Category Archives: Blog

“Oki Niksokowa” Janice Tanton at Canada House Gallery, Banff – Sept 26, 2015

Artist Statement for Oki Niksokowa – Janice Tanton

"Oki Niksokowa" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen 48x96

“Oki Niksokowa” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen 48×96

I am an artist working in paint, sculpture, installation and film. My work examines relationships through a spiritual, cross-cultural and intergenerational framework. My research interests lie in examining how practice and process in the arts can influence our core humanity so we can co-exist in more sustainable ways. The ugly narrative of racism is looming larger in the Canadian lexicon. I hold that it is still Britishly difficult for us to talk openly about such things. Art is one way to have that conversation. Deep relational development and committed understanding are what I consider the key to this research. I am keenly interested in exploring my own life experiences and connectivity to indigenous traditional knowledge, language, spiritual practice and ways of knowing. I seek ways of reconciliation in the spaces in between my art practice, the teachings of Elders, ceremony and comparative analysis with my Euro-centric, colonistic roots. – Janice Tanton

My work is underpinned with a contemplative connection to the land, the Creator, and all other beings I encounter, for I have a deep relational connection to all of these elemental mysteries. Crossing a wide spectrum of styles; from structured, detailed and traditional to conceptual, spiritual and contemporary, visibly juxtaposing key elements from each cultural tradition to which I belong, I create works which have resonance to our shared core humanity.

Oki Niksokowa means, “Hello, All My Relations” in Blackfoot. It is a concept that encompasses all beings in the category “relations” and simultaneously recognizes a familial relationship of the highest order to all that exists. It opens the door by it’s simple ‘Hello! to humans, animals, birds, water creatures, spirit beings, land beings, unknown beings – the full gamut that we may imagine and know. Close your eyes for one moment and imagine the deepest relationship of love that you have with someone – perhaps a family member, spouse or lover. As a Mother, one of the deepest bonds of love I have is with my children. I ask you for a moment, to take that fierce love and imagine a river…a bison…a wolf….a rock…a falling star… a blade of grass…being your child, your loved one – our relation. Think of how that may change about how you consider that animal, place or cosmos. That is how I consider ‘All Your Relations’ and grow my love and respect for all that is around me.

"Beyond A Shadow of a Doubt" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 12x12

“Beyond A Shadow of a Doubt” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 12×12

In Oki Niksokowa – All My Relations, I have worked for over a year, preparing paintings for Canada House Gallery that are very, very personal to me. They may also represent some pretty common themes for Canadians. The works represent relationships that I have with just some of the beings, things and places that have touched my life. In some cases, the objects remind me of a significant place on this land that is related to me, that I have come to love unconditionally and wholly. In some cases, the animals represent the spirit of a loved one as well as the ‘relation’ that they are… in and of themselves. Place and home has deep meaning for me and this is reflected in the iconic image of the lodge. As a tipi bundle owner, I understand the meanings, the stories and importance of the lodge, the symbols of the land, the animals and the cosmos that are embedded with song and story – not to be separated, but as one bundle of sacred place and protection. Having a ‘home’ is an important relational element and the lodge bundle is symbolic of that as a base from which to grow.

In 2012, I was privileged to be one of three Artists in Residence in Gwaii Haanas National Park and was welcomed by Parks Canada, The Haida Nation and the people of Haida Gwaii to their rich, sacred land and waters. It changed my life with its vast, abundant and ecologically rich treasures and gave me hope to see a government agency and an indigenous culture co-managing one of the most life-giving places on this planet. I learned much from our Haida guides and hosts, and this had a great spiritual effect on me. I began to understand the Super Natural beings – those that occupy the space in between the tangible world and the world of the spirit beings. I could see them clearly on the island as the trees and growth in the forests moved and accelerated around me – everything was crawling with life of some kind. I understand what it means to occupy space between cultures, and it is difficult. Much of that goes unseen, somewhat like the Super Natural beings. The pieces that I paint of the carved poles of Haida Gwaii with the moving, changing anthropomorphic rainforests around them are my attempt to capture that spiritual piece of movement – that space in between worlds where even more of our relations inhabit and where they make themselves known. It is a given for any who will deeply listen to the land. ‘Tanuu Rising’ specifically uses Bill Reid’s pole carved as the first new pole in Skidegate. I married the painting together by using a place I visited on Tanuu near Mr. Reid’s resting place. The work Mr. Reid and those that followed created a catalyst for the rise in Haida cultural practice after a period of decimation due to colonialist assimilation policies, sickness and industrial commodification of the land.


