Meet our navigators
HEATHER KINAHAN LEAD NAVIGATOR
Heather is an acrylic artist, teacher, and life-long learner. She has experience as a facilitator, mentor and learning specialist in the public education sector. She has worked with families, fellow educators, and the community to develop educational programs and services for young children, in order to meet their diverse learning needs and set them up for success. Heather is dedicated to working alongside others to build supportive communities where learners of all ages can thrive.
Heather discovered her passion for painting through her love of learning. She believes we need to seize the opportunities life affords; to continually learn and create beyond the edges of our own limits. For Heather, being an artist is more than just what happens within the edges of a canvas. It is about connecting with others and building stronger communities through sharing the talents entrusted us.
Jodi is prairie artist who comes from a background of science. After a full career as an aerospace engineer for 20 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force, she jumped at the opportunity to pursue her passion, aiming to be a positive example for her three wonderful kids and all creatives out there.
After moving all over Canada and abroad, then returning to her prairie roots, Jodi remains fascinated with how we form connections and what gives us a sense of belonging. Jodi Miller is a painter whose work reveals her deep connection to our environment, its stories and the people and places we call home.
Working primarily with acrylics on panel and canvas, using the texture or the paint to add to the dimension Jodi abstracts and interprets familiar landscapes, allowing viewers to share in the narrative of a given piece. Inspired by our relationship to our environment, Jodi often uses her own photos as references, then relies on emotions, memories and stories to create a piece. “I am intrigued by how we form a sense of belonging on the basis of where we are and the environment that surrounds us. Our relationships with nature and the stories we share inform my work.”
Valerie is a natural counsellor and encourager.
Her love for adventure, being creative, and connecting with others has led her to open a Bed & Breakfast, establish art events with Rosebud Art Collective, and open her own Art Gallery – The Speer and Brush, in Rosebud, AB.
As a landscape painter Valerie enjoys experiencing the outdoors before reflecting it in her work. She is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, and displays her work in her new gallery in addition to other venues in Alberta, and in British Columbia.
Valerie’s entrepreneurial spirit and desire to create community are some of the skills she brings to her position as a Navigator. She is excited to grow and be a part of the LevellingUp team with Artist Masterminds.
Marcela is an Argentinian-Canadian painter who loves creating landscapes and florals in oils and acrylic. Her love of travelling and gardening constantly inspire and inform her colourful, vibrant paintings of beauty found in everyday life.
Plein-air work is an intrinsic part of her process and inspiration. She has painted in many areas of the world like BC, the Bugaboos, Italy and the Artic Tundra just to name a few. She has received instruction, inspiration and mentorship from many renowned artists she admires.
Marcela has been a very active member of the arts community in Victoria, BC for many years. She was an important leader in the development of several local events and organizations, like the West Shore Studio Tour and the Coast Collective, an art centre dedicated to showcasing Vancouver Island artists.
I love being creative in all aspects of my life.
I am an aspiring artist and I am excited to continue to develop skills and evolve who I am as painter. I love to paint in a community setting and have found great friends through classes and workshops. I work primarily with acrylic on canvas. I am on a quest to have my paintings reflect me and my energy. I love working with texture and colour.
I gravitate to the beauty of landscapes and the quirkiness of creating painted collages that reflect my experiences.
I am also a Leadership Coach and Facilitator, with a deep background as a CFO and an Educator. I am excited to support Aspiring Artists, like me, step confidently into expressing their creative selves.
I live a creative life as a designer, artist, educator and occasional milliner. I graduated from AuArts with a Bachelor of Design, where I now teach, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Calgary.
In 2003, I launched Pink Spot Studios, a design and illustration studio that realizes the full potential of passionate businesses, niché brands and artistic ventures. Here I have led design and illustration projects from concept to production, alongside the kind and innovative people I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. My highlight reel includes art direction, design and illustration for various publications—branding and design for multiple clients from local start-ups to international level brands.
My artwork explores themes of memory, community, spiritual health and natural life cycles. I am a collector of odd old things: stuff with soul.
Janice Gallant Art & The Creation Guild Studios were created with the intention of promoting the creative flow in everyone, bringing awareness to the need for this balance in our society. Janice is passionate about helping others connect and align with their creative energy source as she says in her book,
“Tapping into the continuous flow of your creative energy source allows you to become the wholly aware architect who builds foundations for the full, rich beauty of your masterpieces to emerge.”
Janice believes everyone is creative and loves to help others find their alignment with this creative flow so they can live a life with joy and enthusiasm.
Janice walks her talk and helps others through her art, writing, and teaching. You may find her teaching art lessons, teaching in a classroom, or teaching meditation and speaking about creative energy flow to small groups.
Janice began painting with her artistic father when she was about 10 years old. Her paintings have sold globally and are displayed in galleries in Alberta and Ontario. She received her B.Ed from the University of Alberta and teaches middle school in Central Alberta. She lives on a small acreage with her husband and two dogs. Janice is the president of Wellspring Visual ArtNetwork Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting artists in Central Alberta.
Theresa is a full time artist based in Medicine Hat, AB. She grew up in the historic River Flats neighbourhood, and has spent her artistic career capturing the places she remembers as a child.
