C. Joy (Graham) McCallister, Canadian artist

I’m a Nova Scotia born artist and live in the village of Kirkfield, City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario.

Since I have a great love of dance, music, and nature, these things greatly influence many facets of my life. So, naturally they weave their way into my artwork. My intense study of ballet and jazz from a very early age spanned more than 20 years that included 10 years teaching ballet while continuing to study dance. However, painting didn’t enter my life until my mid-40s.

I’m primarily a self-taught artist but have taken a few art classes to explore techniques and improve my skills. Acrylics and oils are my go-to mediums although recently I’ve been exploring watercolours, pen and ink, linoprint, and scratchboard.

I’m drawn to capturing the essence of close-up images in our world. These are the special moments we can pass over so easily. “Still lifes” was how Zoltan Szabo referred to these images. I tend to have a matter-of-fact and low-key attitude towards life. Therefore, these too are reflected in my art. I like to force myself outside my comfort zone because it always brings a renewed energy to my art. It can also lead to surprising and unexpected results.

My experience with painting began in 1995 with the decorative arts in Ottawa. I was active for seven years in the Ottawa Valley Decorative Artists Inc. Guild. My experience led to my being able to volunteer as the OVDA’s librarian, newsletter editor, annual show convenor. Of course, I also participated in the guild’s annual show & sale.

In 2002 I was fortunate to attend a 5-day Painting Wildlife studio course given by Canadian artist David Alexander Risk at the Haliburton School of Art & Design. This course was a major milestone for me because I realized I was capable of taking art further. However, life happens. As a result, career and home priorities left me little time for making the transition to painting until I retired.

In August 2016 everything David Risk taught me resurfaced when I attended Robert Bateman’s intense 4-day Passions & Practices non-studio course at the Haliburton School of Art & Design. As a result of this course, I experienced a refreshing shift of attitude and approach to my art. Packed full of tips, techniques, discussions, and teachings, this course represented another major milestone in my artistic endeavours. And … I’ve not looked back since.

I hope you enjoy viewing my work. If you wish, you can start below and continue to my gallery.

From the underpainting to the finished piece

At left you can see the underpainting as it was in progress for the final painting Into the Bush. At right is the final painting. To see more of my underpaintings, go to in my studio.