"The Prayer" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40x72

“The Prayer” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40×72

Canoes have always been deeply imbedded in my life. Metaphorically, I’d say I was conceived in a canoe in the east, born in a barn, raised on the back of a horse and thrown to the wolves in the West. All of these are sacred space to me. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that there was a much deeper history to the canoe than sentimental warm summers spent paddling on the lakes and rivers in Ontario. What strikes me most about the red canoe now is it’s formidable duality. It’s an awful, bloodthirsty, iconic symbol of colonialism (as is the Hudson Bay Blanket) that none of us wish to discuss in proper societal conversation or governmental nation-to- nation negotiations.

Indigenous by design, the canoe has never been improved upon except perhaps for constructive materials after thousands of years. Form and function are perfectly in sync. It harbours many nostalgic memories for the modern-day white folk such as myself who remember idyllic paddling on the shores of Lake Kashagawigamog, Algonquin and Killarney Parks. However, at its origin, it was a tool of transportation and survival for indigenous cultures, shared (usually) graciously with early traders to ensure their survival in this punishing county’s formative years. As a matter of honour, we need to recognize this “Canoe Treaty” and work hand in hand with the indigenous peoples of this land, honour those treaties and go beyond, as human beings – beyond racism, beyond litigation and beyond fear, to become ourselves again – human beings. That is what a red canoe is to me. It is a treaty – to be honoured. My relationship to the canoe is reverent and thankful…hopeful and peaceful as I look on my two families and as we look toward reconciliation as a nation. And yes…our family care for a white canoe and a red canoe…on purpose.

"Iinii Naapii" ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48x72

“Iinii Naapii” ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48×72

Oki Niksokowa – All My Relations also debuts a new body of work featuring a marriage of animal beings and Blackfoot tipi symbols in a healing way. Using a more representative style of painting for the animals – moose, buffalo, bear, wolf and coupling them with the more graphically designed glyphs of the Blackfoot, I’ve sought out a way to meld my traditional Eurocentric painting roots and upbringing with the more abstract use of graphic indigenous symbols. A ceremony of mark-making was used to denote my relationship with both the animal and the symbology and is marked by my own handprint in each of these paintings. It forever links us together and recognize those relationships, thanking them for their healing. Anthropomorphic relationships also exist in these paintings to some extent. “Makoyii Itsikin” is Tom’s Blackfoot name, and so this painting represents Tom as I see him, as a whole with the colours and places that I associate him with. All of the animals are healers and people for me, and represent some relationship with me through my life, helping me through illness and difficult times.

"Kyayo Sikimiwa" ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48x72

“Kyayo Sikimiwa” ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen.

Gilda Radner said, “Cancer is probably the most unfunniest thing in the world, but I’m a comedian, and even cancer couldn’t stop me from seeing the humour in what I went through.” I agree with you, Gilda. The importance of humour became more real to me when I was sick, and it made me learn to look at the lighter side of a dark situation. No other place than with my indigenous family, have I ever found more belly laughing. When faced with difficult social issues, suicide, missing and murdered women and girls, racism…there is somehow always this respectful, leavening humour that balances the family and community. I admire this greatly, and thought – how do I honour this humour and humility in paint? How do I find more joy in my work? Hence – “Don’t Forget the Eggs”, “Zippity Doo Dah” and other such pieces in the “Ever Real” series.

