Restigouche River in winter - oil - 5 x 7

WINTER SCENES

The Canadian winter no longer needs to be emphasized for its reputation for being long and cold – and snowy, with all potential scenarios of sleet, freezing rain and blizzards included.

The area in Quebec where artist Clemence Saint-Laurent spent a good part of her life, Abitibi (or Quebec North-West), is located south of James Bay.

That region has a continental climate and, given the latitude, bitter colds in the winter. Perhaps it might be noteworthy that the period where most of the paintings displayed were created, extended before there was any talk of ‘climate change’ and, as a consequence, milder winters (except 2015 in the Maritimes).

Also worth of mention is the fact that the snowmobile and winter sports technology drastically changed life in the winter. Before use of the snowmobile became more common in the 1970s, transportation conditions in the winter were difficult and at times risky.

THE WATERMARK ON THE PHOTOS DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE ACTUAL PAINTINGS.

The paintings that are available for sale can be enlarged by clicking on them. They can also be enlarged even more by clicking on the + sign on the image.

The artwork original titles in French are mentioned first, followed by an English title in brackets.

WINTER SCENES

WINTER ACTIVITIES

WINTER SPORTS

WINTER SCENES

Winter in large cities like Toronto or New York looks starkly different than the same season in the countryside. There is not much to be fond off in the middle of drab, icy concrete and asphalt with brown salty slush being splashed over pedestrians by passing traffic. One has to go outside the big centers to be able to enjoy the white, soft, peaceful blanket covering Nature. Life is not completely still – many animals, including birds, are active year round. Feeding the birds that don’t migrate has become a popular activity in our winters.

Snow-covered trail around the curve in a woody area, northern Ontario - oil on canvas - 5 x 7
Dans le détour (Around the Curve) – oil on canvas – 5 x 7
Thawing lake covered in ice floes, in front of our cottage in Montbeillard, Abitibi, on May 3rd - oil - 20 x 24 - 1974
Un 3 mai, en avant de notre chalet à Montbeillard (May 3rd, in Front of our Cottage in Montbeillard) – oil – 20 x 24 – 1974
The Winter white blanket of powdery, immaculate thick snow covering the woods, with an unfrozen stream in the background - oil - 12 x 16
Grisaille d’hiver (Winter White Blanket) – oil – 12 x 16

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WINTER ACTIVITIES

Aside from shoveling, many activities can only be performed in the winter. One is the tradition, in many families, of cutting down their own Christmas tree in a nearby forest. Horse-drawn sleigh rides are making a comeback in some areas, especially during the winter holidays. Then in March, for the regions where sugar maples are plentiful, there’s the sap season. And April, in Abitibi, is the season for opening up the cottages for the summer season.

Getting ready for a family sleigh ride with the dog around the cottage in the woods - in the 1950s - oil on canvas - 11 x 14
La famille au chalet (At the Cottage) – oil on canvas – 11 x 14
In early spring in the 1950s, re-opening the summer cottages in Abitibi following a long cold winter - oil - 12 x 16
Ouverture des chalets en Abitibi (Opening the Cottages in Abitibi) – oil – 12 x 16
Youngsters with their dog getting the family Christmas tree from a nearby woodlot, scene from the 1960s - oil - 14 x 18
Avant les Fêtes (Getting the Christmas Tree) – oil – 14 x 18
March maple sap collecting season in the sugar bush the old-fashioned way - oil - 11 x 14
Le temps des sucres (Sap Collecting Season) – oil – 11 x 14
Horse drawn sleigh ride in the snow on New Year Day - in the 1950s, Gaspesie mountains - oil - 8 x 10
Randonnée du Jour de l’An (New Year Day, Gaspesie) – oil – 8 x 10
The shoveler takes a break, but the dog too needs a break from running around showing its owner where to shovel all that snow - oil - 10 x 12
À la pause café du pelleteur (Shoveler’s Break) – oil – 10 x 12

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WINTER SPORTS

The winter sports industry has drastically changed the way sports are practiced in the winter. Equipment for skiing and skating-related sports is more sophisticated and safer, and more expensive. The paintings featured here hark back to some fifty years ago, when kids would skate on a frozen pond after school and chairlifts were rarely found on smaller ski centers.

Child enjoying a great slide on a snowy hill near home, with family watching, a scene from the 1960s - oil - 8 x 10
Plaisirs d’hiver à la campagne (A Great Slide) – oil – 8 x 10
Alpine skiers going downhill in curves covered with heavy show in the 1960s - oil - 12 x 16
Skieurs (Downhill) – oil – 12 x 16
Two young people snowshoeing on a wood trail in the 1950s, on a Sunday in Winter - oil - 8 x 10
Dimanche d’hiver (A Sunday in Winter) – oil – 8 x 10
Children enjoying sleigh rides in the winter, sliding down a hill in a wooded countryside, in the 1960s
Sports d’hiver (Sleigh Rides) – oil – 11 x 14
Kids skating and playing hockey on a frozen pond during Christmas vacation, in the 1950s in a rural area - oil - 16 x 20
Vacances de Noël (Christmas Vacation) – oil – 16 x 20
Young man skiing on a frozen lake in northern Ontario in the 1960s - oil - 8 x 10 - 1984
Skieur solitaire (Skiing on the Lake) – oil – 8 x 10 – 1984

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Below are some more paintings of winter-related scenes. The ‘Cat from the Sky’ painting was a gift to one of the artist’s nieces. Clemence St. Laurent even wrote a little story about this cat, which can be read here.

Abitibi winter in 1961 shows a road going through the forest with deep snow covering the ground, with snowshoe tracks on a small trail.
Abitibi Winter
ink pen drawing of Kent Gate, Quebec City - done in 1962
Kent Gate, Quebec City
The Cat from the Sky, a 12 x 16 oil, was a gift to one of the artist's nieces
The Cat from the Sky