In late fall, I was asked by Ida Caputo to create a painting as a departing gift for her esteemed boss, Lucie Tremblay who became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ordre des infirmières du Québec (OIIQ). Ida told me that she and her colleagues wanted to get Lucie something meaningful. I was provided with heartwarming information about this exceptional woman who was greatly appreciated by her staff at DBMaimonides and Jewish Eldercare.


Ida placed a lot of emphasis on hand holding. Although my initial gut reaction was to work with the orchestra conductor concept, I nonetheless produced three quick, rough acrylic paintings for evaluation by the purchasing committee, two of which included hands.

I photographed my mother's hands to get some inspiration. I also undertook a great deal of visual research on women orchestra conductors. There were more out there than I had previously thought. 

I checked out Lucie on the Internet, read what was written about her, looked at photographs, and watched videos. I did not want to concentrate on getting a physical likeness, but rather her personality, which became clearer the more I learned about her. Interesting physical attributes also kept "shouting out" at me. One was the way Lucie wore her hair. It was short, brushed over to one side and had a tendency to flip over her right eye. It was also frequently streaked with exotic colours. This woman was neither robotic, nor was she afraid of risk. 

She also had an open, friendly, and engaging smile.

Ida sent an email at one point asking me how things were progressing. What follows is part of my response edited slightly for clarity purposes:  

I haven't done any sketches, I usually just paint, which is what I have done.  I have nearly completed one painting but don't think it is up your alley, it is somewhat surreal.  I photographed the arms and  hands of my 98-year-old mother, reproduced parts on canvas, including blue veins and ages spots, and also have a flower growing out of one of her arms. 

I have started two other paintings, one is of hands over other hands but I can't help thinking it looks like a fundraising ad; I don't want a trite image; young hands holding old hands is overused in my opinion although I think I can funk this one up a bit. 

I have also started another of a female conductor.  I will send you photos in progress but the paintings will most likely change quite a bit as I am an "alla prima" painter.  The colours on hands over hands are not right and in the third painting, the conductor's baton looks a bit like a murder weapon at present. 

Ida submitted the three suggested layouts  to her colleagues without comment, and they unanimously chose the interpretation of the conductor. 

Ida also mentioned that Lucie owned a magic wand and asked if there was a way to incorporate the element into the painting. She was worried that the baton and gloves looked bloody but I reassured her that the baton would not remain red and that the hands and arms would turn into gloves.

The painting below was presented to Lucie on January 17th and I was told that she loved it! 

May she enjoy it for years to come. 


  1. Merci beaucoup. L'oeuvre que vous avez faite est remarquable et m'a beaucoup émue. Elle est la symbolique de plusieurs choses que j'aime: L'importance de l'équipe, la magie qu'elle peut créer, la joie, la couleur, la lumière et un brin de douce folie. Tout y est ! Lucie

    1. J'ai vraiment aimé créer cette toile. Vous êtes une inspiration!

  2. Dear Diane, Thank you for capturing the essence of a woman with passion, who strives for excellence and leads with her heart! Ida

  3. I am impressed with this inspirational piece which depicts the essence of Lucie as a leader with passion, energy and love. Thanks so much.

  4. Quel beau cadeau!!C'est dommage que je n’aie pas pu être présente pour la remise de ce beau tableau !! C'est réellement un souvenir magnifique! Indeed, it shows the inspiring, magical and colorful person Lucie is! In my eyes, her hands gloved in red say a lot! Notice that they are not white? This only means that here is no fake gentleness in her touch. Her touch is just real! She reaches for people’s core lives with her humanity and irrestible force of attachment. She gives you a will and motivation to live again while soothing and understanding your pain. Her demands are high and her requests of excellence constant…She is never satisfied with less. One thing is sure: she will walk with you, give you the tools to succeed, the wings to fly high and turn you into a winner! Maya Angelou quotes: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” (American Poet, b.1928).
    I found a poem by Edyta Tehrani that defines the meaning of these red gloves beautifully:
    Red is a color of love(devotion),
    redeeming sacrifice;
    The power of life,
    flowing gently in your veins;
    Making sure that you will live again,
    Giving the ability to love (be at peace) despite of pain;
    Red is not just a color...
    It is the touch of a human heart and mind
    Created on: December 10, 2007

    I will miss her deeply but I must repeat after Dr Seuss : “I will not cry because it's over but smile because it happened.”

    From Joy T.

    1. Ida, Linda and Joy,

      Thank you for your positive feedback. Joy, I just want to add that your quote from Dr. Seuss made my day!

  5. J'ai travaillé avec Lucie pendant plusieurs années et je la connais depuis encore plus !!! Dans cette oeuvre d'art, je la reconnais complètement; artistique, déterminée, animée, passionnée, attachante.
    Félicitation pour cette représentation magnifique de quelqu'un qu'on oublie pas.
    Jacques L.


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