Monthly Archives: June 2015

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AWARD-WINNING FLAUTIST & COMPOSER RON KORB RELEASES NEW ALBUM “ASIA BEAUTY” JULY 7th IN TORONTO

I’ve been aware of Toronto’s internationally acclaimed flautist and composer RON KORB and his music for many years, having attended one of his concerts back in the late 90’s – I remember being completely mesmerized by his flute playing; I never knew there were so many different types of flute or the vastly dissimilar sounds and tones each emits.

DSC00144g-1-sDSC07049Famous for playing a wide variety indigenous woodwinds from around the world, Ron’s critically praised music has been released in twenty countries around the world, and he’s toured extensively throughout Europe, North and Central America, Australia, South Asia, mainland China and Japan, performing for many heads of state and royalty. His compositions evoke imagery of the diverse cultural traditions and experiences he’s encountered on his travels.

Several months ago, I reconnected with Ron during a taping of the Rogers Daytime Toronto tv show and we started chatting in the green room about the release of his upcoming new CD, Asia Beauty. On Tuesday July 7th, Ron will be performing at Musideum, 401 Richmond St West (at Spadina) accompanied by renowned pianist Lou Pomanti with Linlin Wang on the Chinese Erhu, as he introduces Asia Beauty to world, classical and new age music fans. Tickets are $20 and available on Ron’s website: http://ronkorb.com/asia-beauty-tickets

Cover-2015(less green)His past albums have run the gamut of Celtic themes, a salute to the European masters, Native American, Japanese, mystical and even a Christmas album, all original works using a multitude of wind instruments accompanied by indigenous and traditional musical instruments. I asked Ron about his latest album and he shared his inspirations and the story behind the new album:
This album is the result of my travels through China over the past 13 years.  The music is inspired by the dramatic landscapes, ancient history, the people and their stories, the arts and culture and their dynamic present-time where, in cities like Shanghai, entire communities are changing rapidly. More specifically, as you flip through the album booklet you can see the background inspiration for each song. All the pieces have a unique story that reflects something about Asian culture.

????????????????????????????? KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAsia Beauty also features a beautiful 36 page picture book containing full colour photos of both rural and urban China. I asked Ron about these gorgeous photos:
I am proud that there are no stock photos in the picture book. Most of the original photography is by my wife, Jade, with a few shots taken by myself and others, notably Dan Shao. The exotic locations in China include: Guilin, Yangshou, Suzhou, Shanghai, and the Forbidden City in Beijing. Other locations include Hanoi, Vietnam and the gorgeous bamboo forest at Xitou in Taiwan.

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DSC08816-1Ron continued by telling the story behind his original songs on the album:
Seven of the songs from Asia Beauty are the musical setting of an original story called “Dragon Flute and the House of the Five Beauties” which I wrote in my hotel in Shanghai (where Ron is pictured below) after a week-long rehearsal schedule and concert performance. I spent an extra week travelling around and each night I would add a few more pages. I was inspired to write a supernatural story set in ancient China based on historical legend and some of my own experiences. There was even interest in turning the story into a feature length animated film, however, I’m happy that it’s finally available in the liner notes of the album.

SONY DSCOriginally I was going to call the whole album “The House of the Five Beauties” but as other songs included were not part of that story, I thought of calling the album simply “Asia”. I liked adding the word “Beauty” because the essence of the music is celebrating the beauty of Asian nature and also refers to “The Beautiful Sadness” aesthetic and the characters in “House of the Five Beauties”.

IMG_3304 ?????????????????????????????I noticed on his website that Ron has performed for many international heads of state and royalty over the years so I asked him how it feels to play in front of such prestigious audiences:
Aside from the diplomatic etiquette, the performing process is really the same. Music is about relating to each other as human beings. Personally, it is just as much a privilege to play for a King or Queen as it is for all audiences.

