Artist Yuliya Marusina has a simple goal: for her to work to stack up like that of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo in generations to come. It’s a lofty target, but one she’s pursuing with passion.

The Ukrainian-born artist is presenting an exhibit at the McKay Art Centre in Unionville, showcasing her wide variety of styles and subjects in a five-day run.

It’s fitting that a woman inspired by famed Renaissance artists is, herself, a Renaissance woman. Marusina depicts portraits, landscapes, flowers, and angels, using a range of media. Even more impressive is the fact that she’s never taken a single art class. In fact, it wasn’t until she was 31 that she painted for the first time, after receiving an oil painting set from her husband.

“I’m the artist who paints everything, with all the techniques,” she said. “I paint with oils, acrylics, watercolours, mouldings, glass, pencils, soft pastels, oil pastels. And the work is from abstract to Renaissance or Baroque. Mainly, it’s going to be everything.”

Marusina is a full-time artist, after leaving a lucrative practice as a dentist to open her gallery two years ago, in nearby Concord, Ont. The variety of her work often has visitors asking how many artists’ works are on display at the gallery. But, it’s all hers, which is a testament to her diversity, which, she says, is key to challenging herself as an artist and putting herself in the company of the greats.

“My work is like a variety, so my style is every style. My work is every work,” she said. “I want to become like Michaelangelo and Da Vinci one day. This is why I need to know all of these techniques, to express and know how old masters were mixing the paints, how they were using those brushes and using only four or five colours to create everything. That was the magic of the artworks. That’s something that gets passed from generation to generation.”

Though Marusina prides herself on doing everything, her main focus is often work drawing on divine inspiration. She is a Christian and often paints angels or biblical scenes. Even her non-religious work may come from spiritual revelations—often in her dreams, she says.

It may be counterintuitive, but Marusina says her background in medicine in Ukraine and Canada prepared her for her artistic career.

“Right now, I don’t even need to think about how to paint the human body or how to paint the features if I’m doing a custom portrait or painting angelic faces or trying to even copy a masterpiece from a long time ago,” she said. “It doesn’t require me to think about which muscle goes where or which ligament goes where because I studied it all my life before.”

Despite her foundation in the sciences, all roads have led to art.

“I’m a dentist in Ukraine. I’m a dentist in Canada. I’m an actress,” she said. “But after all of this, after getting roles, working in dental clinics, everything, I just decided to go back to the art. That’s where I see my passion. This is what God gave me as a talent when I was a little girl. And this is what He brought me to today.”

If you go…

Art gallery exhibition presented by Yuliya Marusina of Yulianna Fine Arts

Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 at the McKay Art Centre on Main Street, Unionville

Artist reception on Nov. 3