That it’s a lot of work, and I loved it. That in the old houses the walls or floors are not straight. That the lighting is everything. That daring something new & different is always better than the expected. That it isn’t always all nice and easy, when it’s about four artistic minds. That people come into opening night for eating & drinking, mostly.
It’s been since 14 months that I made the reservation for this 10-day exhibition in this little, local castle. It has 12 rooms or halls, all different sizes, with lot of windows and squeaky stairs, yellowish spot lights and a big, dark park around. It’s an old and a bit scary, haunting building, very charming and cosy for placing art all over the place.
When I made the reservation in the December 2016, I had this vision of a tiny group of artists building up something different, not those ‘eat as much as you can’ kind of exhibitions, everything for every taste, where you are overwhelmed already after first 3 minutes and can’t see or feel anything anymore.
So, less is more, I decided, and called up only the artists that I really appreciate, love their work, and I like working with: Virginie Péchard, Dominique De Joux and Béatrice Grébot. And they said all yes. Together we are 2 painters, 2 sculpters-ceramists, to build an interesting composition. Or, in all together, it could be called an artistic installation.
All in the beginning I told my fellow-artists that we’ll do this together, but in the end it would be me who takes the decisions if we don’t agree on every detail, and this seemed to be also fine with them.
During all 2017 I was working like a mad machine, painting & taking photos of my work. I said ‘no thank you’ for many smaller exhibition opportunities to be able to concentrate on the creative work, without any social blabla, etc. By the end of the year I felt quite good about my collection, but still I didn’t download all the new pieces on my website before Xmas, to have something brand new to show in this February.
…and it was all worth it.
I’m very proud of our show together, Sous Les Songes. We had a couple meetings together in my studio, fixing the details for installation days and opening night etc, and it went almost surprisingly smoothly - except that one of the artists broke her foot just the first morning of building, one had to rush to the funeral of her grandma to a nother town in the middle of the busiest moment, we didin’t sleep or eat enough, and some other minor details with technical advices - BUT IT WENT ALL WELL ANYWAY!
…And the best idea of the century was to set up a living room in the central hall of the château, as a welcoming space, to get together for a coffee (wine!) and chat with our guests. In the photo you see just the velvet sofa we brought in, but there is a colorful boho kind of mix of chairs, tables, carpets and of course - lot of our art.
People just love this space, and so do I.
I had a vague idea of the crowd of people coming in the opening night, a rainy Friday evening, ‘not much’ I said to myself, maybe a hundred, or so… - well, it was more than a double. Fortunately we had enought wine & snacks to keep it going for an hour and a half! I didn’t get a bite myself, just a glass of organic red wine, and it didn’t matter, it was so great moment of joy!!!!! All the crazy compliments we got to hear … I could go on with that for ever! Yesss!
…Not to mention the tiny little red spots, those very dear, round mini stickers all the artists & exhibition visitors recognize, and I got to place few on my works:
So thank you so much my very chéres friends & colleagues, Virginie, Béatrice and Dominique - we did it !!!!!
Time to dance, have some champagne, or what ever it takes to fully enjoy the results! Party on!
*If you’d like to see some more photos of the exhibition, and not my pajamas, please check out & follow my Instagram feed.
Paint-eat-sleep-repeat; since the beginning of the year I’ve been painting like a machine; it’s just working so well at the moment, and trust me, it doesn’t always. But now, I’m preparing an exhibition with 3 super talented colleagues here in Orléans in couple of weeks; Sous Les Songes is the title of our exhibition, Underneath The Dreams -
a bit dark, isn’t it? …Intriguing and mysterious, dark subjects; I’m loving it.
I’ve been working on the SNOW collection for this exhibition since 14 months now. It started with one abstract painting, a castle of snow, and it’s been the theme since more than a year in my art. A little by little, my paintings have become more contrasting and darker; first unconsiously, then voluntarily I’ve been expressing my concern about the climate change in these new artworks. People here in France think that the Big North is still this idyllic picture of beatifully snowy winters, with Northen lights all over the place, and reindeers flying around with Santa. Well, it’s not automatically true, not every winter, except the reindeers, obviously. My castles of snow are melting, leaving empty, dark and quiet spaces around them. But in same time, I wanted to show the beauty of the snow and ice, which are not just cold, white elements; they can reflect all the lights and colors around them, there so many different textures of them, and the tone of ice depends of the water: if it was the sea water, rain etc. But in any circumstances, don’t eat the yellow snow!
