John Lennard returns: A search for the abstract

john lennardTHIS WAS OUR 2015 WORKSHOP:

Sunday, July 19 to Friday, July 24
5 days, $525 includes model, + HST
Intrepid beginners to experienced artists welcome!


This will be a week to experiment and walk away from everything you know!
If people walk away from this week and say, “I found one line that’s mine…then the week has been accomplished. A person may get more; but if that is all they get, they will have had a great week”.
– John Lennard

Using both landscape and figure as reference points, John will guide us in the personal exploration of space and abstraction within our own images.

John_Lennard_TREE_BY_THE_RIVER_10031_414How do we create tension and excitement by being aware of space and rhythms and the picture plane? Get ready for an intense and thoughtful week!

This workshop includes a half-day with figure and a half-day with landscape or still life.

I had to write and let others know about my experience in John Lennard’s workshop “A Search for the Abstract”. It was a pleasure to let myself follow his teaching and open myself to an enhanced understanding of abstract.
Each day of instruction built on the next, allowing real assimilation of the concepts taught. John Lennard’s calm, patient method showed me the way to do the work in a search for the abstract. –
Suzanne G, July 2013

John_Lennard_TRAIN_RIDE_TO_COLLIOURE__10278_414About John: Once described by Toller Cranston as a “calculated Bohemian”, John combines a love of travel, curiosity for life and experimental spirit with the discipline of an athlete and the study of the traditional craft of art to create the unique expression of his art.

John’s first art form was as a professional musician. He spent three years in the early 1980’s touring Europe with the punk rock band, Theatre of Hate. In is spare time, he explored the European museums and when he returned to Canada, discovered his own expression through painting. Since then, he has studied art and painted through extensive travels and a variety of learning opportunities, including three months in New York in 2011.

Aptly named, John’s solo show at the McLaren Art Centre in Barrie was entitled “The Artist as a Traveller”. In 2007-2008, John lived and painted in Paris and Barcelona and has recently returned from a trip to Budapest and Barcelona. In addition, he visited the small town of Horta de San Juan where Picasso spent time as a youth and has been quoted as saying “All I know, I learned in Horta”.
Travel, observation of life, and a study of the masters in international art continue to be integral to John’s artistic expression.

John has lectured and taught at the Glasgow School of Art, The University Club of Toronto, MCLaren Art Centre in Barrie, and at his own school in Horta De San Juan, Spain. Galleries include The Roberts Gallery, Toronto, Thielsen Gallery, London, and the Masters in Calgary.

A note from John:
I paint studies using an 11×14 birch board with a shellac base similar to the Group of Seven. I have also designed a wooden case to carry five wet oil boards which comes in handy if you are on a painting trip. If you are interested in purchasing any of the above items you can let me know in advance. The cost for a treated board 11×14 is $3.00 Custom wooden carrying case for five wet boards $75.00.

Another note from John: Interestingly, there is another John Lennard, painter and teacher, with the same spelling, in Ontario. To be clear about which John Lennard you will be working with at Creativity Art Retreat, check out the work:


Workshop Schedule:
Our week starts Sunday, July 19 with a 5:00 reception, gourmet dinner and an introductory talk by John.

Please DO NOT come earlier as we will be setting up, unless you are staying on-site, in which case you may access your room at 4:00.
There will be time to set up your space and unpack your materials after the opening dinner.

The workshop runs Monday through Thursday, 9:00 to 4:00, and Friday 9:00 to 2:00 with delicious snacks and lunches each day. An hour of yoga follows each workshop day on the banks of the Noisy River. We have a limited number of yoga mats to share, so please bring your own mat if you have one. A closing dinner is served Thursday evening.

The studio will remain open every night until 10:00 PM for the duration of the workshop for those who want to work into the evening.

The workshop concludes Friday, July 24 after a late lunch and wrap up/critique.

John’s material list:

  • Yoga mat
  • Wine or beer or sparkling water, if you would like a glass at the end of the day
  • Willow charcoal with large drawing pad for the figure drawing
  • Other drawing materials: pencil, conte, charcoal, etc.
  • Oil or acrylic paints (your choice of colours) plus a selection of canvas or boards
  • A variety of brushes and painting knives or implements
  • Watercolour paper
  • A pad of cartridge paper or large sketch book
  • Extras could be: bulldog clips, tape, Exacto knives, glue,
  • Water bucket, paper towels

Registration opens December 1, 2014 at 8:00 am.

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