Theresa established her studio in 2013. It sports 2000 square feet of working space, and 1000 square feet of classroom space, where she paints a variety of artwork for sale, private commissions and for galleries. She actively teaches private lessons and conducts workshops using mixed media painting materials.
Her paintings are in many private and corporate collections across Alberta. They have been featured in the Federation of Canadian Artists Group Exhibits and are sold both locally in Medicine Hat and in Ottawa.
Maya is a mom, wife, artpreneur, designer, and unshakable optimist.
Originally from Mexico City, Maya moved to Canada almost 14 years ago, and now she calls Calgary home.
Maya holds 15+ years of graphic design experience, stepping back from that world in 2019 to pursue art; she loves vibrant, bold colours. Some calming, muted palette can make Maya’s world, too. Maya loves creating watercolour and acrylic paintings, from loose florals to vibrant, colourful animal portraits and exciting people.
Maya has shown her work in local exhibitions, runs her art studio, and has been teaching watercolours for three years.
“I want to keep learning and inspire those around me, the next generation of bold magic colour makers. I believe we are in this world to find joy, freedom and making our soul happy.”
~ Maya Corona
Kimberley enjoys painting in acrylic and is ongoingly deepening her skills and developing her style. She has been an entrepreneur since 2017 with her focus bringing Young at Heart painting classes to seniors in Retirement & Long-Term Care Homes across Canada and USA.
Through her artistic skills and networking ability, she inspires others to know they can also be a ‘thriving’ artist. She raises awareness that you are never too old to do art and we all have unique talents within us.
She has a background in graphic design and marketing and spends her time traveling and taking care of her parrot 17-year-old parrot Coco.
As leader in her community, she supports individuals to find their inner strength that they can be and do anything they put their mind too. She strives on cultivating leadership and community and brings awareness for people to see their greatness within.
Josefina Rodriguez Varela
Josefina Rodriguez Varela is an Argentinian artist who holds a BFA degree from the
Alberta University of the Arts, with a major in Ceramics. She has lived in Canada since 2010 with her husband and two pets. Her work has been exhibited in Canada and the United States.
Josefina’s artwork is primarily figurative and explores topics of eroticism and sexuality from a feminine and personal perspective. She works primarily in ceramics, but enjoys painting and drawing as well.
Community work and volunteering have always been important to Josefina and she is actively involved in her community, helping develop an inclusive and collaborative environment between artists.
Hamiltonian Amanda Immurs received her bachelor of fine art at McMaster University. Amanda works primarily as a representational oil painter inspired by her surroundings.
She aims to create tactile pieces that reflect upon the fabric of everyday life.
In 2015 Amanda was chosen to paint a giant sculptural soccer ball to celebrate the Pan Am Games. Then for Canada’s 150th the city of Hamilton used an image of one of Amanda’s paintings to create banners which hung in the city’s downtown core. Amanda Immurs paintings can be found at various locations across Ontario as well as private collections in both Canada and the US.
Mary-Jo Lough started MJL Fine Art in 2019. She expresses her unique vision through non-representational abstract, figurative and landscape art. To further her self-taught practice, she completed the Abstract Painting and Colour Theory courses at the University of Calgary. Additionally, Mary-Jo is part of an emerging artist mentor group.
Mary-Jo’s “The Sky is Crying” was featured at the 2020 Renovation show in Calgary. Her piece “Good Thing Gone” achieved Gallea’s The Best of Abstract Art in 2020, and in 2021 “Complicated Contentment” achieved the same honour. Additionally, her work is held in several private collections.
A collection of Mary-Jo’s work shows at Essential Living Design Trade, Red Door Home Living, Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club, and at Iron River Surfaces in Edmonton. Mary-Jo had been chosen to participate in the curated Emerging Artist Showcase at the Ranchmen’s Club in the spring of 2020. In June of 2020 she exhibited two pieces in the “Viral Art” show at the Galleria Cael in Milan Italy.
Gloria is primarily a figurative painter in oil. She likes painting portraits of friends and family because it makes her happy. She sees beauty in every face and in all people. Gloria also enjoys painting various subject matters including landscape and still-life in a variety of mediums.
Gloria obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta after working as a pharmacist for 10 years. She painted occasionally afterwards until she became a full time artist after retiring from pharmacy.
Gloria continues to learn and evolve as an artist. She is excited by new techniques, tools and subject matters. Gloria is passionate about her art. She shares her knowledge in the community by volunteering and teaching art in her neighbourhood. “Painting helps me understand my inner world. It brings me to a place I consciously and subconsciously created where I linger and lose myself in, a place where I see the beauty of God’s creations and peace. I can escape the worries of the “real” world in exchange for my own created reality.”
“I paint familiar subjects to reflect my inner feelings through color, light and gestures. Every execution is connected through my heart.”
Deb Nicolaisen is a landscape and wildlife painter living in Calgary, Alberta, born and raised in amongst the beautiful Gatineau Hills in South Western Quebec. She studied fine arts at Champlain Regional College and then again at Queens University. In search of opportunity she moved to Calgary in 2000 and soon found work in the Graphics/print industry. During that time, she could not help but be inspired by the abundance Alberta has to offer.
“We are so lucky to live in Calgary where we have the beauty of the plains, the mountains and the badlands! No matter which direction we go, there is always something spectacular waiting for us.”
