Tuesday, September 15, 2020

From Dream to Reality Part 2

 When the three collaborators (Darrell Baschak, Robert Thibault and I) met with our liaison from the Resort Village of Manitou Beach office, who said that we had unanimous support from the Centennial Planning Committee, the room lit up with our shared excitement.

Robert (Bob) was particularly excited. He had been working for years as a heavy-duty mechanic and welder but always had an artistic side that he continued to nurture. I was very impressed with his exquisite attention to detail. He was totally uncompromising when it came to the finer points of high-end welding and fabrication. I watched him work for hours, patiently grinding and fitting pieces of metal together to form, for example, the decorative legs of a finely crafted wrought iron table. He was also an expert blacksmith, with plans in place to install a foundry in his well-appointed shop. The 'Manitou Reflections Project' would be a fabulous triumph for a person like him, with all of the skills needed to help bring it to a timely fruition!

Darrell also expressed his enthusiasm in those early days. He is a well-connected journeyman carpenter as well as an accomplished easel painter. He had never tackled an artistic project of this magnitude before this, but had the confidence in his abilities to agree that yes, he would join the trio.

My portfolio was, by this time, bursting with large, ambitious mural projects that had been commissioned all across Canada. I viewed the logistical challenges with a practiced eye, having tackled many projects of considerably greater magnitude in my career as a mural-painter and designer. 

 After some vigorous debate, the location of our project was decided upon. We would house the artwork at the 'Uhman Centennial Park', just east of relics at Manitou Beach. Shown above are the three collaborators and our RVMB liaison (Myself, Darrell, Chris Moffat and Bob Thibault) standing on the very spot, overlooking beautiful Manitou Lake.

There was something very special and unique about the 'Manitou Reflections' project that promised to eclipse the artistic statements made by my previous mural projects. That is... this project would be strictly a work of 'high art', that would be conceptualized by the trio and really, there were no limitations to the potential of the design. To me, this was an intoxicating idea. When I sat down to render my early conceptual drawings, I knew in my heart that this design was going to be a culmination of forty years of design experience. The intimate details that would flow out of the idea would not be scrutinized by a committee. Rather, they would flow organically and in cadence with my own design sensibilities. Put another way, I was free of encumbrance and any limitations that might have been inflicted on the process by an over-stepping committee. Sometimes, though I am loathe to admit it, this occurs with a commissioned mural that is overseen (supervised even)  by an over-zealous committee. I always do my best to embed my personal stamp on everything I design and paint, but alas, there have been times when it is most expedient to follow the lead of the patron(s) in some of the design decisions that are inserted into a mural. In this case however, this was not happening. I was not tethered by any outside influences or restrictions. 

It was decided early on to use steel in the design. 

We were looking for a permanent material that would be an artistic beacon 'in perpetuity' at our beloved Manitou Beach. At first, we contemplated cold rolled steel that would be coated in a nickel bath to simulate stainless steel. After all, the project referred to 'reflections'. After realizing the excessive cost and time involved in this process, we made the quantum leap to create the artwork using bona-fide stainless steel. Bob was very enthusiastic about this decision, because it meant that he could take a lot of pride in the fact that here was a project that would have virtually a permanent life-span. Even if the surface is scratched, there is no chance of rust with stainless steel! Also, this material would be impervious to the salty atmosphere emanating out of the mineral-laden waters of Little Manitou Lake. After all, the artwork would be parked only feet away from the edge of the lake.

A striking example of the iconic 'reflections' that appear in the lake on a windless day.

'Reflections' have been a recurring theme in my artwork for the past 25 years, since I have lived at Manitou Beach with my adorable wife Sharon.

                                                                     About the Artist: 

                                          To read more, please visit me at www.mrgaudet.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

From Dream to Reality: Part 1

In April 2018, my wife Sharon happened to spot an unobtrusive little announcement tacked on to the bottom of our monthly "Resort Village of Manitou Beach" e-mailed newsletter. The bulletin stated that the village was inviting artists to submit proposals for a fitting public art installation to help celebrate our upcoming 2019 centennial. The successful applicant would receive a 50% contribution from Heritage Canada! Here's the rub: the deadline for submission was in only ONE WEEK!

 I was generally upset at the severely restricted timeline. My theory was it would be an 'inside job' and that someone 'in the know' had already come up with a proposal and this ad was just window-dressing so that it could be said that the commission was put out to tender.

