Lauren McKinley Renzetti

Making . Is. Important.

accomplished Toronto visual artist, scenic painter, teacher & curator


GRASS! Latest  works

This latest series happened by accident. I do a plein air retreat the last week of August.  We do sunrise  to sunset & everything in between. One sunset was – less than stellar but-  The Light on the Grass was Amazing! It opened a whole new world to me. Grass moves, it dances, it bobs it works individually and as a group. This series moves from  what I would term as  detailed observation to   total abstraction. my fall goal was masking fluid experiments and SGAFFITO! this series is totlaly – happily about that.

I am working;  in watercolour with masking fluid, acrylic with masking fluid as well as palette knives, scratching tools ( combs, shishkebob sticks) as well as dowels for dots. These paintings as a process were me looking at the  challenges of individuality as well as community, groups of one type intersecting with other totally different groups, new life – timid -to large & bold , to the aged endings –   withered. Grass is a metaphor for Humans, for music, for movement for life. Can we navigate through the Grass, find our fellow groups & thrive?






COVID  is changing all of our lives. This is a great  time to reinvent the world, yours- mine -ours. If you want to connect with art or me through zoom or online classes visit my links or learn with lauren section directly above . Stay safe, Wear a Mask. Blessed Be to you.

Art Made DURING Covid 19 – June-July 2020

Art Made from Television

This past few years I have been teaching and scenic painting so much that my own personal art practise has been virtually non-existent. I did not mind so much as my house is full to bursting with work from previous years.But this Pandemic was a door opening for me, to making for the sake of myself and my own spirit. The challenge was “what to paint” . So, like many I took to Netflix and  binge watched. While watching I always,  draw what  strikes me as interesting.  I decided to warm up my paint brush arm with recreating some of my drawings and scribbles into larger format acrylic paintings.   This series gave me an opportunity to use the idea from the Television screen as a jumping off point. All of these images came about while watching WestWorld.

Art Made with Masking Fluid

Another aspect of COVID  19 lockdown was looking at – what do I want to explore ? This got me thinking about materials in my own tool kit I have not explored fully. SO I pulled out masking fluid for watercolour &  played around with how that could be used much like batik, as a resist , to create multilayered  abstract fantasy  landscapes. I used a great German squeeze pen with a lovely tip to draw on the surface. I also use a plastic stick to score into the paper to create deep grooves.

Art Made Exploring Old Ideas- Labradorite Rock Paintings

There are works hanging in my house that are pieces I have always really loved. Several years ago,  I specifically made a series of paintings based on my husband , David’s,  extensive rock & mineral collections. Labradorite is a lovely stone with iridescent qualities   &  huge depth within its striations. I did one  painting  based on this stone.   I had put on my some day to do list more of this type of stone .COVID 19 helped me to finally take this project up.

The result is  twelve stretched canvas or canvas boards covered in modelling paste ( a combination of TriArts smooth plasticky modelling paste and speedballs rougher more porous modelling paste) as the first layer. Then many layers of very watery acrylic,  high viscosity paint &  used  much like watercolour, painting it  horizontally so all of the watery paint will pool in the recesses & valleys in the  surface. Many of the works have 20-30 layers.   I use a top coat product by Golden called Ultra Violet Light Sensitive Gloss  (UVLS-G) to give the work a rich sheen- mimicking the quality of the polished stone.




Lauren McKinley RenzettiI am drawn to nature,  the slow opening of a seed, a lizard’s skin, the human eye up close and personal,  our planet from space, molecules under a microscope.   I am interested in where art comes from, the tools , the materials, and the stepping stones made by other artists before me.

