The Village of Champlain to host International Slow Art Day

Apr. 13—CHAMPLAIN — Get in the zone for International Slow Art Day hosted by the Village of Champlain from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.

The works of Isabelle Gauthier will be on exhibit at the Champlain Meeting House, 11175 Route 9.

The works of Lynda Mussen will be on exhibit at the Samuel de Champlain History Center, 202 Elm Street.

The annual event celebrating art is a global phenomenon, and the Champlain event offers a cross-border experience as Gauthier is Canadian and Mussen is American.

"Apparently, there's an average time when people go to galleries or to museums, there's an average time in which people look at something," Gauthier said.

"That time has been evaluated about three minutes in general. Slow Art Day encourages people to look, and see and observe for a longer period, which is why there are only a few pieces that are proposed."

Both Gauthier and Mussen will be in person at their venues.

"Because the artist is there to show the work, the people can ask questions," Gauthier said.

"They can comment. People can just chat with the artists. It kind of opens up a discussion about art, and, hopefully, people get curious about whatever they look at or see whether they like it or not is different story. It's just tries to get people more involved in looking and appreciating different types and different media of art."


Gauthier, 63, lives in Montreal and began working with watercolours a decade ago.

Over the past five years, she has been studying the medium more intensely and has experimented with many techniques through courses at the Visual Arts Centre and other venues in Montreal.

She has also attended in-person and online workshops in Maine and New Mexico.

Recently, she has been invited to participate in a discussion group with other watercolourists.

Gauthier's creative pursuits were first in dance and then the visual arts and progressed over time in different aspects, in different styles, in different modes.

"One thing that I'm trying to do, and I don't think I achieved it yet, it's in parallel with when I was training in dance," she said.

"It's movement. Movement is very important to me. I practice Tai Chi as well, so movement in my life is just very important. Watercolor brings together the medium of the pigment, the color, through movement of water. So, that aspect is very interesting to me. It's kind of like a parallel. I can no longer move and dance the way I used to. It's kind of a different expression. It's a similar expression in a different way."

Gauthier's interests are in landscape and the natural environment.

"And I get inspired by different by landscapes whether it's the mountains, the deserts, water, sky, days, nights, yeah, nocturnal, those kinds of things," she said.

"It's just very wide, very broad. It's something that is continuous."

Twice she's tried week-long plein air workshops and found them quite challenging.

Her process is immediate.

"It's in the moment," she said.

"I don't plan. Someone can say something or show me something, and I can go, ah, oh, I'm going to reproduce or I'll do something with this. If I'm inspired, I do the same."

Gauthier flows from from abstract to more figurative and back.

"And, that's a good thing," she said.

"There are different things I like to represent. It's a very now, in the moment kind of process. Watercolor permits the creation of something immediate. It can be very simple and representative. Obviously, it could take time, it could take days to do something, but most of the times I produce something and put something down on paper and it's usually that. It's not something that I have to do and redo and redo. I just do it, and if I like it, it stays. If I don't like it, well I will move on and do something else."

For Slow Art Day, Gauthier has selected six, possibly seven, landscapes, representative and non-representative.

"Meaning that they're figurative and more abstract I prefer to use the word non-representative because it's not purely abstract," she said.

"They are different sizes. I like them. I hope there is enough of a range for people to appreciate the different styles, the different representations of things. They're not like pictures. They're not like photographs. They are just what they are. and I'm looking forward to sharing what people have to say about these things that I am going to show."


Mussen, 68, has seriously been painting six or seven years.

Her artistic journey began when as an undergrad and a grad student she studied theater design and earned an MFA in theatrical design from Brooklyn College.

"Which is something I pursed for about 10 or 15 years as a set designer and a set painter, so I've always had that kind of an art background," the Peru resident said.

"But when life sort of got in the way and I had children and the hours were crazy, I went into public education."

Now retired, Mussen taught English as a second language in Amityville on Long Island."

Mussen's husband's roots are in the North Country, so they retired here.

"Both his mother and father were born in Keeseville and AuSable Forks. They had a family camp on Fern Lake, so we've been coming up to the camp for 40 some years and jumped at the opportunity to move up here. Turned out that my daughter fell in love with a guy from Peru, and she lives up here as well."

Mussen dove into painting with a bunch of art classes at SUNY Plattsburgh in 2016.

Like Gauthier, Mussen's subject is landscapes.

"That's what I like most," she said.

"I participate in plein air festivals. A lot of the stuff that I do, everything is based on what I know and what I've seen. It's all pretty much based in the North Country, although we went to Iceland a couple of years ago and I did a series on that as well."

Mussen is an artist member of the Strand Center for the Arts in Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake ArtWorks. She has exhibited at the Corscaden Barn Gallery in Keene Valley, Ledge Hill Studio Downtown in Westport, Adirondack Art Association in Essex, and Peru Free Library.

Mussen works in oil, not a quick medium.

"It is if you're doing the plein air because you have to basically get it done in a sitting," she said.

"That's a different technique. Most of my stuff, I do bring back to the studio. The oil is just intoxicating to me. It's very tactile. You can work things until you get them right, which you can't do in watercolor."