Halin de Repentigny - Art of the Wilderness
Yukon artist Halin de Repentigny was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1959. As a boy he demonstrated an interest and natural ability as an artist. He started painting with watercolours when he was six and began using oils by the age of 10. Exposure to the styles and techniques of French-Canadian Impressionists Maurice Lebon and Marcel Farreau made a significant impact on Halin. He abandoned a conventional education, and without any formal art training, merged his extraordinary skills of observation with canvas and oils, and began to record the world around him.
Halin’s arrival in the Yukon meant a new start - especially in his artistic career. Having already gained notoriety in Quebec, he was unknown in the Yukon. Closely following his arrival to Dawson City, he took up position on the corner of 2nd Ave and King St where he whipped off unerring caricatures for pocket money. By the next summer his murals were showing up to grace the sides of the false-fronted buildings. Scenes of historic Dawson City promptly became the subject of the many paintings created at remarkable speed by de Repentigny, as well as the colourful residents of Halin’s new home. There are many private collections of his work amassed particularly during this time. Soon he began to explore life outside of civilization, the Yukon vast wilderness, and brilliant landscape emerged.
Halin has spent most of his time in the bush, where he inhabits cabins of his own construction, runs sled dogs, traps and paints. He sometimes calls the lifestyle “pressurized living”, referring to the demands of day-to-day existence. This immersion is captured in many of Halin’s paintings, which are testimony to his unique lifestyle, as well as vision. In the last few years, de Repentigny has answered to a different “call of the wild” in Patagonia, Argentina where he lives part time with his new wife. His paintings are now finding new colours, and content as he travels and documents South America. As he gets older, he also finds his work becoming more adventurous as he feels the freedom to express himself in different styles.