(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:  www.nelsoncheng.ca

Instagram:  NLSNCHNG http://www.griddrawingtool.com\

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Joyce Fournier is an internationally collected Painter and Sculptor who lives and works in Toronto, Canada.  Her new and latest body of work is inspired by a long time fascination with Abstract Expressionism (particularly the works of Franz Kline) and the freedom she experiences when painting from within.  The paintings are gestural in nature, emoting a spontaneity and freedom.   

As a former student of the Academy of Realist Art, Joyce started her fine art career painting landscapes and portraiture in oil, charcoal and graphite.  However, she explained that she became bored with the process and mediums and started to experiment with abstract expressionism.

On this evening, Joyce demonstrated her process, which is basically spontaneous application of acrylic paint and medium on a canvas.

She stressed that the most important bit of advice she can give is to not overthink anything. Do not plan.  Spontaneity is key!

Starting with a fresh canvas, she applies heavy gesso with a trowel, being sure to create plenty of texture. Once dry, the fun begins.

Joyce admitted that most galleries do not care for the colour gold in paintings, however, she usually includes gold, particularly as part of her under painting process. She also likes to use white, black and often, red. 

Her choice of brushes are not specific although she recommends using larger brushes, particularly when using a large canvas and painting trowels/knives for making lines and marks. Drips are a favourite in contrasting, bold colour as are lines using various instruments like paint pushers and silicone colour scrapers and trowels.

Joyce has made a drastic leap in art genres and it appears she is enjoying herself completely.

To view more of her work and read her impressive CV, visit


(Submitted by Brent Arlitt)

On December 7, members were treated to an entertaining presentation on
the use of graphite powder and gilding by Dalia Elcharbini.
Dalia, who works in graphic arts, shared her results of creating
dramatic art pieces using graphite powder and gold leaf. (the REAL
thing!) She showed two of her completed pictures, about 30” x 40”,
and demonstrated on a third. All pictures are done on a heavy
illustration paper and featured a face that was drawn with graphite
powder and then highlighted with solid gold leaf.
Dalia who is influenced by Salvador Dali includes symbolism in her
drawings. She does not “duplicate life” and her faces come from
imagination and experience.

To find out more about Dalia you can visit:




(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Abstracting the Figure in Landscape

Andrew Sookrah is an experienced illustrator and designer, having spent the first part of his career in the advertising business. But his passion for fine art and painting and ability as an experienced instructor shone through on this Friday evening.

“Sookrah is a raw colourist whose free brushwork is confident and powerful. His strengths can be seen in his strong sense of design, exquisite use of effective composition, confident presentation of bold colours… and in his figurative and portraiture work, his capturing the essence of the human spirit.” Ref. www.sookrah.ca

Andrew maintains that all painting is abstraction in varying degrees.  He suggests that when one paints, no matter the subject, it is an abstraction of a form, shape and colour.

Andrew spent most of the evening demonstrating Abstracting the Figure in Landscape, where he started with an interesting reference photo and using a canvas which had been prepared with a loose sketch of a figure in a boat, and using paints based on value rather than colour, produced a remarkable semi-abstract painting.

A video of the full demonstration can be viewed on the DVAC Facebook page in the VIDEO section.


You may find out more about Andrew Cheddie Sookrah, his work and workshops at





(Submitted by Brent Arlitt)

Nami Ueno presented an absolutely delightful demonstration of her unique artwork on Friday November 23. Her several artworks showed the precise yet very creative dreamy quality of her art pieces – that vary from spiritual to whimsical and many combinations in between that illustrate the depth of feeling Nami puts into her artistry, that is rich in form and colour. She states that ” Colours and Shapes are my inspiration”. This she combines with her varied experiences and extensive art education in Japan since she was 15 years old, which included her graduation from Kyoto University in Art and Design. Many of the art works shown included a rich depth of story line. Many included Iede, a small black bird who leaves home to explore the world, and to find his true self. A story line is often included in a series of paintings she produces. The depth of story included in many of the paintings prompted several DVAC members to encourage Nami to write the beautiful stories that are backgrounds to her work.

Nami’s demonstration started with a typical varied blue background (She sometimes uses up to 5 different blue colours in one painting) with a subtly varied texture. She often spends a long time at this stage where she lets the canvas stimulate her imagination and tells her what shapes and colours should be included, as she proceeds. She then used a variety of techniques to add the background and to pick out the shapes that will be in the final painting. She often uses glazes, such as Prussian blue, to allow some of the shapes to recede. The attached photos show the variety and depth of her works.