Fuming, I told Sharon that it would definitely take longer than a week to come up with an idea, a budget and of course, a presentable design! Usually, for something of this magnitude, I like to allow my idea to marinate as I patiently wait for that 'click' moment when the design comes together both visually and conceptually. Like say, about a month. I also much prefer to secure a written contract with my client including a cash deposit in place before my pencil hits the paper. That is my standard policy as a long-time mural-painter/designer.

Her response to my conundrum was simple and eloquent.

"Shit or get off the pot!"

Thinking of the potential excitement that this project might generate, I decided on the spot to sink my teeth into it. I called a couple of fellow artists who also lived at Manitou Beach and we settled on a quick meeting that very evening. They were Darrell Baschak, a fellow painter and house builder. (his day job) and Robert (Bob) Thibault, a fabrication master and expert welder. Once I mentioned the potential project, the two gentlemen decided on the spot to join forces with me. So far, so good.

Darrell suggested the idea of 'reflections' be the central motif of the project. Bob and I both agreed so I set out to come up with a design with that idea in mind. After some more brainstorming, we came to the logical conclusion that the artwork should be constructed of a highly reflective material, such as stainless steel. Here is my first, rapidly executed rough draft that I came up with.

                   A fine example of the iconic reflections cast by Little Manitou Lake on a still day.

                The design concept that received unanimous support from the planning committee.

With my above rough sketch in hand, I flew out to Nova Scotia for a pre-planned visit and fact-finding mission. I had my laptop with Photoshop installed, so I drilled down into the concept and created a more satisfying rendering:

The design concept that went on to earn the three collaborators 50% funding from Canada Heritage.

We were very excited to hear from our liaison from the Village Council that my design received a unanimous vote of confidence from every member of the planning committee! We were one step closer to realizing the "Manitou Reflections Project" vision.

Stay tuned for the complete story in the coming weeks.

If you can't wait, check out my website at www.mrgaudet.com

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Proud Metis Artist / Author

With a surname like "Gaudet" it will be no big surprise that there is a "Metis" connection.

Indeed, in the very opening pages of  my first book (Attention: LIVE LINK) "Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality" there are very pointed references to my proud Metis heritage!

At a LIVE Reading/Signing ... at World Famous Danceland, Manitou Beach, SK.
(left to right: Me, Matthew Grandguillot, August Grandguillot)

Later, towards the end of my second book (Again, the LIVE LINK) "A Work in Progress: The Life my Brother Saved" there is a lucid recollection of my eldest brother telling the story, that he heard from a cousin, of the G-G-G-G-G-G-Grandfather So-and-So Gaudet who hooked up with a Mi'kmaq woman, and the rest . is. history!

Here is a sneak preview of the artwork created in collaboration with First Nations' Medicine Man and close friend the late Douglas Severight. This artwork (called, simply, "Vision") and its story loom large in "A Work in Progress: The Life my Brother Saved".

Saskatchewan-based Story-Teller (and host of Shaw TV "Lit Happens") holds copies of book 1 and 2.

When you hear the recently taped "Lit Happens" segment (once it comes out) you will hear the host Danica Lorer  refer to me as a "Proud Metis Man". Now that the oral history referred to above will be in the public domain, my claim to my proud Metis heritage is official.

Standing with the "Dancing..." banner...

About the Artist/Author: To Read More, Please Visit mrgaudet.com

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Scored a Coveted "Lit Happens" Interview

I was happy to attend an interview with Saskatoon-based story-teller Danica Lorer this afternoon for Shaw Cable TV's notorious show "Lit Happens".

I must say, Danica is an excellent host for the show. 

I presented her with a copy of my first two books ("Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality" and "A Work in Progress: The Life my Brother Saved" ) a couple of months ago and she apparently took the time to read them both. The reason I know this is because she formulated some very "pertinent" questions and comments.

I met with Danica Lorer well before our interview to give her lots of time to read my books.
I would like to express my gratitude to Danica and the network for carrying through with this. Every little step forward in pushing ahead with promotion of my books is appreciated, and I will certainly make the most of it.

On set at Shaw Cable TV's "Lit Happens" with host Danica Lorer.
Was I nervous doing this? Well, not really. You might say I have done enough of this kind of thing in the past, that I am used to this particular type of stress. I think of it this way: you must recognize the butterflies swirling around in your stomach prior to something like this and COMMAND them to simply fly in formation!

