallmark style of his is representing the sun in his compositions as a splash of light and colour that transforms the subjects below.
In 2011, Jean-Claude’s vast portfolio of Newfoundland art was published as Fluctuat Nec Mergitur (“Tossed, but not sunk”). This collection represented a culmination of forty years of work and contained a painting of every community on the island of Newfoundland over almost four hundred and fifty pages. He is currently working on a companion volume, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2016.
This summer, Jean-Claude will join Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 24–July 4 2015, aboard the Ocean Endeavour.