Friday Night with Michele Van Maurik – May 25

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

From Van Gogh to O’Keefe, painting flowers has been a popular subject for centuries, and Michele Van Maurik has mastered the replication of nature’s magnificence.

The progeny of artistic Dutch parentage, Michele has been creating art since childhood and launched her artistic career as commercial artist and muralist.  However, her serious fine art career didn’t start until relatively recently in 2010.  Since then, she has blossomed into an internationally recognized oil painter, having been twice invited to represent Canada at the Societe Nationale de Beaux Art held at the Louvre. Her paintings Purple Rhapsody and Sundance were juried into the Artistes du Monde Cannes by Marina Picasso.

Her work has also been published in a number of international magazines including American Art Collector.

Having accomplished so much in so short a time, Michele came to our Friday Night Club with some very down to earth tips and tricks she uses in her studio that simply make her life easier, more efficient and productive. The following is a list of her top ten painting hacks:

  1. Magic Colour Palette Colour matching guide: Shows various pigments mixed with white and also darkened with black with cut out window.  Great for determining which pigment to use in your painting.
  2. Easel Brace: Make a simple easel brace using foam core and dollar store clamps.  Great for supporting a maul stick.
  3. Maul Stick: Purchase inexpensive dowel at a hardware store and make your own maul stick by putting a rubber stopper on the end.
  4. Plastic laptop cases from De Serres are an excellent alternative to a stay wet palette. Lightweight and portable, they keep paint fresh for several days.
  5. A music stand makes a great vertical palette stand.
  6. Grey Matters palette paper fits nicely inside the plastic laptop cases and comes with a colour wheel, greyscale and list of pigments printed on the cover.
  7. A mid tone grey pastel pencil is great for drawing on canvas, blends nicely away when paint is applied over top.
  8. Cotton swaps (Q-tips) are very useful when it comes to softening edges in a painting, also great for lifting colour.
  9. A partially rolled up towel makes a good brush rest.
  10. When viewing artwork or a painting with red glasses or red acetate, it helps eliminate the middle values and simplifies the shapes to determine the values in your painting.

Michele’s work is inspiring, as she works large and very smooth. Her passion is in detail, but not too much so as to prevent the viewer’s imagination.

A lovely evening with a great, Canadian artist.

You can see more of her work at

Plein Air at Evergreen Brickworks

(Submitted by Wally Lush/Vanaja Cotroneo)

Today’s plein air was attended by nine (or ten?) members, and we
gathered by the parking lot before dispersing in twos and threes, and
even solo, to find that “perfect” view. Or perhaps, it was to find
a “shady” spot as it was a gorgeous day, with the sun shining in
its full glory! The artists painted in a variety of media –
watercolour, pen & ink, acrylics, oils, watercolour pencils. We
gathered for a picnic lunch around 12:30, while a few went to the
restaurant. After lunch some of us left, while the more die-hard
continued to paint. All in all, it was a beautiful day!

Plein Air at Ramsden Park

(submitted by Wally Lush)

On Saturday, May 25, five artists braved the humidity to paint outside in Ramsden Park. In spite of promised rain, they settled in and planned, sketched and painted some of the interesting locations in the park. Hopefully, some larger art works will come out of the time they spent there.



Guest Artist Janet Read – Friday April 13, 2018

{submitted by Brent Arlitt}

Janet Read does not work from plein air studies nor from photographs, but internalizes the landscape as she views it. Her color-saturated work has an aura of mystery.

Janet paints on canvas, board and Mylar (also called Dura-lar), using acrylic, oil. She is drawn to watery subjects. Her use of pouring medium allows her to reveal the layers of paint and light, and gives an impression of depth. Using large palette knives, the artist achieves structural effects by dragging the paint. There are many additional techniques that she uses. For example, to create a watercolor effect she scrapes top layers of paint to reveal the colors underneath, she uses a breyer or spatula to create structure, and she imbeds a drawing or other image into the painting.

Janet is experimental in her approach and believes that mistakes are opportunities for learning and advancing her art. She often paints with her surface resting on the floor, and makes sweeping movements to apply the paint, in what might be described as almost a dance-like movement.

One of the artists who has influenced Janet is Howard Hodgkin, the late British artist and printmaker.

Janet demonstrated some techniques for using pouring medium and promised to send to Don Valley Art Club members further information from Golden about the use of pouring medium.

For personal details about Janet Read, and her extensive career as an artist, writer and musician, see Janet’s website:

Friday Night with Ernie Francis – March 16

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)





Ernie Francis is not only a talented artist but an eloquent speaker. Sharing his journey from his place of birth in Indonesia to his final destination, Canada, Ernie showed how truly eclectic his art expression is.

Working in a variety of mediums, his training in graphic design and having had a successful career as a graphic designer and illustrator, is very apparent in his use of calligraphy in his paintings and his attention to composition. His love of literature and poetry is also evident in his calligraphic paintings. Having said that, he suggests that although detail is important, artists should strive to keep the viewer interested. Use detail to the point where they still have to use imagination.  Otherwise, the artist is really just a technician.

While Ernie has produced wonderful work in watercolour and acrylic, the technique he demonstrated was one he discovered while investigating encaustic painting. While encaustic produces wonderful results, the method is somewhat toxic and requires special equipment and ventilation. In search of an alternative, Ernie discovered the genre of cold wax painting. Cold provides the artist with the ability to experiment with texture and the physicality of paint layers.

Cold Wax Painting is any type of painting that heavily utilizes Cold Wax Medium into oil colors. In its own way, Cold Wax Painting blurs the line between oil painting and encaustic painting. (ref:

The best substrate to use is something rigid like a wooden panel, otherwise the wax may crack on a canvas surface. Ernie recommends that the maximum ratio of wax to paint is 50/50, but it depends upon the amount of transparency one desires. It is much like glazing, but the effect is a matt finish and almost velvety.  Ernie works his painting in layers which gives depth to the subject and provides interesting colour qualities that one cannot achieve by premixing the oil paints not to mention the interesting textual effects that can be achieved with wax.

His experimentation with this medium has resulted in two series of paintings that speak to the great results obtained only by using cold wax.

As a full-time artist, Ernie produces new work regularly, which can be viewed at