DVAC Club Night – Plein Air Show & Tell – November 17

(Submitted by Brent Arlitt)



The DVAC Plein Air ‘Show and Tell’ Night was led by our Plein Air Coordinator Franca Montalbetti who, assisted by able committee members, held 12 DVAC Plein Air outings over the 2017 season. The event was kicked off by Georgia Bowen who demonstrated her artwork and the small, light but very versatile Guerilla Box, mounted on an artist’s tripod for a very convenient way for artists to do plein air painting, even in a remote location. Artist Wally Lush showed his paintings and his use of a panel pack used to transport wet oil paintings after the painting session is over.

Other artists showed works created in various mediums including oil, acrylic, water soluble oil, watercolour, coloured pencil, egg white and various sketching materials including the use of palette knife. Over this year these creations were made on DVAC outings and in many locations such as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Grand Manan, Arizona, Manitoulin Island and in Europe. It was mentioned that Plein air landscapes are much more difficult than painting in the studio but are especially successful because outside you connect with your environment and “you paint from the heart whereas indoors you paint from the head”. Some artists showed how their plein air work inspired them to other creative pursuits later in the studio.

Next year the committee wants to paint in some new locations, possibly in a member’s backyard, and possibly with an overnight outing outside the GTA. They are looking to all DVAC members to propose good plein air location suggestions. If you have a location to suggest that meets the criteria of accessible parking, washrooms and access by TTC, please contact Wally Lush and Franca Montalbetti.

Visit to Steve Driscoll’s Artist Studio – November 3

(Submitted by Brent Arlitt)




On Friday November 3, artist Steve Driscoll took DVAC club members on a private exclusive tour of his large artist studio in West Toronto, demonstrating some of the materials, processes and methods in creating very large format paintings. We saw dramatic visionary abstracted landscapes, created with intense colouration using pigmented urethane on white plastic panels, employing “wet-on-wet” technique. This is a method that Steve has uniquely developed over a number of years. Steve gave a talk on his educational background, materials, methods and the outdoor trips where he gets the inspiration for his beautiful painted scenes. He pointed out the features of many of the paintings on display, including a forest scene, that will soon be hanging in the atrium of the new Oakville Trafalgar Hospital. Steve had an exhibit at the McMichael Gallery this past Spring and Summer.

Steve Driscoll, an OCAD graduate, has emerged and is being recognized as one of Canada’s most exciting contemporary artists. Re-inventing landscape painting for the 21st century, Driscoll uses vibrant colour, monumental scale and industrial materials (pigmented urethane on plastic panels) to create ecstatic visions of wild places. Driscoll’s ground-breaking 2016 exhibition, Just a Sliver of the Room, captured national attention through an innovative gallery installation featuring a 40-foot long shoreline scene reflected in a 2,000-gallon artificial lake, complete with boardwalk.

To see more of his work, visit www.stevedriscoll.com

Friday Night with Margaret Ferraro – October 13

{Written by Hanifa Mamujee}


It was a perfect Friday evening at the Don Valley Art Club – everyone gathered to hear Margaret Ferraro speak about her passions – life drawing, pastels and acrylics.  This evening she was demonstrating underpainting and pastels.

There are many approaches to underpainting – her preferred method is using opposite colours underneath the pastel layer and to extend the range of value having the darker value underneath shifting from dark to light and from hard to soft.  Choice of paper being used matters – for her demos she used printing making paper (hot press) for one and a 140 lb. water colour paper (cold press) for the other (note 90 lb. water colour paper is too light and would have hills and valleys grooves in it that would impact the quality of the pastel artwork).

Part of the prep work for the demo included soaking the papers in water and stapling the paper to the board to stretch and dry out.  This step prevents the paper from having ‘bubbles’ in them and provides the right type of surface to work with.  Another step is to have several layers of newspaper underneath the paper as it is important to work on a soft surface.  Other tips included:  no hard edges to the value areas and rather than blending them together, have them meet each other in a friendly play over each other; composition is important; mixing paint and gesso for the underpainting creates a good base for pastel art; and, getting a feel for using hard and medium pastels for thumb nailing and soft pastels for the detail work.