"Don't Forget The Eggs" Oil and 22k gold on linen. ©2015 Janice Tanton. 9"x12"

“Don’t Forget The Eggs” Oil and 22k gold on linen. ©2015 Janice Tanton. 9″x12″

The most important and most personal piece in this show “The Promise:: Sacred Bundle – Stonechild” remains unfinished as I write this and may not appear at the show opening at all. It was the piece that was started first, and it will be the painting that is completed last, if ever. A 60×60 oil on linen with my daughter Grace as the model, wrapped in a Hudson Bay blanket in the Banff woods, on the side of Buffalo Mountain in Banff, it was conceived last October during my residency at The Banff Centre where I created “Undercurrents” (exhibited at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies to October 18, 2015). Stonechild has presided over the studio for a year while these other pieces were imagined and created. She remains the symbol of promise for me – the promise that we can follow the Seven Grandfather Teachings – wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth; the promise that we can come together; the promise that we can laugh at our troubles while finding new ways to live together; the promise that we can honour the spiritual and the scientific and the space between; the promise that we can honour the canoe and all that it means to us as Canadians; the promise that we can find healing, together…in many forms.

Janice Tanton Canadian Artist - "Sikstssoo" ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48x72

“Sikstssoo” ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48×72



"Makoyii Itsikin" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48x72

“Makoyii Itsikin” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48×42

"Iinii Skiim" ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48x42

“Iinii Skiim” ©Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k gold on linen. 48×42

"The Lookout" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 12x12

“The Lookout” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 12×12

"My Brothers Lodges" ©2015 Janice Tanton Oil on linen. 24 x 48

“My Brothers Lodges” ©2015 Janice Tanton Oil on linen. 24 x 48

Oki Niksokowa – Hello, All My Relations.


To View more of the upcoming show, please visit:

Canada House Gallery
Banff, AB
Artist in attendance September 25, 1-3 pm

PRESS RELEASE :: ‘Undercurrents’ Debuts at The Whyte Museum, Banff, AB CANADA

'Undercurrents' © Janice Iniskimaki Tanton 2014. Oil on linen. 103"x133"

‘Undercurrents’ © Janice Iniskimaki Tanton 2014. Oil on linen. 103″x133″

‘Undercurrents’ is an oil on linen painting, 103″x133″ that will debut in the exhibition  “Water Eau 水 Mînî पानी Wasser מים Acqua پانی Tubig H2O”, curated by Anne Ewan and featuring the art of historical and contemporary Canadian artists from Tom Thomson to Ken Danby and David Thauberger.

“This exhibition includes visually stunning and timely orchestrated compilations of historic and contemporary painting, video and installations that examine the beauty and peculiarity of Earth’s greatest resource. Acclaimed throughout time for its unpredictability, tranquil qualities, ritual and hygienic uses, nourishment and abundance, the purity of water and its sources are under threat. Our existence is contingent on water.

Canada is bound by three oceans and strewn with multiple fresh lakes, rivers, waterfalls and aquifers. Historically, Canada’s waterways supported Indigenous communities, the fur trade and explorers whose travels contributed to the settlement, urbanization, economic development and transportation of the nation. Reflected in literature, music, poetry, theatre, dance and art, water continues to be synonymous with Canadian identity.

The exhibition presents works of art from private and public collections and features a range of styles from the early 19th century to the present. Through the works of art presented in “Water”, the viewer is invited to explore a diverse range of artistic approaches that include representational imagery of rivers and lakes in the landscape, to life affirming and threatening metaphorical associations. The exhibition encourages contemplation of alternative perspectives, grounded in our real-world fascination with and increasing recognition of the global challenges that arise in relation to this precious natural resource, in the face of changing climatic conditions.” – Anne Ewan, Senior Curator, Whyte Museum of The Canadian Rockies.

“As a living female contemporary artist, I am thrilled to see my work positioned in context with my early mentor, Ken Danby and Group of Seven members Franz Johnson and Tom Thomson.” – Janice Iniskimaki Tanton

‘Undercurrents’ is the first in a series of large-scale works by Tanton that explore our contemporary Canadian nationality and attachment to this great land. It was created at The Banff Centre as part of a Leighton Colony Residency.

Please join Janice Tanton at the debut of this major and important Canadian work at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff Alberta on Sunday, June 14 1 – 4 pm.

(Artist in attendance 3 – 4 pm.)

PRESS RELEASE :: Janice Tanton and VIDA Voices : Art and Socially Responsible Fashion Partnered!

