Category Archives: Herbert Pryke

Herbert Pryke is an Artist, Author and Chef. Just wish I could do something with my left brain.

Back from Africa

Art Building Children’s Dreams is an organization that provides financial assistance to schools and families at risk, by using children’s art to raise funds for their education and community development.

As part of the twelve volunteer Canadian team, I went to Tanzania to be an art teacher. I designed a mandala for the students to paint. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘lotus blossom’ and cultures from all over the world draw them. As well as an art form, the mandala is about the process of healing.

The Tanzania Mandala was designed with images that would be easily recognizable by the children and for their specific meaning. The torch is Tanzania’s symbol for freedom. The butterfly personifies transformation and willingness to change. The elephant represents strength and patience. The Baobab tree exemplifies shelter, food, water and fire.

Amedusi wants to be a doctor. He is 13 years old. He lives alone, sleeps in the home of his deceased parents and goes to his grandmothers for food. It is difficult for me to fathom this type of life and imagine his dream as a reality.

Working with these children taught me to be with what is. Limiting my thinking of a situation as difficult is grounded in a belief that promotes judgement. This belief system requires something to be ‘ugly’ for us to recognize beauty.

The giraffe doesn’t think that that rhino is more beautiful or uglier than it is. They are devoid of judgement. The children of Tanzania taught me to be more aware of compartmentalizing everything as good or bad; right or wrong.

I became the student, and with this new perception, I can view John as the healer he wants to be and offer encouragement without attaching an outcome.

Artcures Inc. will soon have prints of painted mandalas available suitable for framing with proceeds donated to ABCD.

Visit for more information.
Herbert Pryke is founder of Artcures Inc. an Aurora based non profit organization that believes in the power of art to restore, repair and renew.



Remembering Dorothy Clark McClure

On September 11, I found out about the passing of a great artist; Dorothy Clark McClure. February 14, 1934-August 19, 2012 She was one of York Region’s most respected artists. She was honoured locally and provincially as an inspirational teacher, talented artist and diligent conservationist. Dorothy painted and worked throughout North America as a designer, illustrator and calligrapher.

In the 1960’s she began her preservation on paper of Canada’s architecture. In Aurora; Doane Hall, Castle Doan, Fleury House and Hilary House have become prints used as gifts for special centennial celebrations.

Last year I had the opportunity to visit Dorothy’s retrospective art exhibit, ‘Then and Now’ at the Aurora Cultural Centre. Dorothy held me by the hand and led me through the rooms. It wasn’t the technical drawings that created the excitement in her that day. She wanted to talk about her spiritual intuitional drawings. Her explanations how she found animals and figures in melding watercolours was inspirational.

There is more to creating art than money. Creating art helps you find your spiritual instincts.

Dorothy’s sixth sense and wisdom will be missed.

Mentorship in Motion

I’m honoured to be asked to participate in the 2nd annual Arts Exposed York Region Arts and Culture Conference, November 2 and 3rd at Seneca College, Markham.

I will be on a panel sharing my views of the importance of collaboration.


noun 1. the action of working with someone to create something.

Mentorship in Motion is a collaboration of professional artists and young people living with a challenge. It’s happening here in York Region.

I am one of the artists in this 1st annual six team project. It has been a humbling experience.

At first introductions, Michael and I shared one thing. We were both diagnosed with cancer. The difference between us is Michael is going into Grade 11. My trek with cancer is finished; Michael is still on his journey. We have been working together on a 36 by 36 inch wooden panel.

The artwork from each team is complete. Each artwork is completely different; each very special. This exhibit will open at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on October 26th at a special event; The Power of Art. The original artwork will be unveiled, the artists present to speak about their experience and to sell signed limited edition prints of their artwork. Proceeds from the sale of these prints will be donated to a charity of each teams choice. These include: Dramaway, SickKids, Geneva Centre for Autism, KC’s Cancer Cushion Fund, Bereaved Families of Ontario – York Region and the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness.

When motives are authentic enthusiasm builds. Artists from across York Region have been donating their original artwork as door prizes for this opening event. Imagine, for the cost of a $50 ticket, you view the exhibit, be entertained by Joanna Grace on piano, Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra Flute trio, Steppin’Out Theatrical Productions and then take home an original artwork.

The collaboration continues. During the event Anna Stanisz, Programs and Education Curator for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will have an announcement.

The Mentorship Exhibit will on tour for three months. To purchase tickets to the opening event, read about our mentorship teams and view the tour schedule, visit

No doubt I’ll be talking about the consequence of collaboration to reach more people in our community and share the importance art has to restore, repair and renew.

Artists Start Your Engines

As I get older, I find it takes allot longer for me to get excited. What a great opening line; I bet I have your attention now.

