Biography Page 2
Suddenly, with a firm resoluteness, Gerald glanced at his wife and stuttered the words, "I refuse to eat any more chocolate bars." With those words and in great pain he gathered what remained of his art collection. There was a need for seclusion. While wandering off alongside the lake shore, eventually he came upon something resembling a row boat. For whatever the reason and without explanation, he placed his art in the boat and pushed off out onto the lake.
A few yards off shore Gerald realized there was no paddle to maneuver this contraption as it started to flow with the current. As he drifted, distance and time became a torment. One fact was painfully clear - something was terribly wrong. The thought of seclusion had changed to cold fear. In the wooden boat the rot was so extensive it demolished parts of the hull. With the need to keep afloat, he had to bail with his hands. Water was rising faster than his bailing. Water rose up to his feet then legs. The boat began to submerge. He had no time to gather his only concern, his art. As a result art was floating in every direction. During the course of this event only six pieces of art were retrieved. The remainder swept away with the current never to be found again. Françoise noticed Gerald appearing from beyond, completely soaked and disoriented, nevertheless still clutching to his paintings.
Depression hung in the air like an oppressive cloud. Looking down at his arms, Gerald was confronted with the question of his future ability to perform his passion. There was no tissue and even the muscles were charred. Father Gareau, who patiently drove to Saint-Eustache, Quebec to assist them back to Montreal, participated in their time of need. First and foremost was a visit to the hospital to tend to Gerald's wounds, where he remained for the following six weeks.
Following Gerald's release from the hospital, Father Gareau insisted they reside at his chapel. They accepted with gratefulness. In the course of two months, Father Gareau devoted a majority of his time to their necessities. On a daily basis a nun would tend to Gerald's bandages. While he was recovering there was a need to get his life in order. With Gerald's approval, Father Gareau arranged the sale of one of the pieces of art that survived that dreadful day months earlier. It was acquired by P. Mouffette for a substantial amount - enough for them to live comfortably for two years.
For the first year painting was out of the question. His arms were not healing well. When the weather permitted him to do so, he was persistent on viewing the harbour near old Montreal. He was compelled to analyze each of his subjects in complete detail. In his state, he was consistently in a trance. With his unique temperament one could notice Gerald was deprived of his passion with desperation written all over his face. A sad sight.
It was time for a voyage from the immense to the intimate. Their travels would begin in Saint-Eustache, Quebec through to Mont Tremblant Park and finally Gaspé. Gerald decided to reside one month in every countryside town. His goal was to paint four pieces representative of every region.
In the early hours of each morning, Françoise would be woken abruptly. Within minutes they proceeded out the door, into their vehicle and down the road to their next natural environment. Gerald maintained a constant desire to go over and beyond the next mountain. The beauty and grandeur of the landscapes fully justified his actions. There was a conflict however, the combination of the pain to his arms and his need to reach perfection frustrated him tremendously. He repeatedly destroyed work after work as a result of his necessity for perfected detail. Françoise estimated one out of five would survive the slaughter. On the upside, the final creation would be magnificent.