Monday, June 20, 2011

Québec, roosters, feathered hats, kitchens and the watercolors of Annelein Beukenkamp

When an artist creates an object (painting, musical score, acting performance) I believe, it is a very personal interaction between the artist and the source of inspiration.  Afterwards, if the artist chooses to share her created object with others, she is letting it go.  For the observer, the listener, the audience the object may become something totally different than the artist intended.  This is not a negative thing. The artist has shared her creation - a selfless act.  In doing so, others claim it or buy it, interpret it or distort it,  take it unto themselves and make it their own. Sometimes the creation acts upon the observer in ways one could never anticipate.  I offer you an example....the roosters of Annelein Beukenkamp. 

Click to view the detail but do not copy.
This image is copyright protected

Three years ago when I started spending more time visiting Québec, I started noticing images of roosters around and restaurants, souvenir shop windows, galleries.  After a day in Québec City, I thought I was seeing roosters everywhere!  Finally I saw the most beautiful roosters in a small shop....they were watercolors that somehow made the feathers look so real.  Feathers have to be difficult to paint.  After all, they are usually wrought with detail....tiny repetitive detail that make them so unique.  Now a days, unless you work directly with birds you may not have many opportunities to appreciate the variety and detail of feathers.  I obtained an appreciation for feathers growing up in my mother's antique shoppe where feathers were quite common.  There were always old Victorian ladies hats with plumage about in the shoppe. Often the feathers were dyed some distasteful gaudy color but sometimes one would come upon unadulterated feathers.  What a fine they would be!

To appreciate her roosters, take a look at Annelein Beukenlamp's blog here; More of her roosters are on her website.

Click to enlarge. Image is copyrighted- don't copy.

Well, seeing Beukenlamp's watercolors of roosters started me thinking about the feathered hats in mom's antique shop.  Gradually Beukenkamp's  roosters became my roosters as they revived my childhood memories.  From the feathers in the antique shoppe, I moved on to an earlier faint memory as I recalled images of roosters in my mother's kitchen too!  Mom was an antique dealer which meant she had endless sources of roosters!   Gradually the memory of ceramic roosters, pictures of roosters,  tin Jello molds in the shape of roosters, salt and pepper shaker roosters, cookie jar roosters and more all came back to me.  When one rooster left the kitchen, it was replaced by another.  They were not the beautiful roosters of Beukenkamp but they were roosters.  Somehow Beukenkamp's roosters made me aware!

An ugly rooster cookie jar

Were roosters special to just my mother or are roosters special to the folk of Québec? or perhaps to people all over the world? A rooster in every pot?  To find answers, I searched the world wide web.  First I found specialty farms like Cherry Creek Canadians.  They have very handsome roosters and preserve a special breed of chicken called the Canadian Chantecler pictured below.

A very, very handsome rooster at Cherry Creek Canadians

 In my search for answers, I found this page about Culture of Québec on Wikipedia. This lead to a current exhibit at  the Museum of Popular Québec Culture in Trois-Rivières about rooster weather vanes and animal folk art.

seems like there is an emphasis on roosters when I look at the images.....

The exhibit is open until January 2012.

Then I found folk art for sale....

Folk art Rooster $1800 (Canadian)

Another interesting Québec rooster is the sculpture at Au Diable Verte in Glen Sutton.  Au Dieble Verte (Green Devil aka the deep green woods) is a winter vacation destination with interesting accommodations like treehouse cabins and outhouses.  They appear quite proud of their rooster.  Unfortunately, at the English website I cannot get information about the sculptor...but it looks like a fearsome creature when the sky looks grey and stormy.

So there is evidence that Canadians love their roosters.  I must admit, none inspired my memory like the watercolor roosters of Annelein Beukenkamp.  Perhaps  because I came upon her watercolors in Québec, it confirmed the interconnections among my mother, her kitchen, and her French Canadian mother and grandmother. A special charm, a rooster in every Québec and FrancoAmerican kitchen!

Thank you to Annelein Beukenkamp who allowed me to post images of her watercolors and thank you to her roosters for conjuring up the memories of my mother's kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't noticed the roosters! I'll have to keep my eyes peeled the next time I'm in Quebec.