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Sue Contini

Monthly Art Instruction For Adults + Workshops

Oil, Acrylic, Watercolour, Pencil, and Charcoal are mediums welcome in my classes.

Sue Contini is a contemporary landscape painter living and working in Calgary, Alberta. She works primarily in acrylic. She is a lifelong artist; her grandmother was a highly regarded painter, weaver, potter and textile artist who introduced Sue to the joy of art-making very early in her life. Sue has been teaching art for more than 10 years.

Adult Class Times:

Sign Up Online or Over The Phone!

Mondays: 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Tuesdays: 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Tuesdays: 12:30 - 3:30 pm
Thursdays: 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Thursdays: 12:30 - 3:30 pm
Sue Contini's Profile Picture.

She had the privilege of attending an arts-centred high school, where she studied drawing, printmaking and painting in depth, along with the french horn and a very little bit of math. Sue graduated from York University’s Fine Arts program. Life took her to Northern Ontario, and then Calgary, during which time she did everything she could to instill a passion for the arts in her own four children, and all the other children she encountered. She has spent many years as an art instructor in all mediums - teaching privately, in community groups, through the school boards and at Swintons Art in Calgary. Sue loves to teach, but loves to learn just as much. Her art world has been full of incredible instruction and mentorship, including John Topelko, John Lovett, Brian Atyeo, Mike Svob, Michael O’Toole, David Langevin, Jane Davies, Brian Smith, Chantel Barber, Robert Burridge, Brent Lynch and many more. Her esteemed Swintons colleagues are friends and mentors and she learns from them continually.

Sue started teaching workshops for many artist groups in Alberta and BC, and a highlight this year was coaching with Doug Swinton in Alert Bay, BC. Her work is in numerous private collections, as well as corporate collections in Canada and overseas including BMO Nesbitt Burns, Qualico Communities, Dean Engineering, Columbia College, and Badgery Rafferty Law.

Landscape painting of a winter scene on a hill.

Artist Statement

My approach to each painting is usually sparked by atmosphere, colour and light in the landscape. I want to convey my memory of those moments in my work, as much as I want to capture the scene. My process of layering allows colour to optically mix and provides effects that are unachievable otherwise. I am drawn to patterns, rhythms and little colour connections that move throughout my paintings. There is a delicate balance of intuitive painting and very controlled development in my work - I am constantly looking for interesting areas to develop in the painting while at the same time trying to stay true to my initial intent.

Let's Find an Art Class for You

  • Do I need to have previous artistic experience?
    No. Our classes are designed for beginners, through to intermediate and advanced students. While weekly classes have up to a maximum of 10 students per studio, the instructor circulates from student to student, catering their instruction to suit each student's individual needs. The student receives a private lesson within a group setting. Each student has their own drawing table and easel, and may work with any medium, subject matter and style of their choosing, at their own pace. Students discuss with their instructor what they would like to achieve, and the instructor will work with the student to reach those goals.
  • What if I can't make all the classes in a month?
    Answer: Students register for the weekly classes by paying month to month. Due to the long wait lists for classes, and limited spots to keep the class sizes small, Swinton's cannot prorate classes, or hold spots without payment. In order to secure a spot in a class, students must pay for every class running in that particular month, whether they attend every class or not. Of course we understand that scheduling conflicts arise from time to time, and instructors who teach a number of classes per week will try to be accommodating by offering a student a make up class should they need to miss one occasionally. The student must arrange this with their instructor by giving as much notice as possible about an upcoming absence, and if the instructor has space in another class a make-up may be arranged. Make-ups are not a guarantee, and are up to the discretion of the student's instructor.
  • Can I change mediums and try another kind of paint?
    Answer: Absolutely! Each of Swinton's instructors are trained in all mediums, (drawing, acrylics, watercolour and oil), and can assist the student in making the transition from one medium to another from suggesting what materials to start with, to introductory projects. While instructors are fluent in all mediums, some classes do tend to lean toward one medium or another, for example: all students in a particular class may be using oils. Even though students receive individual instruction, it is beneficial to be placed in a class with students using like mediums as the student can use information the instructor shares with other students if they should find this helpful. Swinton's will ask students at registration what style and medium they are wanting to work with, and place them in a class which is the best match for the student. However, many times students may not know what medium they are wanting to start with, or are hesitant to invest in new supplies when switching mediums before they have tried it. A great option for students wanting to 'test before they invest' are the Sampler Classes offered at Swinton's. There are Sampler Classes for each Drawing, Oil, Acrylic and Watercolour, which run for one 3 hour class - all materials included.
  • I work shift-work - Can I come to other time slots?
    Answer: Due to each student registering and securing a spot on a specific day and time which they come weekly, Swinton's instructors are not able to accommodate drop-ins, and students are not able to change the time which they come for class throughout the month, as there simply not enough spots open to do so. Again, if a student needs to miss a class due to work on occasion, they may give their instructor notice of the upcoming absence and may be offered a make-up class.
  • Can I take more than one class?
    Yes! There are a number of students at Swinton's registered in more than one class, whether to obtain more frequent instruction, or because they just can't get enough of painting! Not only may students register for more than one weekly class, but often students will have a spot in a weekly class, and then take a workshop that runs for a set period of time. Aside from frequent workshops that concentrate on a variety of themes, from specific mediums or subject matter, to the business side of making art, there are also Friday evening demos, plein air painting groups as well as special product demonstrations. Workshops may be from one day to a number of weeks in length, and students are welcome to sign up for as many as they like along side their regular class.
  • I'm leaving on holidays. How do I keep my spot?
    As long as a student pays for their spot while they are absent, it will not be given away. Let the instructor know in advance that you will be gone and for how long, so that they may accommodate other students who may need make-ups. Another option, is to let your instructor know that you would like to lend your spot to a friend or other student interested in extra classes. Any financial arrangements made between the student and the person using their spot while away is not the responsibility of either the instructor, or Swinton's. It is the responsibility of the primary student to register and pay for their spot in order to keep it while absent.
  • What materials should I have?
    Students should have at least basic drawing materials for their first day of class. This includes; a variety of pencils, (2H, HB, 4B, for example), a sketchbook, eraser, and sharpener. If the student knows they would like to start painting immediately, they should bring whatever materials they have. If needing all new materials, the student may come to their first class a few minutes early and their instructor will take them through what they need to start with. All Swinton's staff are trained artists and / or instructors and will be more than happy to assist the student with everything they need. It is especially important that children and teen students have all the materials they need for their class, as instructors do not have materials available in the studios. An option that many parents find convenient is to purchase a gift certificate for their child for those times that perhaps a pencil or eraser is forgotten. This way the student can get what they need to have a successful class without having to carry money around. All students receive 10% off of supplies purchased at Swinton's. Please note; materials may not be taken from the store for use in the studio without payment, or throughout class and paid for at the end. There are simply too many students and products for our staff to keep track of. This includes books and magazines!
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