Deb generally paints with acrylics in studio and oils when painting en plein air. The inspiration for her art is drawn from her own experiences and adventures whilst hiking and camping in nature with family. Deb prefers to work solely from her own experiences and photo references which adds to the authenticity of these inspiring moments she captures on canvas.
Pam Ferworn is a Houston based artist. Her interest in art began at a young age, when she would draw and paint with her grandfather and mentor, Clifford Leach.
Pam is a native of western Canada. Her style is influenced by her upbringing in the Canadian shield, prairies, and rocky mountains and also her adopted home of Texas. The Texas scenery provides a different painting experience and color palate with its gulf shores, piney woods, prairies and hill country. Both locations provide for beautiful references for landscape paintings.
Pam works in watercolor, acrylics, and casein. She is known for her loose and impressionistic style of painting. Pam likes to let the paint speak for itself; on paper, canvas, or clayboard. Her paintings range from bold and dramatic to soft and serene.
Outside of art, Pam is very active in her community as a volunteer with schools and other philanthropic organizations. She has donated original artwork to local school and non-profit organizations for their fundraising auctions. For certain months, a percentage of her art sales will be donated to non-profit organizations.
Ana Zanella is a mixed media painter creating abstract art and expressive portraits.
Exploring different materials and ideas is part of her practice. Ana focuses on abstract art and expressive portraits, and is inspired by colours and textures, travel experiences, vintage pictures and traditional crafts.
Ana believes that the power of art is in portraying the worlds around us in unique ways.
Brandie has been drawing and painting for much of her life. Brandie has a Bachelors’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Calgary, and a Master’s degree in Creative Art Therapy from Concordia University. After working for many years as an Art Therapist, Brandie took the plunge to develop her dream to be a working artist about five years ago. LevellingUp is providing her the fast track she was looking for to advance this dream. Although she continues to work full-time as an Art Therapist, painting is her serious side hustle! Being part of Mastrius has dramatically upped her game, and she is excited to help others achieve their artistic goals.
“I think being in a community is a huge part of my drive to keep painting and also my recent success. I have others to cheer me on, and I love the feeling of encouraging others on their journey too.”
Brandie has a passion for drawing and painting the natural world. Her inspiration comes from seeing the little details in everyday outdoor experiences and bringing those to life with sweeping vibrant colour. “Like so many people, I seek happiness, comfort and solace in my everyday escapes into the outdoors. I love to capture these moments in my paintings and share them.”
Brandie is available for custom commissions and works from your photos and inspiration. This is a collaborative process that is fun and rewarding for both Brandie and the collector! Please ask for examples of Brandie’s past commissions or any other questions about this process by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Calgary, where I was born and raised, I lived in a neighborhood called Forest Lawn which is infamously known as “the hood”. As an artistic and sensitive young man growing up in a rougher neighborhood I was a bit out of my element, so to compensate for my lack of toughness, my artistic focus was drawing comic book characters and dark figures from my imagination. This helped in winning me friends who had similar interests and for others, at least I could impress them. But as a graduating student I started to feel my artwork was too dark or even too juvenile so I started to explore more serious subjects. I built a portfolio mostly of pencil sketches and some chalk work, applied to art school and received my rejection letter 4 weeks later.
With the hope of a future as an artist abandoned, I embarked on several years of failed attempts to launch into any sort of career. At 26 I got married and within a year my first son was born. This new reality put the need for a career and a stable income into a laser focus so I joined the trades as a Plumber/Gasfitter. My Creative needs never fully disappeared despite all attempts to bury them and I ended up writing music, writing stories, taking part in drama, dabbling in photography and even trying my hand at stained glass. This eventually led back to drawing but with a new vision and a new vibrance. Soon I wanted to learn how to paint and, as luck would have it, I just happened to have a good friend who had become quite successful in the art world and was willing to show me a few things. Eventually she and her husband started an organization for artists called LevellingUp of which I became one of the original members.
My artwork has taken many forms, as I think it does for most people with a creative desire, but lately its acrylic landscape paintings, done mostly with the methods I learned in my LevellingUp mentorship groups with artists such as David Langevin and Heather Pant. It’s been my privilege to have had the opportunity to learn directly from the Masters and on some level, I am inspired by every artist I meet. Art is a gift that is meant to be shared; the artwork itself and the knowledge of the craft. This is what I believe to be true and so I try to live by that and give back what I feel I can.
Michelle is a seascape and landscape artist living on the north shore of Vancouver. She was born and raised in Quebec and moved to British Columbia with her husband and two daughters a few years ago.
She started painting as a child as a hobby and became more serious about it after her move to BC. Her preferred medium is oil paint.
She is inspired by the marvels nature has to offer, and the great outdoors of British Columbia are the perfect settings for inspiration.
Penny Gabor is an artist currently finding her inspiration in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario along the beautiful shores of Great Lakes Superior and Huron. Canada’s vast and wild landscapes offer endless creative stimulus for this artist and her medium of Alcohol Ink.
“There is an unexplainable draw for me to the way nature lives within a forceful contrast of gentle, life-giving beauty and raw, wild strength. Whether it is the way that a tree grows out of a rock, or the way water swells and retreats; the way a solid wave crashes on rocks and then breaks into a massive spray, or the way a tiny, delicate flower is blown by the wind – I am just mesmerized by these natural juxtapositions, and the strength and beauty found in the persistence of nature.