It has been a long time since I have organized a solo show of my art. If fact, it was in 2006. Stuff happened that took the front seat and needed to be addressed. I promised myself that once I had recovered my my wake up call called cancer, I would show again. The time has come. I got my ‘all clear’ last fall. So my new years resolution was to create 100 artworks by June. I booked the Mill Pond Gallery in Richmond Hill for the weekend of June 9/10 to secure my commitment.

I used to steal an hour, grab a brush and go at it. My spontaneity has disappeared. Now before I plan my escape, I need to make sure all the house chores are done, commitments are resolved, turn off the computer and unplug the phone. I’m best if I get up at 5:30am, forgo the coffee and straight to the studio. I put on some soft music like York Region artist David Rankine’s ‘Healing Space’ cd and begin to lay out the paint.

If I eat or drink I lose the momentum. I concede to bathroom breaks. A good day is if I can stay in my hole for about 9 hours. Then I’ll come up for air and take a look around. On days like this I can finished half a dozen paintings. I put them away where I can’t look at them and pull out the previous six I did on my previous session. This way I can look at these pieces with new eyes and tweak the little details I missed on round one.

My time between sessions is 5 to 10 days. If you can do math, I think I’m in trouble to reach my 100 by June goal.

I’m looking for other artists suggestions how they get their engines roaring. But to apply to this question, you have to be over 30.


Herbert Pryke |

Artists Giving Back

We’ve just finished a month of festivities and now life resumes it’s normal pace.

No more wishing strangers well, shaking hands, and holding the door for little O’Ladies.

The spirit of giving ends for many people, but not for artists.

Artists, through the generosity of spirit give their inspiration visually in every brushstroke.

Artists love to give; need to give; and in this pleasure of giving become stronger people.

Art gives hope and inspiration – in children’s hospitals; school walls; cancer research clinics; and in your own home.

A gift that happens to be personally crafted by the giver is most likely to be a treasure to the receiver. All the more reason to make a New Years resolution to open your creativity. Break out some brushes and give.

Don’t think your an artist? Hum Bug. Creativity lies within each of us. All we need to do is eliminate any expectations and ‘just do it’.

A healthier lifestyle is a New Years resolution for many, so here is another reason to be creative. Put simply; art makes you feel good and happy people are healthier people.

On a more scientific note, when anyone practices an exercise that involves using their imagination, an amino acid is released in the brain. It is the same protein that regulates our sleep; encourages proper appetite and builds our immune system.

Being an artist is a big sack of abundance. Presents come down the chimney every time we squeeze a tube of paint.

It takes some courage to begin and resilience to continue; but soon your patience will be rewarded with joy when you’re signing your name on the canvas.


Herbert Pryke teaches acrylic painting classes for the Town of Richmond Hill.

Herbert Pryke is founder of Artcures Inc. an organization that engages the community into exploring the healing power of art.

Thereʼs more to the arts that meet the eye

The performing and visual arts are supposed to be entertaining, but more importantly the arts remind us of our power to create. The act of creation is the essence of our purpose and our progress as a community. The arts teach us how to think beyond boundaries and inventively overcome obstacles.

The arts teach us that we are inherent sources of innovation and that we can dramatically contribute to the community in every area of life – from medicine to technology to public policy.

In July, Artcures Inc. a York Region non-profit arts organization, built a six foot mandala for the community to paint. The point was to create something that hopefully benefits others. The action of creating allows us to make sense of ourselves so we know how to be of purpose to the humanity in which we live.

Artcures Inc. also created a paper wish garden in York Region and the public were given strips of rice paper for them to decorate and hang. People wrote messages of hope, health and wellness for themselves, their family and for society. The messages or ʻprayersʼ have been collected and will be burned in a special public ceremony on September 12th in Holland Landing. The ceremony will include a native drumming circle, song and prayer. All are welcome.

For more details, photos of the paper prayers and a map visit the Artcures Inc. website at / September Drumming Circle


Artcures Inc.ʼs mission is to expose and invlove the community with the arts and the power art has to generate self expression, exploration and evaluation. The arts lead us to our power to create and inspire change.

Herbert Pryke, Founder Artcures Inc.


Making Art


Herbert Pryke

By: Herbert Pryke

Opinions about art keep changing; not only today, but throughout history. The History of Taste – which is part of the History of Art – is a continuous process of discarding established values and inventing new ones. It is impossible to measure the merits of works of art as a scientist measures distances.

Art is imagination and has no boundaries. Art is the creative process of our imagination and our attempt to give it form. The hand tries to carry out the commands of the imagination and puts down a brushstroke. The result may not be quite what had been expected from the mind; partly because the image in the artist ʼs mind is constantly shifting and changing, so that the commands of the imagination cannot be precise.

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