Friday Night Club, March 8, 2019 – Ingrid Mueller

(Submitted by Jessie Gordon)

Club member Ingrid Mueller presented the process of using plaster drywall compound to create relief for painting and bas relief works of art. Ingrid showed examples of paintings she has completed and described the process and the materials and tools she uses. She entertained the large audience assembled with her anecdotes of finding tools and materials at rock bottom prices at local stores. She always works on a hard surface, either wood or metal and applies a layer of compound that quickly becomes firm. The material can be carved or added to and is quite flexible in its uses. She demonstrated using various tools to create pattern and design on the image and even squeezed the material from an icing applicator to make spaghetti-like strips. The club members peppered Ingrid with questions ranging from where to get supplies, how to paint on the relief once it is complete and the archival permanence of the finished work. All enjoyed the presentation and look forward to trying it themselves and seeing Ingrid’s next work using this technique.

To see more of Ingrid’s work visit her website at:

Friday Night Club March 1/19 – Clarence Porter – PASTELS: WHY NOT?

PASTELS – Why not? This question was answered by our guest, Clarence Porter, as he set out to enlighten us on the fundamentals and ease of use of pastels.

Clarence is a professional freelance illustrator and painter. He teaches various courses in the Visual and Creative Arts diploma program at Sheridan. He also has his Pastel Artist of Canada Master Pastelist designation and is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America. His work has been shown in many group and solo shows.

Clarence is an engaging and experienced instructor and organized his presentation in order to fulfill a number of learning outcomes.

  1. Soft pastels and chalk are not the same.  Chalk is made of limestone or gypsum and compressed into a stick.  Soft pastels are pure pigment the same as oil and acrylic paints and is held together with binder.  The difference between soft and hard pastels is the amount of binder.  Softer pastels have less binder and therefore will leave more pigment on the paper. Both have their uses and the decision to use either is often a personal preference. Hard pastels will make sharper lines and are often used in the original sketch while soft pastels leave a smooth, creamy stroke and are easily layered and blended. A newer type of pastel called Pan Pastels is another method of pastel painting and is often combined with other types of pastels.  This product comes in small plastic pans and is applied with sponge type tools.  It allows for a smooth flow of pigment and has excellent blending qualities.
  • As is true with watercolour painting, the type of paper and substrate makes a HUGE difference in the outcome of your painting.  There are many types of papers available specifically for pastel but the type used, again, becomes the preference of the artist and the desired outcome.  Tooth is important if you wish to layer your colours.  It’s like glazing in wet mediums.  The more tooth or texture a paper has, the more layers you can apply, as the pastel is less likely to fall off.  However, if you want to do a lot of blending as in portraits, you might prefer a smoother paper.

Papers with tooth are also called sanded papers. Much like regular workshop sandpapers, they are manufactured for pastel painting and come in a variety of grades.

Clarence prefers Uart, but there are a variety of brands that produce great results.  Clairefontaine Pastelmat, Sennelier Pastel Card, Mi-teintes Touch, Colourfix etc.  You can also create your own substrate on any surface by applying a pastel ground.  Golden Pastel Ground is an acrylic preparation for pastels on canvas and other supports. It creates toothy surface similar to papers used with pastel and chalk. For an even rougher texture Fine or Coarse Pumice Gel can be added. Acrylic Ground for Pastel can also be tinted with acrylic colors. 

  • Clarence suggested that when using sanded papers, a light touch is required, otherwise the tooth fills quickly and reduces the number of future application of layers.  While softer pastels will allow for many layers, using a harder pastel will allow for sharper lines, keeping in mind that a harder application will also fill in the tooth. Hard pastels will not adhere well to softer under layers so it is wise to work hard to soft.
  • Clarence suggested that when starting a painting he works from dark to light, as pastels are easily layered, it allows for an outline of the coming subject.  He also does thumbnail sketches, as with other mediums.  However, he also does under paintings using alcohol instead of water.  This will only work on some types of sanded papers, as not all papers are welcoming to wet applications. The alcohol makes for a permanent under sketch and gives a firm outline. This does not mean you have to follow it exactly and allows for variations in the composition.
  • Pastels can be combined with other mediums and can be quite versatile in their usage.  Charcoal, acrylic and watercolour are the most commonly used mediums that can be included to achieve wonderful results in a painting.  Acrylic mediums like modelling paste can also be applied to achieve texture.

