Learning Through the Arts

Studio Artist - Mark Vasquez-Mackay

Mark came to Willow Park in September 2014 as an Artist in Residence and then in 2015 he returned to us as a Studio Artist. Mark brings to us a wealth of knowledge and experience and we are gifted by his presence. He sees art living side by side with our students and he is invested in building relationships. 

"Mine is a humanist practice based on the observation of my environment, the surroundings of my studio and the people who come into it. Beyond the four walls of this intimate environment, my paintings engage the spectator, often anticipating the presence of—and making a space for--an observer. Since we only really know who we are by virtue of how we relate to others, this is how I come to understand my own reality - the reality of how I exist within the environment that includes other people and the physical world."
Mark Vazquez-Mackay

Fill the Well

Willow Park is committed to to giving our students and educators opportunities to experience encounters with art.  Fill the Well provides a space to show artwork from working artists in the Calgary community. 

Teresa Posniyak (January - February 2020)

Teresa Posyniak

“Cracking Whip II”

oil & cold wax on paper 30 x 22 in. (2019)



Artist Statement: PONDEROSA In 2015, Nancy Holmes, a poet and Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna invited me to collaborate with her on the topic of the ponderosa pine. Having holidayed in the Okanagan for over 30 years, I was already familiar with the ponderosa pine but thanks to Nancy and my two artist residencies in Kelowna, I became deeply immersed in all aspects of the pinus ponderosa (the reflective pine) and its dry, rocky and fire-prone environment, heartrendingly beautiful but tough to live in. Although programmed to resist fire, this tree has been compromised by the pine beetle infestations, leaving it more vulnerable to the increasing frequency of fires, an aspect I incorporate into many of the paintings.

Our friendship and this project merged organically as we hiked, talked, shared ideas about verticality, entanglement, pathways, colour, fog/smoke and texture. Her poetry inspired me to explore new ideas and imagery, enriching not only my perception of these marvelous trees, but also my understanding of the changing climate we’re living in and the impact it’s having on us all.

Rebecca Ellison (November - December 2019)

Rebecca Ellison has enjoyed developing her visual arts scope in a variety of media over the past 10 years, particularly in exploring with and creating mixed media pieces. She has created pieces using stained glass, archival ink, water colour, acrylic and gouache painting, linocut prints, polymer clay, alcohol inks, metal leaf, clay board and mosaics. Many of her commissioned and purchased art works can be found in private collections. Her current series “Nautilus”
demonstrates her fascination with the fear and awe inspired by the sea, dovetailed with her keen interest in the Steampunk genre. Rebecca works within the Calgary Board of Education as an artist-in-residence in numerous elementary and middle schools. She has instructed children and adults in the Inglewood Art & Music School and has also collaborated with Studio C Art Recruits and Accessible Housing Calgary to benefit both mental health and “barrier-free” art creation. Rebecca is passionate about sharing the love of art, especially with children, and integrating the visual arts into any and every subject of study. It is her belief that within the context of welcoming environments and when equipped with proper materials and facilitation, creating visual art can benefit anyone at any skill level emotionally, spiritually, mentally and/or

Cindy A Joubert-Kelly (October -November 2019)

I have been freelancing as an artist since 1988 and started a client base back then when I still was in High School. I was doing illustrations on many of my school mates jean jackets and leather clothing. I quickly expanded to having clients in the local music and entertainment industry. I was doing contracts for the entertainers' stage clothes and equipment. Eventually, I added photography to my skill set and fumbled horribly along with my aunt's old film SLR camera. I wasted hundreds of rolls of film until the age of digital photography arrived, giving me the freedom to snap as many photos as I could and start to understand ISO and f-Stop.  

Over the years I have had the pleasure to have my work printed in teachers manuals, writing anthologies, travel brochures, book covers, and fantasy magazines. I have designed business logos, tattoos, and advertisements. The present big projects' I am involved in at the moment are the following:  The Paladin Sequence. A 13 book series of an elite team of exorcists' dealing with a world on the brink of apocalypse. (It is a blend of Supernatural, the TV show, and the Hell Blazer comics -What the movie Constantine was made from-). 


