Our Facilitators/Guest Artists

Kelly Thorarinson

Kelly Thorarinson is a social worker and artist living in Toronto. Kelly writes and paints, working with acrylics, watercolours and mixed media. Kelly often integrates art into her clinical practice and group facilitation work. Kelly believes art can be done by everybody and the great internal value of creative expression. To learn more about Kelly visit her website www.kellythorarinson.ca.

Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall is an artist, arts facilitator and spiritual activist living in the Toronto area. Sarah has been the lead facilitator for ART for Cancer Foundation workshops since 2011. A multi talented artist, Sarah describes her life’s work as “to be a faithful witness to what it means to be human, to teach something of the skill of falling in love with one’s life, and to start a revolution through art, story and dance.” To learn more about Sarah visit her website www.thealchemyofbeing.com.

David Allen

David ran a professional studio for over 30 years and has photographed just about everything, from offshore oil rigs to corporate executives to gold mines. He has taken photographs coast to coast to coast for many decorating magazines and annual reports. In the 80’s he was editorially written up as the ‘Kodachrome Commando”. David has taught photography through Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation as well as Art Works Art School. David has lived in Bloor West Village since 1983, and been a year round hiker and explorer of High Park ever since. He has always been fascinated by the visual transformations brought about by the extremes of temperature and seasonal changes in High Park, and began shooting the park in 2005. To learn more about David visit his website www.highparkphotos.ca

Gloria Michaels

Gloria Michaels is basically a self-taught painter, drawing, painting and teaching for a great many years.  “I think I have been drawing pictures for most of my life.  I remember as a small child sitting and exploring and drawing faces, trying to capture the spirit and essence of the image.  I started painting in oils in my teens and believe I achieved some success in that particular medium, at least I was happy with the outcome.” Gloria has over 30 years of experience teaching children and adults to enjoy and explore the many ways of looking at the world around us and expressing ourselves with the use of all available artistic mediums and materials, watercolour, acrylic, oils, graphite, pastels, etc.  “I have always taught my students that the only person they have to please is themselves.  It’s only a piece of paper, canvas, etc.  Don’t get discouraged, no one is going to judge you – if you’re not happy with it, simply toss it and start again.  We seem to be our own worst critics.  Often I have looked at a student’s work that they aren’t particularly happy with and seen beauty, creativity, expressive colour and vibrant emotion.  Confidence is key and we only need to feel successful to achieve confidence.” To learn more about Gloria visit her website www.gloriamichaelsartist.com

Lauren McKinley Renzetti

Since 1986, Lauren has been a practising artist, graphic and set designer and teacher. Lauren is interested in everything so her subject matter in paint, collage and print is varied and ever changing. Lauren classifies herself as an Abstract Landscape Maximalist.  Her work is textural, varied and full often mapping out the world she observes. Lauren has shown her work all over Ontario, Bulgaria, New York and has work in several collections including the TDSB and is a featured artist in the online art auction called Art Bomb. She received a combined honours BA in Fine Art & Theatre Design from McMaster University. Lauren has taught at Georgian College, McMaster University, Ryerson University, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. For the past six years Lauren held the position of Assistant Director at Art Works Art School, developing curriculum and the Volunteer Mentoring Program. Throughout her life, art making and education have played equal parts to her daily living. Moments of “Eureka” come from her daily life with her family and the students she teaches. The sense of wonder when something uncertain develops into something truly great is more than satisfying. Lauren feels strongly in the inherent wellbeing of a person is definitely fostered in daily making and creativity, her mother’s long battle with cancer is proof of that. Lauren currently teaches adults at the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as all ages at Art Works Art School in Printmaking, Abstract Painting, Sculpture and Mixed Media. Since 2006 Lauren has been the Artist-in-Residence at Unicamp of Ontario. Lauren strives to encourage the art maker in everybody. To learn more about Lauren please visit her website www.laurenmckinleyrenzetti.ca

Ernie Christopher Emmanuel

Ernie Christopher Emmanuel (Chris) is a successful artist/ poet/ writer/ speaker.  He is the author of four books in the self-development and inspirational genera and has appeared on TV for his art and poetry.As a young boy, Chris spent countless hours studying doctrines from all over the world. A near death experience changed his life- Nearly drowning in a forgotten well Chris experienced what he calls, “Divine essence” awakening in him, “flooding him with self-sustaining unconditional love.  Awakening to “presence” he devotes himself to developing this awareness within himself and others.  Today he shares his experience in workshops and lectures to inspire and awaken individuals to their inner Divinity. To learn more about Chris visit his website www.cemmanuel.com.

Gina Duque

“My artistic practice emerges from a profound interest in exploring the relationship between internal (psychological) and external (scientific) forms of visualization as they relate to the body. Sourcing of imagery derived from medical imaging devices such as electron and compound light microscopes also serve as a physical foundation for my work. Despite their scientific roots, these works strive to emanate a sense of ethereality and vitality.” Gina Duque is an emerging artist and recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Originally from Cali, Colombia, she immigrated to Canada with her mother at the age of eleven to Walkerton, Ontario. To learn more about Gina, visit her website www.ginaduque.com.