Unlikely Spoon Collection


Unlikely Spoon Collection

I am part of the Group classified as the 1% or the people of the Haves. I have shelter, food ,clothes, family, a job, health and wealth. The Syrian crisis led me to thinking about the two main classes:  the HAVES and the HAVENOTS. Spoon Collections reside in many homes collecting dust, always unused. This is a testament to being a Haves. If this is spoon collection  never gets used, then why not make it out of very unlikely materials; hair, nails, volcanoes, the moon, toxic waste, and concrete etc.  This is the beginning  thought process for these works.  They are conceptual,  silly, dark  and commenting on what us Capitalist Haves spend  our hard earned money on.   -August 2016

Sacred Dot Paintings

Sacred Dot Painting

I have always been intrigued with Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings. The tools they use  are round dowels of various sizes. The way of painting takes a lot of guess work out of how to paint but also is an interesting problem. with pattern and design. This is a  meditative practise as much as an art form.  I started out painting  objects that were  sacred to  me as an artist. Then I branched off to things that I thought were sacred through time, religion, daily life and nation.    August 2016

classes with lauren

classes with lauren Have a question? Send an email.

Fall 2022   AGO classes  are Live & in person! Hurray!

ADULT PROGRAMS with the AGO,  317 Dundas West, Toronto (downtown)

Wednesday 630-930pm –Intro to Painting , 10 weeks, using acrylics   Sept 28  -Nov 30.  We explore value, colour theory, still life, landscape, abstraction, portraiture and all sorts of techniques with each subject matter.

Thursday 10-1pm  Intro to Painting, 10 weeks, acrylics   Sept 29 – Dec 1 We explore value, colour theory, still life, landscape, abstraction, portraiture and all sorts of techniques with each subject matter.

Thursday 2-5pm Contemporary Painting, 5 weeks, acrylics with materials exploration  Sept 29- Oct 27  learn about different substrates, the various ways to stretch, grommet and show your work. look at technicques with gesso, gel and crackle mediums. using materials fomr home form kitchen and from your garage to be in the now of painting.

Thursday  2-5pm Painting Explorations inspired by  Denyse Thomasos. 5 weeks, acrylics- Nov 3- Dec 1 we iwll look at using a paint stick to balenace, masking tape to create hard edges and how to convey architecture, spaces and pattern . we iwll look at how to achieve ideas through several ways to enlarge your work, working form a grid as well as from overhead projectors.

Friday 2-5pm  Intro to Printmaking, 5 weeks  , Sept 29- Oct 27  work with mono print, collagraph, soft linoleum, drypoint into plexiglass as well as silkscreen. great intro to a few styles of printmaking

Friday 2-5pm AGO Highlights , drawing in the gallery 5 weeks, – Nov 4- Dec. 2       visit gallery spaces and walk in the shoes of many artists and art styles, from Indigenous mystical owls to Henry Moore Sculpture, to quiet paintings of rooms,  to Impressionist landscapes. Explore the gallery learning about the how, the why, and the who of the art in the gallery learning nifty drawing techniques along the way !

Don’t have time for a 5 or 10 week committment ? No worries then join me for a 1 hour quick artmaking forray via zoom!

AGO senior social coming up One Tuesday  a month. Join me- its free!

Tuesdays September 13, 11am-12pm  

Tuesday October 11, 11am-12pm,

Tuesday November 8 11-12 in Person and with zoom it sall about printmaking!!!

Tuesday December 13, 11 am-12pm

To keep you art engaged!:

  1 minute video of painting a sunset sky 7minute video of the same sunset and sky as a tutorial   1  minute video of painting a sunset on water   9 minute video of the same sunset and water as a tutorial

View my sketchbooks and videos:  Earth View   Live in a Red House   Moon View   Nite For Rest  Texture  Yes Music  with visuals- Wonder Blessing  People Ring  Home & Studio Tour

SUMMER  Sunday- Friday  August 27- Sep 1, 2023.  In person & outdoors… 5 DAY INTENSIVE  ARTIST RETREAT  North of Toronto course fee: $150, Accommodation/ food about $400  Unicamp Of Ontario,

This is running, in 2020-2021 & 2022 we all did well,  even with  some COVID  restrictions but there are meals in the dining hall, or outside and you can bring your own meals .  Tenting and cooking on your camp site  is also  an option. Art making can easily be done with social distancing as we are  on 60 acres.we had a full group of 14 people each year and a lot of fun painting!

