In Orne, Gaëlle Calvet is a colorful art teacher

Gaëlle Calvet, formerly a native of Francheville (Eure), moved to Randonnai . in January
Gaëlle Calvet, formerly a native of Francheville (Eure), moved to Randonnai . in January (© Norman awakening)

Dynamic and smiling, Gaelle Calvet has eyes that sparkle when she talks about her work. “I’m having a good time”, launches the art teacher 52 years old. Freshly arrived in January 2022 in Randonnai, Municipality of Tourouvre-au-Perche (Orne), Gaëlle Calvet lived for a long time in Francheville in the Eure.

Equipped with her equipment, the pastellist watercolorist travels the roads of Eure and Orne, in schools, libraries, youth and culture centers (MJC) and social centers. She teaches drawing to preschoolers in Conches-en-Ouche and to retirees from the interacting university of L’Aigle (Orne).

“I discovered a passion”

“Today I teach 160 students from 5 to 80 years old”, she laughs proudly.

I discovered a passion. I have a lot of fun with the little ones, we do visual arts. The elderly and the adults, I teach them to draw. I don’t teach them to become an artist, but I teach them about technique, for example about perspective.

Gaelle Calvet

Gaëlle Calvet wants to convey a playful nature friendliness. “I try to instill a lot of humanity in my classes, that people laugh and that the moments are fun. “Values ​​unlike those of his former teachers.

After a childhood in Paris, Gaëlle Calvet entered a school to prepare for graphic design and interior architecture. Two “intensive” years, after which she attended evening classes in one of the most prestigious art and design institutions in the capital.

From her early years, Gaëlle Calvet remembers the lack of recognition, even the “humiliation” of certain professors. “You work for hours on a painting and you are told that just a square in the top right of your drawing is not bad, without you explaining it further,” she laments.

“The moment to change my whole life”

Gaelle Calvet
She teaches in Orne, Eure… and at home ©Réveil normand

In addition to her studies, she works in decoration and sells “high-end kitchens and bathrooms”. An experience that allows him to be hired at an interior design firm at the age of 23, but two years later he goes bankrupt. This was followed by drawing for several years, during which she practiced “many different professions”.

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She moved to Granville with her companion, returned to Paris and eventually settled in Francheville with her three children. “It was 17 years ago, I told myself, it’s time to change my whole life. I didn’t like my job more than that and I should have driven 1h30 in the morning and evening. †

She then seized the opportunity to reconnect with drawing. At that time, she returned to this activity after work. Now she draws 8 to 10 hours a day. “I do a lot of cows,” she laughs, turning the pages of her album. “I draw Marylin Monroe cows, cows mowing the grass, cows sunbathing on the beach… My son also gives me ideas. I’m having fun. †

She soon registered for a first art market. † I don’t really believe it, but I tell myself it would be great if I could earn a living from it. » And there, surprise… « I’m selling everything ». A sign that encourages him to keep going. Market after market, she exhibits in the tourist office of L’Aigle, which allows her to meet Philippe Andrès, director of the music school of the city, with whom she has worked for several years. She draws in colored pencil, makes beautiful wooden frames for him.

“This job makes me feel useful”

Gaëlle masters drawing in pencil, watercolor and pastel
Gaëlle masters drawing in pencil, watercolor and pastel (©Gaëlle Calvet)

Then she makes herself known. “Little by little people asked me if I taught “, she says. She welcomes students to her home and offers her services at the library of Verneuil-sur-Avre and at the MJC. It is a revelation, her work fascinates her. “This work helps me to feel good about myself and my life, to feel useful.”

She also tries to be as educational as possible during her classes.

I’m doing the exact opposite of what I’ve been taught. I explain it in the simplest possible way and repeat to my students that drawing is no more complicated than reading and writing. I want them to gain trust and confidence in me.

Gaelle Calvet

In order to reach more students, she continues to train: graphics tablet, Photoshop and manga. “I worked like crazy to make progress and got up to speed. If you know how to draw, you can do anything after that. Today she teaches preparatory classes for fine arts, video game schools, as well as manga drawing classes for “teenagers”.

Moments that always start the same. “The first minutes, I see, they are upset,” she laughs. “They expect to see a youngster arrive and I’m in jeans, with a rather classic 50-year-old look. But after a few drawings of Naruto or Demon Slayer, two manga known, she won their trust. “I watch episodes online so I can stay tuned and get to know different characters,” she says.

Fantasy is one of his sources of inspiration
Fantasy is one of his sources of inspiration (©Gaëlle Calvet)

If she continues to draw today, she exhibits ‘very little’. Moreover, she prefers to be called a ‘craftsman’ than an artist. “Art is above all a handicraft. I declined two galleries because I was asked to give kinds of speeches that were not mine,” she confides.

She feels more in her “element” as a teacher and it shows in the way she talks about her soon-to-be interventions in several schools in the Orne† “I can’t wait,” she says with a burst of laughter.

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