Heidi Thompson . Biography



HEIDI THOMPSON BFA, Swiss Dipl. Photography – CV

Heidi Thompson was born in Vernon, British Columbia. After graduation, she moved to Europe to study art. From 1975-1979 she attended the University of Art & Design Zürich earning a Swiss Diploma for Professional Photography. In 1980 she studied painting at the Nürnberg Art Academy. In 1981 she attended the Hungarian State University for Fine Art in Budapest. In 1982, Thompson returned to Canada and worked as a painter and photographer.

In 2001, Thompson received her BFA from Open University of British Columbia. Later she attended the University of Victoria and earned her B.C. Teaching Certificate. In 1994 Thompson started a book publishing company Coldstream Books. She wrote and published Calm Focus Joy: The Power of Breath Awareness and Recapitulation by Canadian/Italian artist Sveva Caetani, which won the VanCity Book of Excellent Award. Currently, Thompson paints full time and exhibits her paintings in San Diego, Montreal, Florida and Switzerland. She is married to Edward Thompson, a guitar maker. They have two children.

1956 – Born in Canada

1974-1979 University of Art & Design Zürich, Switzerland, earned Swiss Dipl. Photography

1980-1981 Academy of Art Nürnberg, Germany

1981-1982 Hungarian State Academy for Fine Art, Budapest, Hungary

2001-2002 B.C. Open University, Canada, earned B.F.A

2002-2003 University of Victoria, Canada, earned B.C. Teaching Certificate


1975-1979 – Vorkurs at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich (University of Art & Design Zürich) followed by a three-year concentration in photography earning a Fahigkeitszeugnis (Swiss Professional Photographer Diploma).

1978 – Selected photographer to document the Zürich Chamber Orchestra for a solo photography exhibition. Traveled with the orchestra photographing soloists including Yehudi Menuhin, Paul Tortelier, Peter-Lucas Graf and Louis Duquenoy. The exhibition of 100 images were published into a book – the anniversary edition of the Zürich Chamber Orchestra.

1979 – Assigned photographer to document painter Robert Ryman before and during the opening of I.N.K. (International Neue Kunst Gallery) Zürich.

1979-1980 – Apprenticed with German painter, Oskar Koller in Nürnberg, Germany.

1981-1982 – Studied painting at the Akademie fur Bildenden Kunste Nürnberg with Professor Ernst Weil. Outside of school, became private student of Klaus Schmidt, former student of Austrian painter, Oskar Kokoschka. Attended a 10-day Buddhist meditation retreat in Austria.

1982 – Completed first year of the five-year master’s art program, Kepzomuvezeti Foiskola (Hungarian Academy for Fine Art) in Budapest under the instruction of Professor Kokas Ignacs.

1983 – Returned to Vernon, B.C. and established an art and photography studio. Exhibited paintings and photographs in numerous cities in British Columbia and became member of the Viridian Gallery in New York. Attended a 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat in Whiterock B.C.

1984 – Received the British Columbia Cultural Grant for preparation, travel and exhibition of a photography project entitled  “Portraits of Artists”.

1986 – Took private instructions from illuminist painter, Leszek Forczek.

1995 – Wrote and published Recapitulation – A Journey by Sveva Caetani

1997 – Created and taught a meditation course for children in Vernon and Vancouver schools called Advanced Attention Development. AAD was featured in a documentary film for CBC’s Spilled Milk.

2001 – Earned a B.F.A., Open University of British Columbia.

2002 – Completed the Post-Secondary School Internship Program, University of Victoria. Received a British Columbia Teaching Certificate (BCCT).

