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Gallery Ramblings


Fabienne at Calgary   Fabienne Leydecker -  Folk Artist
and Horse Aficionado
(November, 2014)

Fabienne is a talented self-taught artist.  She was born in the Bayonne, Francetown of Bayonne (photo), in the Pays Basque region of France and grew up in nearby Biarritz on the Bay of Biscay. Her favorite pastimes were drawing and painting and at age 14 she undertook equine studies at a college in Chantilly . She become the first female jockey in France at 18 . Later she moved to Canada to ride race horses and develop her art. In Halls Harbour, NS, she established the Copperfox Gallery. In 2010 she developed a passion for folk art and began sculpting and exhibited at the Lunenburg Folk Art Festival for several years. In 2012 and 2013 Fabienne was selected as one of the few artists to participate in the Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction.  In 2013, she moved to  Calgary with her two Jack Russell terriers.

Here is a brief interview with Fabienne.

What about your horse racing in France? - I always love horses... I started my apprenticeship when I was 14. In France, you work at the racing stable in the morning and go to school in the afternoon. I was at work everyday at 5am..

When was your first race? I ran my first race when I was about 18 years old. The horse was named Magnum Force and I came in third. It was at a racetrack in a little Normandy village. Although it was my dream to race I didn't like the pressure and the weight restriction.

How many races did you ride? I rode about 20 races in one year.... which was a good number for a woman. At hat time there were no women jockeys. My first win was with a 2 year old named Bokora at Vires in Normandy.A Training Run

Why did you come to Canada?  I love Canada...I came on vacation..never went back . I worked in a horse farm...horses were my life...and are still... just differently ...I just paint them now. In Canada after I decided not to race anymore I exercised horses (photo) at Woodbine racetrack for 25 years. I loved it .. horses taught me how to deal with people.

In France did you exhibit any art?  I wasn't painting then ...I was drawing.. but I had no idea I could paint .

Why did you go to Calgary?  I had been in Calgary and was invited to participate in the 2012 and 2013 Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction. I wanted to paint a life size horse for my 2014 Stampede booth... I painted on a blank fiber glass the horse.. it was a fun experience.

What will you be doing next year?  Because I moved to Calgary I did go back to "fine art"... they love horse paintings (of course ;) as well as abstract art. That being said now I am at an artistic "cross road" .... For years, I have been painting some folk art blue horses (photo)Blue Horse..not many people knew about it.  I just love them..they are my favorite to paint..they are depicting my everyday life. 
Because I live a happy life... my "Blues" are always happy, cheerful and have a lot of humor...Many people bought them because they can relate to the stories and make them smile. My "Blues" keep me "Folk art grounded"... because I have no space or carving tools available here in Calgary..I find my Folk art "fix" through the Blues.
 Beside being a Folk art carver/painter..I am also an avid Folk art collector. During the 5 years I lived in Nova scotia, my folk art Collection grew, and grew and grew...I like to say that Folk art art is like Lays Potato cant have only one..lolol
Now that I am in Calgary..i need more then ever my Nova Scotia and Folk art fix!! I look forward to shipping all my collection here. Actually my dream would be to have a little Folk art gallery here in Calgary.

Fabienne at the 2012 and 2013 Lunenburg Folk Art Festivals and
two of her many works - Miss Coquette and Miss Insouciance.

at the 2012 Festival
Folk Art Festival
Miss Coquette
at the 3013 Festival
Folk Art Festival
Miss Insouciance

"Some of Fabienne's more recent work
Western Illusion - (36" x 48" mixed media on deep profile canvas) 
Western Illusion Western Illusion upside down
A recent Fabienne painting of a galloping horse (left) which becomes
a standing buffalo when hung upside down. This painting is reminiscent
of a Chauvet Cave painting perhaps done by a creative cave person
high on smoke from a weed burning in the cave fire.