Two Canadian artists painting mountains on the Continental Divide.

How do two Canadian artists painting mountains, in different provinces, come together to collaborate on paintings that separate their practices?

two canadian artists painting mountains

Snow Dome, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley and Gisa Mayer

In early 2017, my “Canadianisms” began their solo exhibition tour across Alberta, and as part of promoting the tour and getting to know the arts community of Alberta, I attended the CARFAC AGM in Edmonton at CARFAC Alberta. Previously, Visual Arts Alberta, it was where my first solo show of paintings inspired by Canadian culture and hockey were exhibited under the title, #ICONICCANUCK in 2014. At this AGM I met a painter by the name of Gisa Mayer, a landscape painter from Calgary, by way of the Bavarian Alps, where the painter spent her early years.

Over that year, Mayer and I began to develop a connection and friendship, inspired by our shared love of the outdoors, hiking and the iconic mountains of the Rocky Mountain range. By the end of 2017 we had decided that we would begin a collaborative project, inspired by our shared loves. Inspired by famous collaborations of art history past, such as Warhol and Basquiat, Johns and Rauschenberg, and Rivera & Kahlo – this was going to be interesting as in our case we live 1059KM apart, a 13 hour drive and a ferry boat.

We began with the idea of painting mountain peaks on the continental divide, the border between BC and Alberta. Painting on rolled canvas, for ease of shipping back an fourth between provinces. Mayer, in her sweeping textured strokes and soft palette would begin with sky and foreground, then shipping the canvas to me in BC where I would take on mountains and trees. Sometimes I would begin the canvas and start with sky and mountain, each time was a new experience and each time a new challenge. With my saturated and bold palettes and pop realism aesthetic, our styles couldn’t be more different but seemed to be perfect compliments to one another.

two canadian artists painting mountains

Robson, acrylic on canvas, 2017, Brandy Saturley & Gisa Mayer

We began painting at the end of 2017 and have completed 6 canvasses to date, with a plan to begin exhibiting the work in 2020. Two female artists, one from Alberta and one BC, painting mountain forms on the great continental divide, the mountains on the Alberta/BC border. Each painting is shipped back and fourth across the border, until complete. Each painting rendered in brushstrokes from each artist. Each painting a collaborative effort and celebration of two styles, creating a new language, expressing a combined love of the Rockies. Beyond the borders of the paintings, and beyond the borders that divide two provinces that have been locked into a political battle over a pipeline. Moving us beyond the borders of our differences, and bringing us together, over art.

In honour of Group of Seven luminary, Lawren Harris, we selected a name under which to paint, now known as the Mountain Forms Collective.

UPDATE: March 2020 a virtual 3D exhibition was presented online with Kunstmatrix Berlin – Together/Divided featuring mountain paintings created by both artists as well as individual works from each artists; oeuvre. An online preview in the time of COVID-19.

mountain forms collective art show

Museum/Gallery? Curator inquiries?


Two Canadian Artists Painting Mountains – more about Mountain Forms Collective

The Canadian landscape has been a source of inspiration for countless artists over the years, with its majestic mountains, serene lakes, and sweeping prairies offering endless possibilities for creative expression. Two Canadian artists who have captured the beauty of the country’s mountains in their paintings are Brandy Saturley and Gisa Mayer.

Saturley is a contemporary Canadian artist known for her bold and colorful paintings, often depicting iconic Canadian landscapes and cultural motifs. Her series of mountain paintings, which she created while visiting Banff, Alberta, are a testament to her love of the natural beauty of the region. Saturley’s paintings feature vibrant colors and bold brushstrokes, giving her mountain landscapes a dynamic and energetic feel. Her use of light and shadow creates a sense of depth and perspective, drawing the viewer into the scene and making them feel as though they are standing in the midst of the mountains.

Canadian Artists painting mountains

Mount Temple, 36×48 acrylic on canvas, 2011, Brandy Saturley

Gisa Mayer is another Canadian artist who has captured the majesty of the country’s mountains in her paintings. Mayer’s work is characterized by its rich colors and textures, with her mountain landscapes featuring sweeping brushstrokes and layers of thick paint. She uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of movement and energy in her paintings, giving them a dynamic and almost sculptural quality. Mayer’s mountain paintings are often large in scale, adding to their grandeur and sense of awe-inspiring majesty.