SONY DSC And I also asked him how Chinese audiences differ from Canadian audiences:
They come from a completely different perspective when it comes to appreciating the arts. I explain some of the cultural difference in the album with the song The Beautiful Sadness. I think the Chinese audiences are brutally honest and they won’t sit through something that they find boring. However, if your music touches them they will really show it enthusiastically.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA DSC04836g 147簽名會 SONY DSCWhich brought me to another question – does Ron see opportunities for other Canadian artists to explore the HUGE Chinese/South Asian music markets?
I think there are opportunities for Canadian artists but it is not as straightforward as expanding into the USA or Europe where we share a similar media culture and musical taste. I know some musicians who have tried to make it in China and been underwhelmed by the results and reaction from audiences.  There was one North American superstar who was performing there and after a few songs the audience began to leave en masse. There was another case where the audience was talking so loudly that the group stopped playing and lectured the audience on how to pay attention.

DSC04509g-1 With such a level of expertise, knowledge and personal experience, I asked Ron how long he has studied and played the flute, and which instruments are his favourites:
I started on recorder in elementary school and began playing flute in high school. I like each type of flute for different reasons. The classical flute has good intonation and pure tone but the mechanical key system lacks some intimacy, similar to the difference between an automatic transmission and a standard car. With the wooden flute your fingers touch the wood and you feel every curve and bump of the instrument. I also love the wonderful organic tone of the Chinese bamboo flute or wooden Irish flute.

20150623_174736With all this training and years of touring, Ron must have advice he could share with music students and aspiring performers so he offered the following:
Seek out the best teachers and learn the craft as best you can. Attend as many concerts of as many different genres as possible. As you develop, discover who you are as a person and learn how to express that through the flute. Resist copying other artists’ styles and develop your own special voice.

2015-02-13 20.34.59I mentioned to Ron that his upcoming CD release concert is being held in a unique venue, Musideum (pictured below), where I believe he had previously played, even collaborating with the owner, Donald Quan on musical projects:
Yes, I‘ve played there before and I even played at Musideum’s inaugural opening concert. I have known Donald since I was 17 and in many ways, our love of World Music has developed simultaneously. Musideum was the realization of a dream that took many years to create and it has become a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of exotic instruments from around the world. It has personal significance to me and that is why it’s so appropriate to launch my Asia Beauty there.

20150507_194347 20150507_194422 20150507_220351So we’re just a week away from the official release of Asia Beauty and as space is limited, I encourage fans of World, Classical or New Age-style music in the Toronto area to get your tickets now!

Asia Beauty CD Release

Tuesday July 7 @ 8pm (doors open 7:30pm)

Musideum, 401 Richmond St. West (at Spadina)

Tickets $20 available from: http://ronkorb.com/asia-beauty-tickets

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Thank you for supporting Canadian artists.

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Award-winning Canadian composer/flautist RON KORB welcomes guests to studio meet-n-greet to celebrate new CD, Asia Beauty

Internationally renowned, award-winning composer and flautist RON KORB www.ronkorb.com was a very busy man last night! Earlier in the evening, he welcomed industry pro’s and media to a special recording session and meet’n’greet to promote his latest album, Asia Beauty, at KUHL MUZIK studios located in downtown Toronto, then later visited CIUT-FM radio for an interview with Nancy Bullis, host of “Howl!” (story pending) at 10pm.

20150623_165840First, Ron got things sync’d up with studio owner, Gary Honess (above), as his lovely wife Jade, laid out a spread fit for an emperor (below) featuring authentic Chinese Baozi from Markham, including cute panda cookies and a deelish green tea sponge roll cake.

20150623_165708 20150623_165712After managing the catering, Jade took a quick break (below) with Zhang Bo, husband of Yangqin virtuoso, Zhang Di, who recorded a few tracks with Ron (below, pics 2 + 3).

