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Laurie McGaw
Guelph, Ontario




PROFILE      Laurie McGaw is well known for her vibrant portraits of such renowned figures as jazz artists Oscar Peterson and Gene Di Novi and film director Norman Jewison. She is also known for her award-winning illustrated books: Polar the Titanic Bear, nominated for a Governor General’s Award, has sold over 680,000 copies in five languages. A New York Times review described her portraits for African Princess as “stunning”; she was honored for her work by the NAACP. Portraiture has been featured on four collector’s coins that she has designed for the Royal Canadian Mint, including the 2007 proof silver dollar and a $300 gold coin series celebrating the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. A graduate of The Ontario College of Art & Design, and a former instructor there, Laurie continues to teach: she conducts portrait painting workshops biannually and teaches master classes to small groups throughout the year. The focus of her work is portraiture. Whether in commissioned works, illustrations, or historical paintings, her love is painting people. Laurie McGaw’s work has been featured in books, magazines, and private and corporate collections for over 30 years. People are drawn to her work because of her ability to reveal the sitter’s inner qualities with warmth and respect. “Laurie McGaw’s portraits have a lively attention to detail that definitively captures the fine nuances of her subject’s personality.”—Signe Ball, Publisher, In the Hills Magazine.





                        2008: Double Vision: The Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in 
(CAPIC), Toronto Imageworks Gallery, 80 Spadina Ave., 
                                    Toronto; portrait exhibit  
                        2008: Showcase 2008: Headwaters Arts Festival Annual Juried Show; SGI Centre, 
                                   Caledon, Ont.  
                        2007: Double Vision: The Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in
Communication (CAPIC); Queen Street West, Toronto, Ont.; portrait exhibit
                        2005: Best of the Best: Headwaters Arts Festival Annual Juried Show; SGI Centre, 
                                   Caledon, Ont.  
                        2004: Portraits in Performance: solo exhibition; portraits of prominent people in the  
performing arts in the Headwaters region; Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ont.  
                        2003: 25-Year Retrospective: solo exhibition as part of the Headwaters Studio Tour  
                       1992-2003: Headwaters Studio Tour participant  
                       1992: Fourteen Hands: Shelburne Art Centre, Shelburne, Ont.  
                       1996: Kyoto, Japan: exhibited 8 original paintings from Polar the Titanic Bear  
                       1993: Artist in Residence: McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, Ont.  
                       1984: CAPIC show: Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ont.; exhibited Oscar Peterson portrait  
                       1978-1990: exhibited in various CAPIC shows; some traveled across the country




2007: Artist of the Year, Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association

2005: NAACP Award for African Princess

2004: Artist of the Year, Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association

2004: New York Times Children’s Books List, Selection, African Princess

2004: Publishers Marketing Association, selection, Publishers Weekly; Avram’s Gift

2003: Sydney Taylor Notable Book Award for Avram’s Gift

2002: Certificate of Recognition, The Dufferin Arts Council; founding member

1999: Red Cedar Award for Discovering the Iceman

1999: Applied Arts Magazine, Awards Annual selection, for Journey to Ellis Island

1998: National Jewish Book Awards, Children’s Picture Book Award nominee 
  (Journey to Ellis Island

1998: Benjamin Franklin Award, Best Children’s Book for Something to Remember Me By

1998: Joan Fassler Book Award, (STRMB)

1998: Parents Choice Recommended, selection, (STRMB)

1998: Canadian Children’s Book Centre, “Our Choice”, (STRBM)

1998: Selected as “Outstanding” by the Parent Council, (STRMB)

1998: American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists”, (STRMB)

1997: Mr. Christie’s Book Award for Discovering the Iceman

1997: Information Book Award, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada (Iceman)

1995: Silver Birch Award for Polar the Titanic Bear

1994: Governor General’s Award finalist, for Polar the Titanic Bear

1994: Canadian Children’s Book Award, Ontario Library Association Children’s Services Guild, for Polar the Titanic Bear