It is a constant reminder to me, to press on, and never give up – for beauty emerges here. Life seems to come into perspective when among the elements and I feel closer and more connected to my creator.
Alcohol ink characterizes this notion beautifully, not only because of its intense, highly saturated and yet translucent colours, but because of its chemistry and uncontrollable nature. It is a continual reminder to embrace the unexpected, and to persevere until something of beauty emerges.
To personalize what Aristotle apparently said, the aim of my art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but rather their inward significance. I don’t try to recreate something I saw exactly as it was, but rather, I try to capture an emotion that continues to nourish and inspire me long after the moment has passed.
I believe that beauty is nourishing for all of us – physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is why I paint, and what I hope to convey in my paintings – life, hope, beauty and nourishment.”
I started drawing when I was 3 years old. My father showed me a book about dinosaurs and I believed that he had drawn the illustrations in the book. After asking him several times to draw them again and he telling me that he didn’t know how to draw, I began to draw them myself. This is how I started to draw and enjoy drawing everything I saw. After this, I wouldn’t stop drawing until I graduated from college.
For my higher studies, I got a scholarship at the Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo University (UEES) looking for my Bachelor in Fine Arts. Being in there forced me to learn to sell my drawings and paintings so that I could help my mother pay for the classes I took per semester. After graduating, I had in mind some artists from abroad that I admired with whom I could learn from. It took me a lot of sacrifice to be able to find the necessary means to visit each one of them every year. I met and learned from Dirk Dzimirski to Clio Newton for drawing, and also met from Eloy Morales to Alyssa Monks for painting. Knowing them took me to get to both the US and Spain. It was worth it, as each year this allowed me to learn something new that satiated my curiosity about several different techniques in my two favorite mediums which are oil painting and charcoal. Techniques that I could only see on Google when I was in college.
Today, I am still looking to learn more. The quarantine forced me to enter online courses and also supervision by artists from abroad (Like I did here in Levelling Up with Alexandra Manukyan). I hope that I can continue practicing, learning and make my art continue as part of my life.
I am a British representational painter, with a little experience of drawing, watercolour, acrylic and pastel, but my first love and overriding passion is for oil painting. I learned the art of traditional oil painting whilst completing a part time Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at West Dean College, near Chichester. I was still working full time initially as an Administrator in Adult & Children’s Services for local government here in the UK. My main tutors were George Popesco and Christopher Baker who trained at the Royal Academy in London.
I started to gain commissions shortly after completing my diploma – thus far these have primarily involved painting portraits, pet portraits, house portraits, landscapes and seascapes, although I have also done a large mural. I like to work from life whenever I can, and as I live in a rural area with historic connections to landscape painting – in particular John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough – it is important to me to draw upon the inspiration which comes from using the working methods of these artists. I have been painting en plein air since 2018.
I am proud to say that my business has grown now to the point where I am able to focus on it almost full time. I have exhibited in Norfolk, Suffolk and other locations nationally. I recently became one of the final 40 artists shortlisted for the prestigious Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2021. I have also recently become involved in teaching art on corporate away days.
Becky McNabb is an artist living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Born and raised on the prairies of Saskatchewan where the colourful skies and vast landscape provided unending inspiration. Becky moved to Calgary to attend University of Calgary and obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 2004.
Following University, Becky worked and travelled around western Canada, Singapore and Australia. Upon returning to Calgary in 2006, she attended Business School at SAIT and has been working in Accounting since 2008. While the creative undertow was always present for Becky, she didn’t re-establish her regular art practice until early 2020 when she reconnected with her passion for painting.
Becky works in acrylic and mixed media. Although Becky is primarily a non-representational painter, she is often influenced by a unique texture or pattern or distinctive colour palette found in nature. As an abstract artist, the inclusion of texture in her pieces has long since been part of her personal style. Thin, glazed layers are built up to create depth and movement within the paintings and draw the viewer in to look up close. Becky enjoys hearing the interpretations or emotional connections each viewer pulls from her works.
Annae Jones is an acrylic artist from Lethbridge, Alberta. Her inspiration comes from many places, but mainly from a desire to paint the beauty that surrounds her. Having originally pursued her passion for writing, she left her career in Communications to devote herself to motherhood. In between being a busy mom of two, she dabbled in writing, and was published in Today’s Parent and contributed to a blog sharing her experiences of being a mom with a disability.
Missing her arms from birth, Annae uses her feet like hands. She is a long time member of the War Amputations of Canada, a charity supporting Canadians with limb differences/amputations. Her involvement continues as a regional representative for them and she additionally volunteers for US charity, Enhancing Skills for Life, whose mission is to support those living without both arms. Annae’s art journey began when a friend invited her to a paint night. She found it a liberating experience which provided a mental release and joy that she didn’t know she would crave. After painting more frequently, she applied for membership with the Mouth and Foot Painters Association and was thrilled when she was accepted as a student member of MFPA Canada in late 2020.
Annae is finding great joy in carving out a new identity in art and is excited to continue to learn as she experiments with different mediums and genres. Mastrius has not only helped her expand what and how she paints, but has created a place of belonging that she wishes to share with others.
