Saturday, September 17, 2011

War Paint - New Works by Aaron Paquette

War Paint
An exhibition of new works by
Aaron Paquette

Opening Reception on Saturday, October 1, 2011
with the artist in attendance
from 2pm - 4pm

Exhibition continues to October 13

 How long have we been at war? How long have we been trying to build these bridges between us? Between cultures, economies, sorrows? How long have we painted masks on our faces, bright colours belying dangerous times? Too, too long. Come stand with me. I live where the war is over. I have painted it. I have painted it so we can see the future. I have painted the beautiful places where we can live instead of dying on the terrible fields of where we have been. Come lay down your burdens and stay awhile, here where you don’t have to be anyone but your self. Take off your masks. It’s safe here, and you are loved. My War Paint is off.

Thunderbird Woman 
36" x 48" 
Mixed Media on Canvas 

We hear the Thunderbird in the spring time, calling to us from across the plains, telling us it's time to begin anew. Things we've set aside or neglected, relationships gone stale with hurt silence, or dropping the ball in caring for ourselves or for our community. The things that make us human and give us the chance to become great, these are the things Thunderbird calls out to remind us of. "Rise up! Stand! Speak and do! The time for sleeping is over!" This past spring and summer the nights were filled the call - insistent, refusing to be ignored. Put away the keyboards and screens, resist the call of apathy and strike that lightning inside of ourselves, let the spark of action fill us. Though it always burns right at first it soon becomes a cherished flame. One day we will wake up and it will be our last day on earth. Before then, let's heed the reminder and live larger than we dreamed before. Let's listen to the Thunderbird Woman.


Come out to meet award nominated First Nations Metis Artist - Aaron Paquette

Bearclaw Gallery is located at:
10403 - 124st
Edmonton, AB


Saturday, April 09, 2011

I'm Going to Quit This Blog - and a surprise

Hello my friend!

You've followed me at this blog and I'm grateful for it, but it's time for me to hang up my hat, or at least slow down here somewhat.

All my archives will remain, but don't worry! I'm not going to stop creating, posting, fact I'll be doing it even more and I really hope you'll join me on the ride!

I have a new website up (finally!) at:

There may be a few kinks & quirks here and there but it seems to work pretty good.

Did you think that was the surprise?

Because there's more!

The surprise is that I've been working away at a novel called Lightfinder. It should be finished by mid May and I'll need your help to figure a couple things out (but I'll get back to you when we get to that point).

In the meantime, check out my new site and if you click on the big link for the book you'll see a little hidden Easter Egg. I know, I know... Easter isn't for a little while yet, but it's the right month, anyway.


Please feel free to leave me your comments, let me know what you think and what you'd like to see more of at the site. I'll have the comments open on my facebook page:


So join in on the discussion.

In the meantime, browse around, buy a print, a t-shirt, or follow the links for an original art piece. I know I'd appreciate it, and I hope you'll love whatever you choose!

Yours, after a week of 18 hour days,


ps. for those interested, I'll be sharing more "behind the scenes" stuff on art creation, creativity in general, and so on, so make sure to bookmark the site and I'll do my best to share some of the things I've learned these past few decades. Also, always let me know what you'd like to know more of. I really want to help and the best way to do that is to know what it is you need. :)


Saturday, March 26, 2011

iPad 2 - Creation Tool

Well, I finally did it. I broke down and got the iPad 2. It's amazing. I've seen it in stores, I've clicked the little icons, but something about owning one, customizing it, making it your very own.

That's powerful.

So of course, one of the first things I did was draw.

Here it is:

What I've found is that contrary to what I've been hearing, I'm actually not that interested in watching movies or YouTube, I'm just right in there wanting to create, create, create! The sketch above was rendered in SketchBook Pro.

More to come.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gretel Parker - Her First Book!

I have an online artist friend named Gretel Parker. We ran into each other (digitally, at least) many years ago and have been supportive fans of each other the whole time. I am so very proud of her as she has just released her first book, "Mrs. Mouse's Cupcakes, a Puddletown Tale".

If you are not familiar with Gretel Parker's artwork, prepare yourself for whimsy and delight. Her work has never failed to make me smile.

And I think you'll smile, too!

Congratulations, Gretel and here's to more and more Puddletown Tales to come until we are all sick of just how cute and sweet and funny it all is! Until then, go buy her book!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

All You Amazing People!

I want to ask you something.

Over the years I've been asked to give personal art lessons. Instead I've been going to schools, doing workshops, and using my art as both a teaching tool and as a way to promote cooperation in communities. For me art has not just been about painting a picture, but something I feel is far more important.

Art has been my path to reach a deeper understanding of what it takes to be successful both professionally and personally.

I've had my highs and lows and learned A LOT along the way and nothing gets me more excited and to feel more in purpose with my life than to share these things.

My question is simple:

Would this be something you'd be interested in hearing about? Would it be of value if I were to put together the most important things I've learned about art and provide them to you?