August 2023

SUMMER RETREAT at UNICAMP, north of Shelburne

ARTIST’S OUTDOOR RETREAT: Connecting with Nature August 27-Sept 1, 2023 .Unicamp Of Ontario, 638159 PRINCE OF WALES RD, MULMUR ON  L9V 0C5 Registration: 519-925-6432 or

Connecting with Nature with Lauren  McKinley Renzetti. Using Unicamp and environs as our inspiration with its picturesque vistas, mossy craggy caves, dappled ponds, rolling hills, fantastic forests and expansive skies. We will explore the perfect location and capture the light of morning, afternoon, dusk and sunset. In three or  four sessions a day create a series of studies in watercolour paint or pencil , ink  , chalks or pastels,  with on location drawing and painting.( Lauren would like to work  mostly in watercolour this year but don’t let that hinder you if you have the room for other supplies. Waterdcolour lightweight and  is so easy to carry around. ) These studies can be  small and detailed  and can then be a spring board for larger works back in your studio or be finished works in their own right. Go off on your own, or stick with the camaraderie of the group. Be introduced to a variety of techniques and strategies to create interesting composition. This retreat is for all abilities, whether you are a practicing artist or just starting out, you set your own pace. Bring your own materials. Unicamp Of Ontario Registration: 519-925-6432

Program Fee:  $150, + Accommodation & you must bring your own food,  about  $350 Dates: August 30- Sept 4, 2020. Sunday 4pm- Friday 4pm Limited Space BOOK NOW!

 photographs courtesy of Oliver Yang
Supplies & Things to Bring I will be working in watercolour and demonstrating in that medium. You of course can use acrylic but it is harder to do work outside with . Less materials/choices  are actually better than more, so pick one main medium and work in that. 

Suggested Art Materials List  Basics: * means optional  Small Travel Sketchbook, along with a Canson Mixed Media Sketchbook 7 x9 , or 11 x 14 -heavier  paper for wet studies – For sunrises and sunsets the view changes dramatically every few  minutes so a few sketchbooks or surfaces is good so you can do very quick sketches.

2h,2b, 6b pencil, erasure, sharpener , paper stomp, erasing shield,  *pilot fineliner or a waterbased ink pen , *watercolour pencils-derwent is lovely, reeves is economical and good too, *(digital) camera or phone with camera, water containers with lids, *foldable seat or bucket with towel to carry and sit on, blue painters  masking tape to create borders on longer  studies.ask for the  Non stickier tape,

for watercolour  water paints wet or dry, palette, talkon brushes  round, flat sizes #2-8 , sponges, wax crayon or masking fluid*, plexiglass board 18″ x 24″ , masking tape, 140lb paper block pad or 200lb individual sheets  of Waterford or Arches or Fabriano .

Other Things to know: Unicamp is an Unitarian Universalist Camp It follows the 7 UU principals that believe we should respect all life and the earth. Explore all 7 principals through art making and quiet reflection!

Accommodation: Unicamp has 3 types of accommodation 50 tent sites (up to 6 people), 6 rustic dorms with bunk beds, bathroom and meals in dining hall and private cottages (for 6 people) with shared kitchens. Cottages and dorms go fast, so book early. You can order tasty meals in the dining hall or cook your own food. Food is usually 60% vegetarian, and they can accommodate most special diets with notification.

Bedding:Bring sheets, pillows, quilts or sleeping bags- it can get to as low as 5 degrees at night this late in the season.

Clothing: Be prepared to Layer up and layer down. During the day the weather is sunny and hot, but once the sun sets temperatures do drop. Unicamp has a 3 acre spring fed pond with swimming and canoeing. Towels, bathing suits, sweaters, wet weather clothing, sun hats, sunscreen, bug juice are also recommended.

