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"An Unbroken Spirit"
paintings by Aaron Paquette
November 17 2012 Artist in attendance from 2 to 4pm

Bearclaw Gallery
10403-124 Street
Edmonton, Alberta

An Unbroken Spirit

This art show is about 2 things

The first is my beautiful wife who nearly lost her life in a terrible car accident on May 30, 2012. She suffered a shattered spinal column, all her ribs were broken, her left wrist was snapped and her jaw was fractured in two. Collapsed lungs, contusions on her internal organs and on and on.

The nurse who lived in a house at the scene and who called me on the phone was so brave and calm, but confided later that she was certain that my wife was going to die.

But the art is not about the accident. The art is about everything that happened after the accident.

A post I made on Facebook to tell family and friends about what had happened went viral and was seen by millions of people around the world. They prayed for Clarice. They sent healing, they meditated and sent warm thoughts.

Today she is walking, She is healing. And she is working hard, pushing her body, safely and under supervision, but pushing hard to get strong. Next summer she will walk a marathon.

She has shown me how fragile and how strong life is, both at the same time.

You have shown us how good the world is, despite media messages telling us otherwise.

The second thing this show is about is my mixed heritage.

It's about the lessons I learned from growing up halfbreed. It's the reconciliation of cultures and the wisdom that lives in the space between.

It's also about survival. It's also about spirit.

I painted these works a few years ago and since that time they've been travelling around Alberta, a province larger than the United Kingdom. After years away, they return home, and are now a part of this show and open to the public at large.

Combined, these two themes talk about the resiliency of the spirit, about how a body or a people can be crushed but rise up and push to get stronger and more vital.

I see the flowering of my wife's health happening at a time when the culture of my father's people is growing, venturing outside the shadows of pain, shame, and attempted decimation. Out into the light of a thousand fires, burning in hearts across the land. This fire will ignite a movement.

There is no anger in any of it, Only awareness. Only heart. Only an eye for the gift of life.

And what a gift it is, if we let it be.

So please come out to my show, or if you live far away, attend in spirit and online.

We'll be glad to see you.

Hiy Hiy

Aaron Paquette
November 2012



*now I think I should have called it "A Spirit Unbroken"

oh well. :)
An exhibition of new works by
Aaron Paquette

Opening Reception on Saturday, October 1, 2011
with the artist in attendance
from 2pm - 4pm

Exhibition continues to October 13

How long have we been at war? How long have we been trying to build these bridges between us? Between cultures, economies, sorrows? How long have we painted masks on our faces, bright colours belying dangerous times? Too, too long. Come stand with me. I live where the war is over. I have painted it. I have painted it so we can see the future. I have painted the beautiful places where we can live instead of dying on the terrible fields of where we have been. Come lay down your burdens and stay awhile, here where you don't have to be anyone but your self. Take off your masks. It's safe here, and you are loved. My War Paint is off.

All You Amazing People!

Journal Entry: Mon Mar 14, 2011, 9:14 PM
I want to ask you something.

Over the years I've been asked to give personal art lessons. Instead I've been going to schools, doing workshops, and using my art as both a teaching tool and as a way to promote cooperation in communities. For me art has not just been about painting a picture, but something I feel is far more important.

Art has been my path to reach a deeper understanding of what it takes to be successful both professionally and personally.

I've had my highs and lows and learned A LOT along the way and nothing gets me more excited and to feel more in purpose with my life than to share these things.

My question is simple:

Would this be something you'd be interested in hearing about? Would it be of value if I were to put together the most important things I've learned about art and provide them to you?

I'm talking about people with no skills who are just starting out.

I'm also talking about artists who are further along and want to learn the final keys that I believe would work for anyone to take their work to the next level.

And even more important I'm talking about learning powerful ways of thinking about life and creativity that let you leave your troubles behind and open up to all the wayyy more awesome things in store for you!

Basically, I'm talking about a few simple steps that will improve your art, your career and your life.

I have decades of experience and feel like I really want to share it on a larger stage than I have been.

So what would you like to learn? What would be the biggest questions you have and the most important things you've always wanted to get a handle on or get better at? Please leave a comment below to let me know. I want to create something special that will really help people.

Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you.


My first YouTube!

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 12, 2011, 10:31 PM
Here's the link:

comment, share, like!


Star Wars

Journal Entry: Thu Feb 3, 2011, 12:13 PM
I wish someone would make a t-shirt with Chewie and Han playing pool. "Rack 'em up, fuzzball."

Ebb and Flow

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 24, 2011, 12:03 AM
I try to be workmanlike with my art. In fact, it's the only thing that has sustained me over the long haul. Setting myself tasks to accomplish, making sure I am doing all the little things every day, it's what separates a starving artist from one who enjoys regular meals (when they remember to eat them!).

