Good News for Romantic Designs Artist Studio

We are proud to announce that we have been featured on the front page of the french magazine L”Action and with an inside full page article.

Below is the English translation of the article by Philippe Thivierge:

The Brassards







Art and Congeniality finds a good home with The Brassards

St. Thomas, is a 15 minute drive south of London, and located there is an Art Gallery with Celtic accents.  The exhibits of this studio challenge the imagination and stimulate the desire to create.  At Romantic Designs Artist Studio, where owners Sharon and Daniel Brassard produce their art, visitors are invited to view paintings and sculptures of many mediums and learn about these two disciplines.

Like so many people, the Brassards focused their passion for art as a hobby in their spare time. For 20 years, they attended various festivals Celtic and other to exhibit and sell their creations. Their interest in the Celtic culture also led them to be members of an Irish Step Dancing group and to collect Irish and Scottish music. Over the years, there were many who suggested they open their own gallery and Ms. Brassard also suggested to her husband to start exhibiting more of his work to the public.

Then, one day, the opportunity presented itself. After his retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces, it was time for Daniel Brassard and his wife to devote themselves to a more full-time exercise of their talents. Four years ago, the couple opened Romantic Design Artist Studio in St. Thomas, where they also reside.

Daniel, a native of Jonquière (Saguenay), Quebec, focuses mainly on painting and drawing. Sharon, born in Brockville, Eastern Ontario, devotes herself mainly to sculpture.  However, this couple is so versatile that both do a little bit of everything; with everything. Using techniques and materials as diverse as polymer clay, acrylic, pastel, ink, textile, photography, glass, paper and other mediums, they make art works that borrow from the world of Sci-Fi, European and Celtic mythology, Japanese folklore, rural life and nature. The use of recycled materials also allows them to add a touch of originality to their steampunk art and collages.  The Brassard only do a limited amount of Abstracts, preferring lighter themes to those darker subject matter in order to keep their Art family oriented.

What begins the process of creation? “It can be a form or shape that starts an idea,” said Mr. Brassard, who likes experimenting with repetitive patterns of weaving, typical of Celtic designs. The same goes for his wife who is influenced by what appears when sculpts the face of her figure and it guides her hand for the rest of the sculpture. Their approach is the beautiful part in improvisation, the coming of ideas. The Brassards often work together in their small workshop at the back of their Gallery, making suggestions and recommendations for each other.  Whether a commissioned portrait or to give free rein to their imagination, the goal remains generally the same: “We love to evoke feelings in people, happy and dreamlike”, says Daniel Brassard.

The couple met in London and decided to blaze a common path in the heart of Elgin County, a rural area where they sometimes draw inspiration from. They are always taking notes and sketching in a notebook; it never leaves them. They are particularly pleased with their choice of building that houses their Gallery, warm and friendly. Adjacent to the Gallery, is their workshop / classroom where they have been giving classes for groups of people for the past two years. The success of their one day classes for beginner artists cannot be denied.  So that their participants do not have to crowd around them when they are instructing, the Brassard use a multimedia system that allows them to demonstrate the detail of their techniques.

In short, Sharon and Daniel Brassard are a busy couple, but they are not complaining!  Among those who dream to be artists, few will make the leap. This happy couple, of St. Thomas, had the will and opportunity to follow their passion. They are doing what so many of us can only imagine.

THE BUSINESS OF ART by Sharon and Daniel Brassard

“Success rarely happens by accident.  It is the result of planning and a lot of work. To be a successful Artist there needs to be a marriage between the Art and the Business.  Like a marriage there will be times when you don’t see eye to eye but the outcome is better when you both work as a team.”  “Sharon is my Ying and I am her Yang”, says Dan “We balance each other; her enthusiasm and my reality”.   

 Artists: Sharon and Daniel Brassard from Romantic Designs Artist Studio

Sharon is a Canadian Doll Artist and Sculptor.  Daniel is a Watercolour Painter working in 3D and Animation.  Where they came together was their subject; Celtic folklore and fantasy. Once referred to as a “Two Person Artist Guild” this pair had already achieved awards and acclaims from their peers and public, when seven years ago, they left Ottawa and settled in St. Thomas. Their vision was to open an Art Studio, amalgamating their joint artistic talents.

The Business Plan:  

“One step into their studio and you can tell these people have taken a professional approach to their business.” John Allen – Small Business Coach – St. Thomas

Together, we worked out a Mission Statement (one still over our studio door today) and came up with a life plan to keep our personal and professional life in balance. One thing was for sure we needed a Studio.  It would include a Gallery, a workshop, a classroom and an area to sell specific art supplies.  We had seen many of our fellow Artists start out too big or resort to housing so many other Artists, they were lost in their own studio. Although our plan was to feature other Artists through our classes – it was also to keep our “eye on the prize” Romantic Designs. We incorporated what we liked about other classes we had taken and eliminated what we did not. What would make us different? What would keep students and potential buyers coming back?

 The Location :

 “It’s so beautiful – I just want to live here….” Visitors to Romantic Designs Artist Studio

People have to know about you in order to want your work.  Awareness precedes desire and promotion is about building awareness and a good reputation.  We were instantly drawn to the site of the old Marlette building, at 120 Wellington Street.  With its wooden façade and rustic demeanor, there was a peacefulness that gently rustled the line of trees bordering the property. The parking lot was large and lit at night and a bonus was the railroad tracks that would someday (fingers crossed) carry passengers from Port to the Train Station on Talbot. Although we looked at many other sites, this one kept beckoning us with its quaint originality and whispers of heritage.  “If you want to achieve career success the loudest voice you hear must be your own” Sharon Letcher.  Our task now was to MARKET ourselves by website, online galleries, memberships to business associations, show and class handouts, partner-up with other businesses (thank you CURVES) and most important get a Business Coach …our personal Business Guru: John Allen.

The Product     

“The Brassards are passionate about what they do and it is infectious. They actually do what the rest of us just dream about.”        Katheline Small – Ottawa

First, find your Niche and capitalize on it. We knew that one of our business strengths was going to be our product’s originality and uniqueness.  Our diversity in mediums and Art forms was also a plus but it could instantly change if we became too diversified.  We had to stay focused on our vision.  In order to succeed as an artist, someone beside yourself generally has to get the point of what you’re doing.

Secondly would be our classes and there was an opportunity to expand on that. Hosting visiting Artists would be a win for everyone. It brought more students to our site and gave the Artists without a studio an opportunity to run a class. In addition we would go out and do presentations and guest speaker appearances.  No missed opportunities.

Success – Have a seat

“I would love to crawl inside their brain for just 10 minutes – what an amazing place “     Ursula Rudd, Artist – St. Thomas, ON

One of the secrets of enjoying today and embracing tomorrow is learning how to wait.  We have been extremely lucky and fortunate in our endeavours to date and I sometimes think we have a guardian angel that was an Artist, up there looking after us. For whatever reason, we have achieved our 4 year goals and continue to prosper. Our accountant is happy; our business coach is happy and guess what, we are happy. We must be doing something right.

In their spare time The Brassards:

  • Co-ordinate  The Artisans Village – IronHorse Festival
  • Two time Trophy recipients for designing Santa Claus Parade Floats
  • Committee Members for Appreciation of the Arts
  • Daniel is a Website Designer
  • Sharon is the founder and facilitator of The St. Thomas Doll Club
  • Member of the Elgin Business Women’s  Network
  • Sharon teaches Dance 2 the Music at the St. Thomas Senior Centre