Instructor Bios

Susan Pharaoh

Susan Pharaoh - Pottery image

I began my 40-year journey with clay at the University of Oklahoma.  The pottery and ceramics department under the direction of V’Lou Oliviera encouraged artistic vision, individual creativity and freedom of expression.  This atmosphere at the University campus in the late 1970’s enhanced my practical and creative pottery and artistic skills.

In 1980, I moved back to Canada with my young family.  Here I sought out the most creative potters in Winnipeg, honing my skills first at the Clifton Street Studios with potter Ken Voth, then at the Stoneware Gallery, with the award winning potters Valarie Metcalf and Kathy Koop.

After a 10 year hiatus, I studied with the acclaimed professional artist/potter Mr. Marcel Debreuil.  His encouragement and mentoring formed the basis of my venture out of the mundane, and into sculptural ceramics.

In 2009, I organized a weekend workshop for 15 art teachers and potters, with Master Potter Mr. Shizuoka Tamura from Shigaraki, Japan.  Tamura-san lead the inspirational weekend with demonstrations of traditional functional Japanese pottery, and created a hand-built tea bowl while speaking about the meaningful tradition of the tea ceremony.  This was a personal highlight.

I have been teaching all levels of pottery wheel throwing at the Pembina Hills Art Gallery since 2010.  I have participated in the annual Pembina Valley Studio Tour since 2011.  I demonstrate wheel-throwing for the Morden Corn and Apple Art Walk since 2012.


Esther Hildebrand

Esther Hildebrand painting

After 35 years of working in the agriculture field together with my husband, I am now retired and have begun a home business of creating and selling art.  Having always had an interest in painting, I now have the time and a chance to explore this exciting venture.  My husband, Bob, and I have four children and now enjoy seven grandchildren.

In addition to family, I also enjoy quilting, gardening, long distance running, cross country skiing, playing piano, choral singing, reading books and entertaining friends.

Abstract art is my magnet.  It permits an incredible freedom of expression: no restrictions for specific shapes or recognizable forms.  Instead, it’s more about color, energy, shapes, lines and balance.  As such, my paintings are open to interpretation and they invariably evoke a variety of feelings within the viewer.

It is always in hindsight, that when I look at some of my paintings and remember what space I was in at the time, that I begin to realize how much the subconscious affects how I paint.  There is a definite difference in the light, the use of defined lines instead of curves, choices of color and so many other aspects that reflect an expression of an inner self emerging.

Check out more of Esther’s art on her Facebook page.


Jeanine Turnbull

Jeanine Turnbull - painting

The first question when considering an artist statement is “why do I create art?” For me it is not a choice or a decision, it just is. All my life I have looked at the world around me and been amazed at the beauty. I would wonder “do others see what I see”. When I saw art I knew that yes, others do. I love colour, form, feeling and cannot stop drawing, painting. Watercolour is my main medium but I also love acrylic, oil, charcoal and pencil. It depends on what I am doing.

I believe art is for everyone and bring that to my teaching. My art classes are about each person there, helping them to relax, feel accepted and understand that their expression will be unique. Accepting your own style and growing into it is my goal for each person. I teach in a style that is relaxed and easy to follow. I demonstrate throughout the class and find most people are comfortable with visual learning. Slowly, week by week techniques are grown and all the while personal expression is encouraged. I have taught all ages and all type of people. It is a source of joy to me when someone holds up their painting to look at and I see the same look on a senior or a child “look what I made”.

Initially, many years ago I was pleased when I painted and drew in a photo realistic style. Then my thinking changed and I thought “I can grab a camera and do the same thing”. I began to think how do I convey what I think and feel when I look at this subject, how do I express this? Nature is my first love, sky, water, trees, flowers, leaves thrill me. I love animals, especially horses and they figure in my art also.

I have found that teaching has been foremost (not planned). I try to bring more than an art lesson to each class. If people leave feeling calm, more aware of the world around them, more accepting of themselves, well then that feels like a success.

For more of Jeanine’s art, check out her Facebook page!


Margie Hildebrand

Margie Hildebrand - Hobbit House

Margie Hildebrand is an artist living in Morden, MB. She works mainly in oil and watercolor painting, and also ceramics. Margie has been an art instructor at PHAC for many years teaching watercolor, drawing and ceramics. Her diverse interests and willingness to try almost any medium is a valuable asset as she teaches in the children’s programs at PHAC such as Art Academy and the spring break and summer art camps. Margie completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1987. She worked as a nurse for 24 years, but is now retired.

Check out more of Margie’s art here!


Andrea VanRyckeghem

Andrea (Willowcat Studio) - painting

Andrea VanRyckeghem is a Winnipeg born artist who has spent the last 10 years living in St. Jean Baptiste Manitoba. She is a self-taught artist with an eclectic creative pallet. As a child Andrea always envisioned herself living off her creative endeavors but in her late teens jumped off the art train to get “normal” jobs , such as, sandwich maker, vacuum sales, telemarketing (she requests to not be lynched), alternative bank services and eventually becoming an early childhood educator. She spent 3 years living in the United States and all along was a mother. Working with children she sees that creativity has no boundaries and is filled with life, which always reminds Andrea to jump out of her box and enjoy. In the recent years with her children becoming more independent Andrea has found some time to resume her love of creating with a little more hustle. She enjoys working in mixed media on canvas, ink, paper cutting and collage and making odd little plushies; frankly she works in whatever medium calls to her at that moment. Regardless of all the eclectic mediums and subject Andrea has one love she always returns to; portraits. Creating a piece that invokes an emotional response, both positive and negative, in the viewer is key and a wonder if she is able to be privy to the interaction.

Andrea is now sharing the love of art with others with her art events business for children and adults alike. She believes everyone can create art, even if they don’t think they can.

Check out more of Andrea’s art on the Willowcat Studio Facebook page!


Caylie Nicholson

Caylie Nicholson - Image 1

Caylie Nicholson is a contemporary artist that mostly focuses on abstract projects.  She works with dyes, paints and waxes for the majority of her projects.  Caylie has worked as an art teacher in a small town private school, and also taught recreation ‘Creative Arts’ classes in North Dakota.  She grew up in the United States and was very inspired by the creative people in her family and friends circle.  She now resides in Morden, Manitoba.  Caylie is very inspired by nature, but her artwork tends to reflect her as a person instead –  loud, colorful, bright, cheerful and full of life and movement.  Her signature work consists of dyes, fabric and sometimes wax.