Painting Outdoors
Image courtesy Cory Trépanier

by Cory Trépanier

In Norse mythology, Asgard is the dwelling place of the gods. In real life, it’s a spectacular flat-topped mountain hidden amongst the glacier-strewn landscapes of Baffin Island, deep in the Canadian Arctic.

I first heard about this magical place over a decade ago, and came within 25 kilometers of it during a plein air painting expedition in 2007. Due to circumstances, I was unable to reach Mount Asgard at the time, and instead turned my focus to painting Mount Thor — the highest sheer rock face on the planet. It was an incredible consolation prize that led to a 9 foot by 5 foot canvas I painted after returning to my studio.

Years passed, and my internationally touring “Into the Arctic” exhibition (which commenced January 2017) extended from two years in duration to four. As a result, I needed more paintings. I needed to head back to the Arctic.

Painting Outdoors

Thus, after a decade, I would finally have the opportunity to come face to face with the great Asgard, and to find an inspiring view that could lead to a large companion piece for my Thor painting.

This past July, it all happened. Accompanied by my 19-year-old daughter, Sydney, we hiked over 100 kilometers through the stunning landscapes of the Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island for two weeks. It was inspiring, but also one of the most physically demanding expeditions I’ve ever done. I lost almost a pound a day carrying my 90-pound-plus backpack, which was loaded with camping gear, food, cameras, my half-box french easel and box of painting panels. But it was all worth it.

VIDEO > It was such an incredible experience that I had to make “Asgard Awaits,” a short, rough film to share the journey with you. I hope you enjoy:

I cannot wait to share the Canadian Arctic with Montana! After exhibition openings and a film screening in Bozeman, I will be heading south to do a little plein air painting in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for my first time. I’m excited to connect firsthand with luminaries of art history like Thomas Moran and Ansel Adams, artists who have been a great inspiration to me throughout the years.

See the Arctic in Bozeman, Montana! The “Into the Arctic” exhibition opens September 22 at the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of the Rockies.

Painting Outdoors

From the Museum:

Cory Trépanier is a Canadian artist and filmmaker who has been exploring and painting Canada’s Arctic for over a decade (

The culmination of his journeys is the “Into the Arctic” Exhibition Tour, a timely and unprecedented body of work that preserves and shares on canvas one of the most fragile, remote, and spectacular regions of our planet —a landscape undergoing great change.

Painting Outdoors

The exhibition premiered at the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C. in January 2017, had its Canadian premiere in Vancouver in January 2018, and will now have a European premiere in Monaco in the summer of 2019, at the invitation of the Prince Albert II Foundation and Monaco’s ambassador. To date there are 11 museums on the itinerary.

This exhibition showcases an unprecedented collection of over 50 Arctic oil paintings and three films, from four expeditions to the furthest reaches of the Arctic. Highlighting the collection is 15-foot-wide “Great Glacier,” quite possibly the largest Arctic landscape painting in Canada’s history.

Painting Outdoors

The “Into the Arctic” exhibition is at the Museum of the Rockies September 22, 2018, to January 27, 2019. For more information, including other tour exhibition locations, please visit

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