But to be honest, I'm not an artist because I am made to rock it out in the business management world.

This means that sometimes I fall flat on my face. I completely forget about emails, I get frozen up with depression or malaise or just simple burn out. It happens.

And it's okay.

Eventually the difficulties fade and I emerge able to face the day. I get back on the horse, pull my socks up, shave those sideburns, whatever it takes and I'm off to the races again. But that black dog waiting in the wings? Man oh man. It's a purely internal struggle and difficult to share. How does someone else relieve you of your own brain chemistry?

Anyway, I'm writing this just to let whoever's reading it know that if you ever get this way you're not alone. Your not alone and you'll be okay. It's all just part of the cycle.

Maybe you're bummed because you missed a deadline or let someone down. Worst, it's almost impossible to admit *why* because when you're in that state it just feels so....damned shameful. But the world goes on. You'll go on, and the people who are upset will hopefully understand and get over it. If not, well, you can only do your best.

So, take some vitamin D, exercise, offer your time and energy to others just so you can have the relief of getting out of your own head for a few hours, and eventually the worst will be over. If it doesn't get better after all that, see a doctor, especially if you think you're the only sane person left in the world, then DEFINITELY go see a doctor.

Take care of yourself.

Shifting Patterns

Journal Entry: Thu May 27, 2010, 11:26 PM
From artifact to craft to contemporary artwork, Canada's First Nations have been breaking the molds history has placed on them and are claiming their right to their past and their future. World-renowned artist Alex Janvier set the stage for generations of new artists, pioneering a stunning new direction in Canadian painting. George Littlechild's  poignant explorations of family and identity take us forward into this new world. His paintings give voice and pride to a more open view of Euro-Indigenous relations. Bert Crowfoot - publisher, writer and photographer - captures the world through his lens in his stunning photographic work. Dianne  Meili  engages in an exploration of clay work and sculpture, putting a modern twist on an ancient artform. Paul Smith, painter and curator, challenges our notions of communication and personal meanings. Finally, Heather Shillinglaw takes us back to her roots with mixed media paintings that bring to mind the patterns on a kokum's dress, the medicines from the land, and the flowering of a new era.

From past to present and looking to our shared future, these artists are part of a growing voice that embraces our history and reclaims our purpose, strength and unity. Shifting attitudes, shifting perceptions and shifting thoughts. They reflect the changing pattern of our society and light the way as we go forward together. ~Aaron Paquette, Guest Curator

Please join us for the Opening Reception and Art Exhibition on Thursday, June 3rd from 6 to 9pm. Musical entertainment provided by Visionary Entertainment Inc. Opening Reception takes place with the 8th Annual St.Albert Artwalk.

The Bearclaw Gallery presents:

Journal Entry: Fri May 14, 2010, 1:42 PM
Half Breed Culture
New Works by Aaron Paquette

So yes, it's true. My first solo show in Edmonton City in a couple years is about to begin. I would be so happy and so honoured to see you come out and take a look at what I've been working on for the past while. I'll be there from 1-4pm and look forward to it!



Bearclaw Gallery
10403-124 Street
Edmonton, AB


TEL: 1+(780) 482-1204
FAX: 1+(780) 488-0928

Gallery Hours:
Monday - Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Well, I've finally finished and now you can buy my Halfbreed Tees!

Guaranteed to make you One Thousand times more attractive...


Anyway, here are the links to the news feed:

And to the store, where I may have mentioned, you can buy a shirt!



Have fun!

A Quick Thought For The Day!

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 22, 2009, 11:40 AM
The more you make and create - the more energy you expend - the deeper that channel runs until it just flows and never stops.  Just like priming a pump, you have to pour some of that water in the well before you can draw that abundant supply out.

Sometimes that "life" block we experience is when we're just sitting around waiting
to be inspired, when all along we have been our own best inspiration. Honest! Just take a look in a mirror and see that deep, beautiful, mysterious YOU looking out from behind those fantastic eyes of yours - you're pretty awesome! :)

A Challenge!

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 15, 2009, 12:05 PM
Well, I got zero entries for my contest.  None at all.

So, for the time being, I'll use the same graphic on my podcast until I can figure out a better motivating challenge.


In the meantime, I am planning on giving tips to budding and established artists alike and have a good stockpile of them after 20+ years of creating, but I'm always looking for more.

So, if you have any good ideas that can make the process of creating easier for people, or you just have a good, simple project, let me know about them.

If I use your idea, I'll give you a plug on the podcast.

