I really need to start limiting the Facebook time. I’m just as bad for talking to virtual strangers as those I meet in person.
Over the past couple of years, through discussions or comments on pictures posted of local scenes or events, I’ve gradually built up a few virtual friendships that have become real, face to face conversations. It’s interesting, that most of the people I’ve met on Facebook (and then who either come to my house or I go to theirs) are photographers, artists, weavers and similarly talented types.
Opposites attract, I guess.
I love Newfoundland art and like to promote local artists. You’ll notice that when I take pictures in a gallery, I rarely do it full on, but more at a side angle. My camera skills are not great and I also don’t want to reproduce an image that doesn’t do justice to the original. I want readers to learn about the artist and then perhaps view their studio or gallery or web pages to learn more.
Through conversations on a couple of Facebook groups I’ve gotten to know the photography of Jeff Musseau. At least, I thought it was photography but now I know that some of the images are actually fine art, so realistic, even standing in front of them, you might be fooled.
This guy is a Painter.
Through commenting on some of Jeff’s posts and asking questions about the scenes, I managed to get a couple of “drop in when you come over” invites through Fb.
Again, Jeff’s also bad for talking to strangers.
And so it began.
On our recent trip to Rose Blanche, I contacted Jeff and told him I’d be in the area. He shot me back his phone number and a note that he was out in the afternoon but otherwise around. It was suppertime by the time we hit the area and I realized through Fb that it was also his wedding anniversary so I dropped him a note that we’d maybe stop on our way back through the next day. No problem, the welcome and invite were still there.
The first thing I had to do was try to find him. Neither of us thought about an actual address exchange and so I asked at the local Sears store if they knew Jeff “Musseau”. It’s worth noting, I’m a French teacher and pronounced his family name accordingly.
Jeff “Musho”, according to the owner, lives on the other side of Town and he ran upstairs and got me a map. He figured it was the second house on the street because “his young fella hangs out with my young fella” or some other close tie and away we went.
Wasn’t the second house, wasn’t the first, but the lady in the fourth house must be part of neighbourhood watch and sent us to Door Number Three. Even there, Jeff’s wife Diane had to direct me down to the basement apartment where finally, I found Jeff.
Jeff’s a hugger. Just meets you, you get a hug. I got a hug. Leo got a hug and a handshake. Boy style, you know.
Jeff’s studio space is small but mighty. He’s planning to expand but he is comfortable in the downstairs of his house with an amazingly huge computer screen for his photography and computer graphics work and easels and paintings all around.
Jeff was putting finishing touches on a commission later called Fog Rollin’ In as well as a dog painting that I think he said was for Ducks Unlimited. With both of us talking at once, it’s a wonder Leo didn’t lose consciousness as the air was used up.
Jeff works out west but is a painter and a very gifted painter. He doesn’t display in galleries and due to word of mouth promotion, doesn’t need to. With limited prints of his works, he has Newfoundland landscapes at various price points.
His detail is phenomenal. He showed us a canvas of a dog and the individual hairs on the dog’s muzzle make it look like a high definition photograph. I asked him how he knows when he is ‘done’ a painting. He told me his wife Diane usually has to tell him.
We were rushed for time but covered a lot of topics in a quick succession. I look forward to going back someday when we are less rushed to really sit and enjoy Jeff’s stories and work.
Maybe I’ll even be lucky enough to get a few tips from him or his lovely protégé. She’s obviously his muse as he takes many photographs of her and she certainly has inherited his talent.