Upcoming Events & Art Shows

Claudette Dean coming home to Blind River for book signing

Visual artist Claudette Dean returns to her hometown of Blind River at least once a year, and this year she returns with a special surprise for book lovers.

Dean, who was born and raised as a member of the Leboeuf family in Blind River, will be on hand for a signing event at the Blind River Public Library on Friday, July 6 (2018) at 1 p.m. She will have a limited supply of her first novel, ‘Smelling Roses – A Tale of Connection and Transformation’ available for purchase at the event and looks forward to meeting old friends and book lovers to discuss her work.

Smelling Roses is described by the author as,

“a tale of love, forgiveness and transformation that puts ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and shows how everyone is connected.”

The novel is set in the 1950s and 60s, and prompts readers to watch the subtle signs in life for clues as to what is truly important.

The novel represents a new venture for Dean, who has achieved acclaim for her works of art since emigrating to the Bahamas in 1979. However, she laughs that writing the book is a validation of the bachelor of arts degree that she earned in French language and literature from the University of Windsor more than 40 years ago.

After living in Toronto and Montreal, Dean met her husband while on a trip to the Bahamas and decided to settle on the beautiful Caribbean island. She subsequently taught French and owned and operated two businesses in Freeport, Bahamas before launching her career as an artist in 1995.

Claudette Dean

And what a career it has been! Working primarily in oil and using her spiritual view of the world as inspiration, Dean’s mystical style has earned her works a place in the National Art Collection of the Bahamas, as well as in numerous private and corporate collections throughout North America and the Caribbean. She has been officially recognized by the Commonwealth of the Bahamas with an award for her outstanding achievement in fine arts.

As part of Blind River’s centennial celebrations in 2006, Dean returned to her hometown with a number of her works for a one-person show at Timber Village Museum. The show, entitled ‘Across a Sea of Dreams’, was a huge hit with local art lovers and visitors to the local community, and contributed mightily to the success of the 100-year celebration.

Shortly after her show in Blind River, Dean began to get the urge to branch out into other forms of expression. She began to write, and published a book of her poems and paintings entitled ‘Inner Sanctum’ in 2010.

Since 2010, Dean has continued to express herself as both a painter and writer, and became a member of a writers club in Freeport. It was during a meeting of the writers club that she drew inspiration for Smelling Roses.

“It started as just a prompt during one of our sessions,” Dean explains. “The other members of the club really liked the story, so I decided to expand on it.”

Using the discipline that she developed from her years in the art studio, Dean developed her first novel over the next two years.

She notes that, “The process was similar to producing art for a show, only at a computer rather than an easel.”

The author recalls that the storyline for Smelling Roses came to her in a relatively easy manner, and the bulk of the work for the 218-page novel came in fleshing out the characters and making the connections that are so essential to style as both a painter and a writer.

The novel has already been published and is available from Balboa Press as an e-book, or in hardcover and softcover formats. Smelling Roses is also available at claudettedeanbooks.com.

Dean hints that there is more to come from her as a novelist.

“I left room for a sequel to Smelling Roses. I’m really looking forward to writing it.”

The book signing event at the Blind River Public Library is a part of Dean’s regular visit to Blind River to see her sister, Rose Rousselle. The two sisters spend time together each year, and take turns visiting each other in Blind River or in the Bahamas.

“It’s always great to see Rose, and I love coming back to Canada as often as I can. This time, I have a special reason for the visit, but it’s always great to spend some time in Blind River.”

Claudette Dean