I was the kind of kid who lived in their imagination more than in the real world. My favourite solitary activity was drawing. I spent hours at it right up until the time I went to Mount Royal University to study Interior Design. Do you know how much drawing that involves? Mostly technical drawing with a bit of water colour thrown in for architectural rendering.


Somehow in that process, drawing stopped being fun for me. The only drawing I did

was for my design clients for more than 20 years. In a strange twist, I ended up publishing a non-fiction book that was successful enough that I had no time for my design practise.


A few months after my abrupt career change I began to really miss creating and I joined a painting collective. My first day I didn’t even know how to hold a paintbrush but only a few months later I was selling paintings.



“Painting has become my therapy and my passion. I can’t imagine my life without it. Some people are just born to create!” ~ Donna Carter


Ray Swirsky is one of the newest members of the Passionate Painters. He is a true cultural creative. In addition to painting with oils, he creates by writing and has written and published several mystery thriller novels. 



Ray brings that sense of mystery and drama to the canvas by contrasting lights with darks, neutrals with pure colour and realism with abstraction.


Inspired by the paintings and artistic impulses of a friend one evening at a dinner party, Ray began his own art career only three days later by taking his first class. 


Forever grateful for this turn his life has taken Ray says, “Painting has taught me to see the world differently, in colours, shapes, shadows and compositions.”


About his ceative process Ray says,  “When I'm painting I only think about my subject and my canvas and how to set down what I see onto the canvas.”

Diana Harris is almost certainly the most versatile of the Passionate Painters. She moves effortlessly from oil to acrylic, realism to abstraction. Whatever style she tackles, she does it with incredible focus and determination. An insatiable learner, she is always taking at least one class or workshop at a time.



Inspired by the great Impressionist painters, the Group of Seven, and many local Canadian artists, she strives to display movement, and explore color in her work. She is drawn towards bold colors and texture.





Formerly a critical care nurse, she volunteered for Wings of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation for nine years, working closely with jewelry designers to coordinate the jewelry fundraising campaign.




Over the years she has exhibited her art in a number of exhibitions, contributed many paintings to fundraising events, and has sold many paintings to private collectors. 



“Art is my story, my existence, my love. It drives my passion and feeds my soul.  I create for the love of art.”  

Jacqueline is relatively new member of the Passionate Painters. Primarily a self-taught artist, she is known affectionately by her family as the Pyjama Painter since she is often drawn into her home studio even before getting dressed for the day. She credits her youngest of 3 sons, for her inspiration and desire to paint, which came after watching him create a large mural in downtown Calgary.

Partnering with wildlife photographers in recent months has afforded her the  challenge of capturing on canvas, the emotion, spirit and soul of her subjects through her interpretation of these images.



Jacqueline says, "Creativity has been with me since I was a young person. Whether I was sewing, gardening, or cooking ... I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t creating. I have been painting for nearly seven years now, and have truly found my “Joie de Vivre”!

As co-founder and first president of the Passionate Painters Art Group, Louise  can't remember a time when she wasn't intrigued with the creation of art. In 1993 she began to paint in watercolour but later exchanged that medium for the bold, unapolagetic tools of acrylic, mixed media and collage.


She is drawn to a wide variety of subject matter including abstract, landscape and florals. Her passion for gardening and quilting inform her art which includes both organic and geometric shapes.


"Creating art gives me a reason to get out of bed in the mornings and fills my days with the joy of creating, a sense if acconplishment, and gives me something to strive for- to improve as a painter."


Louise is the owner of Leading Edge Art Workshops which has afforded her the opportunity to study with many internationally known artists. She is also an avid photographer, and uses her own photographs as inspriration for her paintings.



Louise says,"I am an experimental artist...I am the most excited and engaged in my work when I don't know what the outcome will be. I love to play...and let the painting tell me what to do next."

Sylvie's artistic development was nurtured and encouraged by her family as she grew up in Montreal. Although she considered a career as a race car driver or a dancer, she instead went the academic route, earning a Ph D in geology. In case that sounds boring to you, you should know it opened the door to great adventure, travel and exploration which has profoundly influenced her art.

"These environments allowed me to reconnect with nature and observe beauty though colour harmonies, textures and shapes which stimulated the development of my artistic styles and ideals."

She doesn't feel that art should have to be explained. She believes it is more interesting and honest to allow the viewer to bring thier personal interpretation to the experience.


"Creating art brings me into a space that feels harmonious. it is probably while I am painting that I feel the most connected with myself and my surroundings. It is a different and wonderful way to learn about life and the world that complements my science background. It also opens a door to become a better human being."


By Donna Carter

When Mel wants to master something, he doesn't wait around for someone to teach him. As a 14 year old he taught himself to drive his father's 1936 Plymouth in the pasture while his dad was at work. His approach to learning to paint was similar. With no television or internet to entertain him, he spent many a childhood hour drawing at the kitchen table figuring it out for himself, often on an old grocery bag with a stub of a pencil.

The first formal instruction Mel recieved was in high school where he quiclky excelled. But the practicality of his career in civil engineering provided little time for his more artistic pursuits. Only in retirement has painting recieved the attention his passion deserves.

Mel has experimented with oils water colours but in recent years, acrylic paint has becom his media of choice. As for subject matter, Mel says:


"My main interests lie in landscape painting conveyng an active environment with strong contrasts in lighting and colour."


We were happy to see returning clients annd new buyers alike at our recent show. Although we didn't see as many people as we would have liked due to COVID 19 concerns, one things was clear. People still love art! Many are hungry for new colour and texture to  enhance the confines of their cocoon.



Not surprisingly, our guests gravitated towards the outdoors, landscape and especially, wild animals, like moose, wolf and bear. Sounds like we're looking for ways to bring the outdoors in!



If you visited us, thank you! And if you didn't see a piece that was exactly right, keep in miind we do commission works. If you weren't able to come by, feel free to shop our collections on this website and watch for our shows in the spring of 2021!


Happy Thanksgiving and we hope to see you soon!


The Creatives of The Passionate Painters