Artist Biographies, N - Z

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Duane Panko

Duane and his twin brother were born in southern Saskatchewan near the U.S. border in 1937. He remembers painting animals and wildlife from a very early age. Later he studied engineering and architecture and continued to paint using a variety of media. Today Duane’s current work is predominantly watercolour paintings and has been described as contemporary impressionistic in style.


David Riome

David Riome was exposed to nature and art at an early age. The mixed woodland around his hometown in Saskatchewan provided rich and varied experiences, which fostered an awareness of nature evident in his present work. Self-taught, the artist pursued individual studies and has been trained in a variety of technical and visual skills.

David Riome's wood and stone sculpture is carved with traditional hand tools from imported and domestic materials. His soapstone quarry, located in a remote area of Northern Saskatchewan, is the source of much material for his smaller work. Antler, bone, coral, bronze and other metals are also used in multi-media carvings. The natural materials complement the vital content of his work. In both his wildlife and figurative work, the artist draws from basic forms found in nature. Replicating natural smoothing effects of wind on snow drifts and sand dunes, Dave softens the contours of the pieces he sculpts. His sculptures are smooth and lustrous with flowing lines and curves. Utilizing principles of balance, rhythm, and harmony, he creates work that is uniquely Northern in their synthesis of subject, style and material.

David Riome's work has been acquired and is appreciated by both private and corporate collectors in Canada and the United States.


Laurel Rossnagel

I grew up on a farm west of Regina on the edge of the Qu’Appelle Valley. From an early age I loved to watch the flora and fauna, how light reflects, the impact of shadows, watch and listen to water, and the beautiful colors of nature. I have always loved to work with my hands and drawing, sewing, building, crafts, and painting have been part of my life. In my teens and early twenties I was busy with school, friends and sports, but returned to my drawing in my mid-twenties. After a number of years of doing commissioned pieces, I had my first solo show in 1999 and since then art has taken on an increased importance in my life.

After working for almost 30 years at the University of Saskatchewan, the last 15 of which were in Advancement (fundraising, relationship management, and communications), I opted for early retirement in 2006. Having more time to pursuit my art interests is fantastic, and once again I have time to do commissioned pieces for friends, acquaintances and business contacts.

Although I have taken a few courses along the way, I mostly enjoy the challenge of learning on my own and experimenting with techniques. I like to work on a wide variety of subjects with a number of mediums. I believe that my prairie roots are the basis of how I see and depict the simple beauty of the prairie landscape, birds, plants and animals. My artwork is detailed and realistic.

My husband, Brian, and I have travelled internationally many times as well as in Canada. Thanks to Brian’s photography, and friends like Orrin Clayton, I have had lots of material to work with and to inspire my work over the years. A number of pieces can be found in collections around the World – including Australia, England, the United States and throughout Canada.

There are a number of artists that I admire but my favourite is Claude Monet and I have a great respect for the Group of Seven.

Painting for me provides a wonderful sense of peace and is stress free. I loose myself for hours developing images and mastering color. Painting brings me close to the thinks I love about nature, and enhances my senses. When I am working on a piece, I will drop into the studio to look at the piece often just to judge the angles, the colors, the feel of the piece and will note what I want to do next or change for my next sitting. I am always looking forward to my next opportunity to be back in the studio working on a piece in progress or a new project. I like to always have a show planned in the future as it focused my energies and attention.

My preference is to have visited the location before I paint a landscape. When possible it is wonderful to paint on site but most often I use photographs in the studio. Although I enjoy painting barns, farms, heritage buildings, birds, and animals, plants and flowers, it is the untouched landscape that is most appealing.

I work in mediums like acrylic, watercolours, pen and ink, pencil or charcoal. Acrylic has become the most frequent medium in the last few years. My early years of sketching and drawing have been very helpful in providing perspective to my paintings and I still enjoy working with a pencil, the smell of the lead, and the smudges on my left hand as I work.


Laurel Schenstead-Smith

Laurel took her first watercolour course in November 2004. She attended sketching and watercolour classes as well as critique workshops with Cecilia Jurgens and attended a workshop with Jack Reid. Laurel has filled many hours mulling over books written by her favourite watercolour artists. Other than that she is self-taught.