Pastel painting is making a comeback. It is a fun and vibrant medium that is quite forgiving.  So, did Clarence answer the question?  PASTELS – WHY NOT?  Although there was maybe a half dozen people in attendance who use or have tried pastels, perhaps there will be some recruits in the future.

Clarence Porter has an endearing personality and endeared himself to our DVAC Friday Night Club.  You may view his work at the following link:

Friday Night Club February 22, 2019 – CARFAC Elissa Pendergast

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

This evening was filled with revelations made possible by CARFAC General Manager Elissa Pendergast.

CARFAC – Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des Artistes Canadiens, is an organisation of 1,000 members, founded in 1968 in London by Jack Chambers, Tony Urquhart, Kim Ondaatje, Greg Curnoe, and Ron Martin. In short, CARFAC provides advocacy and an abundance of resources for artists.  Its national office is in Ottawa and it boasts 8 provincial affiliates.

Elissa spent the evening explaining much of what CARFAC can do for artists in Canada. The following is an abbreviated version of her presentation:


• Negotiating, in concert with other artists’ associations (e.g., ACTRA, Writers’ Union of Canada) with the provincial government to establish Status of the Artist legislation
• Providing summary legal advice through VALCO (the Visual Artists Legal Clinic of Ontario

• Providing publications and webinars which educate artists on how to advocate for and protect themselves.
• Advising artists by phone, email and in person on how to deal with the many issues which artists face in their professional practices.

CARFAC Ontario is committed to providing up-to-date resources for artists, as well as answering frequently asked questions pertaining to practicing as an artist in Ontario.

Member Services and Artist Resources:

  • CARFAC Online:  Ontario e-bulletin of opportunities for visual and media artists
  • DISPATCH:  Ontario quarterly newsletter
  • Group Health Plan
  • Member Discounts
  • Professional Development
  • CARFAC Fees
  • Minimum Fee Schedule
  • Copyright 101
  • Copyright Agents

Our brains were overflowing with information and questions and we are grateful to Elissa Pendergast for enlightening us.

 The very best way to fully understand what CARFAC is and what it can do for you is to visit their website and/or contact Elissa.  Links are provided below.

Facebook/Twitter   @carfacontario


Friday Night Club February 15, 2019 – Gary Smith

(Submitted by Jessie Gordon)

Club Members enjoyed the presentation by Gary Smith, a successful Toronto painter who is widely shown with international commissions and sales. Gary described his career, his exhibitions, teaching and referred to many trips to teach and exhibit in China. His presentation for the evening was an introduction to an on-line course he is developing called There’s Magic in those Shadows, What do Professional Artists know about Shadows that I don’t? Gary showed slides that will be part of the course and demonstrated the effects of light and shadow on a sphere. He described the different types of shadow including Form, Core and Cast and described how colour is affected by light and shadow. Gary’s course will be available on the web site: soon.

Attendance was lighter than usual due to the buildup of ice on the sidewalks, but 25 members attended and really enjoyed the presentation. Thanks to Sylvia and many volunteers for a successful evening.

Friday Night Club February 8, 2019 – John Hood

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Award winning artist, John Hood has a BFA from Concordia and spawned from creative parentage.  His experience spans years as a muralist and has paid his bills as a property manager but in 2017 he made the leap to practice as a full time easel artist.

John’s intense knowledge of the mechanics of oil painting and his eloquent delivery made for an evening of intense Q & A while he demonstrated working up a tonal under painting in oils on a toned ground.

John will demonstrate, using a photographic reference as a master image. It would be in a half tone (not full colour) –  an “imprimatur” – a monochromatic under painting as a preparation for a developed work in colour.