About the Artist/Author:

                   To read more please visit: www.mrgaudet.com

Friday, January 19, 2018

Quality or Quantity? Re: Book Sales

Last week a friend of mine in Boulder, CO. requested that I ship her six copies of my first two books. 4 copies of "Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality" and 2 copies of  "A Work in Progress: The Life my Brother Saved".

Holding a copy of my first book "Dancing with Rejection".

 While this in itself is nothing extraordinary... though I deeply appreciate EVERY SINGLE book sale (more on that later) ... the reason why I am pointing this out to my readers is that in this case, the books are destined to be button-holed into the hands of BOOK CLUB MEMBERS.

My friend (Best-Selling Author) Carey Rigby-Wilcox holds a copy of my second book "A Work in Progress".

Do you know what this could mean?

According to the lady from Boulder (who shall remain unnamed) her intention is to FAN the FLAME under these two books. Not literally of course, that would NOT be a good thing.

In my patron's words, " You've sold a hell of a lot of book and you only have 4 reviews?!?! Well, that's un-American and probably un-Canadian! The book is incredible by the way. I am shocked you couldn't get it published. They are fools to have passed up the chance. It's brilliantly written."

Thank you for that! However, I must add, that I did not approach traditional publishers with my manuscript(s). I am REALLY ONSIDE with the self-publishing phenom. That is another whole different post!

In case you, dear reader, are empathizing with the part about REVIEWS, please feel free to rectify that situation by logging on to my Amazon.com landing pages for book 1 and book 2. Any and all reviews are always welcome.

Now, back to the EXCITING PROSPECT of my books landing in the hands of BOOK CLUB MEMBERS in Colorado. That potentially EXPLOSIVE development has left my head swimming, I won't lie.

You can rest assured that I will let you know what, if anything, comes of this in the coming weeks!


About the Artist/Author:     Please Visit www.mrgaudet.com to Read More.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

How to Build Book Buzz

There are certain things you, as an author (or wannabe author) can do to BUILD BOOK BUZZ. Of course, every case is different. There is no cookie-cutter solution. Having said that, I want to share my own experience.

About 2 years ago, I released the first book of my planned "trilogy" called "Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality".  

Now, here is where things get a little dicey!

You might say, I was over-eager to create some excitement around my new love-child... so I rushed into a very small book-reading at a tiny book-store in Saskatoon. About 10 people attended. Although I thoroughly enjoyed myself, this was a strategic mistake. A couple of months later I expressed my desire to hold a reading at a larger book-store in the same city.

The person in charge of this took extra care to explain that since I had already held my "launch", they could not accommodate me.  My feeling at the time was, I never called it a "launch" and also, she could have invested her energy in welcoming me with open arms, versus spending such an inordinate amount of time pushing me away with her long, drawn-out explanation.

My point is... do NOT rush into a less than favorable situation in a small venue. Wait for your cards to line up in a venue that will serve your purposes. It's probably a good idea to generate some advance media coverage and online buzz prior to a live reading. That way, your chances of attracting a fair-sized turnout of fans, supporters, friends and admirers will be greatly enhanced.

Here is a good example of a pre-launch (or live reading) article, that appeared on the front-page of a Nova Scotian newspaper:

Mural painter and author to hold public reading of memoirs in Truro

Michael Gaudet has painted murals across Canada since the 1970s. He recently released his second book, ‘A Work In Progress’, which he will be reading from at the Truro library on Wed., Dec. 13.
Michael Gaudet has painted murals across Canada since the 1970s. He recently released his second book, ‘A Work In Progress’, which he will be reading from at the Truro library on Wed., Dec. 13.SUBMITTED

Michael Gaudet has been painting murals across Canada since the late 1970s, in his words, to ‘leave his mark on the world.’
Now, he is coming back to his hometown to give a reading from his memoirs ‘Dancing With Rejection’ and ‘A Work In Progress’ at the Truro library on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
“The first book, ‘Dancing With Rejection,’ a lot of it is set right in Nova Scotia so I want to read some passages that were reminiscent of the province,” said Gaudet.

Next, what is the meaning of "LAUNCH"? When will you know you are ready? Is it really a one-time thing that cannot be replicated over and over again? Be careful using that word... it has a definite meaning and finality to it.

Back to my strategy...  There is a local TV Show on Shaw Cable here in Saskatchewan that is dedicated to the literary scene called "Lit Happens". I made a special effort to meet the host (Saskatchewan-based Story-Teller Danica Lorer) to present her with complimentary copies of BOTH my books. ("Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality" and "A Work in Progress: The Life my Brother Saved") She graciously agreed to send me a picture of her holding her acquisitions. This picture has become a staple of my social media promotion.

