Instructor Bios

Instructor Bios


Nancy-Lynne Hughes

When you love what you do and do what you love it never feels like ‘work’, says Hughes. Nancy works predominantly in acrylic but also enjoys other mediums. Her favorite subject is the local landscape; be that the intimate view of a beautiful flower, a flower garden, a bed of river rocks, or the vastness of the prairies around her. She looks for those moments when the changing light turns the ordinary to the extraordinary and strives to capture and share those breath taking moments.

In addition to painting at her home studio Nancy has been teaching art at private teaching studios in Calgary for over 25 years. Nancy offers independent study classes, workshops and painting holidays to students of all ages in all mediums and is delighted to be part of the biggest and best art supply and instruction facility in western Canada.


Michael J. Downs

Michael’s classes focus on the visual fundamental skills for drawing and painting and are open to all levels from absolute beginners to professional artists looking to take their work to a new level. Anybody with practice and application can learn how to draw and paint. The subject or style is the student’s choice in all mediums including oils, acrylics, watercolour and pastel. For beginners, Michael recommends oils to learn the visual skills. The student can then take these skills and apply them to their own work.

“ The real key to mastering painting is not about copying a style or learning techniques, but rather training your mind to see the visual world in a completely different way”, says artist Michael Downs.  “Great artists gain visual fluency through skill development in how they work, allowing them to paint any subject in any style they wish. These visual skills are the core of my art and my teaching.”

 3 hour classes  -  students to paint under the supervision of Michael Downs

Classes regularly include lectures, demonstrations, and optional monthly “paintalongs”


“I signed up for art classes in Sept 2014. I have nothing but great things to say about the instruction I have received to date. With no painting experience, my teacher, Michael Downs, has taught me more than in one year than I ever thought possible. The classes are always well structured with a review of the basics in drawing, perspective, composition, light, colour, value, etc. Every month there is a “paintalong”which the students can participate in if they want– I always do. The instruction is progressive, and Michael always encourages every student to paint on their own but will “show how” on the student’s painting if they wish, but only if they want.”

Ray Swirsky

Lisa Roberts

Lisa Roberts is a working artist and instructor who focuses her practice on experimentation with acrylics and mixed media techniques.

Sherry Telle


Associate Instructors Include:

Mary-Leigh Doyle

Mary-Leigh Doyle is an experienced instructor teaching and working in a large variety of media. She has studied at O.C.A.D., S.A.I.T., U of C, Mount Royal, private art studios and has had the pleasure of working with many very accomplished local artists including, but not limited to, Nancy-lynne Hughes, Ingrid Christensen, Erica Neumann, Jean Geddes, Adele Woolsey, Alice Helwig, Rick Berg, Curtis Golomb, Jerry Markham and Brian Attyeo.

Mary-Leigh worked as a high school art instructor for 10 years but has specialized in adult studio instruction for the past 15 years. She emphasizes good technique and creativity equally. Her students are encouraged to develop their own personal style and to grow within that style retaining their own unique personality and individuality in their work. 

To see Mary-Leigh’s work or to learn more about her, please visit her website:

Jean Pederson

Margaret Best

Doug Levitt

Melanie Morstad

Ekaterina Podzniakova

Adele Woolsey

Samantha Williams-Chapelsky