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20150623_171939 20150623_171910The local celebs arrived and took turns hangin’ with Gary at the board (it reminded me of the deck of the Enterprise…beam me up, Scotty!!). Here’s film director/writer Bobby Del Rio checking out the tech deck with Gary as Jade, in the background, hurries over with a plate of goodies. Bobby’s latest feature is The Market – check it out here: http://www.themarketmovie.com/

20150623_170543 20150623_170616More folks to greet including Margo Glatt & musician Aidan Mason (below) http://www.aidanmasonmusic.com/

20150623_182006…as well as Bill Evans (below) who sat down and started swapping music stories with Margo and Aidan.

20150623_182425Don Graham, musician and Cashbox Canada columnist (below, right), showed off his awesome tan thanks to his recent visit to MIDEM in Cannes, and chatted with studio intern Matt. www.cashboxcanada.ca 

20150623_174556Ron showed e-magazine publisher/writer Lise Watson (www.twasonline.com) around one of the studios (below)…..

20150623_174719…then he spent time being interviewed by KJ Mullins (below), publisher/writer of Newz4U one of Toronto’s leading online news sites. http://newz4u.net/ 

20150623_182355Ron, Zhang Di and Bill Evans performed two songs from Asia Beauty live that were professionally filmed in real time, which had everyone crowding around the monitors….

20150623_181224 20150623_181125Also hangin’ with Gary (below), here’s Meaghan Ritchat and Phil Demetro of Lacquer Channel Mastering http://lacquerchannel.com/

20150623_182414…and even I was the subject of some slick paparazzi….LOL!

20150623_165905Ron logged on to WeChat, China’s social media portal, saying hi to fans in Beijing and Shanghai with help from Sissi Chen of Novella magazine (below). www.novellamag.com 

20150623_174220Below, Gary helps set-up for the filming – the footage will be edited into music videos over the coming months.

20150623_174411 20150623_174324 20150623_174358A great evening…big thanks to Gary for his generous hospitality http://kuhlmuzik.com/ and to everyone who came out to support Ron’s event.

20150623_174736The public concert to launch Asia Beauty takes place 8pm Tues. July 7th at Musideum, located right above Kuhl Muzik at 401 Richmond St West (at Spadina) and you can purchase tickets via Ron’s website: http://ronkorb.com/asia-beauty-tickets   Space is limited so don’t wait too long to secure your seats.

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WE’RE BAAAACK! ANOTHER VISIT TO PORT HOPE, ONTARIO, DELIVERS SURPRISES AND TREATS

On the one sunny day of this past week, my bestie, Erena, and I journeyed back to our favourite country town about an hour east of Toronto: Port Hope. It was Saturday and it was Farmers’ Market day in the parking lot behind the Municipal Offices so we tucked Erena’s vintage ‘vette into  a shady parking spot and strolled the market stands, grazing our way thru the yummy treats and picking up some new treasures from the craftspeople there, too.20150613_113207 20150613_114116 20150613_115948The overpowering fragrance of bacon beckoned me on towards The Social’s stall….yes, one bacon sandwich, please. Mmmmmm….20150613_113309Erena enjoyed some homemade perogies from the lady opposite the bacon…they were apparently so good that her eyes rolled back as she noshed away on half a dozen…LOL

20150613_113430I found some lovely local wines to wash down the bacon when I stopped in to say hello to Tim Kuepfer (below) of Broken Stone Winery in Pr. Edward County. www.brokenstone.ca  I found the pino noir very tasty and the other guests loved the chardonnay. Apparently Broken Stone participates in local wine tours so do check out their website to discover this emerging new wine region in Ontario.

20150613_113647 20150613_113853We then discovered Gary & Robin from the Tallboots Farm who were selling an awesome selection of jams, preserves, pickles, tarts, cookies and….oh boy….hand-crafted chocolates!! www.tallbootsfarm.ca   The jams were delish and both of us purchased a jar of the triple raspberry jam (I just had some on my toast for breakie this morning) and the chocolates we bought didn’t last long either!

