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Books for Artists to Learn and be Inspired by…

I wanted to share a few of my favourite books that explain the elements of art and design in an easy to understand way.

The first one is by Molly Bang, Picture This: How Pictures WorkMs. Bang found that after writing, illustrating and publishing many books she struggled with the basic knowledge of how pictures worked, as in how basic principles of picture structure determine our emotional response—our feeling about a picture. This is the only book she has written for adults but it is very appropriate for children as well.

She uses the iconic tale of Little Red Riding Hood to show how the artist can create tension and build the story from mundane to having an element of fear. Artists of all levels can use what they learn to make their pictures more emotionally powerful.

A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn’t Make it Good by Mark Gonyea is an absolute gem of a book that introduces the concepts of design in an approachable way.

Using a sense of humour and simple shapes, lines and many examples he illustrates why designs work and why they don’t and how we can learn to make them better.

I turn to these books often and they are a great way to help artists of any age learn more about design. Happy reading!



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Spring Session Registration

The Spring session registration is now open for the following schools:

Swansea Public School:

Monday at lunch – Mar 26 – May 28

Wednesday at lunch – Mar 28 – May 16

Friday at lunch – Apr 6 – May 25


Tuesdays at lunch – Mar 27 – May 15

Humber Valley Village:

Wednesday after school – Mar 28 – May 16

Park Lawn:

Thursday after school – Mar 29 – May 17

Lambton Kingsway:

Monday after school – Mar 26 – May 28

John English:

Monday at lunch – Mar 26 – May 28

Friday at lunch – Apr 6 – May 25

Register early to avoid disappointment!

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Winter 2018 Newsletter

Art in Action sends out a newsletter periodically throughout the year letting subscribers know what we have been up to in our classes and other news. Check out our latest!

Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about classes and events.

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Inspired by Lawren Harris

 “We were told, quite seriously, that there never would be a Canadian art because we had no art tradition.”

-Lawren Harris

Students were inspired by the work of Canadian painter, Lawren Harris and created their own winter landscapes. They used watercolour techniques as well as acrylic paint and fan brushes to paint their trees.

Lawren Harris was born in Brantford, Ontario on October 23, 1885. He is best known as a member of the Group of Seven who pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style.

He attended Central Technical School and St. Andrew’s College to study art. From age 19-23 he studied in Berlin.

In 1910 he met J.E.H. MacDonald, and in 1911 they formed the Group of Seven. Harris financed the construction of a studio building in Toronto which would provide fellow artists with cheap or free space where they could live and work.

His landscape paintings were rich in colour and inspired by Toronto, the Georgian Bay and Algoma. He also painted the Canadian Rockies.  During the 1920’s his work became more abstract, especially his stark landscapes of the Canadian Arctic.

He became so popular that he stopped signing and dating his work so that people would judge his works on their own merit and not by the artist.

He died in Vancouver in 1970.

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Group of Seven Art Class at Blessed Sacrament!



Art in Action is really excited to be offering a Group of Seven Art Class at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School . REGISTER NOW space is limited.

Join us Tuesday’s after-school to create projects inspired by artists from the Group of Seven. Students will learn about the life and works of Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, and many others including Emily Carr who is closely associated with the group. Students will have the tactile experience of working with a variety of art materials including: watercolours, acrylics, collage materials, oil pastels, chalk pastels, spray techniques and more.

  • Grades 1 – 6: Tuesday’s (Dec 5, Dec 12, Dec 19, Jan 9, Jan 16, Jan 23, Jan 30 and Feb 6)
  • After-school from 3:00-4:00
  • $135.00 for 8 weeks

Any questions about our programming? Please email us at

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Swansea Craft Sale 2017 – Join Us!!!


Join us this Saturday, November 18th at the Swansea Craft Sale! This amazing sale is at The Swansea Community Centre located at 207 Windermere Avenue.  Enter through the main doors of  the community centre at 15 Waller Avenue.

Ticket sales benefit the Swansea Family in Need Holiday Fund.

Join Art in Action in the Bell Hall to make your own holiday creation, free! Art in Action has been a sponsor of this event for the past 4 years and it never fails to put us in the holiday mood. Please stop by and say hi….

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How To Foster More Creativity in Your Children

Background artwork of quote from the artist Amira Rahim

Many parents hold the false belief that some children are born inherently creative and others just don’t have it. Everyone has the ability to be creative. Creativity is a muscle that needs to be used and flexed in order to grow strong and confident.

Having a creative outlook can improve all areas of a person’s life. From how to solve a math problem to banishing boredom to overcoming a difficulty in a personal relationship, creativity is a skill that can transform the outcome of any issue.

Using creativity as a skill allows children to become more flexible and better at solving problems.

How can parents foster more of it?

Have a dedicated area in your home for art supplies. Just a plastic bin or drawer is all you need. Have cheap drawing paper (copy paper), inexpensive watercolour paper, markers, crayons, oil pastels, soft pastels, watercolour paint, craft acrylic paint, brushes, glue, old magazines, etc…in the bin for easy access.

Let kids create whatever they want without having a judgement on the outcome! Art making is processed based meaning that it is discovered through creating and not by focussing on the end product. Let kids have fun exploring and discovering as they go.  Making art spurns curiosity,  if I make this line like this and put this colour here what happens next?

Join in on the fun and make your own art along with them. Paint a picture together. Let them make a brush stroke and then you make one, see where it leads naturally.

Cover a wall with their creations and congratulate yourself on helping them flex their creative muscles and watch them grow stronger each day.

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