In 2006, Libby Page moved from Bath, England to the Aude department of Languedoc. With collectors from around the world, Libby is now recognised as an Ambassador for the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO world heritage site.
When Libby first moved to France she assisted on some property development projects, but was rapidly inspired to capture the beauty of the surrounding area on canvas. Inspired by artists such as David Hockney and Claude Monet, the Canal du Midi proved the perfect subject for her work. Passionate about trees, she has been developing Project Pigasse since 2011.
Her latest exhibition of new work will be on display throughout November, so we invited Libby to give us some insights to her paintings and her life in southern France.
AM. What is Project Pigasse?
LP. Pigasse is one of my favourite places on Earth – it is a point along the Canal between Capestang and Homps. I call the Project a “slow-doc” because I am documenting, in my own way, the plight of the majestic trees that once shaded the Canal du Midi. The trees are infected with an incurable disease and need to be destroyed. It will change the landscape of ‘the south of France’ for many years to come. It’s a tragedy.
AM. What do you particularly enjoy about living in France?
LP. Of course the weather, the food and wine, but I also appreciate the slower pace of life. I enjoy the mixture of people you meet here, French locals and those who have also risked setting up their lives in a new place. It is great meeting so many people from different walks of life all in one place.
AM. What have you found most challenging about living in France?
LP. The paperwork! Also, being away from friends and family.
AM. What advice would you give to someone moving to France?
LP. Learn the language, and take time to ‘shop around’ before committing to live somewhere. Be patient and determined but with humility. Things are different here and it takes time to learn the ropes. A good friend has recently said to me that she has learnt in life to press on and not to battle on, it makes for much less stress!
AM. Your next exhibition will be at Inspiré Azille. What have you been working on?
LP. Once again, the Voie Fluvial dominates the subjects of my paintings this year. I’ve been stretching canvas over longer, thinner frames to give a panoramic format. Our eyes scroll from top to bottom, left to right, right to left and we wander through the narrative that the colours unfold.
The felling of the trees has also made it possible to see new vistas opening up beyond the banks of the midi, so I have turned my head to see new perspectives. Visitors to this exhibition will see vineyard scenes and also a new way of looking at the trees that remain.
Libby’s exhibition “Autumn”, open 29th October at Inspiré (Azille) and features a collection of new works, prints and calendars, documenting the latest changes to the canal landscape. The Vernissage takes place at 6.30pm on Saturday and the exhibition runs until 10 December 2016.