Steve Austin has 20+ years of experience as a professional photographer — though his interest in the medium dates back nearly as far as he can recall, Austin was 10 years old when he used his first camera an old polaroid instamatic he received as a gift and from there knew was hooked. “I remember as a kid looking through the National Geographic magazines and Beautiful British Columbia magazines,” says Austin. “They were so inspiring to me, those images were like candy, I could not get enough, all I knew was I wanted to do that and go there more than anything.”
Steve grew up in Edmonton, AB and studied fine arts at Alberta College of Art and then moved his education to the New York Institute of Photography to refine his skills. He is now based in BC's picturesque Okanagan Valley with his focus on capturing fine art landscape and still life, often featuring environmentally sensitive habitats.
“When you’re in that moment of time where you blend into the tapestry of your surroundings and you just become part of the scene, where you able to capture that fleeting moment of time where it will never be the same ever again it is spiritual to me. Part of the magic is in the setup, the intention and dreaming up projects I have in my mind.” Steve’s camera techniques, his methodology and the environment he seeks out separates him from other photographers.
Interest in his work has been growing steadily, both locally in Canada and internationally, Steve has received the designation of MASTER PHOTOGRAPHER in FINE ART and has opened his own gallery located in Kelowna, British Columbia in December of 2020.
Having grown up in and inspired by nature, Steve has a deep desire to bring attention to the sensitivity of nature and how truly dependent we are on it, “conserving our natural resources is our priority to create a balance.” Steve has partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and donates a portion of his print sales to help keep the Canadian landscape in its natural state so he can continue photographing this prize resource.
Jolene Mackie is an artist living and working in Kelowna BC. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Emily Carr University in 2009, Jolene has pursued art making professionally with a focus on the medium of oil painting. Jolene has exhibited her work widely throughout the Okanagan Valley and British Columbia, and has work in private collections around the world. Jolene finds inspiration in simple, fleeting moments: a unique quality of light, the shape of shadows, and the living palettes that colour our daily existence. Her work blends fascination with the world around us and the whimsy of human imagination into wholly unique visual experiences.
From custom pieces to curated series, her paintings are about the process of creating as much as the creation itself. For this reason she favours of oil paints, as their slower working time is both meditative and contemplative. Jolene is the 2017 recipient of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan Visual Arts award, her work has been recognized for its visceral impact.
Keith Thomson grew up in a farming community in the Qu’Appelle valley near Craven Saskatchewan, Canada. After high school he followed his artistic interests by attending and graduating from the four year Commercial Art course at ‘ The Alberta Institute of Technology and Art ‘. In later years it was renamed to ‘The Alberta College of Art and Design’. After working in the commercial Art field for seven years, doing Print Work, logo design, and fashion drawing for two of Canada’s leading retail stores, he was invited back to the Alberta College of Art to be an Art instructor in the Visual Communications program. He taught the Commercial Art program as well as Life Drawing, Anatomy, Silk Screening, Reproduction Camera and Watercolor Painting. He taught for 25 years at the College of Art and for 10 of those years, he was the Head Program Coordinator of the Visual Communications program. After 25 years of art instructing he retired to follow his passion of watercolor painting. His medium of choice has always been watercolor, due to its versatility, fast drying properties, and capacity for detail. Through his many years of painting with subject matter such as farms, farm animals, back alleys, landscape, and a passion to paint aspen trees, Thomson has evolved a truly personal style, uninfluenced by other school of art, to a distinctive image that has a classic understanding of composition, design, and the dramatic use of color. Even though many of his large watercolor paintings are produced in the controlled atmosphere of the studio, he has spent countless hours painting and sketching on site. He does not use or copy any digital image as he feels it stymies the true creative artistic process of the imagination.
Born in Vancouver, B.C. in 1956, Alex Fong's interest in art began at a young age. However, it was not until his study of interior design that he discovered the medium of watercolour and the freedom of colour and expression that matched his vision of the world.
Alex's early works reflected a traditional oriental technique. As his talents flourished, Alex developed a personal style that has since become his hallmark. Alex's paintings are a kaleidoscope of light and colour – a bouquet of wonder and whimsy. The sense of delight that accompanies them draws the viewer in for a closer look. His translucent, impressionistic paintings are distinguished by a parade of coloured flecks that he calls "confetti" which represent his celebration of life. The result is an exquisite balance of spontaneity and grace. Though Alex's artistic vision continues to evolve, his works reflect a fresh and youthful outlook.
