I am a full time practicing visual artist working with colour pencil, graphite and
charcoal. My large-scale portraits of people  explore issues surrounding acceptance and
rejection based on societal norms, values, cultural beliefs and ritualistic practices. The series titled THE STILLNESS OF LIFE:  explores the dichotomies between the speed of our lives and the stillness of the mundane though large scale botanical portraits. I came to portrait drawing only recently and I continue to explore the use of portraits to discuss important issues we see in Canada today. Having created work for public installations, gallery
exhibitions and private collections I continue to push my work into areas that gives the viewer opportunities for
dialogue around issues of homophobia, racism, ageism, poverty, body image and multiculturalism, speed of our lives, overload and shutdown.
I hold a Diploma in Design, a BFA with distinctions from Concordia University in
Montreal, Art Teacher Certification and an M.Ed. from UBC.
Equality of Same:  Lorraine (permanent collection Surrey Art Gallery)
2015, 37" x 53" color pencil on white board

2018 Professional Artist Magazine, Feature artist, two page spread, interview and write-up.  
2018 feature Artist
2018 Featured Artist, Artsy Shark
2018 Featured Artist, Colour Pencil Book “Color Pencil Treasures 5”
2018 Feature Artist Colour Pencil Society of America Explore This 14
2015 Americans for the Arts Public Art Network outstanding works for the 2014 Public Art Year in Review. Award for Year of Reconciliation public art project.
2015 The Kingston Prize,top 30 finalist , Ontario, Canada
2015 Queer Arts Festival, Group show, Vancouver
2015 Solo Show: Place Des Arts Gallery: Coquitlam, British Columbia- September/October
2015 Surrey Art Gallery, Guest artist roundtable talk and discussion.
2015 SOLO show: The Cultch Vancouver. January/February.
2015 Surrey Art Gallery: Invited artist, group show 40th anniversary, Views from the Southbank II.
2014 Vancouver, Year of Reconciliation Education and postcard Booklets.
2014 City of Surrey, selected artist for permanent collection.
2014 ARTS 2014. First Place Award. Surrey Art Gallery.
2014 “The Art of Reconciliation: Words that hit home by Jeannette Sirois”, Vancouver Sun.
2014 Tri City News: Interview and review of Beyond Real: Overexposed Underexposed
2014 The Miracle of the Portrait. Portrait Society of Canada. Finalist.
2014 Invitation by the City of Vancouver: Public art Talk, Year of Reconciliation,
2014 Invitation by the City of Vancouver: Public art project, artists talk.
2014 Solo Show: December. BEYOND REAL. Leigh Square, gallery
2014 About Face. North Vancouver Community Arts Council,
2014 Explore this! 10. Colored Pencil Society of America. CPSA District Chapters Award
for Exceptional Merit.
2013 The Miracle of the Portrait. Portrait Society of Canada. Finalist.
2013 AIRS. Federation of Canadian Artists, International Group show.
2013 ARTS 2013. Surrey Art Gallery, juried show. FIRST PLACE AWARD, 2D WORKS.
2005 ARTS 2005. Surrey Art Gallery, juried show. Top Finalist.
2004 ARTS 2004. Surrey Art Gallery, juried show. Top Finalist
1997 Peace River North. Permanent Collection.
1997 Solo Show. Fort Nelson Art Gallery.

Atrium Gallery: Beyond Real - Overexposed, Underexposed, Pencil and Coloured Pencil Works by Jeanette Sirois

Written by Oliver McTavish, Place Des Arts curator

“I see the human face as a book which reads of one's passage through this world, and the act of negotiating the process of wake/sleep moments in our days” – Jeanette Sirois 

Jeanette Sirois is an artist fascinated by the human face and its ability to reveal aspects of character and explore issues of aging, racism, economic and social status, familial relations and others. Using hyper-realistic drawing techniques, Jeanette pushes the boundaries beyond the real, capturing the first stages of contact with the subject. These moments do not flatter, they reveal subjects at their best and worst, at their most fragile, vulnerable or messy states. The details left behind by Sirois’ masterful coloured pencils exhibit the times in which we remove ourselves from control, letting our guard down. With line, form, shape and colour, Jeanette Sirois finds beauty in all humanity, in the natural cracks in their frowns or smiles and the detailed colours in their skin, sharing a message of who we are. 

Wrinkles, smiles, lines and frowns

NOVEMBER 26, 2014 12:00 AM

Defying Age will be shown in Port Coquitlam as part of a new exhibit.   Photograph By city of port coquitlam

Two years ago, Jeannette Sirois' younger sister, a photographer, sent her an email out of the blue about The Kingston Prize, a national portrait competition.

Sirois was perplexed about her sibling's intentions as she was primarily an abstract painter, drawer and designer; however, the Surrey resident and Langara College visual arts lecturer decided to give a whirl although she had never taken a portraiture class in her life.

Despite being pleased with her submission, Sirois' entry didn't make the cut but the challenge spurred her on to do more. A few months later, her second-ever portrait took first place with the Surrey Arts Gallery and, since then, her new-found skill has won rave reviews and accolades.

Now, Sirois has her first collection of portraits, titled Beyond Real: Overexposed Underexposed, which will be unveiled at Port Coquitlam's Leigh Square Community Arts Village next week.

Her series features 21 images of hired models, close friends and family members, ranging in age from 20 to 80. And the process she used to capture each of them in a non-traditional way - i.e., outside of a studio setting - was meticulous.

Because she admits she has difficulty reading faces and proportions, Sirois spent about two hours talking and walking with each subject, snapping up to 400 photos per person to record their facial expressions. Sirois wanted to make them feel comfortable so the chatter would happen in a living room or on a trail - anywhere they would feel more relaxed, she said.

Then, at her computer, she sifted through the digital pictures and zeroed in on her favourites. Using the software PhotoShop, Sirois played with the images - overexposing, underexposing, cropping and adjusting the composition, for example - until she settled on a few. Those images - the ones that she believed brought out the most character - became the basis of her portrait drawings.

Every drawing took between 70 and 100 hours and were done in a new medium for her: pencil crayon, which Sirois says offers the most control for portraits.

But sometimes when Sirois showed her subjects the finished project, the raw elements of the face - that is, the lines, wrinkles, frowns, etc. - generated a negative reaction, she said.

Still, Sirois said she's encouraged by the feedback to her artwork. After her inaugural show ends in PoCo on Jan. 12, her collection will be exhibited at The Cultch in Vancouver.

The opening reception for Jeannette Sirois' Beyond Real: Overexposed Underexposed is on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Leigh Square Community Arts Village (behind PoCo city hall). There is no cost for admission and Christmas-themed refreshments will be served.

@jwarrenTC © Copyright 2015 Tri-City News