Heli-painting in the Purcells

View from Rocky Point Basin

After working for over 10 years as a heli-hiking guide for Canadian Mountain Holidays in many of their secluded mountain areas, the one that remains closest to my heart is the spectacular Bugaboo region of the Purcell Mountains. My time spent leading clients through this challenging and awesome terrain has given me intimate knowledge of the beauty and inspiration that abounds here.

In September 2010, Robert Genn and I taught an inaugural plein air workshop in the Bugaboos. We used the helicopter to lift us quickly (3000 vertical feet in less than 10 minutes) to high, stunning vantages. It was a life changing experience for many, the trip of a lifetime for others, and a unique painting opportunity for everyone involved. In 2013 we completed our 4th annual trip, and each year it gains in popularity.

Shortly after our 2013 trip, Robert was diagnosed with cancer. We discussed at length what direction we wanted heli-painting to take from here, and determined that we felt very strongly it was a distinctive workshop experience that should continue.

We discussed what artists might best complement the kind of teaching and painting experience we have created, and for 2014 we have invited Stephen Quiller to co-instruct. Stephen is a very accomplished studio and plein air artist who has taught painting to hundreds of students, and has developed a proven approach for creating transformative shifts in the students he works with.

Our goal is to continue to share with you a remarkable painting experience, and send you home with records of time spent in very sacred, magical places – stories in brushstrokes that will most certainly last a lifetime.

Heli-painting is a rewarding and challenging experience that can’t help but grow you as a painter – it has become a “bucket list” opportunity for adventurous artists looking to expand their range while connecting with like minded souls. If you’d like to join us next yearplease click here for full details and booking information.

Photo Gallery:

2010 heli-painting trip photos
2011 heli-painting trip photos

CMH article and interview


A Highly Unique Workshop Experience:

Our trip begins in Banff, AB. You might want to book an extra day or two up front to take advantage of the spectacular plein air painting opportunities in the Banff area. On the morning of September 4th we board CMH’s transport to the heli-pad, and the start of our backcountry painting adventure.

Once at the lodge, our 3 workshop days will include flights to spectacular painting locations during the day and engaging fireside conversations in the evenings.  Each day the helicopter will lift us to uniquely breathtaking locations. Throughout the day we will work on developing our skills as painters. We will discuss the elements to consider when trying to fit the whole, wonderful outdoors within the 4 borders of a canvas, including important aspects of color, value, design, and technique.

Stephen and Liz will be doing painting demos and offering you exercises to target specific painting challenges, and will be available to you for guidance and instruction throughout the day. You will benefit from taking on challenges outside of your comfort zone – and connecting with the deeply rewarding experience that can only come from standing in the landscape painting directly from life.

The evenings will be centered on camaraderie and relaxation. Upon arriving home at the cozy and luxurious Bobbie Burns Lodge, you will be greeted with savoury post-painting snacks and refreshments. There will also be time for a hot shower, or a massage with the lodge’s therapist, followed by an evening gourmet meal. Afterwards, we will settle in together to share ideas and talk art – this is your opportunity to further deepen the learning from your days out.

If you want to talk directly to Stephen about this workshop, please phone (719) 588-5313.
If you want to talk directly to Liz, please phone 403-763-9035.

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