Getting Ready for Class at GAS, 2018

  • This post is for participants in the Just Do It! classes  at GAS. The Just Do It! program at GAS has changed – it has  e x p a n d e d  into a complete artist learning and sharing package, including the classes, a gallery show, and a personal web page. Click here for a full description.

To all those of you who are returning to classes at GAS, I look forward to “welcoming you back” and to those of you who are coming to class for the first time, “welcome”. I look forward to working with all of you. The following information is designed to help you prepare – confirming dates and times, suggested supply list, and much more.

I am pleased to be working with Joanne and her staff at GAS; very excited about our new expanded program!

Important: Mark our show dates in your calendar: Feb 21 – March 11, 2018!

rebellion class3
Art happens

Continue reading “Getting Ready for Class at GAS, 2018”

School Yourself, This Summer

It’s spring, maybe it would help if we think spring? March break, sunshine, getting outside to walk and bike. Let’s skip forward and talk about summer, and some  unique learning opportunities in the arts. Fall, winter and spring offer all the usual – classes, exhibitions, openings and more all over the city. But summer is different; consider taking a full week of intensive learning, in the city, or combine it with a visit to cottage country. The learning opportunities are exciting and extensive. I have listed a few below, for your consideration.

In this post you will find:

Just Do It! Experimental Painting Class

Classes will begin the first week of April at GAS in Little India and at Cedar Ridge in Scarborough. Classes are filling and registration is on-going. We will take advantage of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work being shown in Toronto to study it and learn from it during the spring session. Check out my website for details and how to register, or visit the Just Do It! facebook group to see what particpants have been creating.

Georgia O’Keeffe at the AGO

This is the show that we have been waiting for! An opportunity to go and experience Georgia O’Keeffe’s fascinating work up close. Show opens on April 22, 2017. Click here for details.

Haliburton School of the Arts

The perfect creative escape, right here in Ontario. Over 300 week-long intensive courses are offered during July and August, with options for beginners to expert. Registration opened on March 1, classes will fill quickly. Click here for the full brochure.

Haliburton School of the Arts – in Toronto

For those who want to take an intensive week-long class closer to home, check out the offerings in Toronto, located at OCAD and Neilson Park Center. Offered in June, most of these classes are for more experienced painters. You will find the Toronto listings on page 15 of their brochure. I have registered for two classes in June – both by Joanna Nash. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Loyalist College Summer Arts 2017

Here is another location offering a series of 1-week classes, located in Belleville. Loyalist provides students with the option of staying at the student residence. Click here for details.

Cedar Ridge Creative Center – Artist Residency

A two-month residency, during July and August, culminating in a gallery show in September; open to emerging and mid-career artists. For those who are not familiar with Cedar Ridge, you will be pleasantly surprised – it is a beautiful creative center, an historic house in a garden and park setting, right in the heart of Scarborough. One of Toronto’s best kept secrets! Apply before April 3, 2017; click here for information about Cedar Ridge and the residency program.

“School yourself. School is one thing. Education is another. The two don’t always overlap. Whether you’re in school or not, it’s always your job to get yourself an education.”        by  Austin Kleon, author of “Steal Like an Artist”

My website continues to evolve, the bookshelf has grown, look for David Hockney, Milton Avery and Lucian Freud. Information about my Just Do It! painting classes and Go Figure, our on-going life drawing program, has been updated. Next, I plan to add more connectivity to social media platforms, still trying to learn how to do it effectively – must keep on learning! In the meantime, thank you for coming along with me for this ride, and thank you too for reading to the bottom of this post.

Because it’s 2017: Celebrate!

2017: a new year, new beginnings, a time to look forward. 2017 promises to be a special year for Canada, as we share in the celebration of our country’s 150th anniversary.

In this, my first post for 2017, I wish to talk about the following:

Canada’s Sesquicentennial

No need to wait until July 1, there is much to do so let’s get started right away. In fact many attended New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country, including right here in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square. By all accounts, it was spectacular, befitting the kick-off of our celebratory year.

So what’s next? Thinking about doing some cross-Canada travel this year? Did you know that admission to Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas is free for 2017. But you need your pass: Click here to order your pass now.

There will be celebrations, opportunities to discover or re-discover our history, and so many ways to participate, volunteer, learn, engage about many aspects of our country. Canada on Screen is one program that intrigues me, a showcase of 150 essential films, documentaries, shorts, animation and more, all made in Canada. This program kicks off in January at TIFF, and continues throughout the year. Worth watching! Absolutely free!

Now is the time to take a look at the Canada 150 website, find events and activities that are meaningful to you.