Margaret currently lives in the Barrie area, teaches art classes in Toronto and hosts one to three plein air trips to countries such as Costa Rica, Peru and France.  She can be reached at margferraro@xplornet.ca if you’d like to get on her mailing list. You may view her work at http://www.ferraro-art.com

Friday Night with Marlene Bulas

{Submitted by Ingrid Mueller}


“Bright, joyous paintings” is how Marlene’s work has been described, and these adjectives describe both the art and the artist.  Although some of her work might be described as impressionistic, modern folk might be the appropriate genre for many of her landscapes.

As a featured artist for Ducks Unlimited in 2006 and 2014, Marlene spent some time talking about her experience as a featured artist and the benefits of such and encouraged DVAC members to enter to become one.  Although there is no payment or stipend involved, one does received a quantity of prints (after a year) and a huge amount of publicity and recognition, to which it is difficult to attach a value, but is enormous.  Further information can be found at the Ducks Unlimited website:  http://www.ducks.ca/how-to-help/submit-your-artwork/

Marlene also showed a studio tour video which occurred locally, in her home town of Orillia, where she received approx. 500 visitors over a weekend.  She is a popular artist with numerous accolades to her credit.

Throughout Marlene’s demo, she provided a number of tips and suggestions to the group.  The painting she demoed, was based on one she had done previously, as she suggests we re-invent a current painting and create a series.  An excellent suggestion we can all benefit from

Her inspiration is drawn mostly from the part of Ontario where she grew up, lives and thrives, Orillia.  As a farm girl, her love and comfort comes from the countryside and the quaint towns and villages in the area.

This painting, Harold Wilson’s Red Truck was inspired by a song she was listening to while painting.

Working mostly in acrylic, Marlene works with a limited palette:  Quinacridone Magenta; Hansa Yellow; Phthalo Blue; Payne’s Grey; Unbleached Titanium; Cadmium Red (sometimes).

It was a great evening and we all appreciated Marlene’s work and cheerful outlook.

To view more of Marlene’s work visit:  http://www.sunninghillart.com


Doug Purdon – Painting a Marine Scene in Watercolour

{Submitted by Ingrid Mueller}


It was a pleasure to have celebrated Toronto painter, Doug Purdon, demonstrate and share his extensive knowledge of painting with watercolour.

As Doug started his demo, he discussed some fundamentals, and reminded us of the importance of knowing your medium and the working elements of the pigments.


  1. The types of colours – transparent vs. opaque
  2. When to use them, particularly when using washes
  3. Always use professional grade paints as the quality of pigment is drastically reduced in student grade paints.

Doug also suggested that the quality of paper will determine the successful outcome of your painting.  A long time user of Winsor Newton products, Doug also works for the company and recommends their products, as he did prior to working for them.

It was wonderful to know some of the secrets of a successful professional artist, and the following are some of his tricks:

  1.  Masking your painting can be done with both masking fluids and masking tape. Simply apply the tape to roughly fit the shape on the page.  Using a sharp blade, cut the shape closely to your lines.  This can only be achieved when using a heavier, good quality paper.  Doug also uses a ruling pen, dipped in masking fluid to mask fine, like highlights on water.
  2. Doug stressed that one must draw and sketch as often as possible. Carry a sketch book and draw your experiences and surroundings. One never knows when something wonderful will come out of it in the studio.
  3. A limited palette is necessary for watercolourists, especially for plein air. The Double Primary palette that can be used to mix any colour:  Naphthal red (Winsor red)/Permanent rose; Cadmium yellow medium/Lemon yellow; Phthalo Blue/French Ultramarine.

It was an informative, inspirational evening.

Doug Purdon’s work can be seen at http://dougpurdon-artist.com/