Like plotting the path of the wind so too is the mystery of a tiny babies future.
No psychic could confidently predict the torturous course of a human life. Take Réal Fournier, a dear friend and one of the kindest human spirits that I know. Réal’s path is that of colour, injured with shards of sharp glass. A life of blood and honey, with a glimpse of angels along the way.
Réal lived as an orphan in the US, then to Quebec, Canada. A perhaps less than traditional beginning, Réal found solace in a pencil. For Réal, the pencil has a power that defines hearts and connects lives. Réal nostalgically recalls:
“I met an art friend at the orphanage. I could not draw as well as my friend, so I began drawing constantly. It was drawing that brought me peace throughout my childhood.”
Love for beauty and art became a shield for the often pithy actions of the nuns, (whom managed the orphanage). In trying circumstance, Réal would find a happy place inside.
Despite bouncing to and from multiple foster homes thru his childhood and teenage years, Réal found a home in the beauty of Quebec and its residents. Rare indeed does our Mother Earth prepare herself in such finery as she does near Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec. If you've never visited that area, I strongly recommend that you add it to your to-do list. When Réal was gifted a bicycle-as a boy-it’s little wonder he escaped to the Quebec forests and villages-disappearing for entire days-with pencil, and paper in hand.
Réal has stayed true to his elfish forest roots-returning every summer to Quebec from Alberta, where he now resides. The forest is to Réal, like Mecca is to the religious. He and his partner, Linda, ride their pedal bikes most summers-an annual pilgrimage of love and respect-crossing the majority of the provinces to arrive in Quebec. As a result, few people understand Canada as intimately as Réal and Linda do. Furthermore, the physicality of such a task may challenge athletes alike. As such, it’s quite the accomplishment, that with bike riding and other physical training, Réal played for the Canada Seniors Men Volleyball Team, until late in his sixties.
As a young adult, Réal realized that he required capital for self-support and to continue to educate himself. The military presented the means to subsidize his goals and Réal enlisted. During his three years as a field engineer, he continued to draw with an insatiable desire.
After serving in the army, Réal attended University and for a short time he taught. Would the responsibilities of adulthood quash his first art love? His artistic libertarian ideas often conflicted with the entrenched Quebecois Catholic School hierarchy. Although he loved to teach the children, Réal missed the freedom that his artist-life gifted him. Réal resigned to painting and his forest home, where he created his first award winning landscape paintings. Emily Carr has nothing on this guy!
Today, Réal is one of Canada's distinguished artists. He is one of a select group of Canadian artists that make a profitable living from art. Consider yourself a lucky and astute investor if you own one of Réal’s masterpieces. Internationally recognized-where his art market is expanding exponentially- Réal recently returned from a solo exhibition at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, China. The Xu Li curated show presents at future dates in other major cities in China. Réal was delighted by the response he received opening at the Beijing museum.
I remember the first day I met Réal, my young son Timothy and I visited the Art Walk in Calgary. Distracted by the beauty of all manner of art housed in Webster’s Art Gallery, I had a ‘frantic parent’ moment when I realized my son disappeared. I ran, desperately searching every corner-outside the block-back inside-up the stairs. Relieved, there the two hombres sat, Timothy my young son and Réal my even younger (in spirit), and soon to be, friend. Réal captivated Tim. They talked animatedly about bicycles, pencils, painting and various subjects while Réal performed magic on his easel. You see, the pencil had called the two of them together for an executive level meeting. I watched and distinctly remember a tear escaping my eye when I heard Réal wisely tell Timothy 'despite everything else, never give up on your important dreams'. A seed planted. Tim's little chest doubled in size.