Ingrid Whitaker


Ingrid is a painter, potter, ceramic sculptor and mosaic artist, who has taught art and exhibited in both Canada and Europe. After living and traveling abroad in several countries, including Switzerland, Ingrid recently returned to Canada. Her art is inspired by the traditional buildings, shapes, people and street life found in Europe. Her art is also inspired by her love of nature, with natural forms, trees, leaves and flowers becoming incorporated into both her clay designs and paintings. To see more of her work please visit: http://ingridwhitaker.com.

John Presseault

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John Presseault was born in 1949 in Temiscaming. Quebec. He now resides with his wife and loving partner, Virginia and their three pets in Toronto’s West end. John paints mostly with oils while still producing the occasional acrylic piece. John’s love of nature and the landscape stems from his early childhood excursions in the woods and creeks surrounding his home town. John enjoys working both on-site and in his studio. His style has greatly evolved over the last forty years. He considers himself a realist and he describes his present unique style as a combination of impressionism, pointillism, graphic art and fantasy. His latest works are done with very thick wet into wet paint creating quite textural and rich paintings. John is a graduate in the Fine Art/Drawing and Painting department of the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Ontario. During his studies at the O.C.A.D., John had the opportunity to attend their open studio course for four months in Florence, Italy and where he also was privileged to study under the renowned American painter, Richard Serrin.

Julia Hacker

Julia Hacker was born in Minsk, Belarus. After high school she went to study in the small town of Vitebsk. Being 17 years old and alone in an unfamiliar city, forced her to take a closer look at a typical grey town of Soviet Russian era. When she found out that Mark Chagall was born and worked there, she realized that the surroundings did not create the artist. An artist has to recreate the world around by seeing the beauty and uniqueness in the mundane. In 1990, following the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, Julia left for Canada where currently resides, in the city of Toronto with my family. Today Julia is a full time Toronto based multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of contemporary  mixed mediums, acrylic paint, collage and illustration. Julia’s work can be found in myriad of public and private art collections both in North America and throughout the world. She has been seen in numerous exhibitions throughout North America. Julia holds a Masters in Fashion Design and is also an active member of Federation of Canadian Artists and Elected Member of Society of Canadian Artists. To view more of Julia’s work visit her website artjuliahacker.com

Jyne Greenley

Jyne is a multidisciplinary artist, healer, environmental caregiver and activist . She works in many mediums from wood sculpture, photography, painting and her main medium stone tile art. Her works depict the beauty of the landscape, symbols of creatures and plants. She depicts the beauty and sacredness in the everyday showing the spirit in the mundane and ultimately giving a voice to those that have none. To learn more about Jyne visit her website www.artworksbyjyne.com.

Kathryn Naylor

“Marcel Duchamp is quoted as saying that ‘art is making the invisible, visible’.  One of the goals of my own art is to create stillness from the fleeting moment.” Kathryn Naylor has been living and working in the Junction area for over fifteen years as an illustrator, art instructor, and full-time painter.  After concentrating on watercolour techniques from 1975 to 1995, she rediscovered acrylics and has continued with that medium through the present time. She continues to teach painting technique in both mediums, and has participated in numerous juried shows in Toronto as well as solo and group exhibitions in various galleries in Toronto and other cities. To learn more about Kathryn, visit her website www.kathrynnaylor.com.

Laurie Stein

Laurie has been drawing ever since she could hold a crayon. As a three year old she took that crayon and scribbled her way up the staircase when her family moved to a new home. Laurie graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, now OCADU, in 1985 after receiving her BA in Economics at the University of Western Ontario and graduating with an animation degree from Sheridan College in Oakville. Since then, she has been illustrating freelance for books, magazines, promotion and advertising. She works either in 2 or 3 dimension using a multitude of media, i.e., acrylic paint, oil and chalk pastel, water colour, paper, photoshop and oddly enough- nylon. Her drawings fill many children’s books and her paintings hang in a number of homes across North America. You can see more of Laurie’s work at www.lauriestein.com and also at www.lauriesteinpaintings.com

Linda Dohoo

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Linda, an artist living in the Junction area of Toronto, describes her art style as “Putting the pieces together”. It used to be called “cleaning up the streets of Toronto”, when there was an overabundance  of pieces of scrap metal, pieces of cars, miscellaneous objects and even the occasional discarded cell phone. Finding a crushed rusty music stand was exciting. For several years rectangular canvases were used as the base for all these treasures to be glued onto. But as life changes, so does art.  Circular canvasses are now being used. “I don’t like corners”, she explains. To view more of Linda’s work visit: www.lindadohoo.ca

Lynn Damp

Lynn Damp feels very fortunate to be able to indulge her passion for art. She loves to make art as it is a constant process of learning and discovery, a synergy of intellect and emotion. Her practice typically involves figures, portraits and landscape in oils but she enjoys the challenges of a variety of media.