Canada150 Logo

A new logo has been designed for the celebrations. This logo is available for use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, but you must apply. The logo was designed by Toronto artist Ariana Mari Cuvin. Check out her thoughts on her design.

TO Canada with Love

Toronto’s cultural love letter to the Country. We all know that Toronto knows how to celebrate well, and there is a full schedule of events across the city throughout 2017. Visual art, theatre, dance, screenings, historical, readings, and so much more. Are you perhaps planning an event this year? Consider adding it to the mosaic of activities listed on the TO Canada with Love Calendar. Your chance to give back to or share your passion within our own community.

Celebrations will continue in Toronto and across the country all year long. It is all happening right here, in our country, in our city, in our community, here for us to celebrate, participate and share. let’s all make the most of our Canada in 2017.

Just Do It! experimental painting class update:

Just Do It! classes are filling, with only a few spots left. At time of writing, the Tuesday evening class at Cedar Ridge has 2 openings and there is room for a few more participants in the Monday afternoon class at GAS, all other classes are now full. Check out the full winter class schedule, and do reply to this email if you would like to grab one of the remaining spots.

My Website and Blog update:

My new website, Art Think Cafe, continues to evolve. The bookshelf feature has grown since my last post, and now has over 50 artbooks that I absolutely love. I enjoy learning about these contemporary artists, many of whom are less well known. I invite you to take another look at the bookshelf. And if you have a favourite that you would like to see added, drop me a note.

While building Art Think Cafe, I have learned about security, firewalls and backups. Heading into the new year, I plan to work on bringing more features to the website, including adding more automation along with social media connectivity. Life is all about learning, I know the tools are out there, I just need to find them and learn how to use them. Thank you for participating in this journey with me.

Wishing everyone a rewarding, engaging, and inspiring 2017.

Art and Culture in Winter

It’s winter, we have snow. Go out and play. Or find a cozy place indoors. And take the time to enjoy lots of food, family and friends during the upcoming holiday season.

As we get ready for 2017, I am sending to your inbox some information about unique resources for artists and everyone with creative aspirations. All are available right here in Toronto, and perfect for winter. In this post, I will tell you about the following:

  • MAP, a special program within our library system,
  • The Art Center, Art School for adults at Central Tech,
  • The Book Shelf, a new feature that I am building on my website, and
  • January 2017 schedule for my “Just do It!” Painting classes – did you know that we have a new location?

Details about my January “Just Do It!” painting classes are at the bottom of this post, so if that is what you are seeking, just scroll to the bottom. Otherwise I invite you to read through the body of the post.

MAP (Museum + Arts Pass) offers Cultural Opportunities

MAP is an arts and culture program offered by the Toronto Public Library in conjunction with Sun Life that allows all Torontonians, or at least those who have a library card, to “borrow” admission to the best arts and culture treasures in the city – free. The AGO, ROM, Ontario Science Center, the Zoo, the Aga Khan, and many more. And while you are checking out the MAP program, why not take a look at all the other special features of our library system…. on-line books, author talks, writing and technology workshops, programs for children, seniors, new Canadians, and so much more. Love our libraries!!

The Art Center (TAC) at Central Technical School offers a complete Arts Education for Adults

Central Technical School has been producing notable Canadian artists for 80 years.  TAC offers an adult program alongside its high school program, both of which are publicly funded by the Toronto District School Board and the Ministry of Education.  In 1962 a separate building with 15 large studios was opened to house the booming arts program. The Art Centre is a unique environment because of its diversity and age range.  The instructors are often working artists and all are certified teachers working at Central Technical School.  Many of the staff studied art at Central Tech and are part of a generational lineage.  The Art Center is an opportunity to go back to school to get that arts education that you always wanted.

The Book Shelf, a new feature on my website

I have a love affair with art books – if you have been in my classes you already know that. Over the years, I have found so many beautiful art books, but there are always more to be discovered. In an effort to honour these books, and to help others discover and enjoy them;  I am creating The Book Shelf on my website. It is a listing of my favourites – at the moment it is a short list as it is just getting started, but it will grow, quickly I hope. If you have favourites that are missing, do let me know.

By the way, all or most of these books are available at your Public library, just waiting for you to take home and enjoy. And did you know that you can take up to 50 books out at the same time? And guess how I happen to know that….

“Just Do It!” Experimental Painting Classes, January 2017.

I am excited to tell you that starting this January classes will be offered at Gerrard Art Space (GAS), near Gerrard and Coxwell in Little India. Thank you to Joanne at GAS for generously opening her space for our classes, and thank you also to Stacey at Rebellion for hosting us for the past few years.

My class schedule for January has been finalized and published on my website. Below is a brief overview; for full details please visit my website. Registration is now open for all classes.