Directions: From Shelburne take County Rd. 124 north to Redickville, go east (right) on County Rd. 21 past Honeywood to Prince of Wales, go south to #638159. There is a large sign on the left. Please note that GPS and internet map programs tell you to take County Road 20. Please do not do this as it will bring you up from the poorly maintained bottom of Prince of Wales Rd. Please take County Road 21 (some maps show Side Road 25).For more detailed information including maps please visit website:

Paint in  Tuscany with Lauren from September 16-30,2020.   Sign up for one or two weeks.  Space is limited to 12 participants!  Registration and Information: This won’t happen due  to Covid for 2020–2022 but check in for 2023!

September 2023?

When– From Sept 16 to Sept 30, 2020.  1 or  2 week options ,   leaving Toronto Sept 16/222 overnight, arrive in Rome morning of Sept 16 or the 22, 2020 . This is cancelled this year due to covid 19 but will return ( hopefully )  at a similar time in 2021.

Package includes: -Pick up and drop off at the Rome airport and transport to Villa which is about 2 hours from Rome.  -7 or 14 nights shared accommodation with own bathroom in an authentic Tuscan farmhouse -6 or 12 days of painting classes- plein air mostly (4-5 hours per day) with Lauren Renzetti -3 meals per day, with wine included with dinner prepared by inhouse gourmet chef -A Visit to Cetona and a visit to Orvieto- nearby Tuscan towns.

Cost for 1 week double occupancy/sharing a room $1600 each or $2000single private for one week- single private room/bathroom

Cost for 2 weeks $ 2750each, sharing a room  or $3500single private room and bathroom for 2 weeks

Note price does not include flight cost (estimated at $1000)

Art Making Schedule:

Sunrise drawing /painting -1hr.- Optional

8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast

Possible Technique building -1hr.

Painting session outside 1-3 hr.


Painting session outside 1- 3 hr.

7:00 Dinner

Here is a sample itinerary that was shared with the 2017 tourist and painting program. I may include the opportunity to paint/draw the sunrise and sunset depending on the views available to us. They will always be optional.

All Painting workshop
Day 1 wedensday- Arrival
1-1:30 Transferred from airport in Rome to our villa (2.5hours)
5:30 Meet and Greet at Villa Alari
7:00 Welcome Dinner
Day 2-thursday
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
9:30-11:00Grounds-Local Tour (identifying painting spots)
11-1pm Intro-Painting in studio
1-2pm lunch
2-3:30 painting outside
3:30-6:00pm visit Cetona
7:00 Dinner
Day 3- Friday
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
10-1pm painting outside
1-2pm lunch
2-4 painting
7:00 Dinner
Day 4- Saturday
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
10-1pmvisit Chiusi’s marketor  Painting Outside
1-2pm Lunch
2-4:30 painting
7pm Dinner
Day 5- Sunday
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
Visit Florence explore mixed media etc.
7pm Dinner
Day 6- Monday
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
10-1pm Paint
1-2pm Lunch
2-5 Paint
7pm dinner
Day 7- Tuesday
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
10-1pm Paint
1-2pm Lunch
2-5 paint
7:00 Farewell  Dinner
Day 8- Wednesday Departure
8:30am- Depart for aiport 9AM Visit market in Cetona
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast
1-2pm Lunch
2-5pm Paint
5:30 Meet and Greet arrivals at Villa
7:00 Welcome Dinner
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ADULT PROGRAMS with ARTiculations  2928 Dundas St West
, Toronto ON
 (west end)

some reviews from students :

5/5Lauren is a colour master and great teacher! Her course gave new insights into how colour theory and provided practical tips on application to painting and printmaking. Highly recommended!- DG

5/5The balance of content with hands on painting was effective. It was a fun day, but we sure worked hard. Lauren is amazing at keeping a fast pace and yet continually touching base with each student. I look forward to taking other courses with her.- PS

5/5Lauren was excellent, well prepared and her teaching method was first rate. The only thing for me was that by 2-2:30 my brain was fried, have no idea how this could be dealt with.-DM

5/5Lauren is awesome! She is patient and approachable. The course design is amazing. I learned so much in one day. Loved that we were put to “work” right away. Lots of great exercises and learning activities. Thank you so much Lauren!! -LS