Margaret Cameron

Margaret Cameron is a visual artist who focuses primarily in the areas of pottery, mosaics, glass work, mixed media, collage, polymer clay, painting and photography.Margaret specializes in facilitating workshops that focus on living mindfulness through the arts. Since 2009, she has led a variety of workshops for many different community groups . Over the years, she has received extensive training in a wide range of artistic modalities and completed her certificate in the Foundations of Expressive Arts from ISIS Canada. Margaret has also studied Art Therapy and Positive Psychology with the Trauma-Informed Practices Institute Learning Center and participated in Music Care Certificate Program with Room 217. To learn more about Margaret please visit her website www.marcamdesigns.com.

Marnie Mancini

I am a practicing artist, photographer, designer, parent, volunteer and teacher.  While formally educated with a BAAID from RYERSON and 2 yrs of my BFA completed at U of S, I have continued to educate myself in art, design, landscaping, photography, psychology and brain science etc. I have taken numerous courses in concert with my interests. These range from photography, portraiture, craft, as well as landscape & abstract painting. Another area of extreme curiosity is brain science/psychology and several courses in brain science-based learning has given me a unique, knowledgeable and mature perspective when dealing with human emotional issues.   Being naturally intuitive, this skill has been honed over the years and has informed my practice and my teaching more than anything else I can think of.  My skills have helped me tremendously when working in various sectors, with a wide array of people and cultures as well as in raising three unique and creative children. I am perennially curious and interested in people, places, things and ideas.  In the past I have had the opportunity to mentor design school students, and recent high school grads in all matters of the arts.  I have also guest lectured at OCADU and Ryerson as a professional designer and volunteered in countless classroom situations from science judge and guest artist to museum “docent”. I have always found the teaching is at least as rewarding for me as it is for my students and I have been told my enthusiasm is contagious. My current focus is more and more on volunteer work in different capacities for various charities including Art for Cancer Foundation, MOCCA, Partners in ART, The Furniture Bank, Chiki Children’s Charities.

Millie Shale


Millie Shale has an Applied Arts Degree, Red River College and a certificate in Human Behaviour from Humber College. A graphic designer who owned her own successful design studio for over twenty-five years, Millie’s passion has always included the arts. Watercolour took a backseat to business until recently when this medium and then encaustic slowly but surely crept to the forefront of her focus. Trying techniques on varying mediums and absorbing what each instructor/individual has to offer has always been her pursuit. Millie’s focus at present is to continue learning, experimenting, giving back and to discover what is possible.

Patricia Tiemann

Patricia Tiemann is an artist and instructor born in San Salvador, El Salvador. She works primarily with mosaic, collage, and acrylic, incorporating her love of colour into her pieces. Patricia owns and operates Mosaic Beach Studio, where she teaches mosaic art and carries a wide variety of mosaic supplies in her retail and online shop. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and four children. Her hobbies include sewing, quilting, and crochet.

Susan Manchester

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Until I was 40 years old I lived in central New York State in a little town, Oneida, New York. I attended the University of New York at Fredonia where I obtained a Masters of English degree. Painting was a dream of mine which I put off for too many years. In 1993 I moved to Canada after marrying the love of my life and it was then that I started to paint. I taught high school English for 30 years total between the U.S. and here (Etobicoke Collegiate) and often brought my art work to class to generate writing assignments. Now that I am retired I have full time to devote to my art work and my own writing. I have two books of poetry: POURING SMALL FIRE (2003) and TO STOP TIME (2014), and one chapbook WATER VOICES (2000). The following statement has never been more true for me: I live for my art! To learn more about Susan watch her short online interview.

Tai Oi Yee

Canadian Chinese brush artist Tai Oi Yee 戴愛兒 was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada in the early 1980s. She first learned Chinese brush painting from the late Master Lai Yuk Hay 黎毓熙 in Hong Kong who was a renowned artist trained by the great masters of Chinese painting, the late Lin Feng Mian and Pan Tian Shou. She was fortunate enough to be accepted as one of Master Lai’s last private students before he passed away. Though the learning journey was cut short by Master Lai’s passing, it has a profound influence on Oi Yee and has enabled her to flourish on her own. Oi Yee sees beauty in simplicity and has developed her own spontaneous minimalist style. Her brush strokes are deft and mature, yet the feel is innocent and playful. Her paintings are all marked with her simplistic fluid spontaneity . She loves to leave ample white space in her Chinese ink wash paintings so as not to distract, as well as to allow room for the viewer’s own imagination. This stems from 莊子 Zhuangzi’s Taoist line of thinking – sometimes not doing anything is action in itself. Oi Yee’s art style is that of “follow the heart” and “go with the natural flow”, which also reflects the way she lives. To learn more about Oi Yee visit her website, www.oystudio.com.

Vera Bobson

Vera Bobson
Vera was born in Germany and emigrated to Canada from the Ukraine in 1948. In 2004, she retired and took her first watercolour class which was titled “Art for the Terrified”. Since then, she has taken many workshops and has studied with some of the best local and international watercolourists. Vera is multi award winning artist, having exhibited her work locally and internationally. In July 2015 she was the featured artist (including cover) in PALETTE, magazine. She is a Signature member of the Toronto Watercolour Society and an elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA), the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC), Society of Canadian Artists (SCA), and the Colour and Form Society (CFS). To view more of Vera’s work visit her website www.verabobson.com

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Global News- Sept 2, 2015