Gareth Bate

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Get inspired by the beauty of Toronto's natural settings this summer.


Outdoor Abstract Nature Drawing

Your vision of nature transformed

REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Deadline: Sat. June 17 at midnight.

Six Weeks + Two Free Bonus Makeup Classes.

Thurs. June 22 - July 27. 10:00 am - 12:30 pm


Photos: Gareth Bate. Drawings by Paul Goodram and Andrea Yermy and the group's drawing.


Time to relax, get outside and stop staring at a screen.


What if you could get your imagination going in a new direction?

Are you looking to find imagery that is unique to you?

Let’s face it - our summer is really short. Let’s get outside and enjoy the nice weather while it lasts! If you’re feeling stuck indoors and just need to get outside, then this course is perfect for you.

It's all about being present to the world.

Feeling bored by representational studies? Ever felt like you wanted to do landscapes that are more creative, experimental or imaginative? What if you could convey the feeling of a place rather than what it literally looks like. What if you could just let go and express your own inner vision.

It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and try something different. What else is possible?


Three important things to know:

1) I only offer this courses once a year.

2) Special Offer: You can save $50 if you sign up a friend who hasn't taken my courses in the past.

3) I know you might be going away at some point this summer so I offer two FREE makeup classes!


"The instructor had the rare ability to understand and answer my questions!... I would say that anyone who is excited by and wants to expand on their own artistic ideas should take this course. It provides a great exposure to expressive art and the instructor is really good at gauging and instructing at each artists' level."
- Sudeshna Maitra (Outdoor Abstract City Drawing)



Photos: Gareth Bate.

Here's How The Class Works...

I created Art School Untangled to teach one of a kind courses that you can't find anywhere else. These courses get right to the heart of problems students face and focus intensely on a single issue.

The emphasis of this course is on letting go and experimenting in a natural setting that is enriching.

Each week we'll meet in a different scenic and natural location around Toronto. This will include High Park, the waterfront, ravines, street gardens and roof gardens. Every week I’ll select places that are visually exciting with access to shade and the potential to relocate to somewhere covered if necessary.

For each drawing assignment I give you a theme or approach designed to make you notice unexpected things. You’ll go off to explore the location for about 20 minutes. We then all get back together and begin a drawing. We'll do two drawings in each class.

The emphasis is not on perspective or purely representational landscape studies or on learning materials and techniques. Instead you'll draw from your experiences, feelings, memories and imagination rather than from direct observation. There is no right or wrong approach. It's really whatever comes to mind. I teach both abstract and representational painting so you are welcome to include recognizable imagery if you want. It’s totally up to you. I’ll respond to what you need.

Why Abstract?

Let's face it sometimes doing representational studies gets boring. Want to get into more creative, experimental or imaginative drawings? What if you could convey the feeling of a place rather than what it literally looks like? What if you could express your own inner vision?

With abstraction there are no rules, no boundaries and no limits. Abstraction is ambiguous, it doesn't give you everything. It can be mysterious and evocative. The most exciting thing about this course is seeing the surprising things that come out of people when they free up and stop needing everything to look realistic. This is an oppertunity to play and express yourself. Abstraction is liberating.

It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and try something different. What else is possible?

"You make it easy for us to show up and get underway. You are prepared and have planned the course which I really appreciate and you clearly know how to give constructive feedback on abstract work which I think is rare. Most of the other instructors I have had when working abstractly have just left us alone and not been able to say much on how to improve or develop the piece." - Sue Simington (Outdoor Abstract City Drawing)



Photos: Gareth Bate. Drawing by Janet Hope.


Art School Untangled


Outdoor Abstract Nature Drawing


Instructor: Gareth Bate

Location: Different scenic locations around Toronto. Accessible by TTC.

Meeting Place: Different locations each week. (I'll let you know in advance.)

Locations may included: The waterfront, High Park & Grenadier Pond, Urban gardens, roof gardens, Rosedale Valley, Don Valley, Evergreen Brick Works.

Spots: 14 (Requires 5 people to run)

Available Spots: 13

Duration: Six Weeks + 2 free Sunday bonus make up classes.

Day: Thursday Mornings

Dates: Thurs. June 22 to Thurs. July 27, 2017

Time: 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Important Note: This class may require some walking to get to the locations on uneven forest paths. If this is a problem for you I'd suggest doing the Outdoor Abstract City Drawing course instead.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Ends Sat. June 17, 2017 at midnight.


Going away during the course?

No problem, I got you covered!

Two Free Bonus Makeup Classes:

Sun. July 16. 11 am - 2 pm
Sun. July 23. 11 am - 2 pm.


"I had trouble starting work from nothing in the abstract classroom sessions but was more successful using outdoor sites for inspiration. Learning to paint cityscape from memory was really useful and satisfying... This is a serious art class where you can expect to learn a lot. A great opportunity for people that 'wish they had gone to art school' - it's not too late to get good tuition." 

