Live Dolls


Denise Landriault, When Covid Is Over We Will Dance, at the Orange Art Gallery, Ottawa, ON.


When I was very young I had a favorite book called Live Dolls. The dolls came alive at night and had a very interesting life. I don’t remember too much more but do know I have never let go of the idea that inanimate objects have an inner life that is very real.

Maybe this is what makes a painting and the process of painting so alive for me. I’m always trying to find what makes a painting talk to me, to sing, where it lives and what it does when I am not working on it or looking at it. This morning I felt as if everything I did, every painting I worked on, must have slept on the wrong side last night, got a cramp in the neck. I needed to start all over as if this did not happen. I needed to think fresh, think new, think without thinking too much. Just do it. Take a chance; see what evolves.


It is all about illusion. Making something out of nothing. Getting to know what is underneath, beyond the paint. Just like you don’t know me, I don’t know you. It’s all illusion, what we make of what we might see or know. Or think we know.


Courting danger, getting to know this painting. Let the painting speak.