Peoples Choice Award Winners


February 2017 People's Choice Award Winner
Maria Sieben 

“Forest Patchwork”

Maria Sieben’s work reflects her love of nature and her amazement at the many ways that light changes and colours the landscape. Her preferred themes always involve natural spaces in one form or another. She is saddened by the way we carelessly destroy the environment. She wants to portray nature at its best so that everyone can appreciate her beauty.  Colour and light are incorporated in her work. It is natural for her to use brilliant colours and to mix the colours that she needs from just a few tubes of paint. Light and dark is more important than the exact shade of colour that she uses. She happily mix and match unusual combinations.  By studying the work of other artists she has noticed that the most beautiful paintings are very simple in their composition. She has tried to simplify her compositions and render them in interesting brilliant colours.




January 2017 People's Choice Award Winner
Matthew Dekker


Trestle Bridge of Millcreek

Matthew Dekker is an American who fell in love with Edmonton and lives by Millcreek Ravine, and walks those trails with his dog to take in the changes of it’s beauty.  During his busy thirty five years of home building, he sought a release at the U of A and Grant McEwan in Art from his busy deadlines and schedules.  In his youth he had traveled much of North America and always felt a kinship in the beauty of it’s landscapes.  It is where he feels mostly at peace with the sights, smells, and different textures of what lies before him.  This piece is a new venture as much of his work has been in acrylics.  He loves diversity and will often dive into other mediums exploring his creative urges.  Woodwork and soapstone carving have intrigued him for many years, however lately a new interest has captured his attention.  With any new canvas he reaches into his subconscious for words and other expression.  Last spring he collaborated a four year series of canvas's series along with creative writing skills to self-publish a poetry book called the “White Chair” and currently has a second book in the works.  Opportunity has allowed him to take his “White Chair” book and collection into seniors residences to share the experiences and beauty of Millcreek Ravine.  He works from his home - studio81 and invites you for viewing by appointment.



November 2016 Cover Artist
Gail Farewell


Winter I

Gail Farewell was born and raised in the small northeastern town of Elk Point, Alberta. She spent her youth on a dairy farm in that extrordinary lakeland country.  Small farms, cattle, harvest time and the strong clear basics of country living permeate Gail’s paintings. The incredible lakes and mountains of Alberta have further expanded her horizons.

Gail began seriously persuing her career as an artist by enrolling in classes at the University of Alberta, Continuing Education and the Edmonton Art Gallery. She has since completed watercolor studies under nationally established arists such as Evangeline Munns, Brian Ateyo, and Brent Heighton.

She is also influenced by courses taken from American instructors, Tom Lynch, Timothy Clark and Judy Betts.
The inspiration for the winter painting came after studying Stephan Quillers book on colors and color mixing.   One is really encouraged to use color in an unorthodox manner and one gets red and yellow and purple and green skies that contrast wonderfully with white snow. This painting is one of four that I recently completed. with the same theme.


October 2016 Cover Artist
Diana Templeton


Window Dressing

I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and have always been artistic and creative. This led me into a very exciting career in fashion. 

I have found fashion and art are synonymous with each other and the same principles of design are exhibited in both. This has made the transfer of my skills into art a natural progression.

After discovering the inner artist in me (I always drew and painted the wardrobe capsules for training my sales reps), I began taking courses at the University to learn and develop my creative skills. This was a hobby and an interest at this time. I never dreamed I could be a real artist.

I have taken various courses and workshops since 1991 in drawing, design and watercolour painting from various well known Edmonton artists. I organized a Painterly Pals group of 7 artists to meet once a week for the past 8 years.

Joining SWCA in 2010 was the best decision I have ever made in the  progress of my artistic journey. Being juried and exhibiting in professional art shows plus the fellowship and support of other artists has given me the confidence to continue to grow beyond my wildest dreams.

I love painting landscapes and cityscapes in watercolour. “Window Dressing” is one of my favourite paintings in my Edmonton cityscapes series: “Urban Images Outside the Box”. It is of 101 Street just off Rice Howard Way. Changes to the buildings on that street have since changed this cityscape.

I chose the name “Window Dressing” as it reminded me of my fashion days dressing the windows to inspire shoppers. I love the excitement of the hustle and bustle of a busy city as it brings out the “Uptown Girl” in me.


September 2016 Cover Artist
Deb Achtymichuk


Tekarra Totem

My interest in art began with a Jon Gnagy Learn to Draw Kit – a gift received as a young child. I loved to draw, and was thrilled when my Dad would ask me to create pictures for his presentations at work.

While raising my own family and working as a pharmacist, I was grateful for any opportunity to steal a little time for an art class or oil painting. Eventually I was drawn to the interesting effects of watercolours and the fact that they could be tossed into a bag for a quick painting almost anywhere.  Living in a beautiful province like Alberta, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

There is a saying that goes “When the student is ready the teacher will appear,” and fortunate circumstances led me to meet Gregg Johnson. For many years I made twice-yearly trips to the mountains in Jasper to learn and paint with Gregg and the dedicated group of artists who have become such good friends.

Retirement has brought more time for painting and a bucket list of incredible workshops with artists who inspire me, including Mary Whyte, Alvaro Castagnet and John Salminen.

To me, nothing is better than getting outside with my paints. Time slows down, and yet there is a sense of urgency about it. You never know when you will have to quickly pack up due to a downpour, a bear, or a Texas Ranger on a bicycle! The adventure becomes forever entwined with each painting.

“Tekarra Totem” – There are colourful totem poles all around the grounds at Tekarra Lodge in Jasper.  This one stands among the trees just outside the cabin where we have stayed many times.  I have always admired its beauty and detail.  


