Biography Page 4
Gaspé was a fitting finale to his intimate encounter with nature, it appeared to be one vast challenge. They excessively extended their stay. Though it was the second time he was removed from the environment of his inspirations.
Gerald fully intended to leave Gaspé but upon arriving in Riviere du Loup he pleaded with his wife to consider the possibility of returning once again. Françoise was exasperated. He was prone to this type of behaviour, possessing a callous disregard concerning his health. Taking a rare stance of her own she flatly refused his proposal. Gaspé was a notable adventure, but living out of a suitcase for months on end had taken its toll on Françoise. She was exhausted. With this in mind, plus the fact they didn't have a place they could call home, she declared it was time to leave.
These events represented a turning point. Up until now she was cautiously optimistic concerning his decisions. She noticed his state of mind seemed to be deteriorating. His behaviour became more and more irrational. For instance, if there was a necessity for Gerald to use the outhouse, depending on the occasion, his brush and palette would always follow. The reason he gave for this conduct was seclusion. This surpassed any other idiotic remark Françoise ever witnessed from her husband. It became apparent their departure back to Montreal was now imperative.
Gerald was often characterized as spontaneous. He decided to revise his subject matter and medium and the changeover from oil paintings to pastels ensued. Pastel was the preferred drawing medium at the time for doing nude portraits. He considered Françoise the perfect specimen to model. In reality she was vital to his composition. Her purity was innocent and untouched.
When Gerald presented this proposal to her, she felt exasperated and violated at his notion. It was evident she was torn in many directions at his request. The idea of bringing in a female model to pose in the nude for him brought her emotionally to her knees. This dark cloud pressed down and compressed over her into a tiny ball of fear and anguish. She conceded to her husband's wishes but as the gloomy blackness dragged on, her anxiety deepened.
With pastel and palette in hand, he concentrated on her body and face. Modeling her features delicately to create this dreamy soft focus effect as to balance the composition. He invested the figure with minute detail as a testament to Françoise's beauty. There was a sexual tension at play. His technique of using related tones creates an intimate atmosphere that brought his palette to life. This animated effect is one of Gerald's hallmarks. For Françoise, the paintings individually were incredibly emotional. There were tears of loss (her dignity) and tears of joy (his visualization of her beauty). As time followed she was more inclined to cooperate with his artistic sensuality than to chastise him. Gerald's incessant attention to detail plus untold hours in the studio imposed a substantial hardship on both parties and although it may be difficult to prove, with an overshadowing sense of fear. It was during this time Françoise felt obligated to confess to her husband the cause of the fire to their home and future art gallery in Saint Eustache three years prior. She was convinced the discarding of a candle in the trash was the source of that horrifying night.
With barely a thought Gerald declared it as an act of God. Due to his extreme love towards Françoise all was forgiven. Immediately changing the subject he declared that with the long awaited completion of their victorious expedition a celebration was in order. A decision was made to make a visit to St. Rose and enlist Marc-Aurèle Fortin, in their triumph. The friendship between Gerald and Marc-Aurèle Fortin was an vital element to each of their inspirations. They shared a bond so sincere.
Gerald always enjoyed the adrenalin rush he received upon entering St. Rose, whose quaint charm and picturesque setting made an indelible impression on him; material he would later integrate into his paintings. This mood was amplified when Marc-Aurèle Fortin presented himself. Whenever they all got together like this Gerald could hardly wait to show off his latest achievements among his friends. At a certain point in the festivities Françoise prescribed for all a presentation of her husbands' masterpieces. Drawing from past experiences she warned Marc-Aurèle Fortin that if he chose to destroy any of her husband's art, she would avail herself to disfigure his fingers. This unexpected remark took everyone by surprise and with much laughter. The presentation continued without a hitch. As a result of their extensive drinking, the encounter in St. Rose continued well into the night.