Nami also provided 2 handouts to attendees that explained a bit of her creative methods and the importance of practicing self compassion to allow ideas to proceed from the depth of your being as an artist.

Anyone who wants to be thoroughly enchanted should look on her website: www.artbynami.com

Instagram: @uenonami (spiritual Art)

@nami_dreamartist (Dreamy Art)

Nami_art_techniques (Flowers and drawings)


(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

It was really lovely to spend the evening with the enthusiastic DVAC Plein Air group hosted by committee chair Wally Lush.

The Don Valley Art Club is a dynamic club with activities for just about every art interest, however Plein Air seems to be making a renaissance and this group heads out to pre-arranged locations more than a dozen times per year, weather permitting.

The evening commenced with introductions and explanation of how the group works by Wally and then a number of members showing some of their finished plein air paintings. They discussed their work and what was involved in the process. It seems that many paintings are not finished on the spot and often photos are taken of the scene in order to capture the current light and finished in the studio.

It became apparent that weather is a very important factor in combining art and the outdoors. Capturing the light is probably most important explained Georgia Bowen. Selecting just the right subject would be another important issue as one can become distracted by your surroundings. A remedy for this is the use of a view finder which helps one focus on a specific subject.

Georgia Bowen and Brent Arlitt demonstrated the types of easels they use and the pros and cons of each.  However, it would appear there are many options from which to choose as well as price points.

The idea of plein air is attractive to many landscape artists but they hesitate because they don’t know where to start. The following is a basic list of some standard plein air equipment: collapsible easel, lightweight paint box and tripod, folding stool, small clamp-on umbrella, paints, brushes, palette knife, solvent, water and painting medium (dependent on medium used), wet-panel carrier, paper towel or rags, canvas/panels/paper.

The following is a link to a blog by Charley Parker about plein air equipment:


While plein air seems cumbersome to studio painters, this type of painting reconnects a person with the spirit and energy of nature and with the opportunity to become completely engaged with natural landscape, not to mention the opportunity to simply enjoy the outdoors. For those who are hesitant, perhaps a good way to start is to simply take a sketch book and pencils and go from there. If the experience is rewarding, purchasing more equipment will ensue.

The following is a link to a blog written by Timothy M. Joe that may help getting started:















(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)
DVAC was lucky to find Darlene Kulig to fill a cancellation, as it was an insightful evening with a very talented artist.
Darlene Kulig was awarded the CSEA/Berol Prismacolour National Art Scholarship awarded to six Canadian students entering Fine Arts based on outstanding potential in visual arts.
Graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design she quickly moved into a commercial setting and within four years of graduating was running her own successful design studio.
Darlene began painting full time ten years ago. Her work utilizes synthesis or stylization – an approach that came into Eurocentric art from Japan in the mid 1800’s. Many of Canada’s great landscape painters (Lawren Harris being an obvious example) have done this. Darlene makes her approach her own by using strong (high key) colour and uniting smaller shapes into larger more powerful areas by controlling her values. Her love of the beauty available in the Canadian landscape is clear. What is especially impressive is that she has developed a unique very personal approach that “feels” Canadian. (Kulig website)
She describes her work as semi-abstracted spirited landscapes.
From her artist statement: “The designer in me loves simple shape and bold colour while the painter in me explores light, rhythm and personal connection. I continue to play with a careful balance between my intellectual and intuitive self.”
We were very fortunate to have Darlene share a few of her secrets to creating such striking landscapes:
1. Work with negative space. Don’t paint things, paint the difference between things.
2. Pay attention to the elements of design: colour, line, shape, value and intensity
3. Don’t worry so much about the colours you use, just as long as the values are right
4. Review your work checking things like: unity, harmony, balance, repetition and transition.
Darlene shared her biggest secret as to how she attains that great distinction between the shapes in her paintings.
She starts with a sienna underpainting. She then uses a pastel stick (green) to create the lines between her shapes. After painting the shapes she erases the chalk lines. The result is an equal, balanced outline between the shapes in her landscapes. The result both draws the entire painting together with the sienna line, but distinguishes the shapes. A remarkable, signature style Darlene has developed.
Currently, Darlene is focusing her creative efforts full time on developing a recognhttps://www.facebook.com/Kuligart/izable, signature Kulig Canadian landscape as well as traveling with an eye for her next painting series. A member of the Etobicoke Art Group and Neilson Park Creative Centre where she studies and paints, you can find her work in galleries across Canada and the United States as well as private collections around the world.
You may see more work by Darlene Kulig at:

(Submitted by Wally Lush)

3 brave artists met at High Park for a chilly morning of painting the rapidly fading colours. The light was great, the locale was not too busy and our hands were cold! It was a good outing though. Last one of the season. See you next year.