June 2016 Cover Artist
Myrna Wilkinson


The Terrace with a View

Myrna Wilkinson cannot remember a time when she was not drawn to be creative in a variety of ways. Even as a child, the scent of crayons, paints and any kind of craft or sewing project would be irresistable. Her first serious attempts at painting on canvas, and then using watercolours and other art media started when all three children were away at school everyday. Rather than go back to her  career as an R.N. she started attending workshops with local artists and visiting professionals, and attended U of A extension courses. She found that learning from  a  variety of fine artists helped her  to develop her own style. 

She paints mainly in watercolour, but also in oil and acrylic. Her subjects are chosen from photos taken while on vacation in such places as the Maritimes, Britain and Portugal, as well as from summer flower gardens.


May 2016 Cover Artist
Guo Quan Zheng


Street Scene (Edmonton downtown) / 8”x10” / Oil 

GuoQuan Zheng was born in Shanghai and now resides in Edmonton. The desire to create works of art was instilled in him when he was still a child. At an early age, he learned calligraphy, classical Chinese and Western-style painting. 

He obtained his degree from the Department of Fine Arts, Shanghai Theater Academy, which is nationally recognized for its training in classical European-style landscape paintings. After graduation, he continued to study and mature in his art. He taught Fine Arts at the China Textile University in Shanghai and worked as a professional artist in China.

GuoQuan’s painting has been exhibited in a numerous major nationwide exhibitions in China. His works are in private and corporate collections throughout Canada, United States, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. 
For more than thirty years of his career, GuoQuan has been devoted to art as the highest form of expression. He brings stunning vitality, depth, and emotion to his paintings. He is accomplished in classical techniques, but brings an oriental approach with his own unique style.  His use of light and color achieves a subtle harmony that speaks of the mastery of his medium. GuoQuan’s paintings show great variety, including landscapes, still-lifes, and abstracts. For him, the beauty of nature and the diversity of everyday life are constant sources of inspiration for his paintings.


April 2016 Cover Artist
Judy Rikley


A Glimpse of Wedgewood Creek / 15” X 22” / Watercolour

I grew up in small town Ontario in an atmosphere of creative practicality. We were always busy with a purpose. For my second twenty years ‘in the big city’, I led a fast-paced life as an emergency room nurse. During the next 20 years, I honed my communication and creative skills on the industry side of healthcare, developing proposals, presentations and teaching tools.

When I retired, I had to decide what I now wanted to accomplish with my new way of life. I enrolled in the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension program in Visual Arts. I always envied those who could draw well and hoped it was a skill that I could learn.

Once I got started, I found it a very calming activity that gave me great satisfaction. Going with the flow of the water and happy accidents are a big part of watercolour painting. The transparency of many layers of colour is what keeps my trying. 

I have taken several workshops in both Edmonton and Victoria. In January 2013, I was the feature artist at SWCA. This was the first time I had shown my work to anyone! With the wonderful support of SWCA members, I am no longer reluctant to show what I have done and have participated in several SWCA Exhibitions.

I have nearly completed the Art Certificate Program at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension, and now am excited about producing enough work for the graduating solo show. My theme is centred around glimpses of beauty along the Anthony Henday Freeway. Those brief glimpses get filtered through my imagination to produce watercolour landscapes with a little more colour than may appear in reality. 100 kmh glimpses leave lots of room for the imagination.

“A Glimpse of Wedgwood Creek” is one of the pieces I will be using in my graduating Solo Exhibition.


March 2016 Cover Artist
Tammy Taylor


Dog Gone Tired / 12" x 16" / Oil

Tammy Taylor is a self-taught artist with a passion for wildlife. Inspired by all God's creations, she strives to achieve life like images of her subjects in their natural environment. For over twenty years she has been creating beautiful pieces in oils and pencil. Her work mainly features wildlife, but true to her roots also livestock, agricultural scenes, and children at play readily find themselves her subjects. Along with her husband and four children, Tammy resides on a farm near Rich Valley, not far from where she was born and raised.

Tammy belongs to Night of Artists, Federation of Canadian Artists, Society of Western Canadian Artists, and often participates with Mural Mosaics. Her career as an artist has held many honours and awards, and her paintings can be found in private collections in Canada and abroad. This year Tammy is also a National Portfolio Artist for Ducks Unlimited. Along with painting, she also teaches many workshops and classes for various art groups.

Dog Gone Tired was inspired by the artist's own dog, an Australian Shepherd named Teddy. He always sleeps this way and Tammy was compelled to portray that cute and innocent side of him. As always, she searches for subjects that will evoke an emotional response in her viewers.


February 2016 Cover Artist
Laurena Bierns


Moraine Lake / 7” X 9” / Oil

Laurena Beirnes tried various crafts and art forms but knew she had found her niche when she tried painting. For many years, Laurena did decorative acrylic tole painting and watercolours but the last few years she has been working with oil paints. Since retirement she is able to spend more time painting.

Laurena has taken workshops with various artists such as Louise Jackson, Guy Coombes, Derek Wicks, Grant Fuller and Liz Wiltzen. She has also attended the Jasper Watercolour Retreat many times.

She likes to paint water and so mainly paints landscapes and loves to do plein air painting.


January 2016 Cover Artist
Shirley Kinneberg


Mexican Vendor / 22" x 12" / Acrylic

Shirley Kinneberg was born in the heart of the prairies near Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and is where she first grew a devoted interest in recreating the scenery around her. With the area’s gradually diminishing old machinery, buildings, railway tracks and grain elevators, she chose to demonstrate a large part of this in her works of art. She also loves the four seasons and when combined with quiet lakes, creeks, wildlife and the landscapes that surround them, her enthusiasm to put it all together never ceases. Painting with oil, acrylic, graphite and some water color make up her creative palette.