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20150613_115702One lovely young local serenaded us as we all walked around…

20150613_121334…and we enjoyed meeting many of the farmers and vendors (below). As we got there a bit late (around 12 noon) most of the produce was long gone but we did see some massive radishes and lots of live tomato plants. We gotta come back earlier on summer Saturdays to grab the veggie deals.

20150613_115822 20150613_115828 20150613_115835 20150613_121326 20150613_120656Desperately needing a good cuppa coffee (and a quick tinkle) we left the market, walking thru the historic streets (below)…

20150613_121823 20150613_121859…and found our fave cafe, Queenies Bake Shop, the happiest shop on Walton St. The food and bevvies are superb and the hospitality warm and friendly. Thanks to the ladies and chef Adam (below) for looking after us once again.

20150613_124513 20150613_122352 20150613_122411No trip to Port Hope would be complete without a quick visit to Kenneth Bell‘s fabulous bling boutique just a couple of doors down from Queenies. www.kennethbell.com  Ken was heading off on a road trip with his wholesale treasures so we hung out with his assistant, Sherry (below) and played dress-up with young model, Madi (bottom pic) who showed us a very Rhianna-ish multi-strand chain necklace.

20150613_130326 20150613_124950 20150613_125721 20150613_125321We also spent some time (and dollars!) with the ladies of Bubbles & Gems, another few doors down from Ken’s store. Erena picked up some lovely jewellery there and I enjoyed browsing thru the groovy purses.  http://www.bubblesandgems.com/

20150613_135344 20150613_135347 20150613_135508We decided to take a quick nature break and visit the lakeside boardwalk just a little east of the downtown core as well as visit the beach at the foot of the Ganaraska River, so after a quick visit to our friends at Facey’s and Engine Gallery (see my previous blog posted in May), we headed off into the wilds of Northumberland County and look what we found…..sheer leafy bliss!

20150613_152407 20150613_152433 20150613_152612 20150613_152643 20150613_152900And we weren’t alone. One bold as brass chipmunk came right up to me, posing for pics and obviously looking for some nibblies. Next time we go, I’m taking peanuts with me as I have a feeling this little guy would take them right out of my hand.

20150613_153040 20150613_153041 20150613_153716We walked back to the car, then headed off towards town and hit the beach.

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20150613_155311 20150613_155415I had fun paddling in the cool waters of Lake Ontario…how clean and clear it was, too.

20150613_162353 20150613_162405 20150613_162820We decided to end our day in Port Hope by dining at Crawford’s Lakeview Cafe, just up from the beach. What a charming cafe with a lovely wrap-around porch where we dined on fish and chips (me) and a gourmet burger (Erena), topped off with homemade desserts of apple pie and icecream (me) and a lemon slice (Erena) …yummmm.

20150613_174458 20150613_191506 20150613_191415Apparently Crawford’s serves THE best breakfast for miles and Chef Pino Ruberto told us that his French toast and pancake stacks attract diners from miles around! We’ll be back for breakie soon, that’s for sure.
As we left the cafe, we witnessed what, to me, looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park: strange dinosaur-like creatures invading the streets.  I never knew baby Canadian geese looked so weird!

20150613_191549 20150613_191551So goodbye to the beach, the cafe and the goslings…Port Hope, we’ll be back again soon!

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Plan your own trip to Port Hope by first visiting:

http://www.visitporthope.ca/

http://www.porthopechamber.ca/

 

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URBANSOURCE CATERING/URBAN GALLERY HOSTS TOURISM TORONTO MEMBERS!

As the song says…”oh what a night”! We had an absolute blast last night at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) when UrbanSource Catering hosted a special members’ social for Tourism Toronto event planners and corporate buyers.  Thanks to the hard work of TT’s Christopher Barry and Denise Belgrove, Urban had a full house despite the rain soaked tornado-like weather conditions (no flying monkeys or witches were harmed during the making of this event!).

