Discovering ‘ La Région Dents du midi’ – in paint
‘La Région Dents du Midi’ and me:
Champery was the first Swiss mountain resorts I ever visited. Back when I was racing mountain bikes at about 19 years of age I had stopped by on a road trip with some friends. After visiting for a week or so I knew I wanted to come back again. Skip 3 years and I was working as a ski instructor for the Freeride ski school in Champery. I did 3 Winter seasons with them and had a great time learning French, skiing and discovering Switzerland. I have fond memories of Champery, ski touring behind the Dents du Midi in Winter and skiing around the ‘Portes du Solei’ region.
Last year I was asked if I would like to do a Winter exhibition in Champery. I agreed. Of course and was excited to put my skis on and do some exploring now with painting in mind and get a new perspective. I usually need at least a year or two to put an exhibition together so we agreed to start the exhitbion during January. This is the week of the Welsh Ski Championships, which are held in Champery. Since I have strong ties with both places and am currently in Fribourg I look forward to developing a new relationship for Champery and Wales through art as well as skiing.
Will be a mixed collection with Swiss landscape paintings from the Dents du Midi Region. I will also be including some new figurative/ portraiture projects and some Welsh paintings.
The plan was to spend a few weeks in Champery during February. It’s a great month to and paint as much of the Winter scenery as possible with guaranteed snow.
Coronavirus hit half way through my stay and threw a spanner in the works. The lockdown was becoming a possibility as I was still in Champery. I was staying at my good friends house who run a ski instructing service ‘Bluebird Snowsports’ in Champery. I continued on painting until they started asking people to stay home, at which point I returned to Fribourg.
Toward the end of my stay the lifts were closed. This meant a ski-tour with a very heavy backpack for at least three hours to get back to my painting spots. Overall it was a productive week or so, but I still feel I left a lot of spots un-explored and un-painted. I will have to wait until very early next season to complete some of the winter paintings. Until then I am waiting for the lockdown to end before I can continue.
The Dents du Midi:
The ‘Dents du Midi’ are a cluster of summits standing over Champery. The highest mountain between lake Geneva and Mont Blanc Massif. This means you feel their presence constantly, everywhere you turn you can see them from a new perspective as the sun moves around them during the day and then eventually lights them up red as the sun goes down.
In Summer you can do a hiking tour around the mountain. It’s a place like no other and if you enjoy walking in the mountains its well worth the effort. Take a look a the link here for more info and stunning scenerey to get you motivated.
Ferdinand Hodler inspired by Dents du Midi:
As always, I am not the first artist to be inspired by this area of beauty. Amongst others Ferdinand Hodler who was a well known Swiss Artist painted many different views of the Dents du Midi. There are also living, local artists who are constantly inspired by them. The Raiffeisen Gallery in the centre of Champery also offers exhibitions to artists throughout the year.
A solo exhibition like this can take years to create. I have just less than one year, much of which has been reduced due to Coronavirus lockdown measures put in place. So here is part 1 of my journey and I will keep you updated as I go along with part 2, 3 and so on. I don’t always have the time or energy to film but I try to get as much as I can. Enjoy!