Friday Night with Artist Dan Murphy

{submitted by Ingrid Mueller}

On March 3, artist Dan Murphy spoke to the DVAC about his contemporary realist paintings. Influenced by the likes of Magritte, Ortega and Coorte, Dan’s work combines elements of these influences using clearly defined composition and capturing realistic representations of qualities of light. His recent visit to Holland and the Rijks Museum has inspired his quest for flawless illumination in his realist paintings.

Dan provided us with a much needed reminder of the need and importance of composition. Many of us know and use the “rule of thirds”, but Dan also stressed the use of “the golden ratio”. Study of the Great Masters have also influenced Dan to use geometrical divisions of space in his composition.



Posted in Friday Night Speaker

Friday Night with Kal Honey, “Text in Art”

{Submitted by Ingrid Mueller}

On February 24, artist Kal Honey discussed the use of text in art.

A graduate of OCAD, Kal Honey has honed his skills in graphic art and has a penchant for painting, assemblage and collage. However, his eye for detail and gravitation towards graphic art has led Kal to create stunning work using typography and calligraphy.

Kal briefly covered the history of typography, stemming back to the caveman. He showed examples of text in art like ancient hieroglyphics and ancient Chinese calligraphy, explaining that the alphabet is actually a series of signs and symbols.  Classical art featured text, mostly biblical. The POP art era including Warhol, Lichtenstein and Greg Curnoe used text in their art.  Post Modern/Contemporary Art brought artists like Basquiat, Barbara Kruger and Banksy, all of whom used text in their art.

Although the use of text in modern art originated predominantly in commercial art, it has become nicely intertwined in contemporary fine art and will remain, as words carry more than literal meaning.

Posted in Friday Night Speaker

Should my Art match my Sofa?

[written by Joan Philip]

Well, the short answer is No.

Or, not necessarily.

Or, it depends!

There are designers, decorators and stagers who actually make decisions about art based on the overall design considerations of a space — including the sofa. If the furniture is contemporary, blue and green, with a touch of yellow, then voila! — an abstract with blue, green and yellow is on the wall.

This is fine when the circumstances are right.

But most people don’t live that way. Our homes evolve over a period of time, and so does our knowledge of and taste in art. As we learn more about art, and study the kinds of art and the work of various artists that we like, we develop our own “art personalities” in much the same way that every other aspect of our personality develops.

Just as we don’t pick our friends based on whether they enjoy eating Thai food with us, we don’t pick the art that we live with based on whether it matches the décor. Of course, it’s often the case that in fact our friends do share our love of Thai food. Similarly, the chances good that the art we love will suit our décor, since it was also likely chosen by us with the same kind of thought and attention as we lavished on the choice of the art.

In short, if your art suits you — if you love it — it will likely suit the way you live. If you buy a painting because you can’t stop looking at it and thinking about it, then you will find ways to incorporate it into your life, whether or not it appears to match your existing environment.

Sometimes,however, it can be worthwhile to make adjustments to the immediate surroundings of a painting to make the art more harmonious with the environment in which it lives. The matting and framing of a piece of art can dramatically affect how comfortably it settles in a space. Also, the colour and texture of the wall surface on which a painting is hung might need adjustment.

At the end of the day, sofas change. Houses change. Tastes change. But, a piece of art which has been chosen for the right reasons —- that it tells a story that speaks to you, even if only to you — will still be “right” no matter what.

Posted in Art Musings

Friday Night with Olexander Wlasenko

{Submitted by Ingrid Mueller}

Olex Wlasenko, Curator of Station Gallery in Whitby, presented our Feb 17 Friday night group with a very interesting topic:  Synchronicities: Art and Cinema. 

Olex gave examples of films that use art in their sets and film scenes that were inspired by specific artwork. He showed clips from specific movies and the corresponding art.

It was an insightful evening and has encouraged me to be more watchful of art in cinema.  It would be nice if they would use mine. Hahaha!

Posted in Friday Night Speaker

5 Steps to Building a “ Real” Art Collection

[written by Joan Philip]

A recent letter to a major home decorating magazine noted that the writer had managed to successfully renovate her home and put in place many of the big decorating elements like paint and furniture, but was completely stumped as to what to put on the walls. She asked how to approach building an art collection — where to go, how to chose, what to spend.

Many people are overwhelmed by this. Having lived with mass produced poster art, often held over from student days, they are ready to move on to enjoying art that is one-of-a-kind and speaks to their heart.

So how do you start?

1. Look and Learn
Get out and see as much art as you can. Go to galleries, museums and art shows. One of the best ways to educate yourself about art and what you like is to go to local art shows and talk to the makers of the art on display. Virtually all major centers have them. For example, Toronto’s Don Valley Art Club ( holds two major ten-day shows each year where a wide array of original art is for sale at very affordable prices, and visitors can meet and talk to the artists.

2. Have a Theme
Having an idea of the kind of art that appeals to you will help you make decisions about which piece best suits your needs, and reflects your personality and interests. Look at art that tells your story and reflects your dreams. You can stick with one style of art, such as landscapes or abstract, or you can mix it up. But your collection should reflect you.

3. Start Small
Sometimes it is easier to appreciate all the elements in a painting that appeal to you when the picture is of smaller dimension. These paintings are often more affordable as well, and easier to fit into your home.

4. Have a Budget
As you spend time looking and learning, you will get a much better idea of the costs associated with the art and the artists that appeal to you. Decide what you can afford. There is a wide range of pricing in the art world, but buying local, directly from the artists will offer you not only the chance to acquire art that you love, but to stay within a smaller budget while supporting the artists in your midst.

5. Feel the Love
Art is not an asset, like stocks and bonds. Art tells a story, touches your heart, makes you think. It comes from the mind and heart of the artist into your life and becomes something new. Take your time. Enjoy the process.

Posted in Art Musings