Janice Tanton and VIDA Voices Collection

Janice Tanton Designs on VIDA

And now for something completely different! I was contacted out of the wild blue yesterday by new sustainable startup fashion company VIDA based out of San Francisco. The VIDA staff had seen my work and were eager to invite me to design some new scarves and silk shirts for their lineup from my paintings. When I heard the story of the company, and who will benefit, I couldn’t resist!

VIDA is a global partnership of creators, pairing designers from around the world with makers in Pakistan and India in accordance with high ethical standards, to create original, beautiful products.  And the best part is that using part of proceeds from the sales of the products, VIDA creates literacy programs for the makers, so that they have opportunities to learn reading, writing and basic math that they would not otherwise have.

More than anything, I am thrilled when my work provides support, literacy and educational programs and support for others. VIDA has a beautiful plan that is just up my alley, collapsing the distance between makers and artists/designers across the globe. Have a look at The VIDA story and I’m sure you’ll see why I was so excited (and you who know me, know I don’t get this enthusiastic1). Good things can happen in the world.

Such a wonderful idea, marrying technology, artists and makers from across the globe. An opportunity to make my paint into wearable, beautiful products, in a sustainable way? Uh huh…I’m totally in. Sign me up…get me a ticket….etc. etc.

I was so excited, I couldn’t decide which paintings to go with, but decided on several strong images that I would wear – and I’m picky! I have a weakness for beautiful scarves, especially since being diagnosed with breast cancer. (I’m clear now…but I’ve become a bit of a shawl/scarf maniac in the absence of breasts.) I might use some of the scarves to make some pillows and curtains for the studio. Lots of creative ideas swirling around in my head.

There are now four products up on the site, and if the pre-orders sell ONLY within the next 14 days, VIDA will make the products. (As extra enticement, VIDA is offering the coupon code VOICES for 25% off of any preorders — which makes these 100% modal scarves incredibly reasonable and WOWSER for the silk shirts!) AND if you order by the end of this month, they have a special on international shipping for only $5 USD! (Usually it’s $35, so this is a huge savings opportunity to jump on board if you see something you like).

Here are the images I chose.



Detail from"Emergence" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 36x48 (Private Collection)

Detail from”Emergence” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 36×48 (Private Collection)

Emergence will be recreated as a beautiful 100% Modal scarf. The beauty of our forests in Haida Gwaii and British Columbia are the inspiration for Emergence. So much life and the clarity of the coastal rain forests are an inspiration to me, redefining the resurgence of life, primeval forests and the sea from whence we emerged.

This scarf is made out of 100% MicroModal® by Lenzing, a luxuriously soft botanic silk fabric made out of European beechwood. Because of modal’s botanic origin, it is particularly eco-friendly and its fineness is comparable to that of natural silk. MicroModal® offers a soft, beautiful sheen, with colors that are bright and vibrant.

The completely natural fiber of this scarf is made in a fully integrated facility in Austria, optimized for production synergies and energy conservation by using eco-friendly production processes. The fabric is woven in a small factory in Pakistan. VIDA collaborates with the owner and workers of this factory to produce the perfect thread-count and weave for optimal softness and sheen.

AND …these scarves are huge! They are more like shawls. Because of the handmade process, they range in size from 24.5” – 25”  x 76” –77. Snug up with the rainforest!

Emergence Modal Scarf

Emergence Modal Scarf

Scarves are sold for $40 USD but use the coupon code VOICES to receive 25% OFF any preorders (only $30 for this!)…and again, there’s a special $5 USD on international shipping only until the end of this month (February 2015).

Nitawahsin – Our Land

"Nitawahsin" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. (Framed) 8"x10"

“Nitawahsin” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel.

This piece is titled, “Nitawahsin” which means “Our Land” in Blackfoot. It is a strong, active piece with a unified Anders Zorn palette, all of the colours of the medicine wheel are in this piece and that makes it a strong contender for wearable art. Good medicine in this piece. I chose to have it reproduced as a Modal scarf and a beautiful silk top.
Janice Tanton Nitawahsin Modal scarf VIDA Voices

And here is the gorgeous silk top of Nitawahsin – Our Land.

