Leonard Paul, an international First Nation Mi’kmaq artist lives in Valley, Nova Scotia. Mr. Paul was born in Halifax, 1953, where he grew up and later enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1971 - 1974, majoring in printmaking and painting. After the BFA program, Mr. Paul went back to university for political science and art history at Acadia University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts.
Since 1994, Leonard has been the owner of Foxtrail Editions and had his own art gallery in Hantsport. From 1980 to 1991, he served on the national First Nation art board Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry. Since 1982 Paul’s artwork touched the lives of many dignitaries: Her Royal Highness, The Princess Anne of Great Britain opened an exhibition of his work at the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. Canada’s Governor General, Edward Schreyer, participated in Paul’s national group exhibitions in Ottawa on three occasions. On November 1, 1983, the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, Gerard Pelletier, opened an international group exhibition at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, at which Mr. Paul’s work was represented. In the fall of 1996, External Affairs and Industry Canada of Aboriginal Business selected Mr. Paul’s company as a Canadian Representative at the world trade show ’Tendence ‘93’ in Frankfurt, Germany. The Atlantic Salmon Journal, an international angling magazine, published an extensive photo-documentary feature on Leonard Paul and his work. In 1991, Leonard received national exposure on television where he was selected as one of the primary artists for a film produced by the National Film Board, entitled Kwa’nute. In 1983 he was recognized for his painting of environmental landscapes, at such time Leonard became the recipient of the prestigious Canada’s Governor General Medal, presented by Her Royal Highness’s Representative, The Governor General of Canada, Raymond Hnatyshyn. In April 1997, Leonard received a Canada Council Arts Grant of $17,000 for painting waterways of Nova Scotia.
On two special occasions, the province of Nova Scotia commissioned Mr. Paul to design and paint promotional themes for 1997 and 1998 campaigns, celebrating Mi’kmaq Treaty Day. In 1998 and 1999, CBC Television chose and broadcasted the life and work of Leonard Paul as one of their themes for a unique project, Artspots. For this project, Leonard was the focus of five separate one-minute art segments, which broadcasted to showcase the arts and cultural talents within Atlantic Canada. Also, in 1998 Leonard submitted a sampling of his art to a national art competition sponsored by Federal Ducks Unlimited. Paul’s watercolour, Too Close for Comfort, was declared a national art winner.
Leonard Paul has had numerous solo art exhibitions, national and international exposure since he first started painting for the public in 1976. He is a master watercolourist and a consummate technician in mediums: oils, watercolours, airbrush and drawing. In 1996 his life and work was listed in Canada's Who’s Who for the arts. Leonard Paul has had the honour to sit on the Canada Council for the Arts Juried Committee in Ottawa, where he was one of the panel judges for the Emerging Artists Grants Competition for 1999. In 2007 Mr. Paul was invited to serve on a judging panel for the Alberta Arts Council.
Leonard’s artwork is in many prominent art collections of private and corporations, university galleries, national and provincial government art galleries. In the last few years Leonard received numerous government grants and financial assistance from various institutions in recognition for his artistic endeavours. The National Department of Indian Affairs Collection, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Art Bank, and Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery and Acadia University are some who purchased his artwork as part of their permanent art collection. In 2002, Acadia University President, Dr. Kelvin Ogilvie, and Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Irving , honoured Mr. Paul by commissioning his artistic talent to paint a large acrylic showcase painting, THE HORNED OWL, as part of the new Irving Botanical Gardens Science Building at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
In 2018 Mr. Paul accepted his biggest art contract of his career with National Parks Canada to paint a mural for the new Mi'kmaq Display of Citadel Fortress Museum. Leonard Paul's favourite medium is watercolour and in 2021 was inducted as an Elected Member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour . In 2022, a magnificent Concert took place where the Artistic Director and Conductor, Jeff Joudrey, led his Halifax Camerata Singers to pay honourable tribute to Leonard Paul's Art and Life Career. Mr. Joudrey's specifically wrote and conducted his songs around Mr. Paul's watercolours. After the event, Leonard Paul was presented an Eagle's Feather by Catherine Martin, Award-winning Mi'kmaq Videographer, for his Life-Time Achievement. In August the Chester Arts Centre presented a one-man art exhibition: DAYDREAMING , LANDSCAPES AND LEGENDS BY LEONARD PAUL. In 2023 Mr. Paul received an invitation by the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours as GUEST SPEAKER at the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto, to present his Watercolour Art and Career. Recently Leonard received a notification by the Board of Directors of the Cobequid Arts Council that he was selected to be the Recipient for the 2022 Cobequid Arts Council Lifetime AchievementAward.
Leonard Paul got his important start in his art career by reading comics and copying their illustrations, saving his paper route earnings to buy comics from the Candy Bowl Store on Quinpool Road. His favourite art tool was a 19 cent Bic Pen. His favourite place to practice drawing anatomy was at his roll top desk in his bedroom. He still loves drawing and has been drawing everyday for 65 years. His greatest inspiration comes from his imagination and continues to daydream at the age of 70!