I'm talking about people with no skills who are just starting out.

I'm also talking about artists who are further along and want to learn the final keys that I believe would work for anyone to take their work to the next level.

And even more important I'm talking about learning powerful ways of thinking about life and creativity that let you leave your troubles behind and open up to all the wayyy more awesome things in store for you!

Basically, I'm talking about a few simple steps that will improve your art, your career and your life.

I have decades of experience and feel like I really want to share it on a larger stage than I have been.

So what would you like to learn? What would be the biggest questions you have and the most important things you've always wanted to get a handle on or get better at? Please leave a comment below to let me know. I want to create something special that will really help people.

Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Creative Secrets - Episode 1 - Test Episode

Well, here it is, my experimental first attempt at a vlog. Bear with me as I'm learning the ropes, but please do share this with friends, click the old 'thumbs up' icon under the video on the YouTube page and throw it around in Facebook while you're at it!

If this generates enough interest, I'll go ahead with planning out more episodes.

One thing I've learned: Maybe not so much the filming under yellow light.

And remember: Feedback would be awesome and appreciated!


Monday, February 07, 2011

Northern Pastoral

16" x 24"
Mixed Media on Canvas

This is a painting for my wife's sister. Included are her husband, their little baby and their even littler pup. She is beckoning from the distance and above it all is the spirit of their grandfather, a happy man in life, and even more satisfied now seeing how amazing his grandchildren have become. There is sweetgrass burning at the bottom of the painting in constant thanks, prayer and purification.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Sci Fi Friday

Somehow I've Always Known
9" x 12"
Mixed Media
on Watercolour Paper

I grew up in the 80's.

That means that my chances of being a kid completely obsessed with Star Wars was pretty good. And obsessed I was.

My older brother had an 8mm camera and he and his friend used to make stop motion movies recreating the battle scenes on Hoth, strafing missions, etc.

My younger brother had all the toys. All of Them.

For me, the mythology, the archetypes...they got mixed in with every other belief system I was exposed to.

And so we have this painting. I've always wanted to do my own interpretation of classic Star Wars characters but there just didn't seem to be the time. I'm glad I finally got around to it.

Here we see the Princess Leia. She is clothed in green and rather than the young virginal damsel in distress, I have chosen to portray her as someone more wise, more in keeping with a woman born with the genetic disposition to feel the energy of all living things. She is in the midst of a waking dream which she will not remember on a conscious level, but will instead become an instinctive knowing. As events unfold, they will seem destined, as though she had been there before.

Instead of the brassy, 70's child Carrie Fisher portrayed, I have given her a wisdom borne of life under an autocratic thumb, always living with one face in public, but concealing a deep, rich inner life filled with her own thoughts and aspirations, bearing the fate of millions upon her skill at navigating between two worlds.

One day in the future she will receive news that will change the course of an already tumultuous life and rather than balk at it or attempt to explain it away she will state quietly and simply, "I know. Somehow I've always known."

However, let's keep in mind she will also utter such nuggets as, "I'd just as soon kiss a Wookie," but I digress.


Thursday, February 03, 2011


Mama - In Progress
Ink and Graphite on Paper

Today I thought I'd share with you a work in progress. I draw, but rarely consider the drawings a finished work of art. I'm trying to overcome that self imposed bias. I'm thinking about adding a few washes of colour to this piece once the inking is complete.

In working on a few pieces like this lately Ive found I've had to let go of the crutch of colour and paint (which it really can become!) and rely on the concept, the learned skill of a steady hand and deliberate mark making. I've had to allow my idea to be stripped bare of it's multi-hued clothing and stand on it's own.

Creating art tends to draw my focus inward and I inevitably begin asking what other crutches I'm using in life, what other ways am I "dressing things up" so that I don't have to look at the stark truth.

Am I being honest enough? Am I being open enough?

It's in the the places we feel most vulnerable that we have the opportunity for the most growth so I welcome the questions. And, just like getting down to work on a drawing, I can get down to work on being more loving, supportive and giving to those around me, but even more importantly, to myself.

That's right! All the good qualities you want to share with other people, just heap them onto yourself. Give yourself patience, time, love, motivation and ALL that awesome good stuff.

If you're selfish with yourself, how can you be generous with others? Well, let's be honest- it all starts with you. Be healthy, happy, joyful and super cool. Then spread it around like Nutella.

Can you dig it?


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mist on the Mountainside

Mist on the Mountainside
Digital (iPhone + Brushes App)

Here's a quick piece I created on my iPhone using the Brushes App. I'm actually a closet watercolourist but still working on my skills. I found the interface easy to use but the screen 'real estate' far too small. This is what would prompt me toward an iPad, creating quick sketches in full colour any time any place.