"Nitawahsin - (Our Land") Gorgeous 100% Silk Top by Janice Tanton for VIDA Voices

Sizing Chart for the silk tops are as follows.
Note: tops fit true to size but a drapey cut – please size down if you prefer a snug fit.
Point of Measurements
Small: Bust – 32″, Hips “38” (US Size 0-2)
Medium: Bust – 34″, Hips “39” (US Size 4-6)
Large: Bust – 38″, Hips 40″ (US Size 8-10)

Blue Grass Dancers

As the fourth design, I chose Blue Grass Dancers for some dear women friends and family in my life who inspired me through my illness, supported our family and kept us all together. These healing, dancing colours were designed to lift and soothe through the toughest of times. This piece was first painted for my friend and singer/songwriter Julia Lynx, as part of the launch and design for her new album “Wild Patience“.

Blue Grass Dancers - ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen.

Blue Grass Dancers – ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen.

And here is the beautiful silk top by VIDA Voices. A classic, I think, designed with my good friends in my heart.

Janice Tanton, Blue Grass Dancer silk top by VIDA Voices

I’m over the moon to introduce this collection to you — simply click here to buy any one (or more!) of these scarves and lucious silk shirts, and don’t forget to include coupon code VOICES to get 25% off (that’s just $30 for each of these lovely scarves! and $48.75 for a silk shirt! NO middle man :). And the juicy, juicy, best part — right now, VIDA ships internationally, for only $5 until the end of this month. That’s a $30 savings! Folks from all over the world can purchase, and help give back. But remember, pre-order only lasts for 2 weeks from today. Help me to spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and family through social media or in person. Right then….this is more rambling than I’ve done in months. Just get on the site and order something for a friend or family member…and don’t forget yourself, because you’re worth it!

Enjoy, my friends. (I can’t wait to cuddle up in a scarf/shawl!)


Fashionista Magazine – “Meet Vida, a Socially Responsible E-Commerce Site Backed by Google


Upstart Business Journal – “Microsoft Xbox alum’s new game is VIDA: high-tech fashion that does good”

More Awesome Press on VIDA

Janice Tanton – Visiting Artist & Scholar Series, University of Calgary, January 23, 2015

Please drop in and say hello if you are in the Calgary area. I’m honoured to meet the students and look forward to an interesting exchange.

Join me for an Artist Talk as the Visiting Artist and Scholar, Friday, January 23rd at the University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

Join me for an Artist Talk as the Visiting Artist and Scholar, Friday, January 23rd at the University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

Brand New Series of Works At Canada House Gallery & Gibson Fine Art

I’m very pleased to introduce a new series of work, arriving today (July 31, 2014) at Canada House Gallery, Banff AB and Gibson Fine Art in Calgary, AB.

"Not Every Thing Is Black & White" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11"x14" Available at Canada House Gallery, Banff AB.

“Not Every Thing Is Black & White” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11″x14″ Available at Canada House Gallery, Banff AB.

"Once In A Blue Moon" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11"x14" Available at Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB.

“Once In A Blue Moon” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11″x14″ Available at Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB.

"The Middle Way" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. Framed. Available at Gibson Fine Art.

“The Middle Way” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. Framed. ($575) Available at Gibson Fine Art.

"One Life To Live" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11"x14"

“One Life To Live” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11″x14″ Available at Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB.

"Stepping Out" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11"x14"

“Stepping Out” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($1025). 11″x14″ Available at Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB.

"Family Portrait" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($575). 6"x8" Available at Gibson Fine Art, Calgary, AB.

“Family Portrait” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil on Linen, Framed. ($575). 6″x8″ Available at Gibson Fine Art, Calgary, AB.

"Companions" ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k Gold on Linen, Framed. ($625). 6"x8" Available at Gibson Fine Art, Calgary, AB.

“Companions” ©2014 Janice Tanton. Oil and 22k Gold on Linen, Framed. ($625). 6″x8″ Available at Gibson Fine Art, Calgary, AB.

“Work In Progress” It’s a verb. It’s a noun.