Laurel is a member of the Off Broadway Artists and the Big Sky Artists and has displayed her paintings with them in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Her paintings were on display at the Gallery on the Bridges, September through November 2006.

Artist's Statement: For many years I encouraged our four sons to draw, paint, and be creative. Like many moms, I would lug out a project [usually needlepoint] only to put it away in order to set the table or keep sticky fingers from messing it up. Our sons have made good progress in developing their own creative abilities and the sticky fingers are gone – so I decided to learn to paint!

I hope that my paintings call forth in you a feeling of “being there,” of wanting to “be there,” a special memory, or that they simply awaken within you the desire for more creativity in your life.


Bill Schwarz

Born and raised in Saskatchewan until he was seventeen, Bill was a child prodigy winning his first colouring contest at five years of age. However, this early burst of fame was interrupted for fifty years as he pursued his education, earning his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Toronto in 1966. Bill was admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1968 and moved to Cambridge where he has built a successful and respected law practice with Bob Pettitt and Carly Hills.

For all of that, artistic genius was not to be suppressed. His smoldering interest in art was rekindled in 1997 when his wife, Nancy, suggested they take an art course together. Bill's tenacity took hold and he has since pursued his artistic development with courses at the Ontario College of Art and Design, the Dundas Valley School of Art, the Homer Watson House & Gallery, the Cambridge Library and Gallery, the Georgian Bay School of Art, the Southampton School of Art, the Fallbrook School of Art, and by attending other artists' workshops in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe.


Regina Seib

Regina was born in East Germany and immigrated to Canada at age seven with her mother and grandmother. She has lived in various locations in Western Canada, including Saskatoon. She currently resides in Nanaimo.

Art is Regina’s passion, evident throughout her childhood and continuing in to adulthood, always painting as time permits. Over the years she has taken a number of artist’s workshops and several classes at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina. She earned her AFCA March 2009. Regina paints full time and had the opportunity to attend a workshop with Brian Atyeo at River Rock Studios, Cochrane, Alberta and a workshop and symposium with Jerry Heine, Jack Reid, Teresa Posniak and Doris McCarthy in Jasper, Alberta. She is presently exploring textures, shapes and colours in acrylic and watercolour.

“My desire to create continues to intensify and since the year 2000 I have painted full time realizing a life long dream. With the creative urge God has given me, I am constantly motivated and challenged as I explore new ideas and methods for making marks on canvas. Breaking into abstract images has given me great liberty in expressing myself and expanding my boundaries. It is very gratifying to have my works in numerous collections in Canada and abroad.”

Regina’s work is currently displayed in Saskatoon at Collector’s Choice Art Gallery.


Leonard Carlyle Skinner

Leonard was born on August 5, 1950 in Victoria, British Columbia. His father was a Canadian Naval Officer, and as a result Leonard spent his childhood living in many parts of Canada. Today, Leonard and his family continue to live and work in London, Ontario.

As a young boy, Leonard and his family made annual auto trips to his grandparents’ farm in Northern Saskatchewan from Ottawa. The trans Canada Highway, in the late 50’s and 60’s exposed Leonard to the natural beauty of the Northern Landscape. In later years, Leonard and his family would spend their summers camping in Ontario, and in particular, the Algonquian and Georgian Bay regions. This kind of exposure during his formative years, is very evident in his work today.

Leonard was enrolled in High School of Commerce Art Program in Ottawa, Ontario from 1967 to 1969. He continued his formal training at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, in the Art and Design Program.

Leonard is a lifelong painter who, for the past 18years, has devoted himself to painting full-time. His works have been represented in several galleries in Canada and the United States, and his work is finding its way into many private and corporate collections.

Artist's Statement: The subject material and inspiration for my work is the Canadian Landscape and, in particular the Canadian Shield. I take inspiration from a legacy of great Canadian painters drawn to the same areas I travel.


Vance Theoret

A self-taught stone carver of Mohawk descent, Vance’s unique artistic vision captures a passion for his British Columbia home and the wildlife that inhabits it.

Carving in alabaster and soapstone, along with slates, chlorite and moose antlers, Vance creates imaginative works that personify his favourite subject, bears and animals, and reflect a sense of curiosity and playful spirit.

