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

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

Friday Night with Dave Rheaume – Smoke and Mirrors: Special Effects Painting

{submitted by Brent Arlitt}

The Club was fortunate to have David Rheaume demonstrate his unique painting style to members on Friday Feb 3. David has been specializing in creating Cityscapes inspired by early 20th century scenes. His technique frequently utilizes thin washes from a minimal palette of acrylic paint to create a mesmerizing dreamy effect that pulls observers into his 3D scenes.

David also showed how he creates scenes and how the light effects that he demonstrates develops into paintings with depth and interest.



Posted in Friday Night Speaker

Friday Night with Tim Packer

“It’s all about the work” — What it takes to build a successful art career with Tim Packer.

{submitted by Sylvia Le Roy}

It was a pleasure to spend a few hours with Tim Packer, renowned, internationally recognized, professional artist from Whitby, Ontario.

If it weren’t for our 10:00pm deadline we would have been there until the wee hours of the morning.

Tim gave a candid talk about his rise to success as an artist; he spoke of his victories and his failures. The insight he provided about the amount of work it takes to promote his art made our heads spin. With the help of his son, he has embraced the realm of social media and manufactures his own giclee prints.  He has reduced his reliance on galleries to display his art and is now exhibiting in just three galleries (down from twelve).”Why pay a gallery 50% of your revenue when you can do it yourself?” was a question Tim asked himself and he now enjoys an income of up to $250,000/yr.

Although Tim started and gained notoriety as a portrait artist in watercolour, he switched to oil after learning the market, generally, does not collect art in that media. He stresses that the first decision is to determine how to approach your art: is it a hobby? or is it a career? He stresses that “One must produce great work with a unique voice”. One must have technical ability as well as creativity, experience AND passion. When people have suggested he was born with a gift his response is “My gift is my passion”.

Tim’s journey has been one of pushing himself beyond his comfort zone, suggesting there are two modes in creating art.  The first is the Product mode where your painting turns out as expected and you remain in your comfort zone. The second is the Process mode where you don’t worry about the outcome; your goal is to try new things and enjoy the process.

Tim’s “unique style draws on the deep traditions of Canadian landscape painting while interpreting the world through a modern eye”. Tim has succeeded in “creating great work with a unique voice”.



Tim shared some individuals and publications who have both mentored and inspired him:

Zoltan Szabo:

Neville Clarke:

Lewis Lehrman – “Becoming a Successful Artist”:

Gary Vaynerchuck – “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world”:

Frank Webb – “Strengthening Your Paintings With Dynamic Composition”:


To further appreciate Tim’s accomplishments and learn from his experience, you may check out his internet pages:

Tim Packer Fine Art:

Tim Packer YouTube Channel:

Tim Packer Facebook Page:

Posted in Friday Night Speaker

Holiday Party 2016

On Friday, December 9 members and friends of DVAC enjoyed an amazing evening at Fantasy Farm. The evening included great food, wonderful prizes with music and dancing.

Posted in DVAC Event