As life moved on, so did she and her family, making a move to Lloydminster, Saskatchewan- Alberta where she joined the Sask-Alta Visual Arts Guild group from 1990 to 1999 as an active director.

By enrolling in many painting classes from accomplished artists, she gained confidence to grow further in the art field.

Acquiring several awards in various juried art shows and displaying at many venues both solo and group has sent her art work into several private and corporate collections throughout Canada and abroad.

Shirley continues to evolve in the art scene, showing, teaching and holding memberships to several art groups in Canada and the United States.

There is never a shortage of subject matter in the scenery which she captures in her travels, long walks and journeys ... camera in hand and easel by her side.

As of today, acrylic painting is her favorite medium and with the recent desire to create portraits of people that touch her soul, there is never a shortage of interesting characters – for instance, the devoted “Mexican Vendor” who struggles all day in the extreme afternoon heat to sell her wares in order to feed her family. One can only imagine the do-or-die situations of these individuals and their lives.

Shirley loves country life from past fond memories to her life today. To her, vibrant color with interesting subject matter is all it takes to create with much enjoyment.

Elk Point, Alberta, is her present location and she loves the fact that the small friendly community is her home.


December 2015 Cover Artist
Judith Leonard


Middle Ring (Gerbera) / 36” x 48” / Acrylic 

Judith Leonard studied at Alberta College of Art and Design and University of Calgary, graduating with a BFA in Visual Studies in 2011. Her art involves painting and drawing a variety of subject matter, both realistic and abstract. Most of her paintings are in oil and acrylic. Judith is interested in the study of creativity and in art history. One of the artists who she most admires is Louise Bourgeois, who did not limit herself to only one art medium or subject matter, and who finished her last artwork a week before her death at age 99.  

This painting was inspired by the theme of SWCA’s Misericordia Hospital exhibition, “GO LARGE”.   Judith responded to the “GO LARGE” theme by rendering part of  the dime size centre of a gerbera flower to a three foot by four foot painting. The result is a visually demanding piece that shouts, “Look at me!” The painting is in the spirit of Georgia O’Keefe and Judith hopes that she has achieved some of the sensual qualities of O’Keefe’s work. 


November 2015 Cover Artist
Carleen Ross

Becoming One / 18" x 24" / Acrylic

Carleen Ross started working as an acrylic artist in 2005 just after the birth of her first son. She resides in Sherwood Park, AB and Edgewood, BC with her husband, two boys and their family dog. Having a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a focus in animal behaviour, Carleen finds that she inherently gravitates to painting wildlife. Her work is known for her unique style and can be seen in homes throughout North America and Europe.

Inspiration about the piece:
When I first looked at this turtle it created a sense of peace for me. It looked as if it is becoming one with its surroundings – having its body disappear into the sand around it. It is difficult to tell where the turtle ends and the earth begins. I see life this way. I see, that we need to recognize that we are one with everything that is around us. If we are still we can find peace in out surroundings.


October 2015 Cover Artist
Annette Russell


Teddy / 12” x 9” / Oil on Canvas

Annette Russell has always loved to draw and took every art class she could in school. After graduating life got busy and art was just something she use to do. It wasn’t until she and her family moved to the Edmonton area that art once again became a part of here life. With the support of her husband and having the time required, she started to pursue her passion for art once again.  
For the past six years she has attended workshops and classes at The Leduc Art Club, Pro’s Art, The University of Alberta Faculty of Extension and SWCA. She likes different mediums but her favourite is oil painting. 
She particularly loves to paint people which led her to do many portraits for friends and family. The painting featured here is one she did of a close family friend Teddy. 


September 2015 Cover Artist
Kathy Dyck


Memories of China / 11” x 15” / Watercolour

Kathy Dyck was born in Regina, Sask., and grew up on a small farm near Creelman. She remembers being interested in art from an early age as she watched her mother drawing and painting. Kathy took art classes at university while pursuing a B.Ed. and worked for several years as a Junior High art teacher in the public school system. She later completed a BA in Visual Art, but had to put aside her interest in art to focus on her busy teaching career. 

In the late 90s, Kathy had more free time and began taking watercolour classes. She was lucky to find a fantastic teacher in Cecile Derkatch, who unfortunately has since moved away. Kathy found watercolour painting to be fascinating because of the challenges it presents. She has also taken classes from many fantastic Edmonton area artists. She has also experimented with acrylics. Her subject matter ranges from floral, to landscapes and still life.  

Memories of China – In 1996, my husband and I travelled to China to adopt our daughter. I had always wanted to paint a picture of some of the mementos from our trip. As I painted, I was very happy with the foreground but felt that the background was too overpowering. After much debate, I finally decided to cut off the background. Taking a wild chance, I put it under running water and brushed vigorously with a toothbrush. It turned out to have a muted, tarnished look which was just right for the picture. I added some colour touch-ups and gold highlights and taped it back to the foreground. Voila! It worked! And, because I had to move the background down about an inch, the composition was improved. I had learned how to take a chance! My daughter liked it so much she asked me not to sell it!


June 2015 Cover Artist
Shirley McIntosh


Weslake Homestead / 12” x 16” / Oil

Shirley was born in Edmonton and has lived in Leduc all her life. Shirley always admired art and thought how wonderful it would be to be able to make such beautiful paintings. It wasn’t until later in life when a good friend suggested that she take up painting and asked her to join the Leduc Art Club for classes, that Shirley realized that she too could make beautiful paintings.  