Looking Out, acrylic on canvas, 2023, Gisa Mayer

Both Saturley and Mayer’s mountain paintings are a celebration of Canada’s natural beauty and a testament to the power of art to capture and convey the essence of a place. Through their use of color, brushstrokes, and composition, these artists have created a sense of awe and wonder in their mountain landscapes, inviting viewers to experience the grandeur and majesty of Canada’s mountains in a new and profound way.

In conclusion, Brandy Saturley and Gisa Mayer are two Canadian artists who have captured the beauty and grandeur of the country’s mountains in their paintings. Through their use of color, brushstrokes, and composition, they have created works of art that convey the essence of these majestic landscapes, inviting viewers to experience the awe-inspiring power of Canada’s mountains in a new and profound way.

Mt. Temple, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley and Gisa Mayer

Brandy Saturley is an award-winning painter, photographer, and writer born and living on Vancouver Island. Her widely exhibited “Canadianisms” series, with it’s ‘pop realism’ aesthetic, have garnered the Canadian artist notoriety as the Voice of Canadian Pop Art. Exhibitions in unique corporate venues include; Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, TELUS Convention Centre at Glenbow Museum, Canadian Tire, Canadian Olympic Committee headquarters and on LED billboards in Times Square, NYC. Saturley has contributed articles to,, Reader’s Digest Our Canada. Her work was shortlisted for the Olympic Trophy in Sport & Art in 2014. Solo public gallery exhibitions include Gallery @501 Strathcona County and Okotoks Art Gallery. Brandy is an active arts advocate serving as public art juror (City of Saanich), professional development speaker and member of CARFAC Alberta.

Gisa Mayer is a painter born in the Bavarian Alps, known for her fluid brushstrokes creating sweeping mountainscapes. Her post graduate experience includes training in Painting, Art History and a degree in Romance Languages. Her work experience includes the Carolino Augusteum Museum in Salzburg and the Neue Pinakothek in Munich.  After working and teaching for many years in Salzburg, she made Calgary her permanent home in 1997, after falling in love with the Rockies. Mayer is represented by Bugera Matheson in Edmonton and Ruberto Ostberg in Calgary. Gisa is an active arts advocate in the Alberta arts community and has served on the board of CARFAC Alberta and is a member of the Leighton Arts Centre. Collected by private and public clients internationally.

Creating a great work of art, begins long before the physical act of painting.

Artwork is defined as the production of artistic work, such as painting or sculpture, but the work of art begins long before the physical production of making the art. I just returned from a nine day journey across Western Canada, from Prairies to Salish Sea. The last time I spent a significant amount of time exploring Canada was in 2016, working up to solo exhibitions of my work in 2017. At that time I was fortunate enough to explore the Northwest Territories, BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. As this pandemic year of 2020 has us quarantined to our homes and socially distancing from other humans for the Spring, the recent opening up of the provinces to travel put me in a position to take off and recharge my batteries. On this tour rather than spend time with different art friends in each province, I joined forces with a friend from film-making days. The last time we worked together was way back in 1994 on a live feed satellite TV series for the Royal BC Museum, called SAFARI. With Mrs. Rogers now retired from the film industry and working as a photographer and photojournalist, and with me working as a full-time self-representing visual artist; now is the perfect time to re-connect on a epic journey across Western Canada.

Mid-July we boarded a Westjet flight in Victoria BC and flew into Brandon , Manitoba. Over the course of the next nine days we would make our way across the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. We plotted a course that would take us through some of the most stunningly unique landscapes Canada has to offer. This journey did not come without challenges, as in the year of COVID-19 our attention to details must be sharp, in order to stay healthy. As we boarded our 6am flight from Victoria, we prepared ourselves with masks, hand sanitizer and a pep talk. From the moment we entered the airport, to the moment we arrived at our destination, we were encouraged by our flight crew and the cleanliness of the plane. On the flight there were a variety moods witnessed by flight crew and fellow passengers, the air was tense but also positive. A young woman boarded the plane with baby and multiple bags, she was visibly upset and those around her, even in this pandemic year, were offering comfort and help with baggage. With sun up and mostly clear skies we settled in to enjoy the summer views of the rocky mountains, and the prairie crops of canola yellow, flax blue and early wheat green.