20150610_153809 20150610_153801Before the guests arrived, the bar was set-up with wines from Pelee Island wineries (above), and Chef Lyndon laid out the sumptuous charcuterie table, complete with condiments courtesy of Whisky & Spice (booze-infused premium mustards made locally by Dan Gordon) – below.

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20150610_154929Urban Gallery’s current art show featuring Khat Karim‘s colourful paintings, looked awesome (below)

20150610_153852And the team gathered for a quick pic prior to the doors opening (below: Urban’s Kaspara, Calvin, and Wayne with Christopher from TT in white shirt sleeves)

20150610_154909Let the games being! Toronto’s best event planners and buyers poured in and what a fantastic group of industry professionals they were. Everyone was eager to taste UrbanSource Catering’s menu and view the gallery space for potential events, meetings, parties and social gatherings….and the concensus was a big thumbs-up!

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20150610_164953 20150610_174434(0) 20150610_175307We had a couple of prize draws and Urban partner Calvin got busy gathering everyone’s biz cards (below)

20150610_175010One of our fun interactive activities was an art board where guests were asked to draw their company logo and take selfies for social media sharing. Below, here are some of the guests having fun with the marker pens creating their own masterpieces!

20150610_175931 20150610_175123 20150610_175924 20150610_190625Below, Kaspara was finally able to lure Chef Lyndon out from the kitchen to enjoy the accolades and kudos for his yummy hors d’oeuvres….

20150610_183247…..and the team got together one more time to celebrate a fun and successful soiree, this time joined by Urban’s catering & events consultant Jean-Marc (below, far right)

20150610_154958Apart from showcasing the venue and catering to Tourism Toronto members, the party also marked the 30th business anniversary for UrbanSource Catering so bravo to partners Calvin Hambrook and Wayne Abell for weathering 3 decades of storms, recessions, ever-changing food trends and some of the strangest client requests (and that’s a whole other blog story!!).

20150610_153816If you’d like to learn more about the superb menus offered by UrbanSource Catering for corporate or private events, weddings, galas, fundraisers, etc., or the Urban Gallery space for rentals, please check out their weblinks below, as well as visiting the official Tourism Toronto website:

http://www.urbancatering.com/

http://www.urbangallery.ca/

http://www.seetorontonow.com/

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Bruce Lawes- Lincoln sculpture in progress (smaller file) (1)

BRUCE K. LAWES RECREATES A MOMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY WITH NEW LINCOLN PORTRAIT

I’ve had the honour of working closely with award-winning artist BRUCE K. LAWES for the past couple of years, helping raise awareness of his extraordinary talents, especially in the areas of equine portraiture and large scale Civil War historical re-imaginings.  His superb equine paintings are sought after by international art collectors and he has been commissioned for portraits by horse owners, breeders, mustang rescue groups, Olympic equestrians and racehorse trainers, as well as multi-national corporate clients.

Bruce Lawes- On a Cloud Bruce Lawes- With Grace

the Cloud portrait  Into the Light with BruceSince 2013, Bruce has attended the annual Battle of Gettysburg re-enactments each 4th of July long weekend, painting from his artist’s tent overlooking the battlefield. His work has been featured in both Union and Confederate-themed news as well as local Pennsylvania media, and last year he was featured in a CNN TV report on the 150th anniversary of the famous battle. His resulting portrait of a young Geo. Armstrong Custer (below) joining in the infamous Pickett’s Charge went to auction at the Coeur d’Alene auction of fine art in Reno, Nevada last July and quickly got snapped up by a Civil War art collector. Bruce’s other battlefield paintings have also done extremely well with Gettysburg aficionados.

Lawes_-_Custer__Before_the_Stormphoto 1Next month (on July 25th) Bruce’s work once again goes under the hammer at the Coeur d’Alene where his latest Civil War painting, A New Birth of Freedom (pictured below) a 50” x 40” oil on linen portrait of Abraham Lincoln pondering a brief speech he had just written to be delivered the next day at Gettysburg (now known as The Gettysburg Address), is anticipated to create quite the buzz in the American historical and museum communities.

