Painting: Blooming & Growing

August 20, 2012 - August 24, 2012
Offered by Five Oaks Centre
Paris N3L 3E3 ON

August 20-24, 2012.

Unfurling leaves, muscular branches, luminous flowers: growing things offer rewarding challenges for painters! This richness goes beyond techniques, to touch on themes of growth and rootedness, decay and flowering. This course empowers students to learn techniques and processes while exploring symbolism and metaphor. Technical demos, art historical mind-openers, and outdoor image quests will prime students to create compelling works in oil or acrylic. There will be lots of relaxed, creative studio time – with knowledgeable stimulation and support – to follow your interests and develop finished pieces.

The creative rhythm of the program will include these aspects:

•understanding, through clear demonstrations and instruction, how to overcome technical obstacles such as colour mixing and harmony, composition, and layering colours.
•responding to the beauty and diversity of Five Oaks’ natural setting.
•finding inspiration and surprise in the projects and creativity of artists and writers from around the world.
•deepening your sense of symbol and intuition.
•enjoying a balance between structured learning and flexible time to follow your artistic curiosity.
•sharing the journey of creativity in the supportive and expansive company of others.
•finding connections between creativity and spiritual practices that open us to be responsive and alive to the Spirit.
While this week is open to anyone interested in creative exploration, some experience with acrylic or oils would be helpful.
A materials list of what to bring can be downloaded here.

Leadership: Being an artist has become, for Phil Irish, a way of exploring the world, stimulating imagination, and of sparking deep exchange with others. Phil has been exhibiting as a professional artist for 15 years. Phil earned his BA in art and literature from the University of Guelph, and an MFA in Visual Art from York University. Phil has exhibited his artwork in public museums, commercial galleries, and artist run centres across Canada. Phil has taught painting, drawing, and creativity at numerous venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Avenue Road Arts School, and the Guelph School of Art. He is known both for his inspiring knowledge of artists’ work and techniques through the centuries, and his generous nurturing of students’ individual interests and vision.

As associate minister at Elora United Church, he awakened the spiritual imaginations of all generations. Creating together taught each person the power of story, of listening to other’s experiences, and that the form-giving of artistic creation can result in living more deeply. In creating, generative questions are more valued than fixed answers. Phil’s approach to guiding creative retreats is shaped by his love of God, worship, and spiritual practice.

Phil lives in Elora. His artwork can be viewed at

This program is being offered as a part of our Week of Creativity where four arts-based programs are being held at the same time. Our days will be framed by gathering in community with those from the other arts programs for reflection and worship. On Thursday evening we will gather for a \\\’Summer Celebration\\\’ where the general public is invited to share in the creative work that has unfolded during the week

Categories: Programs  |  Spirituality  |  The Arts