Shirley currently attends regular classes at Pro’s Art School and participates in workshops with the Leduc Art Club. Shirley also took a drawing class at The University of Alberta Extension. She paints in acrylic, watercolor, pastel and oils –  oils being her favorite. She finds painting very relaxing and enjoys painting a variety of subjects.

The body of work she is currently working on is inspired by photographs taken at the homestead where her grandparents lived. The painting titled “Weslake Homestead” is of the original house before it was knocked down in the late 1980s. This subject matter is near and dear to her heart as it brings back fond memories of when she was a child.  


May 2015 Cover Artist
Marilyn Hodysh


Nesting: Building Home

I have always been interested in art. My teacher in Grade 2 suggested art classes at the Edmonton Art Gallery which I enjoyed on Saturdays. I loved school because they let me do art and sewing, so I became a Home Economics teacher. I taught for 30 years, but always there were art classes for me – first to complete my degree, then courses at the Faculty of Extension to heal my soul. Watercolours first, then printmaking, oil painting and ELLA!

It pays to be old! At ELLA, you can take wonderful classes for three weeks every day and meet the nicest classmates and teachers – and there are no exams! ELLA has more than art classes, but these are my favourite! P.S. You only have to be 50!

This painting (Nesting: Building Home) started in May 2011 in a pen and ink drawing class by Ron Wigglesworth. I brought a collection of nests to share with him and my classmates. This nest was in my honeysuckle bush and I finally got to meet its secretive owner – a chipping sparrow. The drawing is on a rejected print, repurposed as first a black ink drawing. Years later it has taken on a life of its own with walnut and coffee stains, ink that ran (by accident) and multiple pencil crayons, as well as gesso. It has grown and changed as I did.  

It has been my joy to be involved with its creation. It has evolved since the version pictured here – art is never finished ... maybe the start of a series?!


April 2015 Cover Artist
Arlene Bowles


Here Comes The Sun / 16"x20" / Watercolour

As a hobby painter for over four decades, Arlene takes her inspiration from the natural world around her. Since her early days, she has enjoyed traveling and quickly developed a deep love for the magnificent landscapes and seasonal beauty she saw. Traveling the world and experiencing new places continues to be an interest but the flora, fauna and vistas of Alberta always will have a special place in her heart and her art!“

What first captures my attention in a scene I see before me is the play of light against dark and I am impelled to capture the mood it creates. In Chrysanthemum, I liked the contrast that the sunshine created with the shadows of the foliage, almost like yin and yang at play.”

Arlene began painting in oils under the tutelage of John Hanley and continued to develop her expertise with various other instructors. In later years she expanded her endeavours to watercolours which she continues to study. Although primarily a realistic painter, Arlene is currently enjoying the freedom of expression found in abstract painting. Arlene is an Exhibiting member of the Society of Western Canadian Artists and the Art Society of Sherwood County and is a founding member of the Painted Door on Main Artists and Artisan’s Guild which operates a gallery in Beaumont, Alberta. Please visit her website at www.arlenebowles-artist.com.

Arlene attended the University of Alberta obtaining a Bachelor of Education and Masters of Education degrees. She was employed with the Edmonton Public School Board first as a teacher and then as an administrator. She enjoys sharing her love of painting with her family and friends. Arlene lives in Edmonton with her husband, Nigel, who is an avid photographer.


March 2015 Cover Artist
Cathy Bible


Magnificence / 24” x 12” / Mixed Medium

Cathy Bible is an abstract artist from Edmonton. Her artistic beginnings were in oil paintings and primarily landscapes. She also experimented with water colour painting. Her introduction into abstract art has now allowed her to more freely express her creative passion.

Cathy’s paintings are never preconceived. It is the process of using acrylics, plaster and mixed media that allows her to express her inner emotions. She loves the freedom to create and the excitement of discovery as she manipulates the mediums. Her art becomes a powerful visual image of her inspirations.

“I have always been an artist, I was just too much of a perfectionist. Now I feel like a child allowed to play and experiment while having fun! We should all be given that opportunity!”

The viewer experiences a range of emotions and reactions to Cathy’s paintings. Each time you study her work, different layers of meaning seem to magically appear. Cathy’s use of materials and techniques entices you to engage with her in the journey of reflection and discovery. 

Cathy is a member of the Society of Western Canadian Artists, Art Society of Strathcona, St. Albert Painters Guild and a supporting member of the Alberta Society of Artist. She was a participant in Whyte Avenue, Riverbend, and Strathearn Artwalks, solicited by Agora Gallery in New York City for an exhibition of her work as well as in a variety of group and individual shows. 

Check her website at www.cathybible-art.com


February 2015 Cover Artist
Catharine Compston


December Light, University Avenue and Saskatchewan Drive / 20” x 16” / Soft Pastel

I received my art training many years ago at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, before it added Design to its name. It was a great experience, but my practical side took over and I changed career paths to become a lab technologist. My artistic pursuits for many years consisted of pencil sketching and the occasional night class. I also illustrated a backcountry camping cookbook; Recipes for Roaming: Adventure Foods for the Canadian Rockies (Babes in the Woods Press, 1996).

While at art school, I never found a colour medium that I liked; it seemed to me that when mixing paints, I always ended up with a pool of paint that somehow wasn’t quite right. But a happy encounter with soft pastels in 2009 helped me find my medium. You lay out your palette from light to dark values of pastel sticks, and you can see what colour or value you need. Blending, if done at all, is done on the pastel paper. Pastel has become a painting medium in its own right with the availability of marvelous highly toothed sanded papers. I started selling my work through Art Walk on Whyte, and had a show at the McMullen Gallery in 2012 with David Shkolny and Judy Martin called New Terrain: Landscapes in Pastel. I have completed several commissions and my work is at the Bay 12 gallery at the Village at Pigeon Lake. I am now teaching soft pastel classes at the City Arts Centre. Soon, my lab hands will be full time artist hands, returning to my original calling, in art.