Here's the iTunes link:…


If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

Podcast and Contest!! (or how to win a print )

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 2, 2009, 11:11 AM
Hi Everyone!

I've begun podcasting about art.  I hope you enjoy it, subscribe to it, and please feel free to leave me some feedback with your ideas, tips and ideas.

What would you like to hear more about?  Is there anything important you feel I should address in the future?  What would be of help for your career, or do you even want a career in the arts?

The more you can help me, the better shows I can create.  I'll be interviewing top artists in every field I can think of, so hopefully we get to everyone's particular niche as we go along.

here's the link:

and here's the blog:



And now for the contest.

My brother is already working on a better musical opening (I created the current one on GarageBand and "current" isn't the word for it!)

What I DO need is a better graphic for the show.  It will go up on the eventual website, will be used on the podcast and will be seen on iPods and mp3 players around the world. I'll give you credit in a future podcast and on the blog (and the website once it goes up).

I could probably come up with it myself, but where's the fun in that?  I want to see your creativity shine!  Now, if that wasn't enough, I'll also throw in a 9" x 12" -ish print of your choice from my print gallery.

Deadline is January 15th, so not a lot of time, but it is a small graphic.

Rules are that it must utilize my art and identify both myself and the show very clearly.  A max of 3 entries per person, but otherwise....have fun!



If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

Thank You!

Journal Entry: Fri Dec 19, 2008, 5:37 PM
Hey, thanks to everyone who has bought prints in the past, it really means a lot to me.  It's not really the money (what? money on DeviantArt??), but the gesture.  I am humbled by the thought that you want to put my work on your wall, or give as a gift, or whatever you're using it for!  Holding up a window?

Anyway, again, thanks.  Now if only thousands and thousands of you would order something, then we're talking chee$eburger$!




If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

That Christmas season

Journal Entry: Thu Dec 4, 2008, 11:55 AM
It's a beautiful time of year.  The first snows are falling, the air is chill and biting, the days are dark and short.

But everyone nestles in, thinks of family and friends, and what's better than hot chocolate on a cold, windy night?

To those who are lonely, or having a tough time: mine, and many other people's thoughts are with you, and I hope that love reaches you in your worst times, just a small sense that maybe tomorrow will be better than today.


If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…


Journal Entry: Sat Nov 15, 2008, 9:35 PM
Hey everyone,

I've just had some devastating news that has completely changed my world and my life.

It has been a blessing!  I was already on a path to freeing myself from my fears, and choosing love and gratitude as my constant state, and this upset tipped right over into it.  In essence I have had an awakening and found out that the me who has no fears was always there, and now has stepped out into the light.

I would love to share that with you in the form of a painting commission (sadly I'm not yet able to paint for free!)

I'm open to just about anything and I'd be very happy to make something for you.

Drop me a line and we'll get it going.  I almost never do this, so it's a chance to get something rare and since my art is appreciating every year, it's also something that will hold it's worth both for your love of it, and also as an object of art.

Anyway, that's about it.  I can only take a limited number at present, so if you want something, let me know as soon as you can before the spots fill up.

Thanks so much,



If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

The Beast

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 3, 2008, 9:54 AM
I have a beast inside me.

For a long time, I didn't know this.

I thought that the way I felt about things, my words and my actions...they were all normal. I thought the way I saw life was just reality and there was nothing I could do about it.

I thought darkness, misery and pain were the usual - and happiness, love and light were rare things, and not necessarily to be trusted. The betrayal was coming.

I thought that people who seemed to always be happy, or relaxed, or generous, or kind were fakes. Phoneys. What did they want, anyway?

Was I born with those attitudes? No. I was a really happy child, I remember that. Every day was special and exciting! No, I grew into those bleak thoughts. I had someone in my life who believed those thoughts, so for a while, I started to believe them, too. After all, there was a lot of evidence to back up my pessimism wasn't there?

This world can be a bleak place, and it can feel like there's no hope. Oh, people talk about it, but when you're in a place where you're scared, or poor, or addicted, or alone...what does hope mean?

And so the beast would lash out. The beast would use people, the beast would hurt people, the beast would pull a black veil over my eyes and wrap me in the comfort of misery, because there is a comfort in it: it's predictable. You know it'll be there.

And that's the world I lived in. And I was in despair.

They say that change is easy, that the hard part is coming to that decision to change.

I knew something was wrong, and I knew that I didn't want to be there - in darkness - anymore. I also knew that there were two ways out. Death was one of them, but by the grace of all that is good, I chose the other way.

I chose Life.

