You'll find him in St. Jacobs, Ontario at the local cafes, restaurants or in his gallery. He's the man dressed in white from head to toe. Even his mustache is soon to match!
He is an artist. A master of oil paint. He renders light and shadows, that give life to his subject on so many levels.
I first stumbled upon Yves' work last summer of 2014 when I was visiting St. Jacobs. My boy friend Mark and I were looking for a bed frame for our recently purchased first home together. We had a gift voucher for Home Hardware and the only showroom that had this bed we wanted was in St. Jacobs. It was destiny for me to discover Yves Laran.
St. Jacobs Country is a charming town and is known to have the largest Farmers Market in Canada year round! When we arrived, we saw the bed and then decided to look around the town. King street is the main road and the first building you will notice is the historical Mill with shops, the Home Hardware Museum and galleries. So that's where we headed.
We saw the model railway, the maple syrup and home hardware museum, and then we entered the gallery.
I was immediately drawn to this big blue 48" x 60" oil on canvas painting of his home town in the south of France, Collioure. Where Picasso and many of the masters spent there days painting by the sea. Mr Laran fills the canvas with texture, contrast and just the right amount of light that gives me the feeling that a new day awaits us in Collioure. As I was studying his painting and looking closely at the details and the mix of colours he approached me and said "You are an artist?", I giggled and then responded "not really" - I hadn't touched a paint brush in over 3 yrs since then. He had someone in the gallery helping him so we were interrupted as he had to attend to his request. So I wrote his name down and went to find Mark and we set off back to Toronto.
The week after our visit, I googled him. The search results had a few bios and mainly his personal Facebook/Linkedin pages. So I thought why not friend him on Facebook! Yes, I know I'm kinda creepy but I instantly loved his work and I wanted to see more. So we became friends and exchanged emails about his art and this is where I learned about his paintings for Haiti. If anyone knows me, they know that Haiti has become a special place to me in the past four years. I have the honour of helping spread the word for New York photographer Nadia Todres' founded nonprofit, together with Ysmaille, the Center for the Arts in PAP . After the devastating earthquake Nadia was determined to empower the young girls of Siloe through the arts. (I will have a blog post on this later, for now visit the site or the Facebook page here).
Like Nadia, Yves Laran had the urge to help the people of Haiti the best way he knew how. Through art. Thinking of his Haitian friend from his sunny Miami days as a sculptor he painted "Darleen" on a 28"x36" canvas. Using rough oil textures with his warm and bright tones he captures the hopeful gaze of a young Haitian girl who survived the horror and experienced so much pain.
This next piece above painted for Haiti is titled "Desolation and Hope" on a 30"x30" beautifully framed canvas. I instantly see hope in the colour palette and in the embrace of the child and mother. There is also an erotic symbol with the mother being nude. Her smooth skin and slender figure gives her youth and of course I wish I had that booty! Although, this may seem erotic it is more than that. It is reflecting the fact that these young beautiful loving people have lost everything.
When Laran completed these paintings he wanted them to help the Haitian people in some way or to at least find their way to Haiti. After learning all the amazing opportunities Nadia is creating to empower young Haitian girls through the arts, he graciously offered to donate these two masterpieces to the CFTA to auction off for much needed funding. (If you're interested send me an email!)
After exchanging stories with Yves and settling into our new home, Mark and I wanted to buy a special piece of art for our new home. Since meeting Mr. Laran I knew it had to be one of his.
This past summer my sister, Ilde, and me took a day trip to visit Yves where I picked up my first purchased piece of fine art titled "Beauty of Nature" seen below of a river scene in St. Jacobs Country. I absolutely love the happy feeling colours and the motion of the leaves. I feel like the trees are dancing for me.
Yes, below is Yves in his younger years in Miami creating a portrait of Michael Jackson . I love the white glove!
This photo is a little snapshot of his desk in the studio where Yves brainstorms and jots down ideas.
The parade sculptures below are part of his Miami and Key West days.
And below I share a coffee with the French artist, sculptor and master Mr. Yves Laran.
"New Generation" 22"x 30" oil on canvas
"In Alberta" 36"48" oil on canvas
"Paulille Oak" 24" x 30" oil on canvas
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the French painter Yves Laran as much as I have enjoyed sharing only a fraction of his work and story with you. You may find his pieces on display at Talatree or you may contact him directly should you be interested in purchasing any of his pieces. (Let me know and I'll send you his email).
Baring the art one blog post at a time!
P.S. Ever since Yves asked me if I was an artist I found myself again. Thank you Yves!