My boldness and unique whimsical, flowing style on the canvas is rooted in a desire to capture the feeling of a place… the push and pull between me, a living, breathing creature – and a living, breathing world. Paint and canvas allow me limitless possibilities to capture my interpretation of this experience; it’s freeing and empowering. Although I can and do work from photos, I often work from my mind’s eye, incorporating the experiential into my memory of the visual.
We are absolutely surrounded by beauty, but not every eye is trained to see it. This is my privilege: to shine a light on the beauty.
“Breathe in this beauty, breathe out your own”
Jane Romanishko, was born in Russia in 1964 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education, studying art history, painting and drawing in European traditions. Jane also holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture.
She divides her time living in Calgary in the summer where she paints, sculpts and teaches art, and Mexico where she facilitates art retreats during the winter. Jane has participated in numerous group shows and solo exhibitions, including the Calgary Stampede Western Showcase, the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and Reflection West in Hyatt Regency, Calgary. Over the years, Jane has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Nicholas de Grandmaison Award for Excellence in Pastel Portraiture from CIPA National Open Portrait Exhibition.
Jane is intrigued by traditional cultures and passionate about portraying people in their natural surroundings. Her extensive travels have allowed her a glimpse into traditional ways of life which she captures magnificently in her portraiture. Her work can be found in many private collections throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
Anne Marie Szucs
Anne Marie Szucs is an artist living in St. Albert, Alberta. Much of her creative expression to date has been within the world of theatre as an actor, director, producer, playwright, and dramaturg. She is retired from her professional work as a post-secondary instructor of communications and English, and she possesses a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from the University of Calgary.
She started exploring acrylic painting in P.E.I. about 20 years ago and is now fully enamoured with oil painting. She loves natural themes in her paintings…mostly landscapes and animals…and explores with less-than-realistic colours whenever possible.
A lifelong learner and aspiring visual artist, Anne Marie is excited to help support the amazing community-building work of Mastrius .
Kim comes from an artistic family so it’s a gift she inherited. She joined the military where she served as an F-18 aircraft mechanic and switched over to pilot, and in her off time was serving in the fire department as a firefighter. After serving 10 years, she moved into civilian life where she opened a pet store to support the needs of having 2 Great Danes. After 10 years of running that business, she moved up to the Arctic where she became the Chief Inspector of the Nunavut Liquor Commission and joined the fire department there. She moved south again after 3 years when her boys were heading into school. She found the opportunity to become a personal trainer which led her to opening my own gym. She co-authored a book on fitness which hit the bestsellers list on Amazon. After 10 years of personal training, she retired from the trade. From there she began painting again and found her insatiable passion for art.
“It’s been a matter of timing for me. I was never ready to sit down for any length of time to be creative. I was like a freight train heading in different directions that drove my ambitions. My time is now to explore my art.”
Kim works in acrylics focusing primarily on figurative, portraits and wildlife. Making a connection to nature through each piece, she interconnects how we all have parallels to our surrounding environment and all that we share our planet with.
She is drawn to colour and light and how to make them dance on the canvas in one way or another. Colour and light are an emotional language that as an artist she tries to tap into. That emotional language can uplift and inspire other people and it brings happiness to others when you can share your emotions through your art. Her goal is to nourish the heart and home with each piece she creates.
Lynne Mizera is a full-time acrylic and mixed media artist and instructor living on her one-acre property in the beautiful Creston Valley in British Columbia, Canada. Creative all her life Lynne only picked up the paint brush in 2012 when she turned 50, and has devoted the past 10 years to developing her skills. Highly influenced by Emily Carr and The Group Of Seven, she found the work of these Canadian artists powerful and moving and liked how they managed to portray not just the look of their subject but also the essence of what they were seeing, and decided that was how she wanted to paint. Much of Lynne’s work is bright and colourful, full of energy and simple shapes as she strives to capture that essence behind her subject. For the past year Lynne has been diving deeply into portrait painting especially of women’s faces. “I’ve always been fascinated by Picasso and his use of colour and shape and started playing around with these techniques and then I discovered Modigliani and I felt like I found my happy place.”, and she is currently working on a series of faces as she continues to hone her skills and develop her artistic voice.
As well as spending her time painting Lynne is also passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Since she spent years not painting, feeling like she was not talented enough to be an artist even though that is what she longed to do, she wants to help other women to access their creativity through art journaling and teaches a class filled with mixed media techniques. She believes that every person is creative at heart and only needs a little instruction and the right tools to discover that spark of creativity that resides in all of us.
Amber Summers is an aspiring artist who began painting in 2020 after being inspired by a photograph of the Dorothy Grain Elevator in Dorothy, Alberta.
Amber paints in acrylic and oils and enjoys trying new media. She finds joy in creating art and strives to encourage and uplift others.
Andrew is best known for impressionistic oil paintings of northern landscapes. Inspired by the long tradition of contemporary Canadian painters, his self taught style creates a unique vision of the land filled with colour and magic. Often found painting en plein air in his home province of Alberta, Andrew seeks to capture the feeling of the place through direct contact with the natural environment. He currently resides in Calgary on Treaty 7 Land with his wife Mary and two cats, Meatball and Cleopatra.