1990: CAPIC Annual Exhibition, Bronze Award for The Morningside Papers (portrait of Peter Gzowski)

1985: Civilian Citation, presented by the Board of Commissioners of Police, City of Toronto (for assisting the homicide division with portraits of suspects and victims)





Oscar Peterson Jazz pianist, Peter Gzowski Broadcaster, David Suzuki

Environmentalist, Mark DuBois Tenor, Dan Needles  Playwright, Terry Fox Fundraiser

Wayne Gretzky Hockey star, Norman Jewison Director, David Nairn Actor, Director

Gene DiNovi Jazz pianist, Dave Young  Jazz bassist, Silken Laumann Olympic rower

Sharon, Lois & Bram Children’s entertainers, Bruce Westwood  Literary Agent

Dini Petty Broadcaster, Doris McCarthy Artist, The Hon. Hugh Sedgwick Judge

Pat Sedgwick Fundraiser, The Poulton children, Theresa Mizzi Therapist

The entire Board of Directors of Imperial Oil Ltd., Dr. K.MacMillan Canadian Bible

Society, Katelyn Epners Student, Neil Mathieson, CGA, Accountant, ‘Freddie’ Mathieson                  

Homemaker, The Mathieson Daughters, Catherine, Joe & Angela Zeimet

Gordon Pape  Author & Broadcaster, Robert Thomas Allen Writer, Boris Brott

Conductor, Farley Mowat Author, Pope John Paul II, The Cruickshank children,

Erin Gilmour cover, Toronto Life Magazine, D’Arcy McKeough Executive,

Rogers & Hammerstein Toronto Life Magazine, Gillian Howard Fundraiser

Claude Taylor Air Canada Executive, Charles Rand  Posthumous portrait,

Christopher Needler Executive, Conrad Black & Barbara Amiel Executive &

Writer, Bill Lishman Environmentalist, Walter Bean Newspaper executive    

Susan Butler Educator, Tamara Hope Actor, Dermot O’Brien Art Director

Rory ‘Gus’ Sinclair Musician, Social Activist, Contractor, Major Alexander J. Sinclair

48th Highlanders of Canada, Genevieve Grand-daughter of Carl and Anne Laurier

Cheryl Shoji Newspaper Photo Editor, Ian French Executive, Sandra Leah Secondary

School Principal, Roy Frankel Executive, Andrea Bocelli Tenor, Jim and Gracie 
Executive, Ontario Power Generation,, The MacPherson Sisters, 
Michael Mahovlich
Photographer, Mary Newberry Editor, The Shaefler Children, 
Jacob Freedman Child portrait




African Princess, Hyperion / Jump at the Sun / Madison Press

Avram’s Gift, MB Publishing, Maryland

Joan Stade’s Story, Joan Stade, Chicago, Illinois

To Be A Princess, Scholastic / Madison Press

Inside the Hindenburg, McArthur & Company / Madison Press (Collaboration with Ken Marschall)

Journey to Ellis Island, Hyperion / Madison Press

Something to Remember Me By, The Communication Project

The Popcorn Tree, Stoddart

Christmas with Anne, McClelland & Stewart

Discovering the Iceman, Scholastic / Madison Press

The Illustrated Father Goose, Little, Brown / Madison Press

Polar the Titanic Bear, Little, Brown / Madison Press

The Secrets of Vesuvius, Random House, Madison Press





                        2007: The Globe and Mail, national newspaper, article about a commissioned
                                   portrait  of Bryce Bradley                                                      
                        2007: In the Hills Magazine, feature profile  
                        2007: Shelburne Free Press & Economist, article about logo design for the Town 
                                   of Shelburne                           2004: New York Times, Sunday Book Review (Children’s Books), African Princess  
                        2003: Canadian Jewish News, article about Avrams’s Gift               
                        1996: The Toronto Star, feature article  
                        1994: In the Hills Magazine, article  
                        1992-the present: The Orangeville Banner, various articles  
                        1992-the present: The Orangeville Citizen, various articles  


