Chantal Giddens
Chantal Giddens

Our dear friend Chantal Giddens has passed away.

Dear fellow Open Studios artists,

Chantal Giddens has passed away, as some of you already know. She died Tuesday evening at 6:50pm, after a long, brave battle against cancer.

Open Studios meant a lot to her, as being part of the local art community, and she help form what we called our “Women’s Art Circle,” from members who lived in our neighborhood. The group consists of myself, Patricia Woodlin, Renee Rusak-Strouse, Alicia Savio, Blandine Saint-Oyant, and Shaney Watters. I mention this because she asked us to do a special tribute for her, so we have been working at her house for the week preceding her death, up to 2 hours before she passed. This has been an heartbreaking, but life-changing for us to experience.

Chantal leaves behind her beloved husband of many years, James Giddens, their 2 adult children, Jennifer and Luke, grandchildren, sisters, brother, mother, cousins, in-laws, and other relatives. Most of her extended family came from France and England to be with her in her final days, surrounding her with love, sharing memories, and carrying on their daily family rituals, despite their grief.

They extended such generosity and kindness to us as we worked, and made us feel like part of the family. We will be forever grateful, and blessed to have had Chantal as a dear friend and inspiration. She was so kind, gracious, elegant, intelligent, passionate, and just beautiful inside and out. She was also very strong in her beliefs, and would sometimes cuss in her lovely French accent! She never felt sorry for herself, only for those she was going to leave behind. She asked how others were doing, even when she could barely speak.

Chantal was born and educated in France. She had studied art in Bordeaux, London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, accompanied by her devoted husband, James. They married very young, and were inseparable.

The symbolic dreams of women were a prominent feature of her work. She was also influenced by the many continents on which she has lived, especially her many years in Asia. Asian motifs feature in much of her bold and striking work. Most of Chantal’s pieces are large format, often 6 x 4 ft in size. She worked in mixed media, but predominately acrylic.

There will be a memorial service soon, probably next weekend, so if you knew her and would like to attend, please let me know, and I will ask James to add your name to the guest list.

We will always cherish our time together, and hold her in our hearts.

Leah Knecht