North

New phone book cover features artwork by working father of 5

Darrell Chocolate has his art featured on the most recent cover of the Northwestel Directory. It’s a picture of Yellowknife’s Old Town in the fall, painted from a photograph he took in September when he was on parental leave.

Darrell Chocolate's 'Serene Fall Season' a view of Great Slave Lake near Yellowknife

Darrell Chocolate, right, with Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty and Northwestel VP of business markets Paul Gillard. (Samantha Stuart )

Darrell Chocolate has an eye for detail. When he paints, he works from pictures so he can study the features.

"That's always an enjoyment just to create art and just make it look exactly the way that photograph looks like," Chocolate said.

The working father of five children has his art featured on the most recent cover of the Northwestel Directory.

It's a picture of Yellowknife's Old Town in the fall, painted from a photograph he took in September when he was on parental leave.

What captured my eye was the clear sky, the fall leaves, the yellow-orange leaves that come in the fall.- Darrell Chocolate, artist

He said he took a lot of photographs that day but one in particular caught his attention. He was sitting on the shoreline looking across the lake to where Old Town is, with Jolliffe Island in the foreground. There was a brisk wind that morning, creating waves on the water.

"What captured my eye was the clear sky, the fall leaves, the yellow-orange leaves that come in the fall. The mainland's right in the background there, and in the foreground is the shoreline of the island and you can see the pine trees."

Finding balance

With five kids and a full-time job at Ekati diamond mine, he turns his photographs into paintings whenever time permits.

"You have to balance time between family and work and art," Chocolate said in a press release.

Art has always played a role in his life, he said. Originally from Gameti, N.W.T., he said he remembers entertaining himself as a child with drawing.

"Back when I grew up in the mid-'80s, late '80s, back then there were no electronics, no iPhones. We didn't have anything to play with but we had our imaginations. Everybody had a pen and paper."

There's also an artistic streak in his family: His mother sews and does beadwork, as did his grandmother.

Chocolate said he's excited to have his work recognized.

"My kids are pretty excited about it, too."

Some of his children are carrying on the family's artistic tradition. His oldest son likes sketching and his second oldest, a daughter, also enjoys colouring and drawing.

With files from Wanda McLeod

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