Acadian artist and art teacher Ysabelle Vautour started out working in the mental health and disability support sector.
She began painting two years ago when she decided to paint and create art every day for a year. Ysabelle uses a contemplative approach to her portraits. She has ten years of experience in both improv and swing dancing, so it’s not surprising that she paints intuitively and enjoys the process of creating things in the moment as they are happening.
In 2019 after a few months into her 365 art everyday challenge, she was invited to speak at Artslink’s Short and Sweet Speaker Series, participated in a few live painting competitions, and started teaching at Serenity Wellness, the NBCCD Craft Library, as well as private classes. Her art was featured at the Fredericton Public Library, Art Kitchen, and CBC New Brunswick. Ysabelle’s work was also selected for a juried exhibition at the Nails on the Wall Gallery in Metuchen, New Jersey. Being no stranger to trying new things, she ended the year by doing some arts writing for Grid City Magazine.
Art brought so much joy and excitement to her life that she decided to keep the momentum going. She is sensitive to light, so she learned that Plein air painting on a sunny day was not the best thing for her. Ysabelle’s artwork and photography tend to be close up, bringing a sense of intimacy to the viewer and is a better view for the legally blind painter. While she always had an interest in the arts, she stayed away from painting, thinking it was not for her as she is color blind and wouldn’t be able to tell if the colours looked muddy. It wasn’t until she tried art as therapy that she was able to focus on how it feels making the art as opposed to how it will look at the end.
In 2020 Ysabelle became a board member at Connexion Artist Run Center. She was featured in the Shediac Artist Village, Ami tele, and Created Here Magazine. She was recruited to give a public talk to NBCCD Craft College art students and was the artist in residence at the Fredericton Arts Alliance. Ysabelle received a micro-grant for her self-directed Alone Together residency from NBCCD Craft Library.
Ysabelle had two solo exhibitions in 2021, the first at the Penny Gallery in Fredericton and the second at Corid’art Gallery in Shediac. Her work can also be viewed at Connexion ARC Members’ Show at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.
Ysabelle was awarded a creation grant from Arts NB for her project “Bodies in Motion,” where she will delve into more figurative painting that is larger in scale.
This year she was featured on Halifax’s Art of Disability Festival and as a live painter on the national stage at the Disability Without Poverty August Roundup event. A graduate of Artslink’s Catapult arts and business accelerator program Ysabelle is being mentored by the feminist painter and rug hooker Alexandrya Eaton.
Ysabelle is currently working on Atlantic Canada’s first Disability Art Conference. The project is in collaboration with Theatre New Brunswick and the JRG Society for the Arts.