“I come from a scientific background, therefore painting is essentially my way of exploring the complex interconnected nature that we inhabit. I want folks looking at my paintings to experience the feeling of the place and how I felt when I was there.”
“Art and science are irrevocably linked by the human condition. From color theory to body mechanics to marine ecology, we find our artistic origins in petroglyphs and relief carvings from our earliest human relatives. As the late Carl Sagan said: ‘The cosmos is also within us, we are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself’. I strive to know the universe through my landscape paintings.”
“We are all connected: to each other, biologically; to the Earth, chemically; to the rest of the universe, atomically.” – Neil deGrasse-Tyson
Kyla Black is a professional photographer based out of Lethbridge, Alberta, whose passion and love of the outdoors leads her to explore and capture the beauty that surrounds her. Focusing on capturing images of Canadian landscapes, wildlife and abandoned rural buildings, Kyla is an award-winning and nationally published photographer who hopes that through her photography, she can not only share her passion and that beauty with others, but inspire people to want to learn more about these amazing places, history and wildlife.
Having an artistic background and growing up exploring nature with family and friends made the transition into the world of nature photography a natural fit for Kyla. She continues to be inspired by the world around her as well as the history of the past and feels nature can provide endless inspiration, creativity and guidance.
Serious study in art started immediately after high school, when an early desire to draw and create sent me to Dawson College in Montreal, the Commercial Arts Program. However, my life dictated that my love for art be interrupted by a career in purchasing, marketing and sales. I discovered recently that indulging my passion for drawing and painting has proven to be my personal therapy, an emotional release from the stress of the business world.
My attraction to colour and the desire to create something subjective, intriguing and stimulating pushed me back into the art world. What intrigues me most is the effect of light as well as the contrasts in nature: sunlight streaming through trees, so penetrating that it pierces the dense foliage and finds a solitary spot on the forest floor, warming and illuminating hidden life; rays of light gleaming on water, reflecting a myriad of colours, or blinding snow on a chill winter day with all its’ shadows; the fashionable flowers we pick and place in vases, whose scent we can only imagine when enjoying the artists’ impression or trying to capture the personality of our animal friends with their energy harnessed for one motionless moment on canvas.
I live just outside of Montreal, Quebec, in Saint Lazare where there are plenty of trees and horses; two of my favourite things!
Vanessa Ali is a full-time artist, dividing her time between creating original paintings and working as a graphic and web site designer.
From a very early age, Vanessa displayed a love of design and creativity, from drawing and painting and a flair for understanding the impact and influence that the spaces where we live and work have on us. As Vanessa’s family grew, her career in architecture morphed into a home-based graphic design and web development/hosting business, Ali Cat Graphics. A lifelong volunteer with a passion for community-building, Vanessa is the president of Humanserve International, a not-for profit NGO that works with refugees overseas and in Canada.
As an artist, Vanessa works primarily in acrylics and oils, creating original paintings that she exhibits and sells online and at local art shows.
“The primary forces in my work are colour and light. I love to portray our natural world and to capture the negative spaces within a thicket of undergrowth or a sun-lit forest of trees. The ever-changing play of colour and light that infuse nature makes me swoon. My goal is to capture and express all of that power and beauty through my art.”
Melissa Mulder currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario and works full time from her home studio. Her first life was that of one surrounded by flowers. The scent, life span, colour, variety, fragility and painterly qualities of flowers were something she studied intimately by way of formal education (Humber College: Etobicoke Canada, Blom Masters Program: Gouda, Netherlands) and by more than 25 years of working with flowers. One would say that she painted with petals, which has now evolved to her current form as a BAS relief/Fresco-Secco-esque Watercolour Artist. Melissa is enjoying ongoing study with Mastrius Artist Group.
Melissa’s continuing development of her work sees her push past simple singular impressions to capture an aura of full familiar landscapes with shallow relief in plaster, her medium of choice, where she can bring in the dimensional characteristics and organic components of her subject, creating impressionist landscapes brought to life with vivid colour. Her Fresco-Secco paintings are rendered in a combination of textural relief impressions and careful marks, combined with loose flowing movement of watercolour. Often representing natural environments reminiscent of Canadian landscapes, or garden grandeur, her dance between capturing physical detail and environmental essence offers an engaging duality for the viewer. Melissa’s art has collectors in the UK, the USA and throughout Canada. Her work can been viewed on her website foragetofossil.com , for a daily look inside Melissa’s practice you can find her on instagram.
Artist Isabel Ostrom was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia and currently lives in Calgary, Alberta. Isabel has many interests and talents in addition to art including music, languages and endurance sports.
Isabel finds inspiration through her love of animals and the outdoors. She has always been able to draw but learned to paint as an adult, and really did not realize her ability until relatively late in life. Better late than never! She loves bringing joy into other people’s lives through her colourful and playful paintings, most often of animals – domestic and wild! Isabel has learned various techniques and methods through experimentation, working with other members of the local arts community and taking a variety of classes and workshops
Isabel is a member of the Calgary Community Painters Society. She has sold her work privately and through group shows.
