Stepping between the pines with a paintbrush

‘Stepping Between the Pines’ exhibition by Leslie (Dodds) Paulet opens Friday, March 6, and runs till March 28 at the Heritage Home for the Arts


Spacious, atmospheric, and earthy, the colourful works of painter and wood-burning artist Leslie Paulet are now on display and lit up for all to enjoy.

‘Stepping Between the Pines’ is Paulet’s very first art show, after being ‘discovered’ a year and a half ago by arts administrator at the gallery, Jane Ireland.

“Jane saw one of my pictures, about 18 months ago, and invited me to do an exhibition,” said Paulet. “I have been working hard since then getting ready for this show. I converted a room in our house to paint in, and also part of my husband’s garage area to do my wood burning.”

Paulet was born and raised in Killarney, and now lives in Steinbach. But she fell in love with the mountains back in her 20s, and began drawing, mostly in charcoal, while living and studying in Calgary. 

And hiking in the mountains has remained a huge part of her life.

“I love to travel,” she said. “I have been to Asia and Europe several times. I have been to the Himalayas three times to take part in climbing expeditions. My favourite thing in the world is throwing on a backpack with all my gear, and heading out on the trail for weeks at a time. I am always miserable, and always happy.”

Paulet returned to her art in 2018, she said. It was a difficult year for her, as her step-dad, Mike Bellew, had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

“I went back to painting to give myself something sweet in my life when so much else was so sad,” she said. “If I couldn’t be out on the trail, I could paint the trails and the mountains.”

And she hasn’t stopped painting. Working mostly with acrylic, Paulet also adds canvas paste for heightened textures in her work. 

“I like to paint the trees so they pop off the canvas, as though you are stepping through the pines,” she said. “I love bright, vibrant colours, and most of my work has an abstract feel. I often get out a torch, or a wood-burning kit to give the pieces more of a rustic feel that contrasts with bright, modern colours. I call it ‘mountain chic’.”

Opening night for the ‘Stepping Between the Pines’ is tonight, Friday, March 6, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., with a cash bar. 

Heritage Home for the Arts is located at 44 Water Avenue, Killarney (across from Erin Park), and is open Tuesday to Saturdays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

HIKER, TRAVELLER, PAINTER – Leslie Paulet’s ‘Stepping Between the Pines’ exhibition opens tonight at the Heritage Home for the Arts, with a reception running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It’s a heady mix of ethereal forests and maps – and even some smoky wood-burning thrown in. 

EMBRACE THE CLIMB – One of artist Leslie Paulet’s favourite pieces, ‘Embrace the Climb’ (left), is a work that incorporates both wood burning and painting techniques. It’s just one of her gallery pieces on show this month at the Heritage Home for the Arts, during her ‘Stepping Between the Pines’ exhibition.