                        1999: Published portrait of Andrea Bocelli, personally presented to him in Verona, Italy  
                                   (Polar the Titanic Bear cards mailed by the Bocelli family to friends for Christmas)  
                         2005: Portrait of Oscar Peterson purchased and donated to The University of Toronto, 
                                    Mississauga Campus, to hang in the new
Oscar Peterson Residence

Radio & TV

                        2009: Star Portraits, PTV Productions; Part one of a 13-part series, combining the art of  
                                   portraiture with celebrity biography; airs September ‘09  
                        2006: 30-minute interview, Rogers Cable TV Network  
                        2002: CBC TV news: Presented To Be A Princess to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II  
                        1997: 96.3 FM Radio: Interviewed by Catherine Belyea  
                        1994: CBC Radio: Interviewed by Peter Gzowski on Morningside  
                        1992: Rogers Cable TV (portraits: Wayne Gretzky, Rodney Dangerfield, David Bowie)   
                        1986: CBC TV: Episode of Street Legal, as courtroom artist  



SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS                      

                        2005: Packaging Your Imagination, Victoria College, U of T, sponsored by  
                                    The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers  
                        2000: Tour of the North: Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, and Norman Wells  
                                    Libraries and schools; supported by the Canada Council  
                        1994 to the present: Numerous presentations to schoolchildren throughout Ontario  
                        1994 to the present: Presentations/workshops to various local arts groups 




                        2005: Artflight; The Canada Aviation Museum, Ottawa; annual art exhibition  
                        2000: The Governor General’s Awards, Ottawa (Children’s Books)  
                        1985: The National Magazine Awards, Toronto        





                        2005 to the present: Teaching small master classes in home/studio

                        1999 to the present: Portrait painting workshops, twice yearly

                        1993: Artist in Residence, McMichael Canadian Collection  

1987-93: The Ontario College of Art & Design, instructor 




                         Presently listed in the Canadian Who’s Who 

                        2000-02: Member of the Portrait Society of America Inc.

                        2001: Chair, Headwaters Studio Tour; member for 10 years

                        2000 to the present: Member of the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association

                        1996 -2005: Member of CANSCAIP

                                    Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers

                        1992 to the present: Founding Member of the Dufferin Arts Council

                        1978 to the present: Founding Member of CAPIC





1978-to the present: Artist and illustrator, specializing in portraiture and book llustration

1977-78: Illustrator at TDF Artists Ltd., Canada’s largest advertising art studio, at the time

1974-75: Layout artist and production coordinator for Chatelaine Magazine

1972-74: Layout artist at The Canadian Magazine

1970-72: Layout artist at McGaw-Jordan Ltd. /Artists and Lithographers






1984: Studied with renowned American portrait painter Daniel Greene, North Salem, NY

1983: Studied Art History in Italy; York University program (Toronto)

1975-77: The Ontario College of Art & Design; graduated with honors

1966-70: Graduated from a commercial art program, Thistletown Collegiate Institute





To create a portrait, I start by meeting the subject in his or her own environment to discuss ideas and settle on size and medium. This initial discussion also serves as a time to get a sense of the sitter’s personality. At the next meeting, I usually produce a study, either in charcoal, chalk, or oil, depending on the time allowed. The pose is then chosen and we make arrangements for future sittings. I paint the portrait either in the client’s home/office or in my studio, or both. I take photographs and use them as reference for the finishing stages of the portrait. I have created portraits entirely from life (with up to eight sittings), but often, with time constraints, there are about three sittings; the balance is finished with the use of the photographs.”   






Website design by Mark Tichenor
Copyright © 2001-2006 [Laurie McGaw]. All rights reserved.
Revised: August 02, 2015 .