Tuesday, October 24, 2017


I went to see the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at the A.G.O. last weekend and it was so good! I highly recommend it.

What makes it so enjoyable is how interdisciplinary it is. Unlike many exhibits, and galleries in general, that tend to show work separated traditionally by type: paintings hanging on the wall, the occasional sculpture, photography or print- which tend to produce the same kind of gallery behaviour by the visitors: quietly walking from one piece to the next, hands behind their back, leaning in now and then to read the didactics. This exhibit broke away from this gallery model and created what many galleries are aiming for: it was dynamic, interactive and got visitors taking and moving around experiencing the show in different ways- based on what intrigued them.

Another element that makes this show successful and refreshing is how it combines the fine arts with applied arts: painting and prints, next to costume design and story boards, next to comics and book illustration, movie props and plans for medieval stained glass windows.

I like the way it was set up: collections + influences. I think that every show would be more interesting with a section dedicated to showing what inspired and influenced the artist.

Here are a few images from the show:

- Patrick

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Japanese woodblock database- a digital archive

Thanks to Open Culture for posting about this fantastic collection of Japanese woodblock prints.

This could be a whole unit in any art class, with a studio print-making component and a great art history component with cultural and social investigations as well as visual analysis.

I like to use the work of Hokusai to discuss the awesome use of scale. His 36 Views of Mount Fuji is a fascinating collection and features the famous Under the Wave off Kanagawa - another demonstration of how scale can be used to communicate a message visually.

- Patrick

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Gallery Lookalikes

This is just a fun post that I couldn't resist sharing: gallery lookalikes from Bored Panda.

I'm not sure if this would work with students as an art history scavenger hunt to find their own lookalikes- I think it would depend on the group of students- but it would be so much fun if it did work out!

- Patrick

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pirate Printing

This is a pretty inspiring video from Mental Floss, with some fun pirate print-making in the city streets. This would be a fun neighbourhood project that could work well along side other local initiatives.

- Patrick

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Grange Park

This week I visited the beautiful new Grange Park behind the A.G.O. and O.C.A.D. Here's the site: http://grangeparktoronto.ca/

The park is beautifully laid out- our first impression was of an architect's drawing of a park. The trees and gardens are well-maintained and well-distributed throughout. Henry Moore's Two Forms sculpture has a new home; the Grange heritage building is accessible all the way up to the front door; there's a new entrance to the Learning Centre of the A.G.O.; and the kids playgrounds are awesome! 

Here's a shot of one of the beautiful old Chestnut trees (with the A.G.O. in the background): 

We also stopped by the gallery for a quick visit- here's one of the Rodin casts, in a beautiful spot with natural light:

- Patrick

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A.G.O. Field Trip Planner

Earlier in the school year, I created this A.G.O. Field Trip Planner for teachers, highlighting some of connections that can can made to various Ontario secondary curriculum- not just for Visual Arts classes!

Several of the teachers that I work with used this to plan fun and rewarding field trips. The A.G.O. changes/updates their programming so be sure to check their site for more info: A.G.O.

- Patrick

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"What is art for? Alain de Botton's animated guide"

Here is a wonderful, quick video that addresses a question that many people find challenging to answer. This would be a great way to start an art class or a unit on art history.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Art & Nationhood- AGO Creative Minds- April 21st, 2017

A fascinating conversation about art and nationhood happened last night at Massey Hall in Toronto, featuring: Christi Belcourt, Sir David Adjaye, Junot Diaz and Paul Gross. In light of the upcoming Canada 150, the conversation gets to the heart of some of the serious problems with trying to define nationhood in Canada- hearing from Indigenous, American, British and Canadian perspectives. Looking forward, the talk brings up the idea of "radical hope" and the role that art can have in breaking down our barriers and illusions and allowing us to reveal and share in our humanity. Definitely worth a watch!

See the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TukxNhN740M

And find out more about AGO Creative Minds here: http://www.agocreativeminds.ca/

- Patrick

Friday, April 14, 2017

Illustrated Vimy Oaks piece in the Toronto Star

Last week, the Toronto Star featured a beautifully illustrated true story of the Vimy Oaks that has to be read to be believed. A wonderful historical tale with oak trees at the centre, illustrated by fellow Sheridan grad Kagan McLeod.  Have a look here:

This would make a great starting point for a lesson in a variety of classes:
- any history, geography or social science course as an article analysis and reflection;
- a science class to cover how to germinate and graft trees and the effects on the environmental of transporting trees and associated restrictions;
- a communications technology or media studies course, covering visual communication using traditional and digital media to illustrate a piece for a newspaper
- and of course any art class, as an intro to illustration and visual communication.

- Patrick

Friday, March 31, 2017

Gardiner Museum Partnership Ceramics Summer Course (for Grade 11 + 12)

I'm very excited to have helped develop a partnership course between Blyth Academy and the Gardiner Museum, for a Grade 11 + 12 Summer Course in Ceramics. The course is a senior-level visual arts that focuses on ceramics - course code:  AWC3M / AWC4M.

This course will run in July 2017, Monday-Friday from 9:00am-3:30pm. It will be based out of the Blyth Academy Yorkville campus and will include many visits to the Gardiner Museum, four of which will be ceramics studio sessions and several more will have the students explore the collection and sketch in the galleries.

Looking forward to it!

- Patrick

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Prints for order of The Elements & Principles of Design!

By far my most viewed post is about some classroom handouts that I made to teach the elements and principles of design.  I have them printed larger for my classroom and I wanted to make it easy for others to be able to order them printed at various sizes, and in higher resolution. They're available for order here:

The Elements of Design

The Principles of Design

A full Elements and Principles of Design Unit plan (complete with lesson plans) is also available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site, here.

The letter-size worksheets by themselves (without the lesson plans) are available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site, here.

- Patrick

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Art Show @ the Brockton Haunt last weekend

I had a great time at the art show at The Brockton Haunt last weekend. The show featured my work as well as work by Phil Bowen and Andrea Fairfoul. It was well attended despite the evening's snowfall. Thanks to everyone who came out, we hope to have another one in the spring!

- Patrick

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Art Show @ the Brockton Haunt this weekend

I'm taking part in a show this Friday. I'll have some originals and some prints up, all are welcome! Treats and drinks are available. Please see details below:

We are hosting a TWO night art show featuring some great local artists! There will be beer, wine, coffee and snacks for sale.
Feb. 10th and 11th 7:00pm-11:00pm.

Featured artists:

Friday Feb. 10th - Phil Bowen and Pat Butler
Saturday Feb. 11th - Andrea K Fairfoul

Phil Bowen- https://www.instagram.com/el_serpentine/
Pat Butler- https://www.instagram.com/phbutler/
Andrea K Fairfoul- https://www.instagram.com/akfairfoul/

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sketching The Line

If you take the T.T.C. regularly, you will have seen the "Sketching The Line" series of artists' drawings of scenes/people on the T.T.C. Submission are open now until February 28th for anyone interested. Find out details here: http://www.artintransit.ca/archives/pattison-outdoor-and-the-ttc-announce-call-for-submissions-for-sketching-the-line.html

Happy sketching!

- Patrick

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Ultimate Cheatsheet for Critical Thinking

"The Ultimate Cheatsheet for Critical Thinking" has been circulating recently, likely in response to educators feeling the heightened need for students (and everyone) to develop these skills due to the recent fake news epidemic.

The source is https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/, however I saw it on the OAEA's facebook page, as well as on the National Geographic Education's facebook page. Definitely a valuable resource!

- Patrick