Workshop for COAA in Orillia

As with any firsts, I had no idea what to expect from the workshop on contemporary landscape painting in acrylic I had agreed to offer for the Central Ontario Arts Association at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia this past weekend.

Secretly, I hoped it'd be worthwhile because it had proven difficult to free up the time.  Not only did I have to leave the kids with my most loving and beautiful partner, whose own schedule is packed these days, but I had to push the opening reception of my show in Hamilton to the less ideal Thursday evening before the Supercrawl, not to mention miss out on hundreds of opportunities to interact with my people.

But my credo (or is it a dare to myself?) as an artist has always been, "Jump and the net will appear," and happily I tumbled into a wonderfully productive time, replete with the most generous souls, as artists tend to be.

Geneva Park was a discovery.  It's a sprawling conference centre with a nice camp feel and, by all looks, tonnes of history.  The food is scrumptious and shimmering Lake Couchiching, set behind old oak and evergreens, is special.

On the Saturday evening, a few dozen attendees put on a talent show that included some decent drag and had me in stitches.

In a time when university art schools no longer offer the traditional skills, retreats of these sorts, where artists get the chance to share their knowledge and experiences, seem vital to me.  I hope they can carry on well into the future.

I need to thank everyone who helped make the experience possible: Aitana of course, the Focus Gallery guys for being understanding, Carolyn Sharpe for approaching me initially and proposing me for the gig, and Lakshman, Shanta, and the rest of the exec at the COAA for taking a chance on a youngster like me.

On Saturday, we had a walkabout to see the work that was being made in each of the different classes.  Here are a few snaps I took.



  1. It was such a pleasure to meet you and to have you as an instructor at Geneva Park. Thanks for accommodating us, and I hope we will see you again.

  2. Thanks Gail, it was wonderful working with you.


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