I love the mountains. When I was younger I would get an overpowering urge to return. We lived hours away on the plains and I would squint at the clouds on the horizon, imagining them to be a wall of stone and valley. As I grew older I was able to make my way there on my own, even to the extent of making the choice of living under their shadow, training as a goldsmith in the Waterton Valley.

I saw the many and sudden changes in the weather, the shifts from rain to sunshine and then to snow, all in a day.

I walked seldom used trails, scaling higher and higher until there were no more trees, just me, the wind, and the eagle.

I explored the valley depths, the secret pools and whispering streams. Clean, cold water flowing silkily over moss covered rocks.

I spoke with the animals, with a distant wolf, the bear, a cougar up in a tree who considered me for lunch but for reasons unknown changed menu plans. The birds were my constant companions and the fragile forest floor was home to the most exquisite, delicate flowers.

In the years that have passed, I see now that the mountains were my cure for a deep and aching pain that left untreated would have lead to insanity. They took my anxiety, fears and hurt away from me and gave me in turn a solid place to return to in my life, my thoughts, and my dreams.

I still return for short periods of time at least once a year. Where others see recreation, I see the place where I was wild, the place where I left behind the world and became a child of the forest. I see my place of healing and the fields of my awakening.

I learned that I can control nothing, manage nothing, save for myself. I learned I have a choice and that life is nothing but choices. I learned about laziness, excuses, blindness. I learned that the poison of one life can be passed to new, innocent lives and that this poison really can be drawn out of us.

We are all poisoned before we have a chance to choose, just as our parents were and their parents were. This poison can cause us to behave in irrational, desperate ways. Until we accept this we'll live by the will of the poison, and not by our own will.

Accept it and the healing already starts to happen.

The Rocky Mountains drew out my poison and gave me the gift of thinking on my own, of making decisions that were healthy, and giving me patience in the face of other people's poison.

We can all heal. And then we can heal all.

The Mist on the Mountainside is an expression of my gratitude and humility before nature. It represents where I was, where I went and where I am going. Those mountains clad and caressed by the ethereal clouds are the safeguards of my soul.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

More from the archives

Life Seeks It's Reflection
Mixed Media on Canvas

Here is a little more from my conversation with my sons and wife.

In talking about miracles - and life in the universe - the question came up as it always will: Why? What's it all for? Is God a guy with a beard?

Well, I can't answer these questions for anyone. The search for the answers is what can come to define the shape of your life, so I leave that entirely up to you. All I know is what I know.

In my own meditations and dreaming I have found that it is all a beautiful, timeless weave, everything touches everything eventually. We are a fabric, a song.

We are life's longing for itself, the universe seeking it's own reflection. I look at you and I see the spark of the divine in you. I see that you are not only a part of creation, you are creation fulfilled. You are the dreaming creator. So am I. So is everyone and everything. Behind the mask of our physical forms lies the underlying and awesome truth: we are all the same.

When you look down past molecules, past electrons, past quarks, and so on, you come to it. The place where there is nothing. A vast emptiness. It is neither cold, nor warm. Neither dark nor light. It is the place where the dream of existence originates.

There is no dichotomy or good or evil or right or wrong. All is one with no judgments.

Where do our prayers go? Where does our meditation take us? Could it be that place where nothing is written, where all things are possible?

Could there have been nothing and so at the same time everything?

Could it be that we are the mind of the universe? That we are it's senses? That if that is so, then perhaps one day we will know the slow burning thoughts of a star, the great song of a galaxy and witness the dance of a trillion souls in endless variety, played out against this cosmic playground.

But for now it's enough to look at a leaf, breathe in the air, feel the beating of your own heart. For now, listen to the silence, for it too is a song. Watch a mote of dust spinning through the air, pushed by nothing but the warmth of the sun through a windowpane. You are watching an entire reality float by in the late afternoon light.

For now breathe and let love be your truth. It's enough. Indeed, it's all there is.


Monday, January 31, 2011

From the Archives

The Old Saint
Mixed Media on Canvas

I painted this last year for a friend who really loves art, collects art and is just a good all round guy.

It's an old spiritual man, a saint, listening to the whisperings of the spirits of the land. In Old Europe, Christianity was pretty much the only option for spiritual expression, so I really respect these old saints who tried to do what good they were able in their time. They were deep thinkers, clear writers, and really did their best to peer past the world we take for granted to understand the wonder that connects it all.

In front of him lies an illuminated manuscript. As Stephen King has said, telepathy exists and we call it books. We can literally read the minds of those who wrote their thoughts out for us.

I believe everyone has something to offer. The problem is we think we have to be experts or create the Most Amazing Thing Ever! If everyone who put themselves out there thought that, we'd live in a truly desolate creative landscape.

Whatever you have to give, give it now. There's no better day to offer your gift than today, and whether the audience is great or small doesn't matter. The truth is, whatever you do will pass through the years, through the generations and one day just might be the thing that changes someone's life. We can never know what it will be or when it will happen.

So just create!

Offer what you can.

And let it go.