Alex Fong's work has attracted the attention of fine art collectors since the early days when he exhibited at Vancouver galleries, and then through his years as a touring member of the Western Lights Artists Group. Alex has exhibited in both Canada and the U.S. for over thirty four years. His watercolours are featured in both private and corporate collections throughout the continent.
Alex has developed close relationships with the art community in Alberta, and exciting artistic associations at his home in the Okanagan, with the Valley's wine industry and charitable organizations. He participates in celebrations of art, food, music and theatre, reflecting his deep commitment to the cultural nurturing of his own community, and to art education.
Alex Fong's artistic vision continues to evolve, his work reflecting a delightfully fresh and youthful outlook. "A child views the world with optimism and wonder. That is what I hope to accomplish with my art. Each day, I look forward to creating something new and wonderful" he says. "I paint to make people feel good, and put a little joy into their lives."
Joy, splendour and whimsy, sprinkled with a few unusual surprises...
Bobby Vandenhoorn, an artist by passion, was born on Vancouver Island BC in 1982. Art has been a major interest for Bobby, consuming much of his time throughout his childhood and school years. Bobby was drawn towards Art and design courses and classes growing up, and by the time he was 17 he was painting his first outdoor wall mural for a small company in Port Alberni, BC.
Since then, he has moved to the Okanagan and has spent the last 20 years in the Kelowna, BC area. He has commissioned over 70 different murals not only for homeowners in the Okanagan, but also for many businesses in the area, such as Interior Health, Kelowna Kia, Insite, Good Samaritan Society, Pine Acres Care Facility, and others.
Aside from murals keeping him busy, Bobby’s real artistic passion is with oil on canvas. He uses a unique color palette, painting portraits of influential musicians in his life, and sometimes quirky animal portraits with headphones on. Bobby loves music, and his way of expressing this is through paint onto canvas. He has commissioned many custom pieces for others in the last 12 years in the Okanagan, and keeps quite busy painting custom commissioned pieces for his clients.
Bobby displays art in the Lake Country Artwalk, and has been voted into the top 10 artists out of over 300 artists for the last 3 years. He also displays work in Arts On the Avenue, Discover Art In The Valley, Karmyc Bazaar Gallery, Art Lovers Gallery, Bluefish Gallery, and in many restaurants, breweries, bars, coffee shops and other retail outlets. Bobby is also a Mediator with Levelling Up, and was invited to be one of 2 Canadians to participate in a Culture from around the world art show in London, England. The Mayor of Kelowna, Colin Basran proudly displays a Vandenhoorn piece in his office. Bobby has also donated various pieces of art to charities such as the Child Advocacy Center of Kelowna.
Bobby Continues to bring art into his life every day, by putting forward time each day to progress his craft and strive to make “the next one better than the last one”.
Cynthia Gunsinger, paints Canadian landscapes, primarily of the Okanagan Valley, in bold and vibrant colours.
Born and raised in Ontario, Cynthia lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. Cynthia’s love of landscapes, travel and everyday adventures has unfolded to reveal a unique style and clear influences by the expressionist, impressionist and even pointillist movements.
Being immersed in the beautiful and diverse landscapes of British Columbia has inspired Cynthia to create art that expresses and imparts a sense of place and nostalgia while still using vivid and intense colours.
Cynthia paints in her home studio, a corner of her sunny downtown Kelowna condo that she shares with her partner, Robert, and tiny human, Daniel.
Nikki describes her approach to painting as dancing on canvas with her brushes.
She adores how colours move and flow.
Growing up in the Okanagan, Nikki is continually inspired by her environment and the patterns found in nature.
Over the last few years Nikki has discovered a new love for detailed landscape painting, achieving beautiful depth with each brushstroke.
Nikki has been dedicated to building her business since 2006 focusing on her pure love to create and her desire to share her work with others.
Over the years Nikki has taken on numerous commission projects, participated in multiple art exhibits throughout Canada, and worked closely with a variety of charitable organizations all while focusing on her continued dream as an artist.
Nikki currently works from her home studio and is grateful to be a full time artist here in Kelowna.
I try to paint with a sense of grounded humility. Taking in deeply and respectfully, the mysteries that stand before me. While hiking in the forest I attempt to capture in my work, a conversation between light and darkness, while holding both in balance, their fragility and delicateness. It is in this attempt at balance I curiously look for nature’s best kept secrets. This then becomes a journey calling me forward! I have painted many years from this perspective, while I still find myself standing and feeling very small at the feet of creation. My paintings have found homes in many parts of the world. Hanging in private and corporate collections. I live with my wife and two dogs in a beautiful and quaint village in the Shuswap, Sorrento, B.C. I am surrounded and blessed by its inspiration at every turn.
