Tag Archives: art with kids

Georgia O’Keeffe – Adult Class Inspiration

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.”

– Georgia O’Keeffe

Our new adult class began with inspiration from the mother of American Modernism, Georgia O’Keeffe. She was born on November 15, 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The second of seven children she grew up on a dairy farm. Georgia received art lessons at home and her abilities were quickly recognised and encouraged by teachers.

O’Keeffe is well known for her large stylized paintings of flowers, cityscapes and the landscapes of New Mexico. She became most famous for her large, up-close paintings of flowers. She said that everyone loves flowers but few take the time to really see them.

She began her career in New York City with a series of abstract charcoal drawings. O’Keeffe mailed some of these drawings to photographer Alfred Stieglitz who immediately began promoting her work. In 1916 he offered her a one-person exhibition of her work.  The two fell in love and were married in 1924.  They lived and worked together in New York City and Lake George. Three years after Stieglitz died, Georgia O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico, whose stunning vistas and stark landscape configurations inspired her work. She died in 1986 at the age of 98 and her popularity continues to grow.

Everyone did such a great job in our class and were really fearless working with watercolours and acrylic paint.

Would you like to join us? There are three classes in this session left that will be inspired by Rex Ray, The Group of Seven, and Steve Driscoll. Email artinactiontoronto@gmail.com to learn more.

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Wolf Kahn – Abstract Expressionist

“Keep the childlike vision and remain true to your ideas.”

-Wolf Kahn

Wolf Kahn was born on October 4th, 1927 in Germany.  He is a German-born American painter who began drawing at the age of four.   At the age of twelve, in 1940 he moved to New York City.

He attended the High School of Music and Art and studied under the abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann at the Hans Hofmann School.  He became Hofmann’s studio assistant.

Wolf Kahn is known for his work in pastels and oil paint.  He combines realism landscapes with Colour Field Theory.

It is said that Kahn is an artist “who embodies the synthesis of his modern abstract training with Hans Hofmann, with the palette of Matisse, Rothko’s sweeping bands of color, and the atmospheric qualities of American Impressionism. It is precisely this fusion of color, spontaneity and representation that has produced such a rich and expressive body of work.”

He has travelled extensively, painting the landscapes of Egypt, Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Kenya, Maine, Mexico and New Mexico.

He currently lives in New York City and during the summer and autumn, he lives on a hillside farm in Vermont.

Students helped celebrate Kahn’s 90th birthday using soft pastels and acrylic paint to make their creations.

Would you like to learn more about what Art in Action can do? Contact us at artinactiontoronto (at) gmail.com to learn how to bring us to your school or next event.

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Fresh Fall Start – Group of Seven


“It’s probably hard for anyone looking at my landscapes today to realize that I was once regarded as a rebel, a dangerous influence; that I’ve been told I was on the verge of insanity, that my painting was nothing but meaningless daubs. Lawren Harris, the man most responsible for drawing the Group of Seven together, was accused of something perilously close to treason – his paintings, said his severest critics, were discouraging immigration.”- A. Y. Jackson

We started our Fall session at Kingsway College School and were inspired by the fall season and the art of the Group of Seven. It is hard today to understand how revolutionary the style of the Group of Seven was at the time they created their artworks.

Students worked hard using liquid watercolour, acrylic paint and many different techniques to create their fall landscapes. They did an amazing job!

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Lake Landscapes inspired by Jamie MacLean

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 “I want the viewer to look – relate and then look again.”

-Jamie MacLean

Jamie MacLean is 62 years old and from Toronto.  He started painting in 2003 after a 30 year career as an engineer, plant manager and consultant.

He decided to develop his painting career after a seminar series that challenged his dreams of becoming a professional artist.

His oil landscapes are about capturing the emotional energy and enjoyment from being outside.  He connects with the viewer through the use of strong colours and shadows.  His art conveys his enjoyment and awe of the rugged outdoors by using motifs such as crashing waves, luminescent birches, mossy rocks, and wind-whipped leaves.

Our senior class at Kingsway College used a variety of acrylic paints and blending techniques to create their lake inspired art.

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Frida Kahlo inspired Hummingbirds

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One of Mexico’s greatest artists, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico.   Frida Kahlo began painting after she was severely injured in a bus accident in 1925.

Frida Kahlo is best known for her surrealist imagery and her self-portraits that express the pain, loss and tragedy in her life. Frida’s art dramatises the pain in her life while cultivating an image as a bold survivor.

Frida Kahlo loved pets which is evident in her self-portraits with monkeys, birds, cats and other animals.

Students were inspired by her painting, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. They used collage, oil pastels, watercolours and acrylic paint to create their paintings.

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Spring Tulips Inspired by Judith Leyster

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Judith Leyster was born on July 28 in 1609.  She is one of the few female artists of the seventeenth century to have emerged from obscurity. Among her known works are portraits, genre paintings, and still lifes common in the Dutch Baroque period.  She is best known for her happy scenes of couples, families, and Dutch social life, with her subjects singing, dancing, and enjoying themselves.

In the late 1630’s, a strange phenomenon occurred in the Netherlands, which had been brewing for a number of years.   It became known as Tulpenwoede (tulip madness) which saw the price of tulip bulbs rocketing.  In some cases, one of these bulbs was worth the cost of a large Amsterdam house.  Many people, who watched the rising value of the tulip bulb, wanted part of the action.  People used their life savings and other assets were cashed in to get money to invest in these bulbs, all in the belief and expectation that the price of tulip bulbs would continue to rise and they would suddenly become rich. Alas, by the end of February 1637 the price of a tulip bulb had crashed and many people lost their savings.

However the rising value of the tulip bulb came as a boon to floral artists.  If people could not afford the actual tulips for their gardens or pots the next best thing was to have a painting of them and even better still would be to have a book full of beautiful depictions of different tulips.   Judith Leyster realised that the public’s love of tulips could be advantageous for her and she produced her own book of tulips.

Students used palette knives and acrylic paint to create their dramatic background. Next a variety of techniques were used to paint their tulips. Our classrooms were filled with visions of spring!

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Inspired by Tim Gagnon

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“I find nature to be the most beautiful thing in the world. My style is defined by my mood. I can paint flowing clean landscapes, if that is how I interpret it, or, I may paint think, slashed paintings, that have emotion and energy.” – Tim Gagnon

Tim Gagnon is an award winning, internationally collected, published artist from Maine. Tim Gagnon was born and grew up in a small town of Washburn in July, 1980. As a young boy his mother would draw pictures and tell Tim stories to go with the drawings. As he grew older he began to enjoy drawing on his own and would draw every day; sometimes cartoons and animals. For Tim, drawing was a way to express emotions in a nonverbal way.

Tim Gagnon paints full time and today he’s a professional artist having sold of 1,000 paintings and licensed prints of work in more than 30 countries. He also teaches online art courses and travels around the world teaching seminars.

Students used liquid watercolours to create their sunset skies and painted the barn and landscape using a variety of acrylic paints.

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