Cold Lake artist Patricia Coulter is going to France in January. While she’s thousands of kilometres from home, she’ll be studying the idea of… “home?”

Coulter has been accepted for a two-week residency at Chateau Orquevaux near Paris. While there, she’ll be working alongside other artists and writers—each pursuing their own projects, but at the same time looking to benefit from an exchange of ideas and inspirations.

“It’s a three-storey mansion that’s been converted to an artist residence. It’s for artists and writers, and they get together for a length of time to work on a project, advance an idea, develop some contacts internationally,” Coulter said. 

“Plus, I understand the cuisine is awesome. I am just thrilled and looking forward to going. I’m excited beyond words for this.”

Coulter’s current inspiration is exploring the concept of “home.” She will use the experience of being away from home and working with others who come from many different places.

She says she’s looking forward to learning how the others at the chateau view their own homes from afar, and she is certain Cold Lake will never be far from her own mind as she works.

“I think of our local artists here like Alex Janvier and René Richard, and how they kept the Cold Lake feeling in their paintings, how they have returned to that as their home base,” Coulter said. “There’s something about this beautiful place that really affects us, we’re so lucky to live here. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Canada.” 

Though Coulter likes to work on large canvases, she’s restricting herself to what she can take in her suitcase. From her sketches and studies, she intends to expand some ideas into bigger paintings when she gets home.

She says the opportunity to participate in this residency is not only a chance to work and learn, but also a boost of encouragement and inspiration.

“Every once in a while an artist needs a positive to happen in their life. You know, suddenly you get a sale that you weren’t expecting or you’re interviewed on a podcast or something happens,” she said.

“Every once in a while you get this carrot that just keeps you going. And right now, this residency is a wonderful carrot for me. Like the universe is saying ‘Yes, keep going. You’re on the right track.’”

Patricia Coulter. SUBMITTED
Carry Me Home by Patricia Coulter. SUBMITTED