Marcel Debreuil loved working with budding artists.photo: Susan Crawford-Young
He built tunnels to house his angel sculptures and tried new fun techniques to make canvases for his paintings. He is known for his round canvases and he set some of them on fire to give unique background textures for his exquisite drawings. His main summer sport was raku pottery. He liked the natural and surprise colours raku covered his pottery with. He is best known for his painting style called Dreamlike Realism usually made on odd-shaped canvases.
This gives you a glimpse of his art. But his teaching was second to none. Marcel taught in Manitoba s North in his early days and eventually settled in southern Manitoba near where he grew up.
He taught in Winkler s Garden Valley Collegiate for many years, starting a top-rated art program. In retirement, he returned to teaching workshops in the North as well as the South. Some of the communities were Winkler/Morden, Portage la Prairie, Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage.
He helped people with both their art and with their lives.
Creating something well gives us all self-esteem and a place in the universe. This is what Marcel helped us all to do. He leaves his family and the entire art community of Manitoba to mourn, particularly rural and northern artists.
The following are some quotes from artists about Marcel and there are over 100 other tributes on Facebook at the Marcel Debreuil Tribute Page.
Artist, mentor, beautiful soul whose love radiated out from his family to all he met. He truly nurtured talent and through that helped broken spirits find meaning and wholeness through the expression of beauty, said fellow artist Louise Hbert-Saindon.
Natalie (Rothstad) Desjarlais is an example of the effect Marcel had on a great many of us. Marcel made me go out and sell my artwork. I was no one without a high school diploma and he believed in what he saw in my artwork, she said.
Natalie has exhibited internationally with her unique native artwork painted on found rocks and now earns her living doing this.
Marcel s Quote: It doesn t matter where you started it matters where you end up.
As one writer to the Marcel Debreuil Tribute Page on Facebook put it, thank you for being my art mentor and thank you to the family for sharing Marcel with us.
An example of his teaching style is in the following quote from his pastel portraits group on Facebook.
Just to simplify: There are six main parts to a lit object: 1. Lit area. 2. Shaded area. 3. Cast shadow. In the lit area, there is a highlight. 4. In the shaded area, there is a reflected light. 5. In the cast shadow, there is an accent. 6 … Very important to recognize these and to determine their shape … If you have trouble seeing these, squint as if looking into the sunlight (or need to pee real bad …). Also, a good idea is to use only one light source to simplify things … Also, keep in mind that you don t have to tell all every time out. Very possible to have a great drawing using only the lit area, or the shaded area, or both, etc. … or none of the above for that matter … Remember, you re the artist and you make the final calls. This tells you how to look at an object, which is an essential skill for an artist, and then it tells you what to do with the information. This one particular statement has improved my art enormously and helped me teach visual art.
Marcel once said to me, There are many ugly things in the world, paint what is beautiful to you. These are words to create by through visual art, writing or any other media.
Susan Crawford-Young is a Manitou artist
Marcel Debreuil was an artist and teacher. He did both with
an energy and passion that
were as much a part of him as breathing.
He created many paintings, pottery and sculptures in
his lifetime including a large
Stonehenge on his Morden property which he often shared with the community.