Painting on location is an event. One begins with the idea of where to go and then takes the trouble to get into that spot. Once there, gear is set up and brushes dipped with the knowledge that light and temperature are fickle and fleeting co-conspirators. A special kind of grit is gained from the entire ceremony — accidents and frustrations mix with the thrill of the unknown. From the corner of one’s own garden to the planet’s most pristine crags, a location waits to be painted. With location work, we’re rewarded with unrepeatable moments and wisdom — the resulting paintings but a record of a larger devotion to the natural world.
Cory Trépanier is an oil painter living in Caledon, Ontario. When he’s not in the wilderness, he’s painting in a lofty, converted barn on his property. After studying illustration and freelancing in advertising, in 1997 Cory merged his passions for nature, film-making and painting and soon embarked on epic canoe and hiking trips to the shores of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior with his young family. They camped and explored while Cory painted and filmed their adventures, and after several seasons he’d gathered enough studies and photo reference for a year’s worth of paintings.
Cory’s most recent film follows a month-long skiing, trekking, canoeing and rafting trip through the Yukon’s Kluane National Park and Reserve. Almost totally inaccessible in many parts but for small aircraft (weather permitting), Kluane is defined by wide ice field ribbons, sprawling glaciers and jutting bergs. Tundra and forests of spruce and aspen lead to the dark, serrated peaks of Mount Logan. In TrueWild: Kluane, Cory ventures into the remote with his easel on his back or tethered behind him on the crystalline, snow-packed ice. He sets up in the magic hours and between shivers peels off studies in oil. His technique is made vulnerable to the conditions of creeping light and sleet, packing up, getting downstream, building camp and warming river-soaked socks by campfire. Power is revealed in the awe-inspiring scale and wonder of his hard-won painting spots. As part of the film, he shares his strokes and reveals faithful, finished paintings held up in front of staggering, cinematic Yukon panoramas. Wilderness, pristine places of yearning, as seen through the ticking hourglass of a sinking sun.
PS: “It’s really my hope that other people out there that view my work will somehow be inspired in some small way to maybe to get out to these places and see for themselves.” (Cory Trépanier)
Esoterica: “I went in search of the truly wild,” says Cory. “I not only found it, but somewhere deep inside it left an inspired, indelible mark. The raw power of nature has the power of doing that, if we let it.” To date, Cory Trépanier has written, directed and produced four documentary films and produced a multitude of paintings based upon his adventures — including Ontario’s Great Lakes, journeys into the Canadian Arctic and his most recent trip to Kluane. Cory’s film, TrueWild: Kluane, is here. “What treasures lay hidden between the lines where few tread? What awaits those who step out into the wild?” (Cory Trépanier)
If you find these letters beneficial, please share and encourage your friends to subscribe. The Painter’s Keys is published primarily by a team of volunteers, with a goal to reach as many creative people as possible. Thanks for your friendship. Subscribe here!
“Art must take to the road and risk all for the glory of adventure.” (Lawren Harris)
A professional painter in both watercolor and oil for over 35 years, I have been creating plein air workshops in Europe for artists to join me since 1996. Plein air is one of the most exciting methods of painting, and I teach a very easy to learn way of capturing the light quickly, that any artist can apply to their own work during our adventures to Europe. Travel for artists is a great way to immerse yourself in painting and make great advances in your techniques by watching other professionals work, and by sharing your own ideas with other artists we all grow! Authentic locations, such as a 12th Century Castle in Ireland, a French Maison in the countryside of France, or an Italian Villa in an historic hilltop village in Italy are carefully chosen. We want our artists and non-painting guests to feel relaxed and at home, with en-suite bedrooms, excellent chef prepared cuisine, and convenient transfers to painting and exploring locations so you can be where you want to be to create. Join me on our next exciting journey!