Artists > Lena Shugar >
back to artists


Contrasting Worlds

Gallery Arists '09
Shifting Season
Gallery Artists '07
Town and Country
Gallery Artists '06


Lena Shugar is an artist, designer, and teacher.  As a child she fled from Poland along with her family first to Russia, then to West Berlin, and finally settling in Norway.   For Lena her relationship with her art represented continuity in her frequently changing life.  Paper was scarce and she used the edges of old newspapers on which to draw the world she longed for.
Lena moved to Canada in 1951 along with her family.  As a young adolescent living in Canada and not speaking English, she sought solace in her art and nurtured her passion for colour, fantasy and imagery.  Shortly after her arrival, she came under the tutelage of one of Canada’s foremost artists, Doris McCarthy, at Toronto’s Central Technical School.

Shugar’s early work and her artistic interests centred on colour and design.  She became the head of the Canadian Industries Limited Colour Studio, and later a successful independent design consultant.  Spending more than forty years developing her craft through study and experimentation, Lena was first persuaded to exhibit in 1990 and since then, has successfully exhibited in many countries including Sweden, Israel and Canada.

Lena’s strong sense of design and her use of intense colour are integral to her paintings. Although the central subject matter in her still life, landscapes, and interior paintings may appear abstract, these works are always identifiable with her vision of the depicted scene.  Her art fuels the viewer’s imagination.  The viewer is infused with a sense of well-being through the use of colour, texture, form, and subject. Her art impresses the viewer with its beauty, originality and clarity.

Lena Shugar’s works appear on magazine covers and wine labels as well as in numerous private and corporate collections. She continues to produce masterful works in her Toronto studio during the winter and in her Kawartha studio in the summer months.


My artistic exploration takes me on a journey of both the cerebral and the intuitive sides of my nature.

To fully impart the range of this exploration to the viewer, I not only use my skills as a painter but add to the mix aspects of my beliefs, thoughts and a non-traditional femininity in order to amplify my chosen theme.  Through the impact of colours and textures of mixed media, I strive to impart the depths and layers of the statement I am making, to reveal my conclusions or sometimes demonstrate the strength of my resolve toward the particular issue.

For me, this very personal reference can only be expressed abstractly in both the literal and figurative senses.  My primary motivator is to provoke the viewer to reflect upon the main and tributary themes, sometimes infusing them with a sense of mystery to encourage them to give further thought or continue with their own exploration.


2005-10 Leonardo Gallery Toronto
2004 Koffler Centre of the Arts, Loggia Gallery – solo exhibit Toronto
2004 Toronto Art Expo Toronto
2004 Hummingbird Centre Toronto
2003 Gallery Hittite Yorkville, Toronto
2003 Leonardo Gallery – solo exhibit Forest Hill, Toronto
2003 Victoria County Studio Tour Victoria County, Ontario
2002 Kodiak Gallery – solo exhibit Richmond Hill, Ontario
2002 Baldwin Art Festival Baldwin, Ontario
2002 Colour & Form Society, Juried Show Etobicoke, Ontario
2002 Victoria County Studio Tour Victoria County, Ontario
2001 Peterson Fine Art Gallery Toronto
2001 Gallery 7 Toronto
2001 Lindsay Public Gallery, Juried Show
2001 Award of Excellence Lindsay, Ontario
2000 The Robert Mede Gallery Toronto
1998 Private Reception Gőteberg, Sweden
1997 Balsam Lake Studio Exhibition Kawartha, Ontario
1994 The Mandarin Club of Toronto – solo exhibit Toronto
1993 Georgia Amar Gallery Toronto
1993 Yorkdale Arts Festival Toronto
1992 The Koffler Art Gallery Toronto
1991 Ramat Gan – Private Reception Ramat Gan, Israel
1990 Kawartha Arts Festival Kawartha, Ontario