Reflections on Miles Canyon in Art

The 20th Century artist Marc Chagall once stated, “Great art picks up where nature ends.”

After organizing this year’s Miles Canyon In Art event, hosted by the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS), I certainly agree.

On Friday July 25, and Saturday July 26, Deanna Bailey, Amber Church, Marie-Helene Comeau, Heidi Hehn, and Blair Thorson stationed themselves at various locations along the Miles Canyon trails to create art directly inspired by their surroundings.

Some painted magnificently realistic landscapes, some painted colourful abstracts, and some even created what they deemed “two-point-five dimensional” clay landscapes. No matter what medium or style each artist chose, they were masters of their craft, and, more importantly, each artist was noticeably happy to be outside, alongside fellow artists.

At first I questioned the logic of hosting an art event outside — Friday morning’s weather was quite miserable, and it was forecasted to remain similar all weekend.

Nonetheless, all artists arrived cheerful and started working away without complaining. Even visitors were unfazed by the undesirable weather. But by the afternoon the sun was shining and Miles Canyon was a more beautiful place to be.

Through this event YCS was able to connect the public with Yukon’s landscape, and history, through art. Visitors had a chance to interact with the artists, and witness the creation of art from start to finish. Some visitors were interested in learning painting techniques from the artists, while others were interested in the artists themselves.

Witnessing each artist advance their work over the course of two days was a treat — they explicitly mentioned how rare it is for them to create art in public. To start with a blank canvas, and to finish with an artistic creation, is remarkable.

Nobody wanted to go home on Saturday afternoon. Everyone was entirely content and at peace, happily working away while conversing with anyone who came by. One artist even stayed at Miles Canyon for a few extra hours to perfect their artwork.

Working with Yukon artists is an incredible privilege; they are truly passionate people that strive to create meaningful art and to support one another. Each artist captured the beautiful and powerful essence of Miles Canyon that resonates with so many of us.

If you missed this event or are interested in seeing the finished pieces of work, Rah Rah Gallery in downtown Whitehorse will be exhibiting all the art created at this event throughout August.

If you want to learn more about other events YCS organizes, visit or call 668-5678.

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