And at the moment I made that decision, the shadow over my soul lifted a bit and for a while I was happy, I was light. But the beast didn't want happiness, the beast wanted it's dark cave, it wanted to feed on misery. Any and all misery. It wanted the darkness of dark music, it wanted the violence of death played in front of my eyes with movies and tv, it wanted to rage and be strong and be forceful! The beast wanted my damned life!

And I regret to say, I gave it back to him. But a part of me refused, a part of me kept trying to fight it, and so, like hiking out of the mountains, I would climb out of one shaded valley into the blue, far-seeing sky, open and free - only to find myself descending again. Oh, how many times was it repeated?

How could I get out of the valley for good?

How could I live in the clean blue air?

My problem, you see, was that I didn't know I had a beast in me. Like I said, I thought the beast was my very own soul. I didn't yet understand that the beast was devouring me like a parasite.

I started getting hints.

I came to a point one day where I was yelling at someone I loved dearly, and I realized I didn't even care about what I was arguing so fiercely. It didn't really matter and it was a small thing anyway. It was a really strange feeling, knowing that I was watching this beast roar and stare and eat the sadness it was making, while at the same time I was watching it all happen, completely aware of what I was doing.

I started noticing this more and more.

And then, one day, I just told the beast to stop, and it did. I calmed right down, immediately, and said words that I truly meant, and weren't just to get me out of trouble.

I said, "I'm sorry."

And my life changed. Just like that, in an instant.

Don't get me wrong, I still got angry, depressed, lonely, mean - but it was easier and easier to say to myself, "Hey, that's not me. That's the beast. Me? I'm really good. I love people. I love life, and I love this whole universe!"

I'll tell you a secret. Once you start loving like I started loving, the shadow falls from your eyes. The darkness leaves your spirit and your thoughts. The light gets in and the entire universe is free to love you right back, just like it did when you were a child. You stop pushing everything away.

The other secret, though, is that it isn't always easy. I still wrestle with that beast from time to time. When things get tough, I still hear the beast whisper in my ear trying to get me to do something that will hurt me, or someone else. Once in a while, that beast wins. I lose my temper, or I feel like someone insulted me, or that someone stole from me, or whatever. I get all attached to things or my feelings of wanting to be respected, or at least noticed. I want my own way and fight to get it, even if it's stupid.

Yes, that old beast slips out from time to time.

What I'm learning is that the reason he can escape is because I've been keeping him locked up, in chains. I'm trying to give myself a chance to change, but I haven't been giving the beast a chance.

Instead of soothing the beast, I've been sidestepping him. Why? Because the beast isn't me!!

It's not, is it?

Well, actually, I think it is. The beast, I think, was actually only trying to protect me all this time, it just got confused as to what was worthy of protection. When I look at it, the beast just wanted to protect me from other people's ability to hurt me. It wanted me to fight! To dull my senses, to escape, to be in charge.

The beast wanted me to be the fucking number one gangster, because then no one would fuck with me.


Oh my formed when I was a child and only know the fear of a child. You only understand the simplest things a child would know.

"Stronger people can hurt me."
"Pain is bad."
"I'm not protected."

And so:

"I need to be the strongest."
"I need to cause the pain instead, and dull my own pain completely"
"I will protect myself."

It's time, beast, for you to change, too. I'll teach you what I've learned while I was away from you, and I'll protect you from now on, and give you a rest. I'll soothe you with clean water and clean thoughts. I'll wash away your fear by being fearless - you don't need to jump in, anymore. You wanted me to be strong, I'll show you the strength I've come to understand: that to fight is to make the thing you fight stronger. Real strength is finding out how to love the thing you fear, how to make friends with your enemies.

I'll show you that you can see the greatness in everyone without feeling diminished - without needing to assert your own greatness. It's there and if people don't see it, it's because their own beast has shaded their eyes and covered their heart.

Beast, you did your best to help me, but now let me help you. Let me change you from a monster into a friend.

After all, you are me, I'm you, and the time for nightmares has passed. Oh, there's still darkness in the world, and a lot of it, but really, it's just all these scared beasts fighting for their people, isn't it?

When you look at it that way, the terror lifts a little, because my beast, if we can change, then that means other people have changed, too.

And that means that one day, everyone can.

Until then, we can only work to make ourselves free, but it's a journey we're all in together, isn't it?

You know, I think I saw a bit of red on up ahead, it just might be our road. What do you say, old friend?

Let's go take a look.


If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

On Facebook?

Journal Entry: Wed May 28, 2008, 1:04 PM
Me too!

If you want to get connected on Facebook just search my name and I'll be happy to add you.  Artists have to stick together.

