About Stephanie Ryan

I am originally from a small town in Ontario, Canada. I took art classes all through high school with some evening studies at the local Queen’s University in printmaking and life-drawing. I went to Trent University where I completed my bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies. My painting and drawing were used as an escape from my studies when I could afford the time!

I spent 3 summers planting trees in Northern BC to pay for my education, although I think it also helped draw me north, being in those beautiful mountains every day. In 1997, I travelled to Whitehorse to see the Yukon and fell in love with it – I spent all my free time paddling rivers, mountain biking and hiking in the mountains. I filled many journals with sketches of river bends, amazing mountain vistas and lists of all the future places that I want to explore. 

Stephanie Ryan Yukon & Alaska Artist

I finished my B.A. in 1998 and moved to Yellowknife, NWT for a winter before moving back to the Yukon. In Whitehorse, Yukon, I worked as a greenhouse manager and landscaper for 10 years, and this work allowed me to be outside and to be creative with colour and texture in a different way. In 2010, I began work as a backcountry patroller for Park Canada on the Chilkoot Trail. Working 9 day shifts in the mountains inspires a lot of creative ideas. While the trail is geographically always the same, it changes by the minute with light, snow, rain, wind, and plants and wildlife following the seasons. I have found that working seasonally allows me to focus on my art in the winter, when the weather is much less inviting to be painting outdoors!

My inspiration comes from the trips that I do here in the Yukon and Alaska. I really enjoy going to new places – seeing new vistas or seeing a mountain valley from a different perspective than the time before. Alaska and the Yukon both have so much history – from a biological point of view (glaciation – that we can still see!), from local first nations, and of course the Gold Rush. I seem to stumble upon old trails and cabins every time I am out.

Recent trips that have inspired artwork 

  • 2008 Valdez, Thompson & Turnagain Pass Tagish Lake (Ben-My-Chree to Atlin)
  • 2009 Stikine River from Telegraph Creek, BC to Wrangell, Alaska
  • 2010 Japan; Chilkoot Trail (working for Parks Canada 2010 to present); Taku River
  • 2011 Snake River, Northern Yukon
  • 2012 Wind River, Northern Yukon
  • 2013 Copper River, Alaska & Sitka, Alaska
  • 2014 Anchorage, Alaska; Yukon River Quest, Yukon

Why do I love living in the Yukon?

The pace of life, the amazing, friendly, diverse, energizing people that visit and live here, the huge inspiring landscape, the midnight sun and the restful dark winters, the delicious wild foods, and that there is always somewhere new to explore.

I am part of an artist co-operative in Whitehorse @ Yukon Artists at Work. I work on Saunders Waterford 300lb Cold Press watercolour paper and use Winsor & Newton and Schmincke artist watercolours.