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April 2024
 "Frenchy" The Painter
By Donna rhoDes
DANBURY – Christopher “Frenchy” Villeneuve is the newest artist to capture life in the Newfound Region through his art, but insists he is not an artist, as he instead prefers to be called a “picture painter.”
Villeneuve is an army vet-
eran who became a truck driver, raising his daughters alone. To- gether, they moved about the state from the North Country to Keene and eventually settled in Danbury, where he said life had been good.
It was there that he be- friended Duane Derosier. Der- osier passed away suddenly on Christmas Day in 2023. Still, his passing inspired Frenchy, making him think about leaving memories behind for his own daughters should he experience the same unexpected fate.
“I’m too ‘ADD’ for writ- ing my memories, though, so I thought I would try painting instead,” he said.
By New Year's Day 2024, he had a supply of artboards, acrylic paint, brushes, and ev- erything else he would need to become a painter. From there, he just needed the inspiration to do what he wished for in his art and a little bit of luck to make it all happen.
Frenchy’s art is something he calls a mix of Naive art and Folk Art. Naive art is defined as “visual art that is created by a person who lacks the formal education and training that a professional artist undergoes.” Folk Art, on the other hand, is “unique to the people of a spe- cific location and used as an ex- pression of society.”
While he may be “naïve” when it comes to painting, Vil- leneuve is learning quickly. His brilliant colors, comical charac- ters, hidden figures (including
himself), and depictions of life in the area meet the criteria of both forms of art and have cap- tured the eye of many in just a few short months. His lessons didn’t come through teachers or YouTube videos, though. He’s been learning from trial and error; mixing paints until he found the colors he wanted to get the desired effects.
“I’m teaching myself all the time,” he said. “I don’t have the bad or the good habits of an artist. I just experiment with it all.”
His first “picture,” as he pre- fers to call his paintings, has a story only he can tell.
Titled “The Woodcutters,” it depicts him and his friend Doug outside on a typical New Hampshire fall day, with the start of some continuing fun features included. Hovering above them as they cut wood are his pals “Crash,” the deer, and “Vern,” the owl.
Among his other “pictures” are the “Danbury Model T,” which he said may or may not include Danbury Country Store owner Audrey and a lost dog he encountered one day. He has also painted a whimsical look at Newfound Ledges in the sum- mer, a comical piece about ice fishing off of Loon Island on Newfound Lake, and one that again features his friends, Paul and Alan, fishing, this time on Waukeena Lake in Danbury.
However, one of the more
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  ABOVE: Christopher Huyler of Stoneledge Farm was pleased to receive the first commissioned art piece, depicting his family’s farm in Danbury, which was painted by Christopher “Frenchy” Villeneuve, the community’s newest artist.
RIGHT: Christopher “Frenchy” Villeneuve holds two of his paintings titled “War” and “Peace,” which, along with nearly a dozen others of his colorful local works of art, were on display this month at the Minot-Sleeper Library in Bristol. While proceeds from all purchases will benefit veterans’ causes, 100 percent of sales for “War” and “Piece” prints will be donated to help those who served the nation deal with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
   837 LAKE ST, UNIT B • BRISTOL, NH 03222 603-217-0050

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