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Simpson artist wins national contest
Northern lights painting to be featured on thank-you cards

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Deh Cho image painted by a Fort Simpson artist will be seen across the country on the front of a series of thank-you cards.

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Fort Simpson artist Wilfred Joey Klein stands beside his painting Little Doctor Lake that was chosen as one of three winners of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Thank-You Card Contest. - photo courtesy of Wilfred Joey Klein

Wilfred Joey Klein, known in Fort Simpson as Joey Klein, created one of three images chosen out of 26 entries from across the country in the Canadian Mental Health Association's (CMHA) Thank-You Card Contest. Klein found out about the contest in mid-November while browsing the CMHA's website for events they host.

He decided to enter a painting that he'd completed just two weeks earlier. The image shows icy green Northern lights arching over and illuminating the distinctive gap between the mountains at Little Doctor Lake.

Klein said he is waiting to really react to the opportunity this contest win has presented until after he sees the cards with his painting on it.

"Once I actually hold it in my hands and I say that I did this," he said.

This is the first year that the CMHA has run the contest. Sarah Smith, the association's national director of fund development, said the impetus for the contest came from the fact that she needs to write thank-you notes to many of CMHA's donors, but doesn't have personalized note cards to do that on.

"I thought it would be great to reach out to the creative artists across the country who have been connected to our programs and/or services and find a way to showcase their talent and at the same time create a more personalized CMHA thank-you card," Smith wrote in an email.

The cards, which will feature either Klein's image or the two others that were chosen, will be used by CMHA staff, volunteers and the general public for multiple purposes.

Klein said the painting he entered is an example of what he calls connected energy paintings.

They are paintings in which he captures a moment in time when the universe told his client that they are exactly where they are suppose to be. Klein said he's grateful that as an artist he can remind people of those moments through his paintings.

Klein has suffered from depression. He said that he hopes his painting on the cards inspires whoever receives them to open their creative side.

"You never know where that creative side may take you," he said.

Painting, along with meditation, yoga and the support of his family and friends are some of the things that Klein uses to maintain his balance. As an artist, Klein said that he's in close contact with his emotions.

"When you paint, all of your emotions are on the surface," he said.

"It's a healthy way to accept that what you are going through, millions are also going through."

Having painted for approximately 12 years, Klein said it's taken him about 300 canvases to reach a point where he understands the connection between himself, the canvas and his clients.

He plans to do several more connected energy paintings where he captures the story of a place a person loves and adds Northern lights.

"I absolutely love the Northern lights," he said.

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