Growing up in the Okanagan Valley, the town of Armstrong, is where Melissa Dinwoodie’s love of painting developed. Melissa grew up in a family of five on a small ranch, which is where, incidentally, her love of animals also grew.
Melissa received her BFA from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2001. This is where her passion of oil as a medium emerged. Melissa then moved to Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. In every home there was a makeshift studio, and bodies of work to show. In Vancouver Melissa then received her 2nd degree in Interior Design at the Art Institute in 2007, which is where she learnt a new way to be creative, and articulate, which has without a doubt worked into her painting practice.
Melissa moved back to the Okanagan and work as a designer, a sales rep and a flooring showroom manager. Melissa then opened a business, Leap Art Supplies & Gallery. She ran the business for 3 years, but the city was calling her back, and in 2018 she moved back to Vancouver and is creating art and pursuing her calling in life.
Born Joseph Denis Weber in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1951, Dennis grew up in Calgary and then raised his own family there. In 1999 he moved to Kelowna, BC and in his home studio works in oil, pastel, pencil, charcoal, colored pencil or a combination. His mastery of these media is due in part to his glazing technique. Dennis has senior accreditation in the Federation of Canadian Artists (SFCA) and is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists (CIPA). His demonstrations, adult workshops and weekly classes are much in demand but he also mentors children for the Metis Community Services Society of BC and teaches Aboriginal children in Kelowna's School District 23.
The main influence for the direction of Dennis' art has been his mother's Métis heritage. The fascinating story of the Métis people's 17th century origins, through to the official recognition in the 20th as one of Canada's three Aboriginal peoples, could be told through Dennis' ancestors. Louis Riel, Canada's most renowned Métis (Dennis' first cousin five generations removed), was not only instrumental in the creation of Manitoba, but also a poet, visionary and ultimately a martyr. He stated in 1885, the year of his death:
"My People will sleep for one hundred years. When they awaken,
it will be the artists who give them back their spirit."
It was, in fact, about a century after Riel's prediction that Dennis started to explore the possibility of becoming an artist full-time. Since then, he's achieved not only that, but for helping to revive his culture, is now considered one of Canada's foremost Métis artists.
In 2007 his personal collection of Métis artifacts were on display, alongside his art, at the exhibition We Are Métis in the Kelowna Museum. In 2014 the Metis Veterans Monument was unveiled at Batoche, Saskatchewan, the site of the 1885 Metis Resistance. Dennis' oil painting will be etched into this remarkable memorial, as will approximately 4,500 names of Metis veterans.
"When someone responds to my work, they often tell me it's because it reminds them of a great experience, favourite place or someone they know. Creating a bridge between our common experiences is what I value most about the art I produce."
Fiona Neal is an abstract artist working primarily in acrylics on canvas. Her striking work explores the transference of emotional energy and the moments when spontaneous creativity moves over into true intuitive expression. Neal completed six years of Art education in the UK, achieving a First Class Honours Degree, with a painting specialism. Now living in BC, and painting professionally for over ten years, her work sells internationally. Many of her pieces are held in private and corporate collections in Canada, Europe and South America. In addition to selling work from her portfolio she takes appointments for a select number of large commissioned pieces annually.
“Through the medium of painting I find ways to push boundaries, explore new lands, to become vulnerable and represent my true self. I enjoy the parallels between this, my movements geographically, and my personal search for deeper self-connection. The unpredictability of imagination and of the fluid mediums I use, juxtaposed with an ordered thought process and the controlled brushstroke, make for a fascinating creative process. Within and without the canvas it is important for me to find the perfect balance between motion and calm moments, between fluidity and stillness. By achieving this in my paintings I ground myself and find my own space here. Painting is an integral part of who I am. It brings completion and peace, but also joy, vibrancy, excitement, and a future full of possibilities.”
Daniel is a prolific painter who would call his style impressionistic. Inspired by Monet and Van Gogh, Daniel began painting at a very young age. He studied with his mentor in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia Canada. This inspirational man was a master artist and provided the base for what Daniel knows today. Daniel's career path lead him into Retail Management for 35 years. Recently in retiring in 2016, he now has time to indulge in his passion of creating pieces that fully evoke his artistic senses.
Daniel paints scenes which resonate with people on an emotional level. He draws on memories of areas that he has explored, connecting on a spiritual level of all the senses. Allowing him to convey a feeling or mood to the canvas. With every painting, Daniel's styles may vary, yet each piece is a beautiful symphony of colour, texture and emotion. Be it calming and peaceful, or vibrant and lively Daniel's passion and talent for each individual artwork is showcased.