Vance prefers a minimalist “direct carve approach.” Rather than forcing his ideas onto the stone, he lets the stone draw out his designs and artistic expression, guiding him with its natural form and inclinations. Vance’s masterful use of the medium, with its exquisite textures, hues, swirls and imperfections, give his work a rich and warm glow embodied in simple elegance.


Shirley Timpson

After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in fine arts, Shirley apprenticed as a goldsmith with a firm in Saskatoon before spending six months in Europe studying. On her return, she worked for many years in the art department of a major printing company, eventually starting her own graphic arts and lapel pin manufacturing business, her company supplied lapel pins to the 1992 Olympics.

Her artwork hangs in many private collections in the form of commissioned portraits and studies and she has painted large murals that are displayed in the Western Development Museum, North Battleford and the Circle Centre Mall in Saskatoon.

Shirley uses air brushing techniques as well as pencil crayon and acrylics.


Mark Totan

Mark Totan is an Inuit carver originally from the tiny community of Hall Beach, N.W.T. A heavy duty mechanic by trade, he began seriously carving stone some ten years ago. Today Mark lives in Edmonton, Alta. working as a full time carver.

He specializes in realistic carvings of the people and animals of the north. His intricate attention to detail has gained him an instant following of collectors and galleries.

In 1993, The Banff School of Fine Arts offered Mark a full scholarship. Should he find time to attend, he will become the first Inuit carver with this privilege.


Joan Weber

Joan has a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Saskatchewan with a major in art. She has improved her skills by attending classes and workshops given by Saskatchewan artists and through University of Saskatchewan Extension classes at Emma Lake and in Saskatoon.

Joan has studied books on painting skills and worked on self development. She works mostly in acrylics and some watercolour and spends many hours practicing her artistic skills. Although her style tends to be realistic, she is making efforts to paint in a more relaxed style. Joan is presently a member of the Bridge City Artists Group.

Artist Statement: I am prairie born and prairie influenced. I love Saskatchewan and like to represent it in my paintings. I feel the open spaces, the prevailing winds and the simplicity of the landscape.

Our province has large open spaces with small pockets of beauty. One has sometimes to look carefully for the wonders of prairie nature: the small but beautiful wild flowers; the subtle colours in the trees and grasses, the small flitting birds or the frost patterns on the window pane. There are as well the large panoramic skyscapes, field after field as far as the eye can see, and series of rolling hills and valleys, prairie ponds and shrubby trees.

I am also enchanted by the forest areas, especially the little things that grow and gather on the forest floor. Saskatchewan has much to offer for subject, lots really to “wet one’s pallet”.


Richard Widdifield

Born in Gainsborough, Saskatchewan in 1961, Richard began painting in 1983 and participated in numerous shows in Regina and Weyburn areas, garnering many commissions and awards.

In 1987 he moved to the West Kootenays in B.C. where he initiated unique limited - edition fundraising campaigns with such diverse groups as Robson Community School, Kootenay - Columbia Child Care Society and Rural Dignity of Canada. He became well known in the Castlegar area for his many public mural commissions and extensive portrait work. In 1996 he relocated to Saskatoon with fellow artist and partner Sandra Lee Groepler and in September 1997 had his first one-person show since returning to Saskatchewan: “Under Western Skies,” at the Meewasin Interpretive Centre. Also in 1997, Richard was commissioned by the Broadway Theatre to produce a colourful, nostalgic poster of that venue in celebration of its 50th anniversary. 1998 marked Richard’s 15th year as an artist. Among his awards, in 1989 Richard received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for his work as a promising young Canadian realist artist.

In Saskatoon Richard has exhibited at Meewasin Valley Authority Interpretive Centre and Saskatoon City Hospital’s Gallery on the Bridges. Richard’s work can be purchased at Collector’s Choice Art Gallery.


Beverley Wildeman

A Saskatchewan born artist, Bev has had a passion for drawing since early childhood.

Basically a self-taught artist working on her own, Bev enjoys working with mixed mediums: watercolour and pastel, watercolour and pen, pastel painting, pencil crayon and graphite pencil drawings. Her works vary from floral, landscapes, still life, cartoons and drawings of children.

Galleries on the Bridges, City Hospital and Jade Gallery, Centre East Galleries, in Saskatoon have been Bev’s most recent exhibitions.

Bev has designed cards, invitations and logos for a number of different organizations and businesses.