Into the wild


Dear Artist,

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.


8 foot wide oil painting by Cory Trépanier

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.


“Mount Logan”
study 16 x 5 inch oil on linen by Cory Trépanier

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.


“Breaking Off”
16 x 8.5 inch oil on linen
by Cory Trépanier, Coronation Fiord, Baffin Island, Nunavut



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) ​

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“Art must take to the road and risk all for the glory of adventure.” (Lawren Harris)



  1. This is inspiring. One can also find wildness and wilderness in the tiny places in the back yard (and I’m lucky enough to have a salt marsh and river in mine), AND in ones dreams and inner psyche. One must learn to listen.

  2. Yes into the wild, into one’s neighbourhood, into one’s garden, and into one’s heart is where Plein Air takes us.
    As you know I too am outside painting regularly hoping to gain wisdom in my work and an appreciation for what’s around me. Outdoor painting makes you also paint quickly and purposefully. Trying to paint with Limited Strokes can be a playful way to learn too. Thanks for introducing the 37 stroke exercises with your dad…the’ve been a great way to venture into painting. Stay tuned for My next 37 stroke painting video at Stanley Park on you Tube. Here is the link to my Youtube channel for those interested in the process of outdoor painting-Thanks from Jane:

  3. That being open to the co-conspirital constant changes of the outdoors reminds me of a wild experience one afternoon in Taos. I and a colleague were painting at the fence line between Taos Pueblo and my friend’s property. Our view was of the full west side of Taos Mountain. I had just finished a simple oil pastel of it as the sky quickly darkened with an Autumn storm, raveging the warm air with icy gusts. My friend had a good start on a landscape of the scene that portrayed it as the warm day that had been there moments before. Clear with marvelous earthtones, scrapes of greens representing the Pinon pines, raw greys of the rocks. I ducked inside his studio as turbulent snow crashed through the yard instantly piling up and obscuring both our easels! But my friend continued to work. The snow abated as suddenly as it had come but the view was now of a white out as the storm overtook Taos Mountain. I watched as the landscape my friend was working on also became whited out. He was painting the view exactly as it was moment by moment as it changed. The result was a nearly white canvas with just a hint of a foreground of the field just a few feet in front of the easel. I still am inspired by his spontaneity years later.

    • That sounds great…..I’ve painted a few Taos scenes, ‘course the traditional East view in the AM, and a few other scenes. On one visit I was kept company by one of the white dogs, we just sat together and gazed….peaceful “being”

  4. Dominik Modinski has followed his lead into the wildest places. He has also created films the most recent being Changing Landscapes which is showing in the Vancouver BC area on Shaw cable I believe. I am a wimp. I am considering painting the view outside my kitchen window….

  5. That is awesome, not only is Cory an artist he is an adventurer. Thanks for helping us to be aware of the natural wonders around us. He has given us views of a landscape most will never see in person.
    Thank You Sara

  6. Caraleen Baker-Allum on

    Thanks for sharing stories of Cory. I have watched one of his films and will watch Kluane.

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Featured Workshop

to the Canals
Oil on Linen
40x30 inches

Featured Artist

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!