The Space Between…

Space Camp graduating class of 2017!

Children have largely not yet developed our grownup habit of doubt. They have big vision, big optimism and big resilience. Children grow into a system that, with the best of intentions, encourages caution – very often with excellent reason.

But, perhaps we grownups should take another look at the space between a child’s vision and boundless optimism and the caution, skepticism and doubt of adulthood.

Perhaps there exists a creative opportunity in that space where magic can ignite, a space where vision combines with ability, helped along by the skills adults have acquired.

Might be there something we’ve been missing?

During our Space Camp, we adults had the opportunity to view the cosmos through the lens of a child’s mind…..a precious lens of unbound creativity, bordering on magic.

Wonder. Full.

To Mars and beyond!

Countdown: six days to blast off!

Classwork from one of our art camps

Countdown has begun to the Ottawa School of Art (Shenkman Centre) Space Camp: “To Mars and beyond” for ages 9 to 12! David will be leading the art program and I have a number of cool space projects up my sleeve.

Each “astronaut trainee” will have a Space Suit (painter’s overalls with individual red band I.D. striping so they know which suit belongs to them, name tag and mission patch). At the end of the day, space suits are returned to their hangers in the Space Lab! Our main projects for the week are: “building” the Canadarm and understanding what it does, building a solar array with gold film on panels of foam core (so that they understand where the energy for power on the International Space Station comes from) and learning what life is like in space: what do astronauts eat? Where does the water come from? What happens if they get sick?

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) very generously sent me a box full of posters (Chris Hadfield, Julie Payette, Robert Thirsk…), mission stickers and instructor’s manuals for helping children understand some of the experiments, like how to grow food, etc.
The format for the week is space-related art in the morning and in the afternoon they also get to work in the Space Lab!

My hope is to help accelerate the formation of Canadian seedlings for the space effort. I’m all in – we need to expand our understanding of our universe. The time frame involved can be difficult to wrap our heads around, but I’m convinced that a healthy portion of human effort wishes and is designed just for this. I spent some time working at the CSA – I miss it all and the amazing people there!

Here’s my new generation space shuttle “OSA-1 (note the gold cockpit canopy!), still a work in progress (fuel and rocket-booster exhaust cowlings still to be painted black).

For details of the Ottawa School of Art’s March Break Program visit

Kicking-off Fall Art Programs!

join me this Saturday for Painting Demonstrations and Open House at the Ottawa School of Art.

Join me this Saturday for Painting Demonstrations at the Ottawa School of Art.

The Ottawa School of Art (35 George St.) will be opening its doors to the public on September 10th from 12pm to 4pm for an Open House! There will be information, live demos and workshops in a variety of artistic fields, showcasing what you could expect from classes at the OSA.

I’ll be demonstrating paint techniques, answering questions and I’ll be sure to bring along some examples of my recent art projects too. I’ll be doing three demonstrations:

12:30 –  Portrait painting with watercolour

01:30 –  Landscape painting with acrylics

03:00 –  Still life painting with oils

In addition to teaching at the OSA, this fall France and I are running six Saturday “Break-a-Brush” painting workshops in the central-east end. Should you be considering some art endeavours, check out the full range of sessions available on my website.

I’m always keen to hear about you and your art interests as well as discussing the wide variety of courses and workshops on offer throughout the region. Whether or not you’re considering an art course or workshop, I’d love to see you on Saturday.

Drop by and Break-a-Brush!

Photo courtesy Greg Abraszko

Photo courtesy Greg Abraszko

Slow to Judge

One that almost bit the dust...

One that almost bit the dust…

You won’t be surprised when I tell you that towards the end of term, I have a pretty big pile of demos waiting to be “dispositioned”, that is: either 1) keep, 2) rework or 3) “file under circular”. Whenever I demonstrate something in class, into the pile it goes, for a while.

At the end of the teaching day, I become a bit “art blind” – I can’t see what’s pleasing and what’s not. That’s why it’s good to be “slow to judge”.

Time adds clarity – here are a few recent pieces I was about to toss, but am glad I kept:

David & France’s Spring Break Art Camp at the Shenkman Centre


Children’s camps!

Children’s camps! Why do we love to participate in them??? Because, quite simply, we probably have more fun than the campers do!

When school and fun go hand-in-hand, much is learned of course, however more importantly, curiosity develops into a powerful tool for continued education.

We aim to create new memories and expand horizons. Building confidence is the order of the day, so that children may have an increased chance of delving further into their world, independently, when the “teacher” is not nearby.

Our Spring Break Camp for for 9 to 12 year olds – “The Magic of Colour” – runs with the Ottawa School of Art at the Shenkman Centre from the 14th to 18th March.

Further details and book on-line at the OSA website:

Let your whole family know!