By Michael Bou-Nacklie
Sitting patiently, his back straightened and his eyes concentrating on the horizon, Ronan Olier, a French painter from Brittany, paints what he sees but with his own distinctly vibrant style.
Olier was in Jeddah on a two week invitation from the French Consulate General where he traveled around the region to paint different landscapes. His work has taken him from the bustling seascapes of his hometown to as far as Vietnam and now the Hijaz region. An art teacher for almost 35 years, Olier has taught everything from plastic sculpting to architecture painting.
In his thick French accent, Olier said he was pleased with the level of artistic dedication and the enthusiasm the workshop participants brought to their work. “Especially the younger ones, normally it’s very hard to keep them enthusiastic about painting. Usually you’ll have to give them new sheet after new sheet for them to start something new once their attention wanes on what they are doing,” he said, a smile creeping across his weathered cheeks as he flips through a notebook with his ink-stained fingers. “It’s really gratifying for an old teacher like myself to see.”
Rushing from person to person, he devoted his entire attention to each painting put before him. Giving quick tips so as to not become too involved in his pupil’s paintings, Olier was as helpful as they wanted: even adding his own touch to demonstrate techniques he wanted them to implement.