About the Artwork
Wilf Perreault is a Francophone painter who lives and works in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was born in Albertville, Saskatchewan in 1947 and grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In his youth, he took art lessons from his next-door neighbour, Ernest Lindner. He attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree with a major in sculpture.
After his time at university, he moved to Regina. For several years, he taught art at the high school level and painted when he could find time. His work began to sell very well, which allowed him to make the decision to change careers and paint full time.
Wilf Perreault creates beautiful paintings of everyday places that are often overlooked. He is well known for painting back alleys throughout his career, even though the styles, themes, and mediums of these paintings have changed. Within the “back alley” format, he uses new ideas and techniques that he employs to keep his work fresh and challenging.
Want to hear some poetry about Wilf’s art process and see how he takes photographs as reference for his work? Watch the trailer for the documentary The Alley Man by Jan Nowina-Zarzycki and Rob King here.
- How do you engage with both the people and the spaces that make up your neighbourhood community? Do you have any interactions with this community during special events and holidays?
- Light is very important in Wilf Perrault’s artworks. Where do you see light coming from in this artwork? How does the light make you feel?
Paint an outdoor evening scene of a place in your neighbourhood that’s special to you and use crayon resist to highlight light sources.
- Pencils and erasers
- Watercolour paper
- Paint brushes
- A water cup
- Optional- google maps to look at your neighbourhood, or photos from your neighbourhood.
- Crayons in light colours
- Optional- masking tape
- Optional- thin boards or cardboard
Think about an outdoor spot in your neighbourhood that’s special to you. It could be somewhere you’ve spent time playing with your siblings, somewhere you played a sport, somewhere you did a family activity, your favourite street to trick-or-treat on or to see Christmas lights, or any other place that has a strong memory for you. Draw this spot lightly in pencil on your watercolour paper. You can use photos or Google Maps images to help you remember details from that space, or draw it from memory.
After you’ve finished the pencil drawing, draw over any spots that light would be coming from in crayon. The watercolours will be resisted by the crayon- they will roll right off the crayon and only colour paper that doesn’t have crayon on it. This makes it easier to keep those spots very bright. Think about which colour of crayons you choose for each light source. Is the light coming from that spot bright white, harsh blue, glowing green, or even a warm yellow or amber?
Finally, paint in your image with watercolours. You may want to tape your artwork to a large piece of cardboard or a thin board before painting to help keep it flatter.
If your paper does curl while you are working, you can press it flat after you’re finished. Very lightly spray the back of your painting with clean water and let it soak in. Sandwich your painting between a few layers of paper towel. Then sandwich all of that between some flat surfaces such as cardboard, plexiglass, or thin wooden boards. Place something heavy on top to press your artwork flat and leave it that way for several hours or overnight.
Share the painting with people in your community- your friends, family, or neighbours- and talk about the memory it represents for you! You could even write a poem to go with your artwork if you like.