Daniel prefers painting with bright colours because it makes his soul happy! Loving all the brilliance that Mother Nature provides for us in all the four seasons. Summer and Fall being stand outs. The Okanagan Valley is the perfect place for this. With its intense blue skies and water. Our golden hills with pops of colour from the vast array of wild flowers, grasses and trees which happily take root and thrive in the Valley.
Daniel has chosen to make Kelowna B.C. his home. The majestic Okanagan Lake, the hills and valleys are all an ideal setting to indulge in all his passions which include hiking, canoeing, wine country touring, and relaxing at the lake. Being an enthusiastic traveller, Daniel also is able to create stunning images of places he has travelled to and explored. Taking inspiration from wherever he casts his eye, Daniel feels very blessed to be able to share his gift with others.
Upon viewing Will Enns' work, people are often surprised to discover it was all created by one person. Will is a versatile spirit who is not limited by stylistic conventions or subject matter. He is perhaps best known for his Wine in the Water theme, his Fashion images, and lately, his [not quite realistic] paintings of the Quail that are indigenous in southern British Columbia, where he creates.
Will's love of his subjects comes through clearly in his unexpected interpretations and exuberant colour choices. He is always happy to engage with people who love art, and looks forward to working with you.
Will created magazine cover art with Canadian Technician Magazine for 8 years, before shifting his focus entirely to fine art.
Michael was born in Maidstone, England. His family moved to Zimbabwe, Africa when he was 5 years old. After 12 years in Africa they came to Canada. Michael was fortunate to have good teachers who recognized and encouraged his artistic talents. He attended Sheridan College of Art in Ontario. The positive feedback and support from his art teachers gave him an excellent foundation and he has continued to develop and learn on his own.
Michael has worked in several different mediums over the years but has discovered that oil works best for his painting style. He has developed an impressionist interpretation for his landscapes and street-scenes. His ambition is to paint and continue to grow as an artist. Michael has his art collected in China, Germany, England, USA and across Canada.
Kelowna artist Linda Lovisa paints Alla Prima. (direct approach) This type of painting keeps the colours fresh and vibrant while mixing direct on the canvas. Her techniques include Impressionism, symbolism and abstraction. Although she works primarily in acrylic, she continues to explore a wide range of media including pastel, mixed media and watercolour.
Linda’s paintings have appeared in exhibits across Canada and the United States and can be found in private and public collections nationally and internationally. Linda has been presented by The Federation of Canadian Artists, a Gold Award and an Award of Excellence.
Linda’s creativity and beautiful artwork can also be found in two children’s books she has recently written and illustrated in watercolour. She is looking forward to sharing more stories with you in her series,” The Adventures of Gordon the Canada Goose”.
After ten years of owning her own art gallery, displaying local artist’s creations, Linda has moved to a new chapter in her life. She continues to offer painting classes, is enjoying writing her books and painting commissioned pieces.
Margaret Kyle was born in Kelowna, raised in the semi-arid Okanagan Valley, and now lives in Lake Country. The Okanagan’s delicate ecosystem is threatened, like most places in the world, by destruction of the natural environment through over-development of the hillsides and lakeshore, and by climate change. In recent years, Margaret’s artwork, mostly in watercolour and acrylic, has turned to depicting, celebrating, and drawing attention to the beauty and vulnerability of the place in which she lives. Margaret received a teaching certificate from Simon Fraser University, a BA degree from UBCO, and for many years worked as an illustrator, designer, and art director for Wood Lake Publishing. She now works from her home-based art studio.
I was a late bloomer and did not start dabbling in paint until I had retired from a life of teaching elementary school children. I should have paid more attention when I was doing classes with my students, I so wanted to paint with them. For some reason I did not make the connection and I was 58 before I gave myself permission to try. It has been a wonderful adventure ever since! I love acrylics and water colour and have lately been experimenting with water based oils and mixed media. Now that I have moved back to Hope where I grew up, I have spent more hours outside plein air painting, something I love. Even with the changing light, prickles, biting insects, sudden rain and wind showers, painting outside feels like a form of meditation to me, and often these small, quickly painted sketches will lead me back into my studio where much larger paintings can be created. I am embarking on a ten week on line course this month with an abstract artist from the UK, Louise Fletcher, and I know it is going to be transformative. “Pay attention to what gives you joy.” That has been my motto since I began painting and finding that joy keeps me in front of my easel.