Kerri-Jo discovered her love for photography while capturing the beauty of the equine athlete. She has been a researcher in equine physiology studying performance in racehorses as well as a competitor who was Western Canadian Champion and top five in North America in distance riding. Drawing from her extensive background with horses she hit the professional photography scene immediately winning the title of Professional Photographers of Canada BC Photographer of the Year.
Since then Kerri-Jo has won numerous arts awards, most recently the City of Richmond Art Award for Artistic Innovation. She has also captured the title of Fine Art Photographer of the Year with Master Photographers International and achieved her Masters designation in Fine Art Photography. Being an artist is just Kerri-Jo’s latest career after evolving through various jobs, including military officer, intelligence analyst, research scientist, horse breeder, documentary photographer, and mother.
Travel is another passion, from running away in Chile as a teenager to cycling over 5,600 km throughout Europe to Nord Kapp (at 73 degrees N) as a young adult, Kerri-Jo has photographed events and celebrations all over the globe. She has covered events in China (meeting with presidents and getting blessed by a Dala Lama reincarnate), Iran (twice, including living with a tribal community in the north for three months), Turkmenistan (nine times for Turkmen Horse events and once for their Independence Day celebrations), Uruguay (covering endurance horse racing) as well as a foodie and adventure tour for Tourism Argentina. Kerri-Jo has also written numerous articles and published several photo books.
Mavis Gauchier’s journey into painting started many years ago, beginning with her love of photography and its ability to capture small details presented in the flowers and underbrush of mountain trails. A native Albertan calling Calgary home for the past 35 years, she finds Alberta’s diverse landscape inspiring. In 2019, wanting to explore how she could express her photography through painting, Gauchier started an intuitive painting class and her journey into acrylic painting began.
Up to this point her artwork has focused on floral, fungi and landscapes in a traditional style in order to document the beauty of nature. Like Georgia O’Keeffe, she continues to explore ways she can best express her fascination with the small details in nature that most people overlook. She believes that a successful painting is one that brings a smile to her face, pulls her in for a closer look and has her asking ”how did they do that?”
Dusti Gomery is a self-taught artist living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Her passion for art began as a young child, but like many, she found herself on an entirely different career trajectory for a significant length of time, only finally returning to her art in 2018.
While Dusti uses a variety of subject matter in her paintings, she has always had a fascination with architecture, a love of nature and a passion for colour. She loves painting various places around her city and country. In her artwork, she strives to take the everyday, the mundane, and the old, and give it new life using bold colours and high contrast.
Dusti encourages her viewers to look again at something they thought they knew, and to see it in a new way.
Athena Cooper is a visual artist, creativity coach and therapeutic arts practitioner based in Calgary. Her landscape paintings and portraiture blend depictions of the everyday with the fractured light and intense colour inspired by stained glass.
Born with the rare genetic disorder, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (aka ‘brittle bone disease’), and a wheelchair user since the age of six, Athena creates images that appear as though they have been passed through her own glass-like nature to become windows into how she sees the world.
Athena is an Active Status member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and has been part of the female and female-identifying artist community THRIVE, (now the Thrive Together Network), since 2017. She also brings a wealth of technical knowledge from the first twenty years of her career as a web designer/developer, digital marketer and email strategist.
She has exhibited in group shows in BC, Alberta and virtually through the course of the pandemic. Her original paintings and commissions can be found brightening up homes across Canada and she also sells a line of greeting cards and calendars with her artwork.
“It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of”. ~Emily Carr
Roberta describes a bursting sensation when she sees something that stirs her. Discontent to keep it to herself she uses watercolours and oils to say “Look what I see”. Soulful connection with the world and with others through her art is what compels her to share her work.
Roberta values the rawness that comes with painting from life, aspiring to communicate the wonder that the scene invokes. From rugged natural scenes to shadows or sunlight playing on a surface, Roberta’s life painting is done on location (en plein air), and in her studio from real objects or reworking of plein air experiences. Her paints are her constant companion whether it is on a road trip, a hike, or just a trip to town (just in case the clouds or light are amazing). Rivers, ponds, and lakes frequently appear in her work and, where possible, her she uses water from the scene in her work. Since retiring from her teaching career, Roberta is on a mission to paint on location in every province (and hopefully every territory) in Canada.
Roberta is affiliated with the International Watercolour Society where she has contributed to the online magazine and to the monthly online show, as well as offering a mini workshop within the group. She is listed with Artists in Canada, and her work can be found in Northern Lights Gallery in Melfort. She is mentored by Cam Forrester and Doug Swinton.
Abby Wilson paints her love of the mountains into acrylic landscapes. She is an Active Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) and has participated in numerous group exhibitions,including the “Painting the West” Square Foot Show and “Landscapes” FCA exhibition. Abby combines art and adventure with plein air painting, hiking sketches and studies down from the alpine into her home studio.
Annette Vander Heide
Annette Vander Heide is a local artist who has lived in the Niagara Peninsula all of her life. Her love for nature began already as a small child, with drawing and sketching being a favorite pastime. Art was put on hold for several years as she devoted her time to raising a family, but she was able to take an evening course at a local high school that started her creative journey.
Presently, she lives in rural Niagara on top of the escarpment – the perfect place to find inspiration for her artwork! Annette is self-taught and loves to incorporate as much light and colour as possible into her nature scenes to help bring them to life, as well as any other interesting elements that catch her eye. Whether it’s wild flowers growing in a forest, a gorgeous sunrise or a jewel coloured hummingbird, Annette finds immense beauty and joy in nature and colour, and loves to experiment with translating what she sees onto canvas using traditional oils or acrylics.