Classes at Gerrard Art Space (GAS) in Little India, starting January 16:

  • Monday morning class: 10 – 12:30
  • Monday afternoon class: 1 – 3:30
  •  Click here for general information about the “Just Do It!” Program.
  • To register: reply to this email, or visit GAS and sign up in person.
  • Fee: $125 / 4-pack.

Classes at Cedar Ridge Creative Center, starting January 17:

  • Tuesday afternoon class: 1 – 4
  • Tuesday evening class: 6:30 – 9:30
  • To register contact Cedar Ridge directly at 416-396-4026

One-day Workshop at the Momiji Center

  • Saturday January 21, 9am – 4pm
  • To register contact Donna Sato at Momiji at


Art in the Flesh

Art must be experienced to truly feel its presence and magnitude. Artists know that, collectors know that. The internet and social media is littered with artwork these days, and I enjoy that immensely, but there is nothing that compares to being in the presence of original artwork. Art in the Flesh.

This, my second Art Think Cafe post, is about going to art shows, and I will tell you about a few of my current favourites and why you should go! At the bottom of the post, you will also find a studio update, including information about my new fall 2016 workshop schedule.

Living in a major center like Toronto, there are unlimited opportunities to  experience art that is truly alive with our countless public galleries along with commercial and private galleries, big and small, all over the city. It is particularly interesting to attend show openings and art parties, where you can celebrate with the artists themselves. Learn first hand what inspires them and why they do their work. All artwork has a story.

When you go to an art event, be prepared to spend time, allow the artwork to connect with you. Art is alive, give it permission to find your heart and soul and mind. Feel the peace and relaxation surround you as you examine a sublime landscape. Artworks featuring people and places will inspire memories and story telling.  Pure abstraction is just that – pure abstraction; complex but emotional, it can inspire curiosity, critical questioning and other forms of creative and abstract thinking. When you find another person looking at the same piece, start a conversation; you may be surprised at how differently two people respond to the same piece of artwork.

I go to exhibitions frequently. Being in the presence of original artwork and the people who create it is motivating and energizing – and fun! I often set myself a challenge: select the piece of work in the show that connects with me in the most compelling and intriguing way, and then I ask myself “why does it grab me?” It is not about whether I LIKE the artwork, but rather about the emotional attraction.

Below are a few current exhibitions in Toronto, some I have already experienced and others I plan to take in. I encourage you to go too, just for the fun of it!

Earlier this week I made my way to the McMichael Gallery for the Jack Bush: In Studio exhibit. The show includes 20 pieces of artwork by the famous Toronto artist, many from private collections that have never been shown before. Truly an abstract experience!

I have also gone to see Theaster Gates, showing on the 5th floor at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario); it is a contemporary and immersive experience. Gates, a Chicago artist, proposes new ways of honouring and remembering the Black Experience. It is on until Oct 30, so not much longer.

And coming up at the AGO starting Oct 22, Mystical Landscapes features masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh, Munch, and many more. A not to be missed show.

The Thompson Landry Gallery, in the Distillery District of Toronto is featuring a 10th Anniversary Group Exhibition, showcasing the work of several of their Quebec artists. I have seen many excellent shows here, and this is another one that I will go to see. The Anniversary show is on until Oct 16.

And very close to home, for me at least, is the Yellow House Gallery. As part of their ODAD U Alumni Tribute Exhibition, they will be featuring the work of John Inglis along with others. Below is an example of John’s fascinating watercolours. The show will run Oct 13 – Nov 3, the opening is on Oct 13.

August-Moon_Rising_2016, by John Inglis
August Moon Rising, 2016, by John Inglis

If you know of a show or event that you would like to share, I invite you to add it in the comment section below.

Just Do It! Workshop Update

After much discussion, and just a little procrastination, I have finalized my “Just Do It! workshop schedule for fall 2016. At the moment, there are two 1-day workshop scheduled for Oct 29 and Nov 5, with the potential of adding more, depending on demand. As previously announced, I will also be teaching a workshop at Momiji on Oct 15 – coming up next weekend! Descriptions of all the workshops and information about who should attend has been posted on my website. Registration is on-going.

Click here for details about Fall 2016 workshops
Click here for an overview of the Just Do It! painting program
Click here to join the Just Do It! Facebook group
Click here to visit my new website

The Fall session of the Just Do It! classes are now running on Monday morning and afternoon at Rebellion Gallery, and on Tuesday afternoon and evening at Cedar Ridge Creative Center. Go Figure is also running every Thursday. The Learning Season is upon us.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



Fall 2016 Workshop Schedule

To begin, I will be presenting a workshop at Momiji, and I have scheduled two additional 1-day workshops, with the potential to add more.

