Artist Bio

I have been collecting and selling art & working with artists most of my adult life. It wasn’t until November of 2011 when artist Sheila Norgate put up a blank canvas and said “just throw some paint on it”.  Well, … We had no idea that was the beginning of a whole new life.

I work with acrylics on canvas … and I love everything about them. I love using palette knives to create rich textures; rags to create moods & contrast; brushes to … well, the rest!

I’ve been in several shows including Sooke Fine Art, Sidney Fine Art, Moss Street Paint-In Victoria, IDS Vancouver, Calyx in Calgary and many others;  …  see the results of “Just throw some paint on it” on my art page.

Plus I organize and curate “Squared/Stretched – the Art Show” – the first show was in Jan2016.

artist's CV

2021
February – Squared – the Art Show – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
April – won the Arty Award – sponsored by the Gabriola Arts Council
March – Squared – the Art Show – travelled to McMillan Arts Centre, Parksville
March – McMillan Arts Centre – solo show – Parksville
May through August – Silva Bay Market – Gabriola Is., BC (curator/manager)
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island
November – Retrospective – GAHC, Gabriola Island

2020
February – Stretched – the Art Show – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
July & August – Silva Bay Market – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island

2019
February – Squared – the Art Show – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
July & August – Silva Bay Market – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island

2018
February – Stretched – the Art Show – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
July & August – Silva Bay Market – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
September – Vancouver Interior Design Show – Vancovuer, BC
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island
plus participated in several other group shows on Vancouver Is., BC

2017
January – GAC China Art Show – Gabriola Island, BC
February – Squared – the Art Show – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
March – Old School House Arts Centre – group show – Qualicum, BC
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island

2016
January – Stretched – the Art Show – Gabriola Is., BC (curator & participant)
January – GAC Map Art Show – Gabriola Island, BC
February – Solo show – the Old Crow Rest. – Gabriola Island, BC
April – Calyx Art Show – Calgary, Alberta
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island

2015
January – GAC Chair Art Show – Gabriola Island, BC
April – ARTS Show – Genesis Place Center – Airdrie, Alberta
June thru August – the Orange Chicken Art Studio – home Gallery
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island, BC
plus participated in several other group and solo shows on Gabriola Is., BC

2014
February – Loved Squared Show – Gabriola Island, BC
April – ARTS Show – Airdrie, Alberta
July – Sooke Fine Art Show – Sooke, BC
July – Summer Small Works – VAG – Victoria, BC
June – the Object Show – Gabriola Island, BC
August – edge Art Show – with Nixie Barton, Laurie Burns, Johanne Galipeau, Leslie Norgate, Sheila Norgate, Mia Tremblay and Mary Lou Trinkwon
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island

2013
February – Heart Speak Show  – group show with  – Sheila Norgate, Mariko Paterson, Maureen  O’Connor,  Kimm Nightingale & Joke Mensink
June – second Solo show at Sheila Norgate’s Gallery, Gabriola Island
June – the Object Show at Art Works Gallery – Gabriola Island
July – Moss Street Paint-In – Victoria
July – Small Works Show – Victoria Art Gallery  – Victoria
October – Thanksgiving Studio Tour – Gabriola Island
October – Sidney Fine Art Show – Sidney
Joined the Sales & Rental Program at the Victoria Art Gallery

2012
August – first Solo show at Sheila Norgate’s Gallery,  Gabriola Island

2011
Started painting in November with Sheila Norgate as my mentor

Dance Bio

It all  started with grade 10 dance class – I don’t remember what the teacher taught – but I knew I wanted more.

Within a week I was taking ballroom and Latin dance lessons at Don Picard School of Ballroom Dance in Vancouver, BC. All my money (I was working as a waitress) went into lessons and dresses. For just over 2 years I danced, performed and competed. Then I turned 18, moved out on my own and discos became more important than dance lessons.

It was 17 years before I got back into ballroom dancing and I was amazed to discover that Don Picard was still alive and teaching (he was very old when I was 16 – he is much younger now). When I was 18 he had asked me to teach for him – I said no at that time but when he asked me again I said yes. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!  That was in 1989 and I’ve been teaching dance ever since and loving it!!

With Don’s great instruction I started teaching Social Ballroom and Latin. When West Coast Swing became popular (again) I learned to dance and teach it; as Country got popular I took up the 2-Step (it’s a very easy and fun dance) and then came Argentine Tango (not so easy!).

I have been to Buenos Aires 6 times. Four times I have taken students with me so they could experience the birthplace of Tango first hand. I had the good fortune of meeting Manuel Ortiz (the Black Panther of Tango) on my first trip to BA. I have since brought him and his partner, Silvia Rodriguez to Canada 3 times and I study with them when I’m in BA.

I was an adjudicator at Campeonato Intercontinental de Tango in Brazil in 2009 and in 2010 in Buenos Aires.

In August 2009 I headed for the Netherlands to study with 16 other Tango teachers from around the world at “El Corte” a very famous Argentine Tango School that has been training people for over 20 years. … while I was in the Netherlands I taught at  Tipo Tango. … I liked El Corte so much I went back in 2010…. and twice more just for the fun of it!!

I have also developed other programs  – One I teach in local schools, I developed it in 2002 – Listen to the Rhythm – the kids learn 12 dances in 8 weeks – for more information on this program check out my workshop page.

The other Transforming thru Tango I have been developing for as long as I have been teaching; however, it was in 2008 that I gave it a name and separated it out from my regular classes.  It focuses on the issues & fears that come up for people when they start to learn to dance. … or anything!

Feldenkrais Bio

In March of 2010 I started training as a Feldenkrais practitioner and graduated in October 2012. It is a 4-year program, which I did in 3 years in Seattle.

I started “practising” on friends and family from the very start. I averaged 150 FI lessons (Functional Integration) between training segments. My trainers were astonished!

I knew this work would change my life and I just had to keep learning.

more info

The Arty Award!

Congratulations to Gwen Spinks, this years Arty Award Winner.

The community member that nominated her had this to say and we couldn’t agree more…
“Gwen is tirelessly contributing by helping other artists and serving the community by making artwork accessible to everyone. She is innovative, sensitive, caring and always does things with a smile on her face and with the kindest of intentions.
Gwen supports artists by helping them evolve ideas and projects. She helps them on a personal level and she also hosts an annual art show and sale which is providing exposure for emerging and establishes artists and is also exposing young artists to the experience of creating and selling art. She has been doing this for 6 years now.
Gwen lives a life of intention and leads by example. She’s encouraging, inspiring and a loving and lovely person and artist.”

Sponsored by the Gabriola Arts Council 

I couldn’t be more honoured! Thank you Gabriola for helping me live the dream!! This is the most supportive, creative and giving community – I get to do what I love because of my friends and chosen family – thank you to the person who wrote those wonderful words of appreciation – I am moved to tears …. thank you! 🙏🥳🥰