Rocky Mountains photo aerial black and white

Landing in Brandon we were met with muggy heat and drowned canola fields from the recent flooding, which means LOTS of bugs that like to dine on human flesh and blood. The skies were overcast shades of payne’s grey against canola yellow and cutouts of sky blue, the light was changing rapidly, the perfect set-up for two artists with Nikon camera’s in tow. Nature was busy painting and we were busy capturing.

westjet flight over prairie fields of canola

With three days in Brandon to pick up and pack a car, say a quick hello, and explore a few sites our choices were diverse, giving us a broad overview of the Wheat City. Beginning in Gladstone, we then branched out to Souris, Oak Island, Griswold and the canola and wheat fields around the city. With the wheat still green, the canola neon yellow against dramatic skies of blue to grey; it was a feast for a painter’s and photographers eyes.

photo of canola and rainbow in Brandon Manitoba

the work of art begins

Canadian Visual Artist Brandy Saturley with her Nikon camera

Day 4 we set out to Saskatchewan. Stops included; Indian Head, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current. My first time in this prairie province, I was romanced by the vast fields and skies that go on forever. Canola yellow, early wheat green, big sky and flax flower blues. A feast for a painter’s eyes, and information for future palettes.

Saskatchewan barn and fields

Saskatchewan roadside fields of flax blue and canola yellow

Day 5 we were off to Alberta. Stops included Medicine Hat, Bow Island & Waterton Lakes. Now we are getting hilly as we head into the mountains, not so flat and many more people to be found heading into Waterton.

the work of art begins

reflections off motorcycle helmet

Day 6 found us Waterton Lakes bound, this was the BIG stop on the tour, tucked in for two nights to explore the flora and fauna of the area, hike a mountain and take a boat tour of Waterton Lake, crossing over the border momentarily into the USA.

Waterton Lakes National Park July 2020 Summer tourism

the work of art begins

Day 8 we hit Creston and explored the old town.

Creston BC heritage buildings

Tivoli theatre Creston BC

Day 9 Osoyoos met us with heat, Indigenous lands, abundant orchards and vineyards, and desert-like vistas.

Spotted Lake Osoyoos BC

Spotted Lake Osoyoos BC July 2020

Fernandes Farms Osoyoos - BC fruit season

Day 10 homeward bound on BC Ferries vessel, Coastal Celebration from Tswassen terminal to Swartz Bay terminal.

Penny Rogers Photography and Writing - Canadian Photojournalist

the work of art begins

Canadian Visual Artist Brandy Saturley, on location.

Duelling Nikons - D750 and D810

While the tour is over, the work is just beginning. For Penny Rogers it will be editing, cataloguing, writing and posting photos to Getty Images. For me it will be downloading, editing and compiling photos, followed by sketching out ideas, developing colour schemes or palettes, mixing paints, and then painting. Later on process videos and recorded video from the landscapes and trip will follow. While on this tour I was posting daily to my Instagram page – hashtag for this trip is #gowestroadtrip2020 . More to come!

This is the WORK behind the making of artwork. Whether it be film, video, writing, photography, or painting. This process takes time, and the payoff? Something original, one-of-a-kind, this is something enduring and worth investing in, something that will be enjoyed and exist for generations to come.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

The photos in this story were shot by Brandy Saturley on iPhone and Nikon D810, Both photographers were shooting using Nikon cameras D750 and D810 – full portfolio of both photographers will be available to view in the coming months.

The Art of Collaboration: Inspired by Famous Art Collaborations in History

Group of Seven at table

There I was, a young artist beginning art college, excited about all the possibilities of art and romanced by the stories of famous artists’ lives and artists of the past. As a Canadian artist the most famous artist group is perhaps the Group of Seven, created and led by Canadian landscape painter, Lawren Harris. Assembling a number of Canadian painters into a group or club, Harris managed to direct the aesthetic of the group and create the ‘aesthetic of the North, the aesthetic of Canada’. Though not truly a collaboration, the group did create an outcome of a group effort, much like a collaboration achieves. They showed us the art of collaboration.

Andy Warhol Basquiat Collaboration

Back to that art history class. Art history classes begin with the ancient, European Art, which mystifies and romanticizes the artist life. Ancient art and specifically paintings were based on technique, craftsmanship and knowledge. Fast forward to the 1950’s and early 60’s of the New York City art world, a movement which challenged the traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular and mass culture. This movement included many artist collaborations, which saw artist’s paint together and even on the same canvas, imagine two artists painting in opposite, yet complimentary styles, on the same canvas. Inconceivable!

