Expressing Canada through Abstraction & Texture

Looking at the empty space. Any painting could be a map…or an ocean voyage with no course….

Dragging tools over a rough surface and anticipating the chaos with wet and slick colours, waiting for the next moment the broken ruler or piece of ripped up cardboard finds an obstacle. Like miniature mountains and ravines and lush forests on canvas. At that moment the direction changes, a bump in the road. But it isn’t just by accident, and painting like this feels like dancing! I rehearse the physical movement of pushing and pulling the paint, then impulsively re-address the fine movements as forms smear and re-organize themselves. It’s a part of the energy I hope people find in my work.

Up until a few years ago my art practice was incredibly private, insular and I couldn’t have been more incorrect about the eventual process I was meant to find. I began volunteering, originally at the food bank. I had the time and found volunteer spots that involved art. A slow start to be sure, and after a year my creativity and thoughts on making art started to change. Drastically.

The opportunities that came from some of those early volunteering sessions surprised me. I found myself working with people new to Canada, people with disabilities, a troupe from the Girl Guides of Canada and many other community groups. My outlook at this point had changed, my work was no longer inside me and just for me. It became about co-understanding, it became about conversations. I was creatively rewarded by this process of exposing myself and by collaborating in workshop settings. I had a multitude of peoples’ creative minds along with mine. My creative process was sharpened, the key to discovering myself and the personal work I wanted to do had acquired the allies it needed. Reciprocally this made me a better facilitator and instructor. Painting with others made me a finer painter and artist.

I’m honoured to be instructing my first class at Artworld at the end of the month. Speaking to the theme of “Expressing Canada” will mean different things to different people, and how do we look at these feelings in the abstract? A myriad of paths, overlapping. Like maps over maps. Memories long remembered while even older ones are being rediscovered. Our childhood summers upon a windy beach or a tired midnight walk home in an ice storm? Personally I’m remembering my Grandma reminding me to keep my hat over my ears. Damn good advice. I imagine I could depict that literally, but how could I express that with colour, love and form? With texture and movement? Let’s figure that out together.

Mark Cope, June 2018


Toller Cranston Birthday

Toller Cranston would turn 69 on April 20, 2018. It is astonishing that more than three years have passed since Toller died in in January, 2015. Not a single day has passed without memory, tribute, recollection, or anecdote.

Unity Pole – Kris Nahrgang

As an Artist, there comes a time where certain moments in our lives are at the top of our list for accomplishments.

The Unity/Story pole which I have recently finished for the Canadian National Exhibition, as one of their first commissions since the 1940’s is truly one of them!

My task was to create a Pole which spoke to uniting of all Canadians as we strive for a better existence for us all in this beautiful country. It was a pleasure to work with the CNE as they allowed me the full freedom as the artist, and Creator of the Pole, to tell the story that I saw for its existence.

I work with images of Indigenous People, and the stories about them that I have learned in my Culture over the years. I have always taken the story of the people who are having the pole created, and transform it into its own story for us all to see as we visit it for many years to come.

I am normally a stone carver, and it is very satisfying work for me. The wood though takes on a whole new feeling as it starts from a living tree, and transforms into a story to be realized by its giving of itself for the world. As I work the tree I can feel its spirit, its changes, and its transformation.  I am truly blessed with this gift.


Kris Nahrgang

The artist


Artworld Fine Art is pleased to have facilitated the commission of the Unity Pole by gallery artist Kris Nahrgang for the Canadian National Exhibition, soon to be permanently erected on the grounds of the CNE. The pole will be on display during the 2017 CNE, August 18-September 4.  Learn more HERE.



Custom Framing

Custom framing can be intimidating. The assumption that it’s going to cost an arm and a leg, and the fear of not getting the design right, all contribute to a ‘custom framing stigma’ of sorts that results in a common anxiety during consultations with clients.

Framing Shadowboxes

Framing Sale: July 2017

Shadowboxes – 25% Off

 3-dimensional objects always present a unique challenge for the framer. Traditionally when we think about shadowbox framing we imagine military medals floating between layers of mat board, or perhaps a jersey in a deep frame behind glass. However, shadowbox framing itself is quite varied and often requires a custom approach that is determined by the object(s) at hand.  The possibilities are very open. If you have an object or series of objects that require a frame deeper than our deepest mouldings, extensions can even be added to accommodate most projects.  So do not fear.  If you have a project in mind (no matter how unusual) let us help find that ideal solution for long term display.