Corinne Cowell (September 2019)

Artist Statement • Corinne Cowell

I have always been interested in narratives and they are a recurring theme in my work. Some of the areas I’ve been interested in are about personal memories as well as identity and place.

My current work continues my interest in narrative speci cally as it relates to the environment and our place within it as well as our transitions through it. I work in multiple media and image sets simultaneously and my current directions include our intimate experience in wild spaces, eeting moments in relation to time of day, year and era as well as interactions with wildlife.

I hope to create an environment where the viewer holds a kind of mental conversation with the work. To create the possibility for someone to imagine what those moments, in that place, might have been like. To imagine their own family history or simply those of previous pioneering generations.

I also use wet and needle felting, and mixed media collage as a base for story telling. I greatly enjoy exploring new media and it’s interplay with the subject because I want the materials to be integral and supportive of the stories I’m trying to portray. I am also intrigued by the textural and mixed media potential of the materials I use on both a visual and emotive level. The materials I use can range from raw wool, photo transfer, hand made and printed papers to acrylic paint, hand stitching and horse hair.

cc@corinnecowell.com • www.corinnecowell.com 

Eveline Kolijn (May 2019)

Medium : Woodcut, handprinted on Mulberry paper 

This large woodcut tells the history of the Eau Claire Lumber Mill, form logging in the Kanaskis area, floating the lumber down the Bow River to Prince's Island, to the sawmill in the city.  The river also generated electricity for the lumber mill. The mill was relocated to Heritage Park and can be seen there.  Much of the wood was used for the railway stays of the developing Canadian Pacific Railway Company.  

This print was originally made for the Utility Box Public Art Program of the City of Calgary and is still to be seen on the corner of 5th Ave SW and 7th St. in downtown Calgary.  

Eveline is a printmaker and installation artist living and working in Calgary. Growing up in the Carribean, she has experiences both the beauty and demise of coral reefs.   Eveline received a Master's degree in cultural anthropology from the Leiden University in the Netherlands and a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design.  She has participated in national and international exhibitions and residencies, public art projects and community engagements.  She has been published in various scientific publications.  She is an instructor at the School of Continuing Education at the Alberta University of the Arts. 

Paula Timm (March-April 2019)

A visual storyteller, Paula Timm's art conveys story through bold use of contrasts, dynamic colour stories and often a narrative is present even if the image is abstract.  Timm is interested in simple complexities, both within the subject and with the tools she employs in each mixed media piece.  Graphite and pen drawings are created during quiet moments of art creating; later collaged into a painted canvas, integrated into a digital mixed media piece or they may inspire a 2D painting. Paula Timm is a visual artist, instructore and community builder with a passion for faciltating wellness through art.  Operating under the business name Paula Timm Artist Studio, Paula has a thriving art practice that blends her love of teaching, writing, and creating fine art.  Her studio-located in cSPACE King Edward is where she hosts mixed media workshops and art classes for both children and adults. No prior experience is necessary and all abilities are warmly welcomed.  

Melanie Figueroa (February-March 2019)

Artist Bio

Melanie is urban landscaped painter based out of Calgary, AB.  She addresses themes of comfort and nostalgia within our modern society. Capturing the feeling of home and community, her subjects are often overlooked components found in familiar residential environments. Her unique perspective and expressive palette draw you into her cozy urban vignettes. 

Raised in Calgary, AB, Melanie grew up creative and curious.  Her artistic leanings eventually led to her enrollment at ACAD where she studied in the Visual Communications program.  Her design skills and manual aptitude landed her in the professional picture framing industry where she incorporates all aspects of her art education.  The framing business keeps her connected with artists and the arts community, enhances her own art practice and supports her (outrageous!) addiction to art collecting and framing.  Melanie paints regularly in her studio and is a member of a painting society. 