Castle of snow is also something very familiar in Finland, where I’m from; if in the warmer countries the bronzed children build sand castles on the beach, in Finland they put the winter overalls on, and build it big in snow! I’ve done it, when I was an 8-year-old. And the snowball war, of course. I was ruthless.
..AND in Northern Finland, you can even spend a night in a hotel made in ice, Lumilinna in Kemi!
The 16th of February 2018 we will have an opening night in the château de St Jean Le Blanc, and all the new pieces will be shown for the first time. Maybe this darker collection is not the easiest to digest after you’ve got used to my very colorful and lighter expression, but try it anyway. Give a moment to this subject, look it in to it’s icy face.
Yes, I’m already nervous, and yes, impatient, too; I’m off to work while you enjoy your nice & cozy weekend.
(…And #firstthingsfirst ; what to wear in the opening???!!! Really, I feel like a crazy hermit, living in a cave in these painting clothes month after month!)
A little extra: if you are French-reading visitor.. / Si vous êtes Français, regardez cet article de mon atelier & des préparations avant notre expo! ou en tous cas, les ‘belles’ photos (..pas vraiment, mais elles sont honnêtes) -
Ps: I’m serious about that yellow snow.
Hi, you all cool art lovers! What’s new? I have a new name.
Some of you have probably noticed, that I’ve start using an artist name, LEENA NOUX. with which you can find me on Instagram. Yeah, it doesn’t change a lot, but enough to become a bit easier for a very selective French mouth.
Since these six and half years I’ve been living in France, my family name Nousiainen has been just impossible to read, write, pronounce or even look at for my French friends & contacts. One guy even insisted to call me Anaïs, because ‘you don’t look like Leena, you look like Anaïs to me’ but that’s another story.
So, I figured out, that the French people can go until the first 3 letters, before the letter s just blocks everything from happening in their language processing center in their brains. So, I’ll just had to draw a big cross over the rest: N-O-U-…X - and suddenly, magically, my name is soooo easy to remember, so mignon (what? why?) AND it even has a clear ’nordique’ connotation in it, as I learned. My full name Nousiainen was most of the time taken as from Croatian or Serbian origines, or whatever else, but never, even once Finnish. But Noux it is, c’est doux, a bit of a snowy, soft and short name, and I’m absolutely fine with it.
Only problem is now I’m explaining everybody that no, I’ve not got married with Mr Noux.
Okay, being honest, I’m really not any better with French names. For me they all are Dominiques and Nathalies or Jeans. Impossible to remember all those sounds-like-same-again-names. Sorry for that!
So, I lost my longtime pet companion, 17-year-old granny cat Sumppi last September - and - my better half travelled the most of end of the last year. This means, that I spent aaaall my wild single months in crazy there’s-no-tomorrow-kinda-parties drinking champagne and getting tattoos, and shaved my head!
Not. Actually I was in my studio, painting, or building up exhibitions, because I had no-one at home to take care off. I can say honestly, that I was very productive during few months, eating lot of microwave shit, (specially hotdogs) mangos, and drinking too much coffee and mint falvoured green tea, and some Campari. So many lonely nights with my laptop, working on my photos taken of my daily work.
Two latest exhibitions were in Paris. In GMAC2017 in November, totally new and exciting experience to me, a huge art fair in the middle of Paris - and - a little, nice gallery exhibition with Grand Baza’Art just before Xmas holidays. I was lucky to meet some nice art collectors in both of those happenings. I do love Paris. It’s noisy, messy, smelly (or parfumed if you like), arrogant cool kinda city.
…And as the cherry on the cake, I finished my 2017 as becoming a member of Artistes Orléanais, the local artist association with more than 100 years of traditions, and famous members. I feel very honored and thankful.
Congrats, you have read it all for now! Have a treat! :-)
More about becoming exhibitions soon in this blog. Meanwhile, stay cool.
- Yours truly -
PS: I’ll definitely have a new kitten later on this year. If you were wondering. One like this.