"Lit Happens" host Danica Lorer was gracious enough to send me this beautiful photo.
A couple of years ago, I was interviewed on "Lit Happens" by the former host, the late great Wes Funk. Here is that interview:

Also, Sasktel Max TV created a wonderful short film that features some of my best artwork, as well as a live reading from my first book:


Now, I am excited to announce that Danica Lorer will be conducting a fresh new interview to build on all of the momentum. You might say, I have done all of the legwork required to EARN more high-profile publicity, in order to create a real BUZZ around my first two books, and also my career as a mural-painter.

Happy Trails, fellow authors. I hope I have communicated a little of what it means to build momentum, and to grasp the opportunity when it comes your way. You have heard the expression "Strike while the iron is hot", right? Well, I am here to tell you, you must come up with creative ways to HEAT IT UP in the first place. You have to come up with a strategy to stand out from the milling crowd. The good news is, with a little perseverance and insight, it is totally possible. You might even say, INEVITABLE. Remember, all it takes to rise above the primordial muck is to show the world that you have something a little special. And oh, it also helps if you have the ability to write a RIP-ROARING good tale!

About the Artist/Author:

Please Read More at www.mrgaudet.com

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Thrill of Publishing a Book(s)

There's no question about it, it is a huge (MONUMENTAL, even) thrill that comes with publishing a book, or, in my case, books in the plural.

This link will steer your Search Engine to the professional website that has been created for your sneak preview.

A Work in Progress
The Life my Brother Saved by Michael R. Gaudet

Following the success of his first book, Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality, the Canadian artist, author, and kidney health advocate Michael R. Gaudet brings us the second part to his captivating trilogy of memoirs. A Work in Progress: The Life My Brother Saved picks up where book one left off, chronicling Gaudet’s arrival in Saskatchewan with his soon-to-be first wife. Still reeling from his near-death experience as the result of kidney failure, the loss of his father, and the launch of his ambitious career, Gaudet finds himself diving into new projects and experiences on the prairies. His daughter Pearl arrives to the world, born with a congenital kidney condition that puts great strain on Gaudet and his already-troubled relationship with his wife.While navigating the struggles of his daughter’s illness as well as his own, Gaudet continues his personal journey towards healing and success. His spiritual experiences include a life-affirming vision quest alongside his dear friend, a First Nations Medicine Man, as well as the creation of a magnificent mural in a church that brings him closer to God. Enduring various phases of love and loss, Gaudet eventually discovers his soul mate with whom he traverses the vast provinces of Canada.In this fascinating life story, Gaudet offers us glimpses into his bohemian lifestyle and rise to fame as a distinguished Canadian artist. Writing in the style of magical realism, he seamlessly weaves mysticism into his prose. He also speaks with fearless realism of what it means to live with kidney disease, bringing awareness and attention to this insidious condition. As a survivor and an artist, his narrative voice pushes through hardship to bear a wider message about living a fulfilling life and pursuing one’s dreams.

I finished your book and I absolutely loved it. It was thoughtful and inspiring, and all around an excellent read. I've just recommended it to my friends. Wonderful work - you deserve to be very proud of it. I hope it gets the attention it deserves.
Dylan Loewe, White House Writer, Washington, D.C.

Michael R. Gaudet photo
Michael R. Gaudet is a renowned Canadian artist known for his monumental murals and activism in promoting knowledge about kidney health and disease. He is the survivor of a near-death experience and kidney transplant that occurred in 1979, when he was only nineteen. He began his artistic career that same year, painting a seminal mural that led him to his life’s calling. Since then, he has painted vibrant, large-scale murals across Canada in both public and sacred spaces. He also works in the challenging genre of high-fidelity portraiture, seeking to immortalize the precise likeness and essence of a person on canvas. In 2001, he was awarded the “People’s Choice Award” for best public artwork by Planet S Magazine in Saskatoon. His first book, Dancing with Rejection, was published in 2015 to great acclaim. A Work in Progress is the second installment in his trilogy of memoirs, with book three forthcoming. Gaudet currently lives with his wife Sharon at the Resort Village of Manitou Beach in Central Saskatchewan, where they operate their seasonal business, “Gibson & Gaudet Gallery & Gifts.”

Remember Book 1 of the Trilogy? "Dancing with Rejection: Beginner's Guide to Immortality" ? (A "cosmic joy ride" of a read) www.mrgaudet.com