Shadowbox framing is employed when the object being framed is three-dimensional, or a flat object that requires platform mounting to give it a deep, box-like framing treatment.  Whatever it is that you’re considering bringing in, it really comes down to:

  1. Finding the best possible visual layout
  2. Keeping the piece(s) stable within the frame
  3. Achieving 1 & 2 without compromising the preservation of the work.

When done properly shadowboxes should be as sturdy and archival as they should appear beautiful and balanced compositionally.


This all depends on the use of proper materials (ie. acid free mats, foam core, adhesives, UV protection glass) and proper technique along with careful assembly (sewing, floating and mounting). Sure you can go to a big box store and purchase stock size, prefabricated shadowboxes with a hinge on the front. You can work with the limited range of frame sizes and hot glue your valuables down inside. This works for some projects, however if yours holds any monetary or sentimental value I would highly advise against it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve personally dealt with poorly done DIY shadowboxes that have come in for re-framing. It ends up costing far more to re-frame the work, not to mention the damage that can occur to the pieces themselves. So pop by, have a chat and enjoy 25% off all shadowbox framing for the entire month of July at Artworld Fine Art.


David Borochovitz, Conservation Custom Framing Specialist – Artworld Fine Art









Framing Diplomas, Degrees & Certificates

Congratulations!  You’ve graduated, or maybe you’ve recently completed a post-grad certification, and now you’ve got this incredibly important piece of paper sitting around in an envelope in your dresser drawer. Come on people, you’ve worked hard!  You have invested a lot of money and time in your education.  Your diploma or certificate deserves to be preserved and displayed properly.

So what are your options?  As you know, most universities and colleges offer a diploma framing service.  You’ve probably already received an email or brochure along with extensive literature soliciting donations to the institution immediately upon graduation.  They don’t waste any time.  These services usually offer around 6 choices in terms of mouldings, matting and glass.  Unfortunately these choices are pretty limited. They usually offer a variety of old fashioned suede mats and outdated fillets that reflect the school’s colours.  This is tried and true, but certainly not the only way to go about designing your diploma frame.  More importantly framing through the institution upon graduation is not cheap, certainly not for what you’re getting. The average “in-house” diploma framing service usually runs between $126-$200 before taxes and additional fees, and they are always assembled off-site on a mass scale.  Considering the quality of materials used, this isn’t really a great deal.  Custom framing through us ensures the preservation of diploma and a design that fits you. It really comes down to 2 things:


  1. Conservation/Preservation

-What you want: Quality materials (100% acid free mats, conservation corner mounts, various grades of U.V. glass) Paper is delicate, it fades if it is not preserved sufficiently.  If for whatever reason you ever need to take your diploma out of its frame, you can be sure that there will be no fading or discolouration.

-care and attention to detail put into the assembly.  We take our time to get it right.


  1. Having a face to face consultation = the luxury of choice

-You’ve made the decision to frame your diploma.  You might as well have the opportunity to choose exactly how you’d like to display it. We’ll work with you to find the most suitable design to fit your taste.  We’ll find that balance between something unique, and timeless. We have hundreds of quality, solid wood moulding samples on display, that can be matched with a wide range of mats and fillets.  Designed custom to your specifications.

-It’s also nice to have the chance to interact with the people who are going to carry out the work.

Framer’s Tip #1:

Make a photocopy or high quality scan of your diploma or certificate before dropping it off for framing.  If you ever need to send a copy to anyone you’ll have it on file.  You can always request a copy from your institution – but they’ll charge you.


Framer’s Tip #2:

Just frame it already.  The longer it sits around in your room the more likely it is to get creased or misplaced. If you happen to lose or damage your diploma you can bet it’s not free to replace.  Most universities charge around $80 for a reprint.


The average 4 year university degree in Canada costs $24,000 – before living expenses.  You’ve put yourself through it, do yourself a favour and preserve the paperwork.  Now’s the time! For the entire month of June, Artworld Fine Art will be offering 25% off all diploma and certificate orders. Come by, let’s chat about it.


