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NNSL Photo/graphic

Archie Beaulieu will work on a series of Dene art, such as these gloves and slippers, in the new year. He was in Yellowknife at the Nor-Art Gallery to sign copies of his work last week. - Andrea Markey/NNSL photo

Painting words on canvas

Andrea Markey
Northern News Services

Rae-Edzo (Dec 12/05) - After painting for more than a quarter century, Archie Beaulieu has learned a lot about himself and his art.

This month he is making time to share in words what he paints on canvas.

Beaulieu met with art lovers in Yellowknife last week while showcasing his latest work at Nor-Art Gallery. On Dec. 14 and 15, he is holding a one-man show at the elementary school in Rae.

"I used to be really shy and quiet behind the table," he said. "But people who buy the work want to know about it. For people who are born artists, describing things in words can be hard sometimes."

But words are where he gets his inspiration for his paintings. His art is based on the stories and legends he hears from elders.

The self-taught artist's only formal training involved 30 days at the Banff School of Fine Arts. The experience taught him how to mix colours and shades.

"I've learned a lot since then," he said.

After the holidays, Beaulieu plans to continue work on another series of paintings that will capture images of Dene women's artwork, such as beaded slippers.

Each region in the NWT has different designs that he would like to paint, he said. Another series he will start in the new year will explore the theme of teaching and learning. These paintings will feature elders engaged in traditional practices while children look on.

Beaulieu is known for his prints. He chooses which paintings get made into prints and how many of each are made.

"We try to keep the number low, like 395," he said.

His prints are all hand-pulled silk-screen by B.C. artist John Revill.