- Susan Montgomery (Outdoor Abstract City Drawing)


About Me

My name is Gareth Bate and I’m a full time artist, curator and art teacher. I work in painting, installation and photography. I've been asked if everything I do revolves around art and the answer is pretty much yes! I've travelled extensively and visited all the major museums in London, Paris, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Montreal and Cape Town. I'm Festival Curator of the World of Threads Festival an international festival of contemporary fibre and textile art in Oakville. I graduated with a BFA from OCAD University and a diploma from Central Tech's adult art program. I've been teaching since 2008. I’ve been featured on CBC News and Radio Canada and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Now Magazine and La Presse among others.

Here are the courses I teach:
Art World Untangled
Art History: The Masters: 1400-1850
Art History: The Moderns: 1850-1980
Abstract Painting
Outdoor Abstract City Drawing
Outdoor Abstract Nature Drawing
Colour Mixing Boot Camp


Photos: Gareth Bate. Drawing by Andrea Yermy.


Essential Class Materials

Art Supplies are extra.


2 medium to large sized pads of watercolour or mixed media paper. Get ones where you can easily turn the pages rather than a block. You only need one pad during class.

1 box of varied chalk pastels. Unless you hate chalk. A pack of at least 20. You get what you pay for.

1 box of varied oil pastels. Unless you hate oil. A pack of at least 20. A pack of at least 20. You get what you pay for.

Latex or rubber gloves. This is to keep the pastel mess off your hands.

Optional: Artist quality coloured markers. Artist markers are a cleaner alternative. They are really fun and you can blen them to make nice effects.

Light weight folding stool or chair to sit on. I have a tiny little fabric stool that folds up. It works great.

Bag to carry things in.

Hat and sunscreen

Bug Spray 

Umbrella or rain coat. If it rains we will move to a shelter in the park. But it might be a walk so an umbrella is probably a good idea.

Digital Camera of smartphone to document things for future reference. (Optional)

Messy Clothing, Apron or Crappy Towel: You should dress appropriately for getting a bit messy and also bring a fold out stool or chair.



Photos: Gareth Bate.



Where does the first class happen? I'll email you to let you know the first location.

What are the locations? Every week I surprise you with a new location. I'll email you a week in advance with a google map and directions. Locations will always be close to public transit. I'll also let you know the closest parking lots.

I’m going away a few weeks so I’ll have to miss class. What do I do? I’m offering two free bonus makeup classes so this hopefully will allow you to make up for missed time.

My previous work is representational. I'm worried that the way I see is too literal. How will I know how to make abstract drawings? We’ll discuss various ways of approaching this in class. Essentially there is no right or wrong way. You'll draw what comes to mind. One technique I use is to have the class explore the area and then we all get back together to draw. So you're not drawing from observation but rather based on your feeling of the place, memory or from things you noticed. I also have no problem with you using imagery in the drawings if you want. The best advice I can give is to be detached from the outcome. To just draw and not really care what happens.

Abstract is new to me. Will this work for me if I don't really get abstraction? Yes. Anyone can do this. I'll show you lots of examples of artists working abstractly that you can draw inspiration from. Overall, there's no right or wrong way to approach this. It's about letting your own imagery emerge. I'm also totally open to you having recognizable imagery if you want.

I'm a bit embarassed to be drawing outside. What if people come look and comment? A few people will come by and look at what we are up to. They're just curious. People love seeing artists working outside. I've found that since we are drawing abstractly people have no idea what to make of the drawings. So they tend not to comment or linger. It's quite funny. There is no need to be shy about your drawings.

What do we do if it rains? I have carefully chosen locations that allow for the possibility of either going under a shelter or going indoors. Bring an umbrella just in case we need to walk. You’ll need a few artist markers in case we have to go inside. Just so that we aren’t making that place messy.

What if I have to go to the bathroom? I'll make sure there are bathrooms within a walkable distance.

How will I find you if I get lost? I’ll have my cell phone on and I’ll give you the number. I’ll let you know in advance the exact location where we are meeting and send a Google map and a Google streetview image via email.

Can I pay by credit card? Yes I can accept online credit card payments.


So it’s time to make a decision.

You can waste your summer or really push yourself to a new level...



Photos: Gareth Bate. Drawings by Elaine Whittaker.


Register Now to

Reserve Your Spot!

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Sat. June 17, 2016 at midnight



Six Week Course +  2 free bonus makeup classes: $349

Art Supplies are not included.



You can save $50 off your course price if you sign up a friend who hasn't taken my courses in the past. You can email me about this later.


How to Pay

When you book I'll send you an invoice. You can then send me an online e-transfer or pay online via credit card. You could also pay by check or cash during the first class. Payment is reguired during the first class.


Here's how to register...

Send me an email:

Subject Line: Registration for Outdoor Abstract Nature Drawing


What to include: