Painting the Arctic: Turning a Dream Into Reality

Most artists tend to be dreamers, myself included. In 2006, with just my passion for painting the wilderness, I began to let my mind wander in and around the idea of painting places I'd only dreamed about–incredibly wild and remote landscapes. Places still untouched. Magnificent lands where for months the sun never sets, wild carnivores of the highest order roam free, and the rawness of the land is only matched by its sheer scale and beauty. I wanted to go there. I wanted to paint the Canadian Arctic.

Cory Trepanier has been on three extensive excursions to paint the Canadian Arctic.
Cory Trepanier has been on three extensive excursions to paint the Canadian Arctic.

But how in the world to make this vision come to life? After all, the Canadian Arctic spans 1.5 million square kilometers, with 36,563 islands, and it is not just an immense distance from my home, but from most of civilization as well.

Shelter in this land would, for the most part, have to be a tent that I carried in my backpack. It would have to share space with my painting gear, food; filming, camera and survival gear, and of course a pile of maps.

Cory planned to create some 50 fine art oil paintings of the Arctic.
Cory planned to create some 50 fine art
oil paintings of the Arctic.

To do anything substantial, to cover enough ground to experience the variety of the north and capture it on my plein air painting canvas, and maybe even make a film or two, would require weeks and months in the field. And if I wanted to build a collection of 50 plein air oil paintings that would represent the Canadian Arctic from as far east as one can go, to the far west, and from the south central Arctic to the top of the world, then I would actually need years.

As I started to awaken from this dream, the challenges dawned upon me…how could I even get there? How could I possibly afford it? Could I travel extensively in such an inhospitable, remote wilderness? And even if I did manage to set foot in this land, would my abilities as an artist be able convey any of the awe and wonder that I would experience, and amount to very much considering all the risk and effort?

And there would be a whole lot more questions and challenges to come that I could never even anticipate. At a certain point though, I had to stop asking. Sometimes too many questions can leave no room in your brain for the answers. Besides, had I not stopped, I would not be here with you now, sharing how my dream became a reality.


Trepanier created a film, Into the Arctic, documenting his extreme painting journey.
Cory created two films, Into the Arctic I & II,
documenting his extreme painting journey.

Cory Trepanier is an artist/filmmaker with a passion for capturing remote wilderness regions on canvas. His current Into The Arctic project has seen him undertake three extensive excursions to the Canadian Arctic to develop a collection of 50 oil paintings and create 2 films. He shares his unique artistic and adventurous explorations on television, through film touring, writing, photography and public speaking. Visit Cory's fine art website and the Into The Arctic Project website for more info, watch the trailer for Into the Arctic II, and join him on Facebook.

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Cory Trepanier

About Cory Trepanier

The fine art of Cory Trepanier has inspired and engaged thousands with the beauty of our lands, waters and skies. His interaction with his subject through extensive exploration transforms his canvases into compelling paintings in oil. His quickly rising profile has been aided by the multi-facetted approach taken to his career and has gained him extensive exposure on television, radio, print and the internet. Cory has also applied his creative talents to the production of his own television documentaries, and through public speaking. Through these ongoing efforts a vast audience is becoming aware of his work and the subjects he paints, making the name Cory Trepanier synonymous with our landscape and the exploration of it.

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