Gonzalo Figueroa - The View From Barrier Lake

(January-February 2019)

Artist Statement

I don’t have an idea. I have many ideas. Many good, many bad. Many many  many. They peek at me from the periphery of junk.  Things happen, fall into place. The ideas don’t matter; they’re only a jumping off point. Whether I lack the discipline or the know-how, things always veer off to the side and what was in my mind seldom is what comes out. It’s all a wonderful surprise, a mad cacophony of physical sensations; from the cold hard ground bathed in random colours touching my feet, to the loud noise I can’t seem to work without, to the stagnant smell of leftover reservoir of used brushes.  It’s all pictures, all images of an imagined concept that draws me closer to the viewer.  What matters in the end, is did I connect to you somehow? And does it match your couch? The last part is of paramount importance. 

Artist Bio Born in Chile, Gonzalo’s South American roots are evident in his use of vibrant colour and design.  He immigrated to Canada at the age of 7, and currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.  Gonzalo studied at the Alberta College of Art, majoring in the Drawing Department.  Although now he primarily paints, his drawing techniques are a key element of his pr


(November-December 2018)



Chris Flodberg


The more I consider my current portrait series, the more I find myself thinking about time.  While the portraits look backwards to the 15th and 16th centuries at a very particular set of techniques, forms, and compositional traditions, they also create for themselves a niche that occupies a place that is neither old, futuristic, or necessarily about the present.

The people, like the figures in a Hans Memling painting, or perhaps those in a Jan Van Eyck altarpiece, seem to occupy their own reality.  They are hyper-realistic, yet not photographic.  Their physical proportions are odd, the imagery feels miniature, and there is an almost excessive amounts of attention paid to tiny details giving them a high craft sense of preciousness. When seen at an angle where reflections reveal the surface, the effect is more like that of a hand-polished piece of old furniture rather than the familiar surfaces of hastily made paintings or mechanical or industrial surfaces.

Given how precious the paintings appear to be in all aspects, it might be odd for the viewer then that the costumes, though appearing to have a considered design, are essentially made of junk. Things like masking tape parade as decorative motifs, cheaply printed fabrics double as fine robes, and plumbing hardware as jewelry hangs on industrial chrome chain-links as if it is all perfectly normal. 

Is the painting a serious depiction of some unknown time and place or is it meant to be humorous and light hearted?  Is there some kind of meaning or encoded symbolism at work?  Are the paintings authentically naïve or are they in whole or in part a kind of simulacra where certain affectations like particularly small hands alter our perception of an image?

These are the questions that make these paintings interesting for me.  The subject of these portraits is how they stretch and pull between what we think we are seeing, what we remember from museums and history, and how the people and objects of our world have been reconfigured and re-imagined to interact with the history of painting to create a strange and unfamiliar experience. 

After all is said and done, it remains vital to me that the paintings themselves consistently strive for the highest possible standard of traditional excellence.  Glazing is a somewhat lost and misunderstood craft.  It is slow, methodical, and labor intensive.   When done properly, the results can be elevating and transcendent.  Objects can feel real, reflecting and existing in real light. I want to make paintings that simultaneously learn from and celebrate the deep past while establishing obvious, yet ambiguous connections to our own time.  I am far less interested in answering the questions these paintings might pose than I am in creating more questions going forward. 

Brittney Tough - Milo (October-November 2018)

Title: Milo  Artist: Brittney Tough Medium: Oil on Canvas Price: $2624

Brittney Tough, elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSP- WC), is known for her vibrant paintings depicting textiles and objects. She is an international award winning artist who has exhibited work across Canada and the US. Her work has been published in Southwest Art Magazine, The Artist’s Magazine and the Splash hardcover series of the best in contemporary watercolour. Brittney has exhibited in a variety of international juried exhibitions from CSPWC, Richeson75, Society of Canadian Artists and Federation of Canadian Artists, and has received numerous awards in these competitions. Brittney has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Alberta College of Art and Design and continues to develop her painting practice in Calgary, AB. 

Artists in Residence

Willow Park is committed to giving our students and educators opportunities to experience encounters with artists and art making. Artists in Residence provide the space for the community to work with artists from all mediums.

Terry Reynoldson - Grade 6 (October 2018)

Last modified on