Growing up an Albertan meant incorporating its landscape in all the seasons into my consciousness; there is endless source material to work with. The inspiration for December Light, University Avenue and Saskatchewan Drive was the late afternoon winter light, falling horizontally across the snow. The effects of light are something I love to try to capture, and something we can all appreciate, especially in the depths of winter.


December 2014 Cover Artist
Val Solash


Down by the Creek / 16” x 20” / Acrylic

Simply put, I enjoy the process of painting. I lose all my cares with a paintbrush in my hand. Recently, I am back playing with monotypes, japanese papers and water media, but I still play with paint too!

I spend many days “down by the creek”; walking, sketching, and photographing. Starting out at a young age, in spite of my mother’s warnings, I would be found down at the creek skipping stones, wading in or catching bugs. I am simply drawn to the water’s edge. Here I have tried to convey my enthusiasm for and awe of this inspiring riparian landscape.


November 2014 Cover Artist
Loraine Ure

Woodland Clearing / 18” x 24” / Oil

Loraine Ure is a self-taught multi media artist and instructor. She is a Signature status member of SWCA. 

She was raised in Saskatchewan, raised her family in Peace River, Alberta, and then moved to Edmonton in 1990. She taught herself to paint and mix colours when she was 8 years old and at 12 years of age disciplined herself to drawing at least one hour a day. Her early memories were of prairie scenes and wide expansive skies.

Through classical realism, naturalism and impressionism, she expresses her innermost feelings. She now favours oils in a solvent-free environment, with specific brands and colours to accommodate her health. 

An appreciation for nature and all its anomalies, inspires her. Portraiture and figurative art are also her passion. She creates atmosphere, light, mood, movement and emotion through brush stroke and colour. 

 “Nature (has) a correlation to our human uniqueness and how we affect or reflect back to each other. I am compelled to paint; a burning desire to capture. a mood, feeling or emotion that it brings out in me. We all are connected and art gives that statement clarity.”

Lorraine was published in a coffee table book titled “Winter Treasures” in 1997.


October 2014 Cover Artist
John Labots


Festival / 18” x 24” / Acrylic

John Labots is an Edmonton graphic artist who has been exploring the world of acrylic painting for the past several years.

“I often say that I was born a graphic designer. My colouring books and school projects conveyed an inherent artistic and organizational ability, which eventually led me to a career in graphic design.”

With the advent of computers in graphic design in the 1980s, all manual graphic design work became completely digital with little to no tactile experiences. As a result, John felt “there was a tremendous appeal to return to the tactile expression of pen or pencil to paper, and palette knife or brush to canvas.” 

Beginning with a watercolour course in the summer of 2008, and joining the Society of Western Canadian Artists (SWCA) later that fall, John began to re-immerse himself into the world of acylic painting. In the fall of 2013, he began the Fine Art Certificate Program at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension to further develop his knowledge and skills.

“There is something inherently life-giving in being creative. I think every person is born to be creative – it’s just that each one of us does it differently. This happens to be one of the ways I am able do it.” 
_

The painting “Festival” is a result of many walks in the river valley photographing small clusters of leaves, bushes and trees along the side of the path. Coming in close and studying the details through a photographic lens has let me see a whole new world – it’s usually not a very enjoyable experience for those walking with me! By saturating the photo’s colours on the computer I discover a stronger colour palette as well as some surprising colours that were there all along but hidden in the overall complexity of the photo. I emphasize these hidden colours as the painting progresses.


September 2014 Cover Artist
Joyce McCoy


Evening Light / 11” x 14” / Watercolour 

Joyce McCoy came from a Saskatchewan prairie community. She has since resided in Calgary, the Ottawa Valley of Ontario and Manitoba. She is a long time resident of Edmonton. During her career as a High School teacher, her need to study art led her to take several summer art classes in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Alberta, with John Mann, Peter Black and Robert Sinclair, History of Art from Athabasca University, evening art classes at the Faculty of Extension with Jim Davies. She has since studied at the Edmonton Art Center with Frank Haddock and Frances Alty-Arscott and taken several workshops with Greg Johnson and Gordon MacKenzie. 

At last, retirement has given her the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a watercolour artist. She is presently a member of the Edmonton Art Club, a member with active status of the Society of Western Canadian Artists and Southside Artist Friends of Edmonton, The Edmonton Needlecraft Guild and the Focus on Fibre Art Association.

The source of her inspiration is the endless variety and beauty of the natural world. The prairie scene in particular, will always be part of her art with its’ constantly changing qualities of value and colour and the unique textures of its vast skies, rolling hills, plants and wildflowers.Her classes at the Faculty of Fine Arts allowed her to try a variety of media. So far she has been working mainly with watercolour for its translucency, vast array of tonality from delicate to vivid and the challenge of its sheer quirkiness. However other media have appeal for future exploration, especially acrylics, Chinese ink, collage, fibre art and other mixed media.

Her style is constantly evolving as she experiments with different subjects and techniques. She wants to always be open to grow with new ideas, new challenges.


May 2014 Cover Artist
Anne McCartney

Forest Path / 30" x 22" / Transparent Watercolour

With encouragement from those around me in the Alberta art community, I began painting seriously in 2005. Since then I have created a substantial body of work, exhibited in many shows and have been awarded for my efforts. I am essentially self-taught, but I have had the help of many workshops, mentors and have read many excellent resources. I am fortunate enough to do what I love as a career, spending many hours in my home studio painting the days away. Some of my 'successes' hang in homes and corporations around North America and Europe, and recently Asia.