A New Birth of Freedom - B.K.LawesI recently spoke with Bruce who told me about his creative process, the genesis of his Lincoln portrait and the prestigious endorsement he just received from leading Lincoln expert and award-winning author, Gabor Boritt*

What was you experience like last year at the Coeur d’Alene and what/who introduced your work to the prestigious auction?
BKL: As 2014 was my first time in this internationally renowned auction and, with a relatively untested subject matter for me (George Armstrong Custer) which I felt was done well, the unknown of whether anyone else felt the same was very nerve racking. When I first arrived in Reno, Nevada, the day before the auction and met the gallery and auction representatives, my worry vanished very quickly; they confirmed there had been a lot of interest in my painting and that the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team was one notable individual who was going to be bidding on my painting.

Bruce Lawes- Custer composite of painting (1)Did the positive response to your Custer portrait inspire you to explore more historical re-imagining of Civil War milestones or personalities?
BKL: The response to Custer certainly made it desirable to explore other possible historical ideas for a painting that may intrigue a collector.

What first drew you to the Lincoln/Gettysburg Address subject?
BKL: My interest in Lincoln, as with many other people, is his persona and his accomplishments as the most revered President in American history. The significance of the date 2015 is that it represents the 150th anniversary of his assassination, and the Gettysburg Address being the most significant speech in the rebirth of America during the Civil War made it an important subject to paint.

You were given a lot of assistance with the actual location for the painting – the David Wills home – can you tell me who supplied photos and narrative descriptions in order for you to place Lincoln in an authentic setting?
BKL: While consulting my friend J. David (JD) Petruzzi**, award winning Civil War author and historian, as to how to portray Lincoln in a unique authentic setting, we discussed the David Wills House (pictured below) where Lincoln stayed the night before delivering his Gettysburg Address. With the creative and historical minds working together, my decision was to paint him the day before the Address (this painting) and in a second painting showing him during the day of the Address (I’m currently working on that one). The problem that I was faced with was an authentic reference for the bedroom Lincoln stayed in at the Wills house. Fortunately, the house was designated as a museum and the whole house and surrounding buildings in the Square have been maintained as they were back in 1863. JD and his partner, Lincoln historian Cindy Mullins, being from Pennsylvania, they kindly offered to travel to Gettysburg and take reference photos of the bedroom with the guidance of my mental sketch or vision.

Wills House 3

You first sculpted a clay bust of the President in order to commence work – how did this help you? Can you explain your painting process?
BKL:  As the photography of the day was poor quality and in black and white, I decided to sculpt Lincoln’s bust in order to position him in a pose that best suited my idea and I could also cast the light source accurately to show where shadows would have fallen. I used this 3-D model just as if the President was there in front of me posing for a portrait.

photo 1 photo 2Will that bust also be for sale at a later date?
BKL: Originally I thought I may cast it in bronze but that has not been decided yet…

In your mind, who would be the ideal buyer of this Presidential portrait, and why?
BKL:  Ideally, I would like the buyer to be a public gallery in order to be seen by the masses so as to continue Lincoln’s legacy – that we may continue to learn from our past mistakes and successes.

museum 3Apart from this unique Lincoln painting, what other projects are you working on and at what upcoming shows and sales will your work be featured?
BKL:  I am presently working on my painting for the Jackson Hole, WY, auction (www.trailsidegalleries.com) that will be very different from the Lincoln project, as the subject matter this time is wildlife. Also, with the recent history being made with Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, one of my galleries wants me to paint all three jewels in the crown, so keep watching out for my next creation.

