Halin de Repentigny is an acclaimed artist with paintings held in national and international collections. Originally from Montreal, Halin first made his name when he moved to Dawson City, Yukon. He became well known for his depictions of life in Canada’s Klondike, interpreting the beauty and majesty of the remote northern wilderness and capturing it on canvas. Through the early years spent living on the land in the far north Halin continued to paint the world he had grown to love. His love of landscape, colour and light is now manifested in his winter home in Patagonia, Argentina while the Klondike summers continue to inspire his work.
After more than forty years of painting Halin’s style is mature and confident. His textures are sophisticated, luxurious and luminescent. Halin says, “the right light is like a jewel, I know a painting works when it creates its own light.” The light Halin refers to gives his images a layered glass effect, producing tension and drama, which is highlighted by tonal contrasts accentuating the vibrancy of colour.
For Halin an artist should always be evolving, “especially as a painter, you should be getting better and better, and you should see the change. If the painter is doing the same as 20 years ago, something is wrong - he’s stagnant.”
The immediacy of the environment is now Halin’s canvas, and he demonstrates that in his innate ability for style, proportion, light and the courage to experiment and paint from the heart without knowing the outcome. “When I go into my studio or go outside to paint I never know what I am going to do. Most of my painting is impulsive, driven by emotion. I feel that after all this time, I am just starting to truly understand how my emotion is transferred to the canvas.”
For me, painting is a necessity, just like talking. I speak four different languages and painting is the only one where I don’t make a fool of myself.
I come from a very poor background (by Canadian standards) with little formal education. When I was 10 years old a family friend gave me a few old tubes of oil paint and I painted my first piece of work, a Greek village scene that I copied out of an encyclopedia. I painted it on an old piece of canvas that I stretched over a window frame I found in the alley behind our Montreal home. At the time my Mom was a waitress in a Greek restaurant and she took me to show my painting to the owner. He loved it and he bought it from me for $75. This was 1969 so that was a fortune for me. I decided right there and then that I would become a painter and make my way in the world through my art. Even without a lot of formal education, and no formal art training, I was full of confidence and a hunger to create and learn from my own experiences. Here was a way to make money doing what I liked and what I was the best at!
Today painting is my vocation and my passion. After 45 years of painting I feel like I’m only scratching the surface of what my inner energy needs to create. I will paint as long as I can and hopefully that’s long enough to become the very best I can be.