But I knew
That the day and the night must pass and the cold dews
Of another morning before such men unknowing
The ways of mountains could win to the chimney's top.

-Earle Birney, David, in The Poems of Earle Birney, 1969

Mitchell Fenton

In keeping with the strong tradition of landscape painting in Canada, Mitchell Fenton’s enthusiasm for the outdoors is evident in his paintings, particularly those of Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies. Fenton paints plein air, with oil on small wood panels. His set-up is very portable, enabling him to hike into remote areas. Hiking is an integral part of his process; it enables a clearing of the mind, acceleration of the pulse – all in anticipation of stopping to begin a composition, whether it be in small details of the lichen and wildflowers, or cropped abstract patterns of rocks meeting a lake, to the perfect alignment of a grand vista. He searches for the authentic. Back in the studio, some panels are chosen and worked up into larger canvases.

His works are intended to help us identify our connection to the land, which he considers shape our history and influence our lives.


Mitchell Fenton was born in Winnipeg in 1962. He attended classes for many years at the Forum Art Institute in Winnipeg. After a brief time at the Clifton Studios in Winnipeg working as a potter, he went on to study at the Ontario College of Art. He graduated from OCAD in 1986.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

-John Muir in Footloose in Ranges of Light, 1871