Irene Keesmaat

Irene Keesmaat

Hon. B.A., B. Ed., OCT

Since getting her Art degrees, Irene has founded and taught at The Westcliffe Arts Centre Foundation, taught at the elementary and highschool levels and taught Drawing, Painting and Design at Redeemer University College. She has also taught many workshops and courses at libraries and in the community, as well as in Central America. From a young age, Irene was drawn to the beauty and variety of how things look, and through her Art tries to focus the viewers’ attention on new ways of seeing. In the close-ups of flowers, the dark and light are metaphors for this life, where we muddle about in darkness and yet are touched by the transforming light of love and grace in so many areas of life. In her paintings of wetlands, she is intrigued by areas of utter clarity contrasted with darkness. Some things are seen just below the water surface, while others emerge and then disappear again. Meanwhile, the water reflects the life around it back at us. Light and darkness, joy and sorrow are so often interwoven. To capture these many expressions of life is one of the joys of making art. Collages, prints, tile painting and pottery have all contributed to a growing body of work, while her travel in Europe, India and Central America have expanded her imagery.

Photography has been a focus in recent years, culminating in a book on Tropical Flowers (2011) and a book on the Fruit of the Caribbean, due to be published later this year. Irene has won awards for her paintings, pottery, prints and mixed media.


Born in Haarlem, The Netherlands


  • Dundas Valley School of Art – Foundation Certificate
  • McMaster University – B.A Art and Art History, 1986
  • McMaster University- Hon. B.A, Art, 1988
  • Brock University- B.Ed , O.T.C. 1989
    York University- Senior Basic Art, 1990
  • Ongoing study via workshops and travel.


Solo shows in Toronto and Caledonia.

Juried shows:

  • 1978 Art Venture, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto
  • 1977,’78,’79 Women’s Art Association of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Hamilton
  • 1986 CKOC Arts Hamilton Exhibition, Art Gallery of Hamilton
  • 1986 Community in Visual Expression, Redeemer University College, Hamilton, Ont.
  • 2000, 2001 Juried Art Show, Haldimand-Norfolk Museum, Cayuga, Ont.
  • 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Haldimand Artworks, Cayuga, Ont.
  • 2003, 2004, 2007 Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre, Caledonia, Ont.

In addition, many non juried shows through the years.

Upcoming Classes