This path is one of many that I wandered down the summer of 2012. During a self-directed camp trip across Ontario to Edmonton I spent five weeks painting the sights around me. I travelled from Georgian Bay (Tom Thomson territory) up through Northern Superior (Lauren Harris territory) and ended up here in Roland Gissing territory. All very inspirational! A trip I would love to repeat, but for now I just take myself there in my studio by painting images like this one.


March 2014 Cover Artist
Teresa B. Graham

High Tea / 14” x 20” / Watercolour

I have always been inspired by the members of the Society of Western Canadian Artists by their enthusiasm, their love of art in every form and especially their desire to improve their skills and help improve the skills of others. I have made, what I consider, great friends. 

I started painting in watercolour long after my father passed away and left me in possession of his art supplies. An art teacher friend of mine suggested I should do something with them. We formed a ‘painting group’ at our place of employment and I have never looked back. I started with florals. Almost everytime I came to a SWCA meeting someone would tell me how they loved the flowers I painted. 

A particular flower I fell in love with was the orchid, such a beautifully intricate flower. I joined the orchid club, bought many orchids, cleared out a corner of the house to accommodate them all. Alas, it was a one sided love affair … almost every orchid I bought did not flourish. However, painting them has given me a much more lasting joy and appreciation. I purchase orchids for others and paint them for myself! 


November 2013 Cover Artist
Lorraine Jones

Just Curious / 15” x 22” / Watercolour

As my retirement was approaching, I debated on what I should invest my time in. I was reminded of a verse: “Make me to know the measure of my days that I might know how frail I am.” And so, I resolved to return to a childhood interest.I began with Red Deer College Extension Courses in drawing and watercolour. Watercolour was completely a new challenge to me and I thought it was next to impossible to achieve. You need a positive attitude, patience and some excellent facilitors that can foster your growth and equal your enthusiasm.

I attended workshops locally and in other areas while travelling through the U.S. and Mexico. My boxes of photos of Banff and Jasper are gems always at hand. I love watercolour for its spontaneity and serendipity. The intricacy of the simplicity of nature never ceases to amaze me. So much to do and so little time. The inspiration I had to draw and paint “Just Curious” was my from cycling. In spring, I cycle down the country roads and am in awe how the cattle come to the fenceline to watch me ride by. They seem to be so interested in what you are doing.


October 2013 Cover Artist
Sirkka Kadatz


Petals Bright / 14" x 11" / Encaustic Wax

Born in Finland, I immigrated to Canada in 1952 and settled with my family in Beverly, Alberta. As far as I can remember, I have always been interested in art. During my school years, I was often asked to do art displays for special events. After high school, I started experimenting with oil paints. A few years later, a busy family life and a full time job took over my life and painting was put aside. When I retired, I wanted to fill my free time with art. 

I had always wanted to go to art school but it was not possible, so I enrolled in workshops and lessons. This brought much enjoyment into my life. One day, I was reading an article in The Journal about a lady much older than me, receiving her Fine Arts Certificate from the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. I asked a friend of mine, who was also in the program, to explain what was involved in attaining this certificate. I thought about it for a few days and decided to enrol in the program. I figured that I now would have time and I only needed to find the energy to do it.

In 2005, I was fortunate to received the Harry Wohlfarth Memorial Award. Then in 2010, I graduated with my Fine Arts Certificate from the U of A Faculty of Extension. The hard work paid off and I was very happy.

I continue to love painting as it helps me express my inner feelings, relax and escape from everyday stress. Enjoyments come from experimenting with all types of media and learning new techniques. I am enjoying my journey to discover my true artistic path.

My image for “Petals Bright” came into my head one day, and I just had to paint it. I have many more in my memory bank yet to be done. “Petals Bright” is an encaustic wax painting, This is the most exciting medium I have ever worked with. I love the vibrant colours and how they melt and blend together.

June 2013 Cover Artist
Judy Rikley

Princess Castle / 15" x 11" / Watercolour

I grew up in an atmosphere of creative practicality. Dad was always building or fixing something, or in the garden. Mom was an expert at sewing, cooking and baking for five kids. Many call these creative talents today but, at that time, it was just practical living.

For the first twenty years of my career, I led a fast-paced life as an emergency nurse. After a brief stint in the fashion industry, I honed my communication and creative skills on the industry side of healthcare, developing proposals, presentations and teaching tools.

When I retired, I had to decide what I wanted to be in my next life undefined besides being a wife, mother and grandmother. I enrolled in the University Faculty of Extension Program in Visual Arts. I always envied those who could draw well and hoped it was a skill that I could learn. Once I got started, I found it a very calming activity that gave me great satisfaction. Satisfaction has nothing to do with the quality of the work produced but perseverance eventually started to show me that I really could do this.

Paul Klee said, “Drawing is taking a line for a walk.” I did a bit of walking with a line and then started with brushes and watercolour. I thought I was past drawing. I recently went back to a drawing class and it was the best thing I could have done. I see so much better now. I will never forget again to draw often.

I have completed the Visual Arts classes and now the creative process will really begin. I’m excited about producing enough work for a solo show within the next 2 years. Now I get to paint what and how I want. I am playing around with different projects all at once and exploring different media. Living part of the year at the west coast, travelling recently to Paris and Russia and having active grandchildren all provide me with great artistic subject matter that I can’t wait to develop.

I have taken several workshops both in Edmonton and Victoria, and, of course, art workshops at ELLA for four years. In January 2013, I was the feature artist at SWCA. With the wonderful support from SWCA members, I am no longer reluctant to show what I have done. Your feedback helps me confirm or rethink my direction. Please continue.

