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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 MILLER

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 speer

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 strasdas

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.

Marcela is painting full time after stepping down in January 2014 from the daily management of the Coast Collective. She has participated in numerous juried

   

jean parker

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.

   

LIA GOLEMBA

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.

   

Brittney Tough

Canadian Artist Brittney Tough is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC). She is well known for her vibrant paintings depicting textiles and objects.

Brittney is an international award winning artist who has exhibited work across Canada and the United States. Her work was published in Southwest Art Magazine’s feature article 21 Under 31, The Artist’s Magazine, Watercolour Artist and the Splash hardcover series of the best in contemporary watercolour. Brittney has shown in local, national and international exhibitions and received numerous awards in these competitions. Brittney received a Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Alberta University of the Arts in 2007 and is based in Calgary, Alberta. She has been teaching art for over 10 years and continues to expand her practice internationally.

   

Janice Gallant

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 EISENBARTH

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.

   

DENISE DAMBRACKAS

I’m a figurative oil painter living and working in Denver, Colorado who combines contemporary realism and graphic design in the creation of artwork that tells a story.

I received a BFA from Florida State University in 1995, after transferring from Maryland Institute College of Art one year prior and Miami Dade Community College before that. My focus was on portraits in oil.

Over the years my creative outlets varied between working as a graphic designer, a builder and maker, an activist and a community creator.

In 2017, I circled back to focus on my passion, portrait painting, committing to it professionally and on a larger scale. My current work is driven by a desire to inspire young women, by giving them imagery to see themselves and one another embracing who they are to fully live into their dreams.

In my current personal series of work, I’m dedicated to helping the “Future Feminine” avoid the pitfalls of their own and society’s imposed sense of doubt. By engaging this work, I am finding my own way through the same.

   

MAYA CORONA

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

   

JEN STERLING

Jen focused seriously on ballet and modern dance throughout her childhood and adult life.

She has a BA in Performance Art from the University of MD.  In May 2015, she took an on-line art class that propelled her into the world of two-dimensional art.

No stranger to discipline, she has dedicated herself to continually learning from master artists, a demanding studio practice, showing her work, and teaching at the Art Student League of Denver and Curtis Center for the Arts.     

   

NIKI GATTON

I am a California girl, born and raised with a passion for the outdoors. I reside in one of the most beautiful areas of the world and I live to spend time outside with my family.
 
My passion for the outdoors is what drives my passion to paint. During college I discovered the joys that are skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and all things outdoors. I have a degree in Natural Resource Management and a Multiple Subjects teaching credential. My time spent as a wilderness ranger, ski patroller, and educator has fueled my passion for the mountains. Even though I live in what many consider a paradise, my heart sings when I spend time at high elevation enjoying the majesty of the Sierra Nevada mountains. My art is a representation of my longing for the place that makes MY heart sing. I paint my dream! I have spent years learning how to make paint become the fantasy world that is the mountains. I paint in bold colors, with unique brush strokes, bringing to life the mountain landscapes that are based in reality, but live boldly in my head. I seek to bring people the joy I feel every time I escape to my paradise.

   

Bobby Vandenhoorn

Bobby Vandenhoorn, an artist by passion, was born on Vancouver Island BC in 1982, and has lived in the Lake Country/Kelowna area since the year 2000. By the time he was 17 he was painting his first outdoor wall mural, and since then, he has commissioned over 70 different murals for homeowners and business’ in the area. Aside from murals keeping him busy, Bobby’s real artistic passion is with oil on canvas. Painting on canvas keeps him home to be closer and inspire his children. 

He uses a very traditional method, with a very untraditional, bold, unique style and color palette. He has recently focused on painting what he enjoys most, which are portraits of the great musicians who have influenced him. He has a love for Hip-Hop from what is known as the “Golden era of Hip hop”, which is why most portraits are of these artists. Bobby loves to capture the art of music and put it on canvas, hoping to portray the amazing, colorful, musical talents of some of the greats through visual art.

Bobby has been displaying art in various public spaces, such as coffee shops, bars, Lounges, and small art galleries, as well as participating in certain art shows, such as Arts on the Avenue, Discover Art in the Valley, Artscape, and Lake Country Artwalk in the area. He also enjoys public painting and offering some art instruction at art and wine parties.

Look for Bobby’s art in various art shows in the Kelowna area, as well as certain public spaces in the Okanagan.

 

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.

   

Amanda Immurs

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.

 

 

   

GLORIA CHOW

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.”

 

 

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