David Borochovitz, Framer – Artworld Fine Art






Reflections on “After the Party” by Gretchen Jeens

Gretchen Jeens Artist Photo

Drawing and painting have always been a huge part of my life and as a youth my dream was to attend art school. But it wasn’t until I was in my mid 50’s that I was finally able to undertake a more fundamental education. Up until then I had raised a family while taking many art workshops, belonging to several artists groups, becoming a professional conservation, preservation and museum art framer, opening my own small framing business, and always enjoying the little time I had for simple, unconscious self-expression. When I finally did get the opportunity to study art in a more formal way I was surprised at the restrictions set in the institutional studio. Don’t get me wrong….I loved every minute spent in this inspiring institution and still miss it every day. But so many instructors put a reign on what I was used to after so many years…an individual, effortless, and expressive style. In school, conceptual, intellectual art making was the only way and the rules of technique had to be followed. Line. Shape. Form. Colour. Value. Yes an artist must learn these elements. But there’s also a freshness in the intuitive and unique vision of an individual’s interpretation. I was taught never to use line while rendering the figure…only form and shape. Line was illustration, not to be used in a truly executed painting. But line is where my instincts go. With the use of free flowing colour and controlled line I can meld realism into abstraction and vice versa. Now that I have my degree I have gone back to that simple, unconscious self-expression…hopefully with a little more artful knowledge.




Life is busy and so I am always drawing and painting in my mind. I hold my thoughts until I can get to the studio. My studio. My studio changes daily….from an easel in the front bedroom, to the kitchen table, the basement, the passenger seat in the car, my bed late in the evening. I am in so many places throughout the day that I just grab at whatever time will allow. My art supplies take up several shelving units in two separate spaces or a number of different canvas bags. I draw every day. Sometimes a two minute sketch in my journal, fleetingly for a half hour or an hour at my drawing desk, hopefully a full day of enervating process at the easel. I experiment a lot with the subject but am mostly intrigued with the female figure. Whenever I get the opportunity, I do life drawing with a live model, ideally in a formal studio but otherwise with anyone who is willing to sit….usually Nev (my husband) or myself (in a mirror). There is immeasurable value in drawing any human form but my emotional connection is with the female figure, perhaps because I can express my own reality and life experience. I create my own narratives by transforming gestures and poses from my own drawings, and sometimes images from magazines into observations and presentations that hopefully stir sentiment in the viewer.




“After the Party” is a reflection on simple but authentic moments in life. Renderings from my own experience and not unlike many others of us who lived through times when dancing, parties, dresses, dating, and love could be endearing or devastating. With the use of colour, line, and fanciful whimsy I hope to incite hidden meaning and a personal interpretation for every viewer. And a bit of fun in a sometimes sad world. The party goes on.

Special thanks to Gallery Artist Gretchen Jeens for this blog post!











Canvases and Stretchers




The “buy 1 get 2 free” are cheaper however, manufacturers use cheap canvas,  but most importantly they use cheap grades of wood for the stretcher that’s processed quickly and it has a high probability of warping.  The manufacturer often from another country assembles these fast and shrink wraps them, then: they are transported (outside) to an art store, sit on shelf (new climate), you purchase and take to studio (outside), you open the package in your studio (new climate), paint it and then it sits and dries along with your painting, you transport it to the gallery (outside), it hangs in the gallery (new climate), then the client transports it (outside) and hangs it in their home (new climate). Each step in the process exposes the canvas/frame to a drastic change in climate (where it either absorbs or loses humidity) that raises the probability of warping. The larger the canvas, the longer the wood stretcher bars (the cheap canvas doesn’t have extra cross-boards for support) the higher probability of warping.


Framed canvas may be forced straight by framing but unframed canvas is most susceptible to dryness/humidity. The paint & varnish only covers and seals the front; the back is still at the mercy of the climate. Many artists use the cheap canvases, and after painting and drying in their studio, many have warped and have to be re-stretch.  Very stressful for the artist and cost extra time and money.

That said, it all comes down to: the artist’s level (beginner, emerging, intermediate or professional) and the price of your work. Personally:   If I bought a painting for $50 from an emerging artist and it warped, I probably would understand and wouldn’t be too upset. If I spent $500 for a painting from a professional and it warped, then I’d probably call the gallery/artist and reconsider whether I’d buy another piece from that artist.