Work In Progress

Work In Progress

I view the practice of painting and the practice of being an artist, a ‘work in progress’. In fact, I suppose that being a human being is all about ‘work in progress’.  It’s a verb. It’s a noun.

Work In Progress

Work In Progress

I often share my ‘work in progress‘ through social media – and a lot of the time, it’s sole purpose is to be a record for me to be able to refer back to the development of a painting or drawing. However, I’ve noticed the comments that folks put forward – “Oh, I like it just like this.”…..”Please don’t do anything more to it – it’s finished now.” …..”STOP! It’s beautiful now.”

Those comments are sometimes tempting to listen to and for me to stop the painting. They’re also a good reminder of how we each see a work differently and according to our point of view as well as our life’s experience.

What I love about the practice of painting is that it’s amazing to me at any stage – that’s why I do it. Sure, there’s an idea – a concept and image in my mind for the work, but it’s never exactly what ends up on the linen. I know we all have ideas about what our lives should be like as well – but rarely do they turn out how we plan them. In my mind, nothing is ever finished.

It just ‘is’.


Work In Progress

Work In Progress?

Watercolour Journal Workshop with Janice Tanton at The Banff Springs Hotel

Janice Tanton sketch journal - Haida Gwaii, Burnaby Narrows

A page from my sketch journal – Burnaby Narrows, Haida Gwaii. ©2014 Janice Tanton

I’d like to invite you to join me for a morning of fun and art that is personal to you. This simple technique of ink and watercolour will be something you can use all your life to create and record those moments of importance in your life.

Throw away that Instagram and Facebook post for a quick sketch and some penned thoughts

that will stay forever in your mind. This workshop is suitable for ages 9 – 99+ and total beginners. Even if you say you can’t draw a straight line or a stick drawing, this workshop is for you! As part of the wonderful Banff /Lake Louise Tourism springstART Festival, I look forward to welcoming you to my home territory! Check it out – lots of great workshops by artists who live and work in the valley, including soapstone carving!

Date: April 19
Time: 9:30 am – 12 noon
Place: The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Norquay Room
Cost: $31.50 plus meagre supplies

How to register and short materials list available here:




Standing up for what you believe in.

Donna Kennedy Glans

Donna Kennedy Glans

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 2014 was a lucky day for Alberta – mostly for the Calgary-Varsity constituents who have Donna Kennedy-Glans, as their MLA. Donna has resigned her position as Assoc. Minister for Electricity and Renewable Energy and her membership in the PC Caucus. Here is her statement:

“It is with great regret but also great optimism and hope that I announce that I am resigning my position as Associate Minister for Electricity and Renewable Energy and my membership in the PC Caucus today.

I moved to Calgary 30 years ago and I’ve been blessed to live in this incredible province ever since. My husband and I raised three sons here, I was a senior manager in large oil and gas companies, and helped found a nonprofit that brings hope to women, girls, and youth in Alberta and around the world.

As a lawyer, I have long been fascinated with ethical behaviour in large organizations, including co-authoring a book on how companies can act with integrity. So when it came time to enter public life, I was excited about the opportunities this afforded to put my passions into practice in another critically important Alberta institution, the Alberta Progressive Conservative party.

I’ve always been an active supporter of the Progressive Conservative party as its core values represented my own desire for a balance between careful management of our finances with strong support for the next generation and social nets for our most at risk. In 2012, I was very happy to carry the PC party’s banner to win back Calgary Varsity. I was excited about the dream of government in Alberta we talked about in that election including:
· A government unafraid to make the difficult decisions that we need to make today to ensure long term prosperity for our children;
· A more transparent and more open government willing to hear all voices; and
· A government free of entitlement.
Since being elected, however, and particularly since joining Cabinet, I am increasingly convinced that elements of this 43-year old government are simply unable to make the changes needed to achieve that dream of a better Alberta.
So what happens now? I still believe in public service and in politics. I still believe in that dream. I’ll stay in my seat, sitting as an Independent, because, I believe, I can better serve my constituents this way.

It’s time to make politics in Alberta better.

