Different Strokes for Different Folks

photo (5)Returning from participating in Toronto’s Artist Project Art Fair I’ve had time to think about the whole experience.

Now living in rural Nova Scotia my nervous system is no longer set up for fast paced city life. Even after being a veteran of NYC for 16 years. It was fascinating to be part of this Art Fair in downtown Toronto. Having had a bustling hat business in NYC, returning to a marketplace with a different product (my paintings) was a bit of a deja vu. Only this time I was way more invested in my product.

The feedback I got was priceless. Having been for most of my painting life a figurative painter, I had entered, for me, a new realm while living in Nova Scotia ‘The Landscape’. What I found at this Art Fair is that what  most people were really connecting to was my figurative work. Yes, many liked the landscapes. But it was the figurative work they were really dialoguing with. While intending to re-enter figurative painting for a long time, I took this as a thumbs up.

Returning home to my students wanting to know what had happened – I had to explain what goes on in a marketplace. The different levels of quality of work at this show which seemed for some of my students like opening a can of worms or even worse – informing them that there really isn’t a Santa Claus.

I had to explain to them that there is commercial art and fine art and there usually is a clear distinction between the two. The commercial being derivative of the trend of the moment and the fine art being a reflection of one’s inner life. And yes, sometimes it is a bit blurry between the two. But usually there is a distinction.

Andy Warhol capitalized on the whole art market commercialization and used the commercial aspects of the market to drive his work. Interesting. Informing my students that there are different qualities of painting and comparing Beethoven to pop elevator music to drive home my point, one student blurted out ‘Yes, but we need elevator music!’ To which I thought ‘Well, yes, I guess not everyone likes Beethoven. But isn’t that why we go to school to learn? To develop our taste and knowledge so that we can appreciate the better stuff, so that we can appreciate Beethoven?’

If I was a gourmet cooking teacher I think my hope for my students would be to cook up the best dishes they possibly could with the knowledge I gave them as cooking is really an art. If my students cooked up a better hamburger than McDonalds because of potential financial profit I guess I would be happy for them if this made them truly happy.

But to tell you the truth this wasn’t my initial intention for passing on knowledge. Not so that my students can make the great commercial hamburger. I’m passing the knowledge on so that they can hopefully invent and create the most flavourful dishes ever. And if setting high standards means that you’re a snob, then I aspire to being a snob.


NEW Painting workshops in Toronto
Please contact if interested
Dates and location are to be arranged in October 2015

Ongoing Painting Classes in Halifax
Register NOW for Spring Classes

Every Sunday 1-4pm
989 Young Avenue
The Woman’s Council Building

New and returning students welcome!
Class is available for Beginning to Advanced Levels

Package of 8 Classes: $280.00

To register contact Lynda at:

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *