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.

Friday Night Club February 1, 2019 – Sharlena Wood

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Sharlena Wood is no stranger to DVAC but always a welcomed guest. A vivacious and charismatic personality, she is well known in the GTA art community, as her busy schedule reveals her as an instructor at Luc Sculpture School, Visual Arts Mississauga and a selection of other studios around Ontario

 Sharlena, the consummate artist whose favorite colour is orange as apparent in her funky coiffure, shared her signature abilities with mixed media (combining acrylic painting and drawing) in tonight’s demonstration, starting with a prepared acrylic painting of a fox.

Her preference of substrate for this particular method is a wooden panel, as adherence of the mediums will not be compromised.

The following are the steps of her process as supplied by Sharlena:


1. Acrylic painting – keep it simple, block in or layer and develop as much as you want. Approach the painting in your favorite style. It can be more refined and specific if desired or very loose and abstracted. All spectrums work well as a base painting. A unique approach to the wildlife subject is the freedom at the beginning of an art work, painting loose and liberated, because the details and refinement can come later with drawing.

2. Dry Media Ground application all over the acrylic paint or in specific areas. Allow to dry. You can get by without Dry Media Ground if you use an absorbent surface i.e. birch panel or watercolour paper & thin, watercolour-like acrylic layers. Potential issues: too much texture, thick acrylic, gloss factor, not enough tooth for layers of pastel. Acrylic mediums with matte finishes can also stand in as they can offer a little tooth but none of them compare to actual ‘Dry Media Ground’ medium. Tri-Art brand recommended over all other brands – offers same surface as Jack Richeson’s Colourfix Sanded Pastel Paper.

3. Charcoal Powder application all over or in specific areas, then use Erasers to pull out the light, negative shapes and any areas that we really liked. Why Charcoal Powder? It will take care of the mid-darks very quickly. It is easily erased. It will also come in handy later for softening and toning down pastel colours for shadows. You do not need to use Charcoal Powder if it seems too dramatic for you.

4. Drawing. Any Drawing Media can be used i.e. coloured pencil crayons, conte, charcoal pencils/sticks, graphite pencils/sticks, soft pastels, nu pastels, water-soluble graphite, water-soluble pencil crayons, litho crayons, etc. Experiment with the pattern from the reference. Remember that we all, as human beings, have a natural talent to recognize patterns – even false patterns (make one up). There is no wrong or right – whether simplified, realistic, or ornamental – it’s all good. Repeat patterns and colours – so important! Reinforce darks and lights – the eye goes to the darkest of darks, and the lightest of lights.  Too much pastel in an area = the surface is ‘clogged’ and will not hold any more pastel, so use a brush and ‘sweep away’ some of the underlying pastel, or apply more dry media ground to this specific area (or secret option #3 is to accept what marks and colours are there, let it be. move on!)

5. Krylon Crystal Clear spray – hold can 2-3 feet from your work, and apply many light layers, build up very slowly and don’t aim to ‘varnish’ or create a clear coat, or you will saturate the pastel. This step simply sets the pastel/charcoal, so even after many layers, the pastel should still remain soft and somewhat workable. May need to be framed under glass, ask you framer about UltraVue glass and clear or black ‘spacers’.

The end result was a painting that was both colourful and intriguing.

Unlike some other artists, the fact that Sharlena is so willing to share her process with us is very much appreciated.  She is a superb, imaginative artist and welcome at DVAC anytime and we thank her for sharing.

You may view her work, workshops and become inspired by accessing the following links:

Facebook and Instagram


Friday Night Club January 25, 2019 – Marjolyn van der Hart

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Marjolyn Van der Hart wasted no time launching into her collage demonstration. The results of her efforts are remarkable and Marjolyn has been successful in selling her work to a loyal following in Canada and throughout the USA via juried art fairs and shows.

She has been painting since 1988 and has a BA in Mass Communications as well as a residency in a New York Arts program. In the beginning she considered herself to be an impressionist painter who occasionally used tissue paper in her work. This soon transitioned to collage, using the resources of media involving classic films, vintage magazines and found photos, wallpapers and a variety of gift wraps and papers. Much of her work is nostalgic with themes of feminism, escape, yearning for love, etc. Once the background is in place she then adds to the narrative with surrealistic imagery to complete the scenario.

Marjolyn stressed that memories are triggered by images and patterns, hence she is always in search of vintage wallpapers and photos and other media to complete her work.

Wooden panels and substrates are recommended although supported canvas can be used. She coats the surface with modeling paste but said that glue and acrylic mediums can be used. Then she applies papers (tissue, wallpaper etc.) cut or ripped into assorted shapes using acrylic gel medium allowing it to dry thoroughly before the next step.

She will sometimes use acrylic transfers that she applies to a white surface (painting a portion of the surface with white acrylic paint).  Next, Marjolyn applies acrylic medium to the surface and the photo on both sides and allows it to dry.  She then sands of the papers/medium and VOILA! The image has transferred to the surface.

Depending upon the theme, Marjolyn will paint an image or use stencils to add to the narrative. Text, numbers or patterns can enhance a painting and give it personal relevance.

Marjolyn has a home studio but spends a good deal of her time on the road, sharing her talent with fans around the continent.  She seems to have a handle on art business and writes a blog regularly as well as being very active on social media. Perhaps a workshop about doing art business is in our future with Marjolyn.

You may view more of her work on social media and her website through the following links:



On-line store:


Friday Night January 19, 2019 – Nelson Cheng

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

This Friday, the DVAC Club House atmosphere was filled with the youthful exuberance thanks to our guest presenter, Nelson Cheng and his stunning creations of impressionist urban landscapes. This was his first time presenting/demonstrating and he was anxious, but his carefully planned presentation revealed his life journey of finding himself and the fine art genre he is comfortable with and currently working in, as he is autodidactic – self-taught in fine art. Nelson has relied on books like Alla Prima – Everything I Know About Painting by Richard Schmid, visiting galleries and the occasional video.  Although educated in the field of architecture, Nelson realized that painting and creating fine art is his calling.

Born in Toronto, Nelson holds a Bachelor of Design Honors from York and a Masters of Architecture from U o T.  His eye for design and technical skill is apparent in his urban landscapes, although his venture into fine art started with sketching in graphite and charcoal, attending local portrait and life drawing sessions. Realizing that he had some natural talent, he decided to add colour to his work and invested in some oil painting supplies.  A number of books and videos drew him to painting still life and then proceeded to plein air.

It was his discovery of the joy of outdoor creativity that eventually led him to painting urban landscapes and architecture. Back to his roots and education. It was here that he also switched to acrylics due to their flexibility and speedy dry time.

Nelson’s demonstration was insightful, as he described each step of his process. Although he spends a good deal of time exploring the city, he often uses reference photos of his own and from the internet taken from balconies and rooftops. Once he has selected an appropriate pic he applies a grid (link for a grid app provided below) in order to reproduce his impressionistic version of the urban landscape. Using a red pencil he sketches the buildings, trees and roadways and then applies the colour paying particular attention to values and balance. 

His style is loose but calculated and the result is a landscape that leaves an impression of community in just a few blocks. It is amazing how he makes a few old apartment buildings look so good.

We at DVAC, feel confident Nelson will do well in his artistic endeavors and are hoping he will return and conduct a workshop sometime in the near future. 

You may view more work by Nelson Cheng at:

Instagram:  NLSNCHNG\