If you have to use the cheap canvases now, then that’s the way it is just price accordingly. If you are working to be a pro, then start a budget and cut some other expenses to get better quality supplies.



Our Canvases are the the perfect base for all painters. Canvases are double primed, 10 oz 100% cotton canvas, stretched and back-stapled on our 3/4″ (20mm) thick, primed with acid-free acrylic titanium gesso. It is an ideal surface specially crafted for acrylic and oil painting. This canvas is a perfect base to create a durable piece of artwork that will endure for years.  These are professional quality “Made in Canada” products.

Donna Child, Gallery Director – Artworld Fine Art

Marina Picasso A Stark Contrast

Artistes du Monde

Marina Picasso-A Stark Contrast

Cannes, France.  A city filled with all of the beauty that is the French Riviera.  Beaches playing host to travellers looking to enjoy “the good life” even if just for a short visit.  Cannes is home to many exciting events including the International Film Festival where millionaire movie stars and celebrities walk the red carpet in plain view of the tourists.  Neighbouring cities like Monaco and St. Tropez add to the mystique and glamour of the south of France where yachts the size of hotels sit quietly, just off shore.

For the past three years, every September, I have been invited to exhibit my paintings in Cannes “Artistes du Monde” show on the waterfront and spend some time living in this beauty.  The Patron of this exhibition is none other than Madame Marina Picasso, granddaughter of the great Pablo Picasso.  She selects the artists as well as the paintings that will be shown for four days in this prestigious centre in the heart of Cannes.  My first trip there was in 2013 and I did not know what to expect.  My daughter and I spent a few days on the beach and seeing the sights before opening night where we would meet Madame Picasso.  I don’t know what I thought the woman related to this icon would be like, but I was surprised to see this lovely, quiet and unassuming lady, a stark contrast to her grandfather.  She politely shook hands and chatted with every artist encouraging conversations about their artwork.  Afterwards I learned that her inheritance was largely used to open orphanages around the world.

Pablo Picasso…the great artist who took what he wanted in life, no matter who was affected by his decisions.  The life of an artist is a different life.  Often questioning oneself, but relentlessly moving forward, regardless of what happened yesterday.  The highs are euphoric, but the lows can be devastating.  None of these personality traits seemed to be passed on to his granddaughter.  My admiration for her grew with every moment I spent with her over those four days, culminating in a dinner on the beach, a perfect ending to a great week.

Since then, I have seen her every September and with each visit to Cannes I have become more captivated.  The last trip out, I felt as if I was beginning to belong there.  A level of comfort setting in, knowing the area so well and catching up with friends I have made.  Madame Picasso is truly an inspiration to all she meets, living quietly with a vision to helping the less fortunate, with little regard to personal gain.

Doris Pontieri


New Words for a New Year

New Words for a New Year

2015 was a very exciting year for Artworld Fine Art. Our second full year at 365 Evans Avenue saw the introduction of internationally acclaimed artists Charles Malinsky, Rick Jacobson and photographer Rehan and the launch of the Artworld Fine Art School of Art. Artworld established the Toronto West Art Collaborative a not for profit organization supporting artists at all all career stages. TWAC very quickly caught the attention of the CNE and was unanimously voted a member of the CNEA (Canadian National Exhibition Association) with a mandate to represent the Art Community in Canada. Our hearts were heavy with the passing of our friend and gallery Artist Toller Cranston and we were honoured to be asked by his family to represent his Estate art Collection in Toronto.

We would like to wish all our gallery friends a Happy New Year and thank them for being part of an amazing 2015; and with forthcoming shows and events already in the pipeline, we look forward to a fantastic 2016 with you all…

Introducing new abstract artist Patricia Gagic – February 2016.

Patricia Gagic


Now offering a full roster of art classes – (Including kids workshops)and the ever popular Uncorked Art and Wine Nights – January 2016

Winter Class


Exhibition of new work from Charles Malinsky March 2016

Malinsky March 2016


The 1st annual summer outdoor Car “TRUNK” Sale and Exhibition – sure to be West Toronto’s most exuberant event!!!
Our car trunks will overflow with local and out of town talents including exciting new collaborations and performances
July 2016

Car Trunk Sale


The 2nd annual CNE/TWAC – Juried Art Exhibition – open to all artists August 2016


Juried Art Show


and much much more … watch the website for a list of up coming events if you have any questions please contact us at