Donna Kennedy-Glans
MLA, Calgary Varsity”

WOWSER! Now that’s leadership and a beautiful display of ethics in a politically charged poutine-mess! It’s a return to the idea of true democracy, and I believe that is something we should all celebrate with aplomb. Going against the current is never easy, but sometimes required. I sure wish I would hear something like this from every politician. I’ve not been much of a believer in the party system for some time, hoping that a true democratic system would someday emerge. Thank you, Donna….for standing up.

As artists, we are free to express ourselves in most countries in the world. Never take for granted, this ability to do so. It is integral to the well-being of our society. The next time you take up a brush, an instrument, a pen… be reminded of how you can cross over and step boldly into the fray. It’s not just a painting, a song….a book or story. It’s the way to be, it’s the foretelling of how it is…how the future could be. Show the world what you’ve got so everyone can benefit from your bravery, dear artist.

And Donna….thank you for being an artist.


Georgia On My Mind! :: Bo Bartlett Master Class at Columbus State University

There are exactly four pivotal points in my art career that I can remember excited me beyond belief. Remember that elation you felt I felt as a kid on Christmas morning? THAT. That adrenalin moment when you feel like the planets have all aligned JUST for you.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #1Glen Loates - Canadian artist

Glen Loates, Canadian artist.

Glen Loates, Canadian artist.

The day that Glen Loates called me, after seeing my work wayyyy back in the early 90’s to say that he was literally ‘stunned’ at the beauty of what I was creating. Glen and Sally were the first folks to publish my work and support me in my art development and career and I am forever indebted for the time that I spent with Glen. The reason why this was so important to me was that when I was a kid, my grandparents gave me notecards with Glen’s work and I remember drawing them, learning how to see and beginning my learning journey. Glen was generous in his mentorship of me as a young artist, and I’m forever grateful for the things he taught me about art and myself.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #2

Spring of 1993 –  and I was taking in all things art around me – I had earlier discovered in depth, the work of American realist Andrew Wyeth. Living on the farm in Harley, and a just being a new mother at the time, I knew that I had to leave my young family and make an artist’s journey to Chadd’s Ford and the Brandywine Valley to experience Andrew Wyeth’s physical world…and of course, the Brandywine River Museum to see the works in person. It inspired me to begin a journey in learning how to work with egg tempera but more than that – it showed me how Andrew’s work was so integrally tied to his landscape and the feel of his world was reflected so deeply in his work. That trip is still deeply embedded in me at a cellular level.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #3

Fast forward to April 2012, around 4:30 pm when I received a call from Jen Wilson at the Haida Museum. I was one of three artists selected for a unique Artist in Residence for Gwaii Haanas National Park. The kids were in the kitchen, and we were jumping up and down and yelling and jumping up and down…yeah, there was a lot of yelling and jumping up and down! There are just times in your life when you know things are meant to be….exciting, inspiring and spiritually feeling like the right thing. I was right about my time in Haida Gwaii – it has changed me forever as an artist and a person.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #4

"The Rebel" ©2010 Bo Bartlett. Oil on panel. 24"x24"

“The Rebel” ©2010 Bo Bartlett. Oil on panel. 24″x24″

Today!!!!!! – receiving official notification that I’m one of 18 very lucky artists to study in a Master Class with amazing American realist Bo Bartlett. Bo’s work, philosophy and experience resonate with my soul as an artist and a human being. Around the same time in the fall of 2012 when I was working on pieces from Gwaii Haanas at The Banff Centre, I had the opportunity to attend a class with him at PAFA. Alas, I found out that I had breast cancer and art really had to take a back seat to my health. Again, the opportunity arose in March last year, but by then, I was sick and in bed with the devastating effects of chemo. One of the things that I clearly remember Bo tweeting to me was, “BEAT IT!”. It sure made a difference to me when things were so low, and I appreciate that.

Feeling better, but not yet 100%, I’m feeling so much gratitude to have been accepted this March for Bo’s Master Class at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. I can’t wait to spend time with the other artists and this great painter in his home town for a concentrated experience, and intelligent dialogue. And perhaps the coolest thing of all?…. Full circle, Bo spent over five years with Andrew Wyeth, creating the film “Snow Hill” and has an intimate knowledge and appreciation of the greatness of being that Andrew was.

Oh…..this is gonna be good.