Bethany Turner was born in 1987 in small-town North Western Ontario, Canada. As a child and young adult, she moved well over 20 times, across Ontario and into Alberta. She has a deep connection to the land, which has been her one constant grounding and inspiring force. Bethany’s impressionistic art is full of colour and texture, as the land around her is. Not always sticking to the natural colours of things, she uses colour to portray the impact the earth has on her. Gestural marks and prominent brushstrokes in her acrylic paintings convey emotion and a strong sense of place. Bethany was introduced to art by parents. Her father was often drawing or carving; she loved looking through her mother’s art books on the great impressionists. A self taught artist, Bethany always created in some form but didn’t seriously explore painting until 2018. She connected with it on a deep, soulful level and uses it to share with others her connection to the land. Bethany is pleased to have collectors throughout Canada and the United States.
Niki Parry is an emerging contemporary acrylic artist from Whitehorse, Yukon. With a love of bright colours and natural landscapes, Niki has developed a unique style of painting with fluid acrylic that combines these elements. Her artwork mostly represents natural scenes in an almost abstract sense, utilizing brush painted silhouettes to create an intense contrast and enhance the bright, vibrant nature of the dynamic colours. Niki’s artwork captures the beauty and joy of her creative process and embodies a sense of happiness that she hopes to share with others.
Niki’s inspiration comes from both her northern life in the Yukon and from her westcoast roots in Vancouver island. She moved to Whitehorse 23 years ago, where she lives with her husband, 3 boys and 2 crazy dogs.
I have created art thought out my life in different media but started to focus on painting in 2008. I fell in love with the fact that I am in complete control of how I could manipulate the color on canvas. I strive to create works that are emotional and rhythmic. My goal for each painting is always to keep the viewer engaged and mesmerized with rich color and lavish texture with a bit of a vibrating quality.
People have always been interested in the human form and the secret stories they tell. My goal is to convey a painting expressively by interrupting my subjects. I do this with aggressive use of texture through bold colors, mark making and determined brushstrokes. I create emotion by directly linking abstract concepts and undefined shapes with tangible subjects. The technical ability and accuracy are a requisite but have less importance to me than the conveyance of my experience and feelings. It is my intention to leave the viewer in a state of some curiosity…some emotion….some ambiguity …in contrast to identifying the subject.
Willing to be chaotic and exposed, my work is totally open to letting something new emerge even though I have laid in the realistic subject. I am only done when I feel like I have a balance between the raw subject’s refinement of the form the viewer expects and the interaction of the abstract. As I paint I have stripped away from how I imagine the artwork will look when it is finished, I solely paint from within.
We should all have the experience of more than our sense of sight when we see art.
Caitlin Besler is a contemporary painter residing at the base of the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Born and raised outside Calgary, Alberta, art and adventure have always played a large role in Caitlin’s life. After taking some time off after finishing her Degree in Arts through the University of Lethbridge, Caitlin has found herself being called back to her easel. Hiking through the mountains and exploration of lakes and rivers within mere hours of her doorstep, have fuelled her curiosity of the outdoors and her creative aspirations. Caitlin uses vibrant colours and whimsical compositions to capture the adventurously memorable pastimes commonly enjoyed throughout the Canadian landscape.
Jodi Lindsay is an aspiring artist motivated to progress to the next level. Throughout her life, Jodi has worked in a variety of mediums: oils, acrylics, watercolours, graphite, charcoal, photography, and printmaking. Currently, she primarily works with acrylics to create bold and colourful landscapes influenced by the beauty surrounding Calgary. Hiking in the Kananaskis mountains has inspired pastel winter scenes, frozen waterfalls, and whisky jays in the forest to emerge onto canvas. Experiencing the wind rustling through the trees, and the sparkle of sunlight dancing with the shadows are moments in time are worthy of preserving in paint.
Upon receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, with a focus on drawing, painting, and physical geography, she has proven herself in a variety of ways. One of such examples include working as a teacher on call, to the completion of the Professional Development Program for teaching at Simon Fraser University.
As growth requires pursuing new and uncharted avenues, the daily chain of routine must be broken. After working in the educational field for many years, she has made the choice to venture the path less taken. Her recent participation in art workshops and the Mastrius mentoring program has propelled her to new artistic heights, honing her skills to breakthrough as an emerging artist.
Jodi grew-up in British Columbia, and currently resides in Alberta, where she is continuously motivated by the immense beauty of her surroundings. Each creature, habitat, biome, and geographic area is unique, yet they are interconnected and depend upon each other. Jodi would like to share her body of work that is inspired by light, colours, and textures; of the prairies, mountains, rivers, ocean, sky, and all the creatures that may live in these places.
Each painting utilizes colour, subject matter and design to tell a story or evoke an emotion that encourages the viewer to experience a moment in time. Sometimes the plot involves the elements of nature and other times how man has interacted with the environment. The stories are open-ended so the viewer can interact with the painting and experience their own interpretation. Ultimately, Jodi hopes that her artwork connects to her audience and gives them happiness.