Just Do It! Experimental Painting Workshop at Momiji
Saturday Oct 15, 2016
At Momiji, 3555 Kingston Rd, Scarborough
This workshop is experiential in nature and designed to encourage participants to use expressive colour and form, to experiment and explore, to “move towards abstraction.”
For more information or to sign up for this workshop: contact Donna Sato at If you are interested in this workshop please contact Donna on or before Tuesday Oct 11 so they can finish their preparations.


The following workshops will be held in the Lower Loft, my home studio in the Beach. Additional workshop dates may be added, determined by demand. If you have suggestions or comments, please forward to me here.

Just Do It! Getting Started
Saturday Oct 29, 2016
This workshop is designed for those of you whom I have not previously worked with. While working through various exercises you will be introduced to concepts and processes that will build your courage and knowledge, empowering you to freely experiment with your paint and tools. You will be surprised at what you are able to do. Suitable for beginners as well as experienced painters who wish to move towards a loose and free style.

Just Do It! Contemporary Experimental Painting
Saturday Nov 5, 2016
This workshop is designed for experienced artists. This workshop will be fast-paced and continually inventive, encouraging participants to shake it up and grow in new directions. An exciting and stimulating workshop.

More information about workshops offered at The lower Loft:
Time: 10 am – 3:30 pm, with a brief break for lunch
Minimum 4, maximum 8 participants per workshop
To Register: Please contact me
Workshop fee $50
More details, including a suggested supply list, will be forwarded to registered participants.
Fresh coffee will welcome you along with light refreshments, but please pack a lunch.

Click here for an overview of the Just do It! program
Click here to visit my new website

The Learning Season

“School is one thing. Education is another. The two don’t always overlap. Whether you’re in school or not, it’s always your job to get yourself an education.

You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else – that’s how you’ll get ahead.

Google everything, I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems. Don’t ask a question before you Google it. You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.

Always be reading. Go to the library. There’s magic in being surrounded by books. Get lost in the stacks. Read bibliographies. It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book lead you to.”

Excerpt from “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon.
Love, love, love this little book, available at your local library
or learn more about it here.

It is September once more, reminding all of us that it is the season of school, education, learning. A new season that happens every year. People everywhere: around the neighbourhood, at the park, on social media are talking about “back to school”. So are you heading on a learning journey this fall? Are you talking or thinking about “registering for class”, “trying something new”, “going in a new direction”, “discovering your creative instincts”?  Or perhaps just DOING something new? How will you choose to “learn” this season?

Let me talk about artists and learning. We artists are instinctively curious – we couldn’t do what we do if we were not. The more we learn, the more we realize that there is still more, much more, to explore, to try, to get our hands and hearts into. This September I am DOING something new, starting a new project, a new learning venture for me, and I am pleased to share it with you – this blog, which I am calling “Art Think Cafe”. You are currently reading my first official post! I have been on a steep learning curve this summer, as I researched and read and learned about web-hosting, blogging, electronic distribution, and more. I have plans and dreams (or course) for what I can make this venture into. I aspire to create a gathering place for artists and thinkers, a community, a place to share and talk and think art. A place to learn about interesting art happenings in the community, the city, the country, internationally. A learning resource for anyone who is pursuing a creative life.

So now I am putting this first blog post out there – ohhh, such a scary – but exciting thing to do – I continually think that I need to “make it better” before I publish it. But then I remind myself that if I wait until it is perfect, it will never happen. I need to “Just Do It!” My blog is in it’s infancy, and I hope to bring about growth and evolution…. quickly. Thank you for reading! I truly hope that it arrived in your inbox intact and that it brings you pleasure, and maybe something to think about? All thoughts and feedback are welcome and appreciated.

Oh yes, I also did a little painting this summer, not as much as I would have liked, but here are a few new streetcar portraits. Very new, in fact they may be heading back to the easel…. still processing.

I look forward to getting back into the classroom this fall, where I will strongly encourage all participants to “Just Do It!”

Click here for information about the upcoming Just Do It! Classes
Click here for the full class schedule for the Fall 2016.
Click here to visit my NEW website.

Very new painting featuring a streetcar. A small painting, 14" x 11". I spent a lot of time playing with the sky on this on. It still needs a name.
New streetcar painting, 14″ x 11″
Another new little streetcar painting, 12" x 12"
New Streetcar painting 12″ x 12″

“Just Do It!” class schedule for fall 2016

S0 you are thinking about learning to paint this fall? Or perhaps you feel the urge to bring new approaches to your studio? Take a look at the “Just Do It!” experimental painting classes that are offered this fall, starting late September 2016.
Continue reading ““Just Do It!” class schedule for fall 2016″