(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Record attendance of approx. 65 people for the September 28th Friday Night Club, all to see the much-anticipated presentation by world-renowned, award-winning watercolourist David McEown and he did not disappoint.

David attended OCAD and has focused his artistic efforts painting in watercolour for the past 25 years. His paintings are represented in collections worldwide and he is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour which, in 2005 and this year, 2018, awarded him the prestigious A.J. Casson Medal. David now spends most of his time in B.C. but also has a home in Richmond Hill where he grew up. As his time is stretched between traveling, painting, workshops and shows we were very lucky to squeeze a few hours out of his very busy schedule.

After a brief introduction, David launched the evening narrating his very entertaining digital show Water and Light: an Artist’s Journey from The North Pole to Antarctica. The show merges painting, video and photography inspired from his travels in the Great Bear Rainforest, Africa, Antarctica and the North Pole. The audience was entirely enthralled by his humorous anecdotes about encounters with a variety of creatures (depending upon his location) that include polar bears, emperor penguins and lions. “The entire presentation was woven together with reflections about the environment and the inner creative process of painting with watercolour.” His enthusiasm for the medium and his passion for the environment made his demonstration about painting an aurora borealis very special, and he did it all within 20 minutes.

Some of the materials used were a 1” wolf hair Chinese brush, a 4” paint brush, 140lb. cold press watercolour paper. The easel he used is unique for plein air and allows for flexibility and stability, although he uses something a little sturdier depending upon where he is. Plein air in the Arctic and Antarctic is much more extreme than Centre Island. David likes to paint wet on wet, so he coated his paper a few times with water and adjusted the clips to allow for stretching. He suggested that particularly for skies, he likes to start with a light wash of violet. David uses a paint scraper available at any hardware store that allows him to achieve hard lines and definition.

When not painting penguins in the Antarctic or filming grizzlies in Alaska, David can be found in Pacific Spirit Park close to his home in Vancouver.
You can see the vast array of his work and learn about his journeys at his website www.davidmceown.com


David painting on location



(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

Loree Ovens has an extensive background in printmaking in a variety of formats: etching, lino block, collagraphy and silkscreen that is influenced by textile design, having received an arts diploma from Sheridan in fabrics. She subsequently attained her BFA from OCADU in printmaking. She specializes in intaglio techniques, especially that of copper etching, aquatint, drypoint and collagraphy.

Collagraphy is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate. The plate can be intaglio-inked, inked with a roller or paintbrush or some combination thereof. Ink or pigment is applied to the resulting collage and the board is used to print onto paper or another material using either a printing press or various hand tools. The resulting print is termed a collagraph. Substances such as carborundum, acrylic texture mediums, sandpapers, textiles, bubble wrap, string or other fibres, cut card, leaves and grass can all be used in creating the collagraphy plate. In some instances, leaves can be used as a source of pigment by rubbing them onto the surface of the plate. Different tonal effects and vibrant colours can be achieved with the technique due to the depth of relief and differential inking that results from the collagraphy plate’s highly textured surface.

Collagraphy is a very open printmaking method. The ink may be applied to the upper surfaces of the plate with a brayer for a relief print, or ink may be applied to the entire board and then removed from the upper surfaces but remain in the spaces between objects, resulting in an intaglio print. A combination of both intaglio and relief methods may also be employed. A printing press may or may not be used. (Wikipedia)

Loree used an aluminium plate dry point scratched a pattern into the plate. She subsequently printed then applied different colours, using an oil-based ink (oil doesn’t dry too quickly), to the same plate, producing an attractive, simple print that was remarkably lovely.

As DVAC has a very active and talented printmaking group, the demonstration Loree gave was popular, but it resonated especially with those not currently practising. The Monday Print Making Group may increase in attendance as a result of this demo.

Loree’s work can be viewed on her website at www.loree.ovens.com
Loree is represented by David Kaye Gallery at www.davidkayegallery.com
She also conducts workshops at Open Studio www.openstudio.ca,
Articulations drypoint AGO www.ago.ca and The Japanese Paper Place www.japanesepaperplace.com