Roxbury artist paints scenes from France and Litchfield County

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

ROXBURY — Artist Didier Malaquin believes one doesn’t have to travel far from home to find material to paint. All of his works are of places and items taken from his own neighborhood — whether he’s in France or Litchfield County.

“I find that you can always find beauty near or in one’s home. I will put together objects on a table and do a still life with a plant on my desk,” said Malaquin, whose first solo art exhibit will run at the Roxbury Public Library (Minor Memorial Library) community gallery, 23 S. St., from Feb. 27 to April 10.

The exhibit, called “Branching Out: From the Cévennes to Litchfield County,” will feature 50 paintings he made in France and Litchfield County. All pieces are for sale.

Born in Paris, Didier, 67, has two law degrees. Prior to retiring in 2016, he practiced corporate law in Manhattan. He now lives in Roxbury nine months of the year and three months in Nant, France.

He paints weekly with a small group of artists in a New Milford studio or outdoors in various scenic locations in Litchfield County, under the direction of artist Kathleen L’Hommedieu, an oil painter.

“While I was always interested in painting and art, the demands of my work didn’t give me that much time, but now I have the freedom to do this full time,” he said.

Malaquin paints scenery, still lifes and landscapes. He said the theme of his exhibit, “Branching Out,” means artists should be open to trying a variety of mediums and items.

“Don’t be stuck in the same routine over and over,” he said. “I started painting mostly trees and only watercolors, and thanks to Kathleen, I’ve been trying many more things. It’s been a whole new learning process.”

He paints places he’s drawn to — wherever he happens to be living at the time.

“I want the paintings to have a sense of place and be recognizable,” Malaquin said. “It should show that the place is meaningful to me and is a place that I love.”

One of his favorite scenes to paint is the nature preserves of the Roxbury Land Trust.

“One of the great assets of this town is it has a lot of nature preserves. The Roxbury Land Trust is a group of preserves that all have hiking trails,” Malaquin said. “When the weather permits, I sit there and paint. I like the sense of peace and the beauty of nature, and the changing seasons. I love watching the wildlife.”

He said his goal with all his paintings is to have fun. “I don’t want it to feel like an obligation,” he said.