Get your pop­pies Fri­day

An­gels come to North Hat­ley

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, North Hat­ley

Sher­brooke’s David Mar­tel will tell you that he’s found his life’s mis­sion, and I’m sure any­one who has seen him work­ing on that spe­cial work of art on the ceil­ing of North Hat­ley’s Interfaith Spir­i­tual Church would prob­a­bly agree. A man of two ca­reers, one as a full­time envi-

ron­men­tal en­gi­neer and the other as an artist who spe­cial­izes in ‘Rock Art’, av­er­ag­ing twenty to forty in­ter­na­tional exhibitions each year, Mr. Mar­tel be­gan paint­ing the church’s ceil­ing two years ago.

His evolv­ing work on the church’s ceil­ing fea­tures sev­eral of the most un­usual, yet beau­ti­ful, an­gels I have ever seen: David Mar­tel’s fa­mous ‘Anges Bleus’. “My ca­reer with the Blue An­gels be­gan about twenty years ago. Since I was young, I had al­ways felt that I was be­ing helped by some­thing. Then, in 1992, I was in a more dif­fi­cult time. I found a rock at the Beau­voir Sanc­tu­ary and painted my first blue an­gel on that rock, as a kind of prayer to ask for help,” ex­plained Mr. Mar­tel in an in­ter­view at the church in North Hat­ley. “Af­ter I painted a few more, I un­der­stood my vo­ca­tion in life: to bring a mes­sage of peace to the world.”

Al­though he ad­mit­ted that not ev­ery­one ad­mires his an­gels, many peo­ple are both cap­ti­vated and fas­ci­nated by their pow­er­ful and un­usu­ally coloured forms. “Blue is a high-fre­quency colour, the colour of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the colour of the heav­ens; it’s a colour that wakes peo­ple up. When I first tried to sell my blue an­gels painted on rock, I brought them to a store in North Hat­ley. The owner looked at them and said ‘No’. So I asked her to just keep them for a week and then I’d call her. When I called her back, she said ‘Bring me more!’”

De­ter­mi­na­tion, per­se­ver­ance, serendip­ity, luck, and per­haps even a guardian an­gel have all played im­por­tant roles in David’s life mis­sion dur­ing the last twenty years, re­sult­ing in the artist be­ing able to bring his Blue An­gels to peo­ple all over the world. He has cre­ated some on rocks only a foot wide and oth­ers on mas­sive mono­liths of gran­ite weigh­ing sev­eral thou­sand pounds, ex­hibit­ing in such places as the Great Wall of China, the Pyra­mids of Giza, the Mex­i­can Pyra­mids of Chichenitza and Machu Pic­chu. “It took ten years of lo­gis­ti­cal plan­ning to ex­hibit at Machu Pic­chu in 2004. I’ll be re­turn­ing there this year.” His an­gels on stone have been shown in caves in the Ama­zon jun­gle and un­der wa­ter in the Caribbean Sea, in Nicaragua and in a wa­ter-filled quarry in Thet­ford Mines. “I painted huge an­gels on trans­par­ent stone, mica, and we stood them up in the wa­ter. The divers loved them.”

Pa­trons of Quebec City’s or Mont Trem­blant’s ice ho­tels may also have seen some of Mr. Mar­tel’s an­gels. “I did ‘live paint­ing’ of an an­gel at the ice ho­tel on a huge piece of ice. I had to re-paint the an­gel ev­ery two weeks be­cause the paint would slowly come off the ice.”

Many of Mr. Mar­tel’s smaller an­gels, al­ways painted on stone, have made their way into the hands of some in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. “I was in­vit- ed by the Chilean Am­bas­sador to visit the war­ship Es­mer­alda when she was at Quebec City, so I painted a work for the cap­tain; the an­gel had wings like the masts of a ship and its hand was touch­ing wa­ter, painted on La­pus Lazuli. I have ex­posed in dif­fi­cult places, places of con­flict, but I al­ways do it with re­spect, with­out judg­ing. So, al­though the Es­mer­alda had a dark past, I asked the cap­tain to trans­port the an­gel back to his coun­try.”

He has been asked to cre­ate works for Robert Kennedy Ju­nior and our own Prime Min­is­ter, Stephen Harper, de­liv­er­ing them in per­son. “I’ve al­ready made a pro­to­type, with ul­tra-light rock and ther­mic paint, of a work that I’m do­ing for the as­tro­naut Chris Had­field who is fa­mil­iar with the Blue An­gels. He’ll be bring­ing it up to the Space Sta­tion.” David’s also cre­at­ing a work to com­mem­o­rate an old school prin­ci­pal from his child­hood years in Vic­to­ri­av­ille. “I was en­grav­ing on stones when I was ten. One day, the school’s prin­ci­pal called my name on the in­ter­com to go to his of­fice,” he ex­plained. Sure that he was in trou­ble, once at the of­fice the prin­ci­pal told David he had gone for a walk in the for­est by the school and saw rocks with the name “David” en­graved on them. “Did you make those rocks? They were very nice,” said the prin­ci­pal to a sur­prised young boy. “In a way, he re­ally en­cour­aged me.”

Asked if the sig­nif­i­cance of the an­gels had changed over the years, the artist replied: “I’m al­ways search­ing for the sig­nif­i­cance of the an­gels. If I could say that I’ve seen blue an­gels, I’d prob­a­bly sell more of them. But they are just the car­ri­ers of a good mes­sage – the hope of peace. I ex­pose my work in nat­u­ral set­tings or at sa­cred sites; it’s not al­ways the work that’s im­por­tant, but the ob­ser­va­tion. Once, a man came into the church when I was paint­ing. He said, ‘That an­gel in the cor­ner is me and the star be­side him is my fa­ther, who just died.’ It’s the per­cep­tion of the viewer that is im­por­tant.”

When Mr. Mar­tel is work­ing on the church’s ceil­ing, which is usu­ally on the week­end, he sets up a sign out­side the church door, wel­com­ing peo­ple to come in. “Vis­i­tors can come in and ask ques­tions or just look around. They have the right to influence and in­spire me!”

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

David Mar­tel, seen here in the Interfaith Church in North Hat­ley, will take an­other year to com­plete his Blue An­gels on the church’s ceil­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.