Also, don't forget tomorrow, for those of you in Canada:

Here's the Press Release:


Showing Thursday, May 29th

From The Spirit: Aaron Paquette
Bravo Canada

7pm EST
6pm Central
5pm Mountain
4pm Pacific

Runtime: 30 minutes

Bravo presents a half hour interview/documentary with one of Canada's rising First Nations artists, Aaron Paquette. In his own words, Paquette describes both his inspiration and the history that informs and shapes his art. Filmed in October 2007 in his Edmonton studio, From The Spirit documents a personal, human, and spiritual journey into the world of an artist.

Documented by Earth Magic Media.


Aaron Paquette has quickly become one of Canada's leading First Nations artists. Featured on radio, television, in magazines and newspapers across the country, this young man of Cree, Cherokee and Norwegian descent is blending his cultural backgrounds to create visual and spiritual bridges between the centuries long rifts of Europeans and First Nations peoples.

In addition to his acrylic and oil works, Paquette apprenticed in both Stained Glass and Goldsmithing.

Coming projects include a January 2009 solo show with the Art Gallery of Alberta's Travelling Exhibition program, as well as curating a regional show with St.Albert's Profiles Gallery. June 2008 will mark his 6th solo show with the renowned Bearclaw Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta.

"In my paintings, I seek to nurture a relationship with the viewer. I try to use colors that are calming, but also fresh and exciting...In each painting I try to include a story that is meaningful to me and encourages discussion. I hope that my works can act as part of a catalyst toward greater understanding. My work almost always features an animal, totem, or aspect of nature in order to show our relationships with the physical and spiritual worlds that surround us."


If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

On TV?

Journal Entry: Fri May 23, 2008, 9:09 AM
It's true.

Bravo Television is hosting a series on First Nations artists and I'm one of them!

To catch the half-hour interview/documentary tune in:

Bravo Television (Canadian version)
7pm Eastern
May 29, Thursday

What is it they say?

"Check your local listings"

(Thanks to Bill, Raymond & Carol at Earth Magic Media)


If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

It's Finally Raining

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 30, 2008, 11:34 PM
Real, honest to goodness rain.  Not snow.

I live in Canada and yesterday the last snow finally melted from my yard.

And that new rain?  Smells so good.




If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…

Teenage Suicide - Don't Do It

Journal Entry: Sat Apr 5, 2008, 12:30 PM
-Heathers (1989)


A new book by Sharon Ryan

Live Your Life: How to Abandon Your Miserable Existence Without Killing Yourself and Others Along the Way contains twelve true stories as told by the young adults who lived through difficult experiences and how they overcame major setbacks to carry on with their lives. Following each story, Sharon reflects on the wisdom of the young adults by dovetailing their message with passages from the Bible. The intent is to show other young adults that they can find their way out of misery by using scripture.

The stories come from Edmontonians and students Sharon has met over the past 10 years. Three stories come from the Aboriginal community. The topics include date rape, teenage pregnancy, child abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, imprisonment, serious illnesses, general boredom with life, depression, and the trial of having someone close to you commit suicide.

Sharon Ryan is an adjunct professor of management sciences at Concordia University College of Alberta, and a freelance columnist with the Edmonton Journal.

Aaron Paquette, highly acclaimed Edmonton artist, has graciously allowed Sharon to reprint four of his prints in the book. The prints have a healing effect and are intended to offer psychological relief between chapters. As well, a short biography of Aaron's' life is included in the book.

Sharon and Aaron will be present at Concordia University College of Alberta, Tegler Centre, on Wednesday April 9th from noon – 1:00 p.m. for a book signing and sale. The book costs $15 including GST.

For more information, please contact Sharon Ryan at


My Thoughts:

The publication comes from a decidedly Christian perspective and I considered this before allowing my images to be used. There are two perspectives of Christianity in the Native Community: one with very negative connotations due to a history of abuse and attempted cultural genocide, and one that embraces the theology and spirituality of the beliefs, choosing to overlook the messenger for the message.

I decided to remain neutral on the subject as I feel that anything that encourages youth to take a larger look at life and decide it's worth living can only be a positive thing. I lost someone I loved to suicide when we were both in our teens and I've seen and felt first hand how destructive it can be. I've experienced the waste it is and the waste it leaves behind.

The suicide rates in First Nations communities are disturbingly higher than in the rest of Canadian society and if this book can help even a little, then I'm proud to stand behind it.

Some Traditionalists will disapprove but as someone who faced his own difficult choices as a young man, help from all sources was good to have.

So, if you have the lunch hour free, I'll be glad to see you there. Also, if you can't make it but still want the book signed - assuming everyone is obviously going to want ten copies :) - just give me a shout and we'll work something out.


If you want to help support my presence on DA and the creation of new digital works, why not pick something up from my gallery?…