The Colours of Silence


The core subject of both her series of Snows, the heart of the Calvados village of Clécy cantered upon the house of Yeyette Lebatard, allow Lélia to concentrate on the exploration of variation within a single subject, achievable only through a series of repetitions, each one finely yet distinctly different from the preceding canvas. Lélia feels intimately and deeply drawn to this subject, which figures so significantly in her childhood makeup as an image embodying security, happiness, family life with her grandfather Paulémile, community solidarity, as well as an assured and comforting sense of solitude within the snowy landscape.

After serious illness and major operations in 2003 and 2004, Lélia underwent a long and arduous period of rehabilitation. Shorn of any desire to paint, finding herself without a muse, so essential to the artistic creative spirit, she had, by 2004, endured a desperate, barren stretch of eighteen months totally devoid of energy and inspiration. At precisely this moment of fragility it was this very subject, in the shape of a monochrome photograph by her grandfather Paulémile of the house of Yeyette under snow, which reawakened in her the need to paint.

““One of the most difficult things to do is to paint darkness which nonetheless has light in it.”
Vincent van Gogh

““I was in my studio with my friend and artist Suzanne Renou, when she asked me to demonstrate a rule of perspective on canvas. Even though I had not painted for eighteen months, she insisted and I gave in. I used my grandfather’s photo, and thanks to her I was painting again.”

This scene, so simply yet deeply evocative, so steeped in formative infant recollections, proved sufficiently powerful to provide the spark which rekindled Lélia’s artistic light and drive.

The same essential, visceral attachment to the childhood home, the same formative force is shared by her brother Joachim, whose opening remarks to Lélia’s current series of Snows speak so eloquently: “this world of our infancy, is the natural embodiment of the powerful tenderness brought home to me when I stand before Lélia’s paintings. Through them, as through le chemin du Pain de Sucre, and struck again by magic, childhood is restored and an immense expanse of spacescape unfolds in front of my gaze."