My work “Princess Castle” was inspired by my granddaughter. She was drawing pictures of castles for me and making up the story of the princess as she went along. A five-year-old girl thinks and dreams in pink and ice cream colours.


May 2013 Cover Artist
Myrna Wilkinson

Entrance to the Garden / 14” x 11” / Watercolour on rice paper

I have been a SWCA member since 1998, and have been involved on the Executive, and in many of the shows and other activities through the years. It has been nice getting to know so many fine artists at workshops and as a volunteer in various ways.

I began painting first with oils, then watercolour, and have enjoyed using other media as well. However, I always come back to watercolour, my favourite. Over the years, I have attended a variety of workshops and classes by fine artists near and far, including many courses at the University of Alberta, Department of Extension. In more recent years, I have taken ELLA spring courses at the U of A.

The cover of this month’s Artscape features one of my watercolours done on rice paper. It was inspired by a snapshot I took in England a few years ago of a rather untended, overgrown garden which seemed attractive to me, after seeing many beautiful gardens everywhere. I wasn’t satisfied that the painting was finished until I added some acrylic to bring out the focal point and other highlights

.One of the many joys of being an artist is the immense challenge and satisfaction of pressing on ... to keep learning, growing and hopefully improving. It is such fun finding something new and fascinating that just must be painted.


March 2013 Cover Artist
Cornelia Martin-Hansen

String of Pearls / 11” x 14” / Oil

Born and raised in Edmonton, Cornelia’s passion for art began early and at the age of 9, her art was displayed in the Alberta Legislature Building. She started painting with acrylics in high school then switched to oils. Soon after, she joined the Art Park Society displaying her oil paintings in outdoor venues in Edmonton. Since then art has continued to be a big part of her life.

Today, her creativity is focused mainly on painting with oils and watercolors but she also dabbles in acrylic, pastel and charcoal. She enjoys painting still life, landscapes, portraits and wildlife, with an emphasis on realism and light.

Cornelia has broadened her skills through classes and workshops given by talented and knowledgeable instructors such as Gene Prokop at Pro’s Art, Willie Wong, Johannes Vloothuis, and Rose Edin to name a few. Her work has been shown in various venues in Edmonton and Sherwood Park. Over the years she has won a number of art competitions in both mediums and has painted commissions of divers subject matter.

One of her oil paintings, depicting the Northcote steamer on the North Saskatchewan River in 1875, can be seen displayed on one of the rounding boards she volunteered to paint for Fort Edmonton’s authentic and functioning wood-carved carousel.

Cornelia is an “Active” member of the Society of Western Canadian Artists and the Art Society of Strathcona County.

Art as well as the people she meets along her path continue to enrich her life, and her passion for art runs strong.“I was inspired to paint ‘String of Pearls’ from an arrangement I had set up of some items that had special meaning to me and that would also work well together in a painting. Pearls are my birthstone. Also, I enjoy how the crystal perfume bottle refracts the light and the copper pot reflects the objects around it.


February 2013 Cover Artist
Mary Hartley


Unmarked Trail / 13.5” x 6” / Watercolour

I was born in the small community of Provost on the Alberta prairies.

I graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree and a Senior Art Certificate, and have participated in courses and workshops and worked in many art media.

I was among the artists selected to paint one of the panels on the top of the carrousel in Fort Edmonton Park.

I had the opportunity to stay with a friend and travel around Nordegg and the Lake Abraham area. We wondered off on many “unmarked trails”.

My thanks to SWCA members for choosing my watercolor painting as a cover. I enjoy the privilege of associating with so many talented artists.


December 2012 Cover Artist
Carmen Gonzalez


Candy Apply Accessories / 18" x 36" / Oil

I was born in Edmonton and lived here all my life. My mother loved to draw and paint as a hobby which sparked my love for art. By the age of 12, I became very passionate about art and spent hours drawing. At the age of 19, I took a university course in drawing and became very intimidated. Unfortunately, I stopped drawing and painting for 22 long years.

In 2006, at the age of 41, I had a life changing experience. This experience guided me to pursue what I have always wanted to become – an artist. Now, I am currently a full time artist as well as a full time mother of three teenagers. I began as a watercolour artist but am now painting exclusively in oils.

For the last three years, I have been taking courses for the Visual Arts Certificate from the U of A Faculty of Extension Program. I am currently working on my final project which is a Solo Exhibit. My theme is The Lure of Colourful Candy. Candy Apple Accessories is one of my pieces from my series.My series represents how the candy industry is so clever at luring us. Research has shown that a consumer’s first impression of a product comes from its colour. Is it the sweet taste or is it the colour that lures you?

Candy is frequently around as I have three children. Each time my children eat candy, I find myself reminiscing about my childhood. My candy series is also about childhood memories. Each candy has a different memory.
When my children and I made these candy apples, I made the kids wait for an hour before they could eat them because I had to take a ton of photos first. But, as I look at the completed painting, I remember the joy and laughter we had making them and how messy they were to eat.

Painting candy is fun. They have such wonderful shapes and colours. Each painting is so alive with vivid colours and happy emotions.


November 2012 Cover Artist
Diana Templeton


Freedom / 14" x 10" / Watercolour

I have always been artistic and creative. These talents plus being a very visual person led me into a very exciting career in fashion. I have found that fashion and art are synonymous with each other as the same principles of design are exhibited in both.

This has made the transfer into painting a natural progression. I have always loved and appreciated art but never dreamt that I could paint. After participating in a course where you were only allowed to paint your feelings, I discovered the artist in me. I followed up by taking various courses in drawing, design and watercolor painting at the University of Alberta, plus various workshops.