2012 – Wrote and published Calm Focus Joy – The Power of Breath Awareness

2013 – Speaker at TEDx Kelowna


1978 Zürich Witikon Community Centre (solo)

1980 Nürnberg Kom Youth Centre (solo)

1980 Nürnberg Gallerie der Stadt (group)

1981 Budapest Hungarian State University (group)

1983 Vancouver BC Festival of the Arts (juried/group)

1985 Vernon Topham Brown Public Art Gallery (solo)

1985 Grand Forks  Public Art Gallery (solo)

1985 Kelowna  Public Art Gallery, Portrait of Artists (solo)

1987 Vernon Topham Brown Public Art Gallery (solo)

1989 Vancouver Firehall Arts Theatre (solo)

1989 Vancouver Robson Square Media Centre (group)

1989 Vancouver Community Arts Centre/BC Women Artists (solo)

1991 Kelowna City Hall, Passages (solo)

1991 Vancouver BC Festival of the Arts & (juried/group)

1992 New York Viridian Art Gallery (represented)

1994 Vancouver Simon Patrich Art Gallery (represented)

2000 Vancouver Howe Street Art Gallery (represented)

2008 Montreal Galerie Samuel Lallouz (group)

2008 New York Lana Santorelli Gallery (group)

2008 Grand Forks Grand Forks Art Gallery (solo)

2009 New York Lana Santorelli Gallery (group)

2009 Toronto Varley Art Gallery (group)

2009 Toronto Lausberg Contemporary (group)

2009 Atlanta Bill Lowe Gallery (represented)

2010 Atlanta Bill Lowe Gallery & “Bloom: The New Abstraction”

2011 San Diego Alexander Salazar Art Gallery (solo)

2011 San Antonio Gallery Nord Exhibit 11/11/11 (group)

2011 Armstrong Armstrong Public Art Gallery (solo)

2012 La Jolla Alexander Salazar Contemporary Exhibits (solo)

2012 Montreal Galerie d’Avignon (solo)

2013 Switzerland Galerie Halde (represented)

2014 San Diego Alexander Salazar Gallery (represented)

2015 Lake Country Lake Country Public Art Gallery (Group)

2015 Vancouver Vancouver International Art Fair

2015 Palm Beach Gardens Onessimo Gallery (represented)

2014 Victoria THRIVE Premiere: Hijacked Festival, July 10 – 11, Kamloops, B.C.

2016 Kelowna Airport Commission/Kelowna Public Art Gallery “OK Sunshine Series”

2016 Ottawa Cube Gallery – “Blue A Group Show”

2016 San Diego Alexander Salazar Fine Art (Represented)


2012 Senvest Canadian Collection

2007 Samuel Lallouz Private Collection, Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal

2006 Mraz Collection, Toronto

2004 Private collection of Robert Keller, USA

2006 Corporate collection, Benefit Plan Administrators Inc. Mississauga


2015 Thrive Project, BC Cultural Grant

1996 VanCity Book of Excellence Award

1984 B.C. Cultural Grant – Kelowna Public Art Gallery



When I look outside “abstract” compositions are everywhere – texture of bare branches, light falling on snow, movement of cerulean to cobalt across the sky, particles of sand glowing on a beach. When I feel inside, there is nothing but movement, vibration, pulsing, pressure, heat and tingling. When I paint, I use every visual means available, whether its colour, paint, lines, shapes, texture or illusions of nature to invoke an inner sensation. For me, evoking sensations is the ultimate aim of painting. It is through our equanimous awareness of these sensations that leads us to understanding our deepest reality.

The act of painting helps me understand the mysterious natural laws which govern nature and myself. Painting is like exploring matter, energy and mind and their interplay and connectedness with each other. I start the process with solid materials such as sand, gesso, paint and paper. Then I generate energy or force from within, and apply paint to the paper’s empty surface using brush, rag or hand. My choice of colour and application are governed by my instinctive, “feeling” mind. While painting, I become immersed in the visual reaction to the colours changing, dissolving, and reappearing. I sometimes apply transparent layers of colour which create illusions of atmosphere – gas, liquid, smoke, dust, steam or changing surfaces of water, corrosion, ice and chemicals. But they are not really illusions; they are simply what they are – a painted surface. Eventually, the heavy paint, sand, texture and paper seem to evaporate into lighter substances. These finer substances not only stimulate my delicate sense, but provoke my imagination, thoughts, and memories – dimensions of the intellect. What was once solid paint and matter has now transformed into something stimulating mind-energy. I also notice that during the painting event, my mind has become sensitive, sharp, and aware.

If painting were indeed such a vehicle, which can transform gross matter into finer substance and then, into a subtle substance which resonates with the mind, then it may be that painting could ultimately evoke those elusive spiritual sensations, which seem the finest of all. This would be an achievement. For if we transcend the solidity and diversity of our existences, we would merge into a unified field – experienced as love. And in this love, we would feel something of our spirit-soul, God or the Absolute. And the mystery of who we are, as individuals and as an undivided unity, would unveil.

Heidi Thompson

BFA, BCCT, Swiss Dipl. Photography