The Artist in India

The main purpose of my trip to India was spiritual, but the artist very happily came along.
And what a feast that was for the eyes and soul!

From the polluted streets of Delhi to the small villages of the Himalayas,
I was thrilled by the unabashed colors displayed on people’s clothes, fabrics, and objects of all sorts in shops, houses, even on temples and buildings.

Women in their striking saris impressed me considerably, like walking jewels in the dusty landscape.



Even the smallest shops had an amazing array of fabrics and patterns.

I wonder if there is any other country that manifests as many diverse and intense color combinations and contrasts as does India? Is there a symbolic meaning for each of them? It is so powerfully invigorating!




Houses were painted in pistachios and purples, and so were the clotheslines.

I am still bathing in the myriad of impressions I gathered there. It will sustain me and my art for a long time: there is much to assimilate.
I stay tuned with my yoga practice, contemplation, meditation and asanas.





In their race towards progress, I hope the young people of India (50% of the population) will keep grounded in their spiritual heritage, essential for inner peace.





I connected a lot of dots on this journey. My intuition deepened as to where I want to take my art and what I want to share.

More or less consciously, I have always felt that art and spirituality flow from the same source. Now I know they can become one expression.

All photos: Louise Jalbert, “A pilgrimage to India”, 2018

A Pilgrimage in India

I just came back from a pilgrimage in India, something I had wanted to do for a long time, and recently had a chance to realize.
India has a rich and deeply rooted tradition of spirituality; countless saints and enlightened beings have lived there, disseminating their wisdom for centuries.
I wanted to walk in their footsteps, bathe in the air they breathed and watch the sun rise over the same hills.
This is the land where the ancient knowledge of yoga originated and developed. Through the gateway of it’s perennial teachings, I hoped to walk a little closer to my own truth.

Lucky me, I shared this experience with a group of wonderful people, several of them advanced yoga practionners and teachers. In that regard, I was the junior of the group, and benefited from their knowledge.

The purpose of a pilgrimage (yatra in Sanskrit) is to exercise mental and physical flexibility by doing tapasyas (asceticism) and being confronted to the unexpected and unknown.


Our guide and organizer for the trip was Atmaram (in red shirt above), himself an experienced and much appreciated teacher.

His guidance was in the best sense of the word, attentive while challenging us gently, taking our practice from the yoga mat to everyday life. Atmaram also introduced us to places and people he had come to know while on pilgrimages with his master, Swami Vishnudevananda, himself a disciple of Swami Sivananda.




The road can be long and harduous but it leads you to higher landscapes and clearer skies. In our case, it went from Delhi to the Himalayas, close to the source of the Gange near Gangotri.







We gathered more than holy water; we developed strength and clarity in our bodies and minds. Friendships blossomed. Our practice deepened as laughter sparkled through the teachings we received.






Aren’t we all pilgrims on this earth? Our lives can be a journey of self discovery and realization. The steps we took during this pilgrimage will inspire us yatris as we go forward.






Main photo: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand:  The pilgrimage city sits at the foothills of the Himalayas from which flows the river Ganges.
Photo #2: Our group with Swami Hariomananda, whose teaching was good humored. Photo by Plamena Stoyanova
All other photos Louise Jalbert, “Pilgrimage in India 2018”

Another Change of Scene

I had the opportunity to do a very short trip to Los Angeles during the Hollidays. Short in time, but far-reaching in joy as I was traveling with my eldest son Gabriel, just for the fun of being together. Coming from snowy Québec, it was quite an exhilarating change of scene.
The weather, of course, a soothing 68F after our minus 4 F at home. The wide open sense of space, the architecture, the vegetation and the people. On such a short trip, there is not time to settle into any routine, not even a travel routine: I was alert to my surroundings, taking it all in with curiosity and openness.

How would I be different if I lived here? How would that change my work? What would remain the same? Those are questions that come up when I travel. It’s fascinating to imagine and from my experiences of living abroad, I know another part of me would emerge, enriching my life and those around me.

Going further in this reflection, I also wonder what would remain at the core. Beneath all the variants, what is truly my fundamental self and what is the essence of my work? This question is even more interesting to me, and not so easy to answer.

Because in whichever life I would choose, I would end up asking myself: What is the truest work I can do, here and now, with what I have?

And that is a whole new world, right there, waiting fo me.

Louise Jalbert, Self-portrait in Los Angeles, Photography

Good Company

“Keep Good Company, that is, go to the Louvre”.

This quote is from 19th Century French painter Paul Cézanne. A man of few words who preferred the (then) remoteness of his native Provence to the glamour of Paris.
What he was referring to is this: Be careful of who you are dealing with, choose your environment and influences. Don’t waste your time and study with the masters.

Which is exactly my ambition while I am travelling in France, this week in Provence, near Aix-en-Provence where the old master was born and lived most of his life. Walking in the country side, looking at the pine and olive trees, basking in this radiant light, I feel as if I am walking in his steps, and could join him on a painting expedition. Which he would have refused, being fiercely protective of his solitude.

But I am keeping good company nevertheless, first with good friends who are sharing their passion for Provence, and I will be visiting Cézanne’s studio later this week. Having studied his life and work, it will be a moving experience to witness where it all took place. 

Meanwhile, I am drawing, the best way I know of getting acquainted with new surroundings

Louise Jalbert, Sophie’s Olive Tree, 2017, felt-marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches, and  photos of the countryside around Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, north of Aix-en-Provence, September 2017


Some places speak to us more than others.

Last week I traveled to the west coast for a memorable few days, memorable because I had the pleasure of staying with a wonderful couple, Cynthia and Mark. Cynthia befriended me several years ago, having read a children’s book I wrote, The Radish and the Shoe. We were meeting for the first time in “real” life, as she and her husband Mark had generously invited me to stay with them in their home near Seattle.

Their house is on a hill, surrounded by very tall trees that were quite impressive to my northeast Canadian eyes.The trees evoke a shelter, a living, breathing shelter of green leaves and pine needles, a whispering, fragrant wall patterned with branches, spots of blue sky, and shining sun.

I felt at home immediately. Inside, large windows let the light and the view in, while the space conveyed an intimate and comfortable feeling. Mark and Cynthia are mental health professionals. Their life-long interest in the human mind and soul, their love of books, art, music, and world culture permeates the place. Their home is a careful, thoughtful display of objects and natural elements chosen for their meaning, whether symbolic, sentimental, emotional, or merely whimsical.

Individually these selected objects tell a story. Together, they create an ensemble that gave me, as a guest, the comforting impression of being in a place of cherished intelligence, where care is taken to look, listen, taste, understand and love. Wouldn’t it speak to you?

Louise Jalbert, Living Room Looking into the Trees, 2017, Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 inches