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Bos Taurus and beyond

2021 - one of the best years ever for the artist.
Best of the Best artist Payge Fortier with her distinguished painting of Peace Region cattle. Bright colours and limited brush sizes are the trick to getting the most of these pieces of art, says Fortier.

Local artist Payge Fortier says she’s had one her best years ever for being able to just get into the studio, launching her exhibition Bos Taurus this past spring at the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre.

Fortier says receiving the Dawson’s Creek Artist in Residence really allowed her to push her creativity, and dedicate a significant amount of time to the craft, beyond the few hours she could spare from her 9 to 5 life.

“Bos Taurus was my first solo show, so that was a huge step for me. The residence really made a difference - I was able to create a lot more. When I had my business I could maybe produce three paintings a year that I was happy with,” said Fortier. “There were eight pieces that I created for that, and that was only in a three month period.”

She says the great thing about being part of the Dawson Creek art community is that everyone is highly supportive of one another, and was mentored by Haley Basset during her residency, the new Executive Director of Peace Liard Regional Arts Council. 

“We’re super supportive here. And I think that is a rarity, actually. You’re never competing here, and that’s really how it should be all around,” said Fortier. “If someone’s influencing you or inspired by you, you should take it as a compliment.”

Fortier was raised on a small cattle operation outside of Dawson Creek, with creative types of both sides of her family and took first her art class at the Dawson Creek gallery when she was nine.

It became a lifelong practice, enrolling in Laine Dahlen’s Visual Arts Program at Northern Lights College, before transferring to Alberta’s University of Arts in Calgary.

She’s looking forward to teaching the craft through pet portrait workshops, and continuing the cattle theme, with more bovine inspired art to be entered into the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) juried exhibits. 

"I'm just hoping to keep going. Right now I've been entering into the juried shows. The last one was in Grande Prairie, so I'll be actively engaging with that chapter and continuing to do that. I'd love to get another artist in residency," said Fortier. 

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at