Most famous is perhaps the collaborative pop art meets street art paintings of Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, where a famous Warhol took a less famous Basquiat under his wing and painted together on the same canvas in his studio. Even though some critics didn’t appreciate Basquiat and Warhol‘s relationship — some claiming that Basquiat was a fame-hungry leech trying to ride on Warhol’s reputation while others stating that Warhol was an opportunist who was using Basquiat’s talent for his own ends, the truth seems to show that the relationship was genuine, if fraught with frustrations.  Whether intentionally exploitative of Warhol or not, it is true that the young Basquiat felt deeply for the man, and created masterpieces with his idol.

Douglas Coupland Vancouver Art GalleryFast forward to artists in Canada in the 20th century, and one in particular, Douglas Coupland. For his major solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2014, ‘everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything’. Often incorporating everyday materials and objects such as plastic lids, children’s toys, pencils and books, Coupland’s work and installations require a collaborative effort with everyday people, asking them to participate through collecting and sending him items to include in his pop culture creations.

Collaborative art is an interesting phenomenon, I mean we are artists, we are very independent with singular signature visions of what we want to create, so how can visual artists collaborate? If you look at the musicians, collaboration is important in their process and often better when one or more are together, such as the case with Lennon and McCartney and the Beatles. Collaboration made these artists better and stronger as they riffed off each other and pushed each other forward. Prior to the establishment of formal artistic training schools, the close bond between artists was often forged in the studio or the gallery. The sense of camaraderie – as well as competition – between artists presented opportunity for them to learn, and steal, from one another – collaboration can create better art through outcomes you cannot control.

So what is collaboration in terms of art? is it teamwork? The key difference between teamwork and collaboration is that in teamwork, a group of people perform their individual roles to contribute to the achievement of a goal whereas in collaboration, all individuals are partners that share work as well as ideas and insights to achieve a common objective.

In the footsteps of past artist collaborations and famous artist collaborators I came to create two collaborations in art. The first began in 2014, shortly after I visited the Douglas Coupland exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The People of Canada Portrait Project, a collaborative portrait painting project, between myself and everyday Canadians. Through photos submitted by Canadians, I paint portraits based on the stories they share with me about their lives as Canadians.

For the project, I used social media and the internet as a tool for connecting to a diverse audience of subjects. I never know what photo will grab my attention and you never know what the backstory will be, but the photo has to ‘grab’ me, I have to be invested in the subjects I will paint. The original images selected as reference points for portraits are displayed in a stream on the project’s website ( Through interviews, process photos, and short films the original subjects of the photographs become part of the project’s archive, material for future excavation into how people define themselves as Canadian. By choosing their own photographs, my subjects participate in their own self-representation. Yet they also cede control as I invent a landscape intended to amplify the relationship between the people and landscapes depicted.

As this Canadian portrait project continues to grow and evolve, the project guidelines I set forth in the beginning have also evolved, because of the collaborative experience.

The second collaboration I am currently working on, is inspired by the tradition of landscape painting in Canada, and the Group of Seven. In 2017, I began collaborating with anotherCanadian artist collaboration Canadian painter, based in Calgary, Alberta. The idea: paint mountain peaks on the provincial border of Alberta and British Columbia (the border that divides us as artists) Painting mountains on the continental divide, the painting begins in one artists’ studio in Calgary, and the painting is completed in the other artists’ studio in Victoria.  Inspired by famous collaborations of art history past, such as Warhol and Basquiat, Johns and Rauschenberg, and Rivera & Kahlo – this was going to be interesting as in our case we live 1059KM apart, a 13 hour drive and a ferry boat. Each painting rendered in brushstrokes from each artist. Each painting a collaborative effort and celebration of two styles, creating a new language, expressing a combined love of the Rockies. Beyond the borders of the paintings, and beyond the borders that divide two provinces that have been locked into a political battle over a pipeline. Moving us beyond the borders of our differences, and bringing us together, over art. In honour of Group of Seven luminary, Lawren Harris, we selected a name under which to paint, and the Mountain Forms Collective is born.

The art of collaboration is truly one that requires patience, an openness to learning no matter your level of experience and expertise (leave your ego at the door) respect of your collaborators, working as a team to achieve something bigger than yourself, the creation of a new community in which to grow and propagate your ideas and the unique experience of creating something important, together. For if it is important to you, it is important to make it heard in any way you can conceive!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley