Programmer loves to paint about nothing

Peter Leclerc’s abstract drawings are currently hanging for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach.  - Lissa Alexander Photo
Peter Leclerc’s abstract drawings are currently hanging for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach.
— image credit: Lissa Alexander Photo

Similar to Jerry Seinfeld’s TV show, Peter Leclerc’s paintings are about nothing.

“Because of that, there’s a real freedom brought on by them,” said the Qualicum Beach artist.

Leclerc has completed at least one painting every day for 11 years, and that’s on top of his full-time job as a software programmer.

He gets up an hour early on week days to give his art the best hour of his day, he said, and he’s back at it after work for at least a couple hours. He’s also a musician.

Leclerc said his free-hand drawings, using pastel and coloured pencils, avoid subject matter and in that way they beg the viewer to engage to search within themselves to identify them.

The drawings take anywhere from a few hours to 100 hours to complete. A number of these drawings are hanging for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply, and many feature circular shapes. These are naturally found everywhere, Leclerc said, like the logarithmic spiral, a spiral curve with statistically self-similar parts which is often found in nature.

“I find it to be quite natural and pleasing, and to me it makes sense, that mathematics would have resonance in the physical world at this level.”

Leclerc likes to do something while he’s drawing, like watch TV or play Trivial Pursuit, and that way it takes his mind off the drawing and lets the artist within come out, he said.

“What I’m trying to do is to occupy what I call the accountant who wants to insinuate into every transaction and in so doing it messes up the artist because it tries to supersede it.”

But Leclerc didn’t always focus his artistic mind on this type of work.

Born and raised in Montreal, Leclerc used to paint realism and his art was featured in shows in that city. He used oil paints and created stipple paintings, a technique that creates patterns and images using tiny single coloured dots, among other works.

His art took the back burner as he focused on work and marriage, but in the 1990s he reinvented himself. In his artwork he decided he no longer wanted to simply “report” what he was seeing. Instead he wanted to get rid of any subject matter and let his subconscious guide him.

A couple years ago he had an art show on the Island, his first since 1986, and his show in Qualicum Beach is the second he’s had since his reinvention.

Although Leclerc enjoys making art that’s not why he does it.

“I do like it but it’s why I’m here. Doing this stuff is really my mission. I just do it. I’m not happy if I don’t do it.”

View Leclerc’s detailed drawings at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply, located at 101-206 First Ave. W in Qualicum Beach.



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