I have been seriously active lately in watercolours, becoming a professional artist and opening my own company “My Authenticity” in the fall of 2010.

I find watercolour a compelling medium that forces me to allow the paint and water to do what they do best. The challenge of not being in control releases my perfectionism, freeing me to be spontaneous.

I enjoy painting landscapes and cityscapes. The colours in nature and beauty in the landscapes speak volumes to me. Cityscapes fill me with the excitement and energy of the hustle and bustle of a busy city or again the beautiful grandeur of the buildings in style and form. These contrasting styles feed my imagination and keep me captivated.

Colour is my motivation in life and my inspiration in painting. I feel so lucky and privileged to have a creative way to express it. I am involved in the Art Community as an Active Member of SWCA and three years ago, I formed a “Painterly Pals” group of seven watercolour artists who meet at my place once a week to paint.I can paint when I want, if I want, how I want, plus where I want. One cannot ask for anything more!!!

My painting “Freedom” is from a photo I took while visiting Stamp Falls in Port Alberni, B.C. It is home to a cascading waterfall and a salmon spawning river. On a walking path that passes by fish ladders and fast moving rapids, I was inspired by the powerful action of the water framed by the contrasting textures and colours.


October 2012 Cover Artist
Val Solash


Tiger Lily – Granny’s Garden / 12" x 12" / Acrylic on canvas

I am a late bloomer in the art department and rather long in the tooth for an emerging artist. I began painting with annual jaunts to Red Deer College to spend a week with my sister, the potter. I would take a painting course while she took a clay course and we would room together for some sister time. I dabbled in everything from pen and ink to printmaking along the way, but only for one week of the year. When I retired, I decided to develop my abilities further and so I enrolled with the U of A Extension and eventually got my Fine Arts certification. I have made painting part of my life since then.

Recently, I painted a series of florals which I called Granny’s Garden. “Tiger Lily” was selected for the Artscape cover this month and the resource specimen that I painted is a descendant of one from my own granny’s garden. My granny’s garden, weedy, but with much variety of flora, was always a place of wonder to me as a small child. The naming of flowers, as well as weeds, was always part of the walkabout, so pigweed and lady’s thumb are as readily identifiable to me as gentian and flax. I grew up to be a gardener, never much with vegetables, but a lover of blossom and bloom. Today, I am the granny and my grandkids play in my weedy garden.


September 2012 Cover Artist
Nancy Thomas


The Mighty Peace / 20" x 30" / Oil on canvas

As an artist, I have had many opportunities to view Canada from coast-to-coast. I grew up in the Kawartha Lake district of Ontario where the Buckhorn Art Gallery inspired me. Living in Alberta since my teens, I have grown to appreciate the mountains, prairies, pristine lakes and rivers.

I became even more inspired at a SWCA oil painting workshop done by Gene Prokop. Since taking that workshop, I began to paint in oils, as this is the method of the “Old Masters” taught to us by Mr. Prokop. I have painted still life and animals, but my favourites are portraits and landscapes.

Recently, I’ve done a variety of Alberta and BC landscapes, some of which are displayed at the Artisan Gallery and the Multi-Cultural Centre in Stony Plain. My work has been displayed at Pro’s Art Gallery, Royal Glenora Club, and the Misericordia and Grey Nuns Hospitals. Annually, I donate paintings to raise funds for “Skin Cancer Research” and the RCMP Memorial Park in Mayerthorpe, Alberta.

The painting on the cover is titled “The Mighty Peace” for the beauty and sustenance the Peace River gives so many Albertans.


May 2012 Cover Artist 
Heidi Smith


Evening Glow – The Links / 36" x 24" / Acrylic

I have enjoyed doing art ever since I can remember and still have two paint-by-number “art” pieces on my studio wall from my teenage years. 

I have had a wonderful journey in art since retiring from nursing. I enrolled in the Fine Art Certificate Program at the University of Alberta from where I graduated in 2008, receiving the Lillian Nunn Scholarship. I also received the Constance McFarland Scholarship and the Lillian Nunn Scholarship again last year. 

Jerry Heine, Robert Genn, Mike Swob and the Group of Seven have been very instrumental in my art career. I am fortunate to be represented by the Daffodil Gallery in Edmonton since they opened last year.

Being a Signature member of SWCA (including involvement in roles such as Vice President and Jury Director) gives me great opportunities to keep in touch with a wonderful group of artists. I also belong to VAAA (CARFAC); Alberta Community Art Clubs Association, Master Status; and am a member of Alberta Society of Artists.

I believe that art is a life-long learning experience, and enjoy competitions and exhibitions. I paint a variety of subjects with a passion for colour, using bold strokes to capture a moment in time or a place that I love. My hope is that anyone who enjoys my art will share these moments; then my artistic goal has been fulfilled. I have been truly blessed.


April 2012 Cover Artist
Dianna Hanna


Coral Reef / 18" x 36" / Acrylic on canvas

My artistic and creative loves are acrylic, batik, encaustic, photography and watercolour. Each medium intrigues me and I love to work with my passions every day, 24/7! Sometimes the creative moments are at 2:00 a.m.!

I am an accomplished, published artist and photographer which is an exciting part of my life. I have published articles for batik and watercolour techniques as well as artistic tips. Several of my photographs along with journal articles have been published in magazines and newspapers with worldwide circulation. I enjoy sharing many of my artistic talents and love to capture and interpret their essences with camera, paper and canvases. 

My creative imagination is inspired by various elements such as the wandering daylight casting interesting shadows, the flowers boasting perfection, the unique sunrise and sunset embracing the land, dancing leaves in an autumn breeze and the treasures in life.It gives me great pleasure to share my artistic journey with you.

© Society of Western Canadian Artists

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software