Bruce has received prestigious endorsements for his painting from two leading Lincoln experts :

“President Abraham Lincoln placed the finishing touches on his address on November 18, 1863, the evening before the dedication, while in this second floor bedroom of the David Wills home on Gettysburg’s town square.  Lincoln is depicted here at one window overlooking the square, deep in thought as he reviews his papers of simple yet forever poignant words that will come to represent America’s painful process of rebirth during the Civil War. Bruce Lawes’ marvelous and thought-provoking painting captures the beloved 16th president in a timeless way never achieved by any artist”. J. David Petruzzi, Award-winning Civil War author and historian

“Abraham Lincoln has been studied by historians for over a century and, not surprisingly, many choose to focus on the Gettysburg Address just as I did in my book, “The Gettysburg Gospel”.  On November 19th, 1863, there were thousands of people waiting to see and hear Lincoln. Some stayed up all night raising quite the ruckus. But in the morning, when the President looked from the Wills House where he stayed, he saw the respectful crowds. And today, in 2015, we have at last found a painter whose artistic skills and talent match that moment in history. Bravo, Bruce Lawes!”  Gabor S. Boritt, Emeritus, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of Civil War Institute, Chairman of the Board of The Lincoln Prize

So readers, I encourage you to log on to the Coeur d’Alene website to see this year’s auction offerings (some are expected to sell for well over $1million) http://www.cdaartauction.com/ and please visit Bruce’s own site (currently being re-designed) at www.bklawesart.com   You can also follow Bruce on www.Facebook.com/BKLawesart

Bruce is represented in the U.S. by Settlers West Gallery http://www.settlerswest.com/(AZ) and Trailside Galleries http://www.trailsidegalleries.com/ (AZ & WY)

Good luck, Bruce, we can’t wait to hear how well Abraham Lincoln did in Reno!

*Gabor S. Boritt, Emeritus
Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of Civil War Institute and Chairman of the Board of The Lincoln Prize.
http://www.boritt.com/gaborboritt.htm
His newest book for young people: “The Will of God Prevails, Meditations on God and the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln”illustrated, $9.95 is available from Amazon.com

** J.David Petruzzi
http://jdpetruzzi.com/

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STROLL WITH ME THRU THIS WEEKEND’S RIVERDALE ART WALK

What a beautiful sunny afternoon in Toronto…perfect for strolling the aisles of this year’s Riverdale Art Walk, visiting artist friends (like the fabulous Kelly Grace, above) and meeting new talented painters and sculptors. You still have another day to visit yourself – on Queen St East in Jimmie Simpson Park (details at bottom of this blog). Joining me on my artful trek was Erena, my BFF who is also an art collector who appreciates discovering new talent. I introduced her first to Sheila Thompson (below), a fibre artist whom I first met at the Artists’ Project a couple of months ago.

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Next, I was inspired by the beautiful, photographic quality of Marsha Strycharz‘s still-life paintings (below)

20150606_133833 20150606_133843www.marshastrycharz.blogspot.com

I really liked the contrast in style exhibited by fine art photographer Felicity Somerset (below) who offered framed prints of industrial rust and weathering close-ups, as well as the delicate hummingbirds and flowers featured in her packages of notecards.

20150606_134119 20150606_134130 20150606_134433www.felicitysomersetphotography.com

Mark Glebersen is one of my Toronto art heroes – his MJG Gallery is fast becoming the go-to gallery in Leslieville and here he is (below) representin’ with some colourful, joyful pieces….

20150606_134529 20150606_134633www.mjggallery.com

As I watched visitors entering photographer Lorie Slater‘s tent, each and every one of them smiled, pointed to familiar scenes and spent a lot of time guessing locations of the subjects she paints. Behind Lorie (below) is a graffiti of Felix the Cat located in an alley near her home…she told me she took the photo only a day or two before someone painted over it so she was pleased she captured the scene before it was too late.

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Loved the crows featured prominently in Katherine Palmer‘s paintings (below). You could almost hear the caw-caw!

20150606_135744www.katpalmer.ca

I first met painter Karola Steinbrecher up at Schomberg a couple of years ago and fell madly in love with her chicken pictures (below). I find something very comforting and cheerful in her work which makes me feel a little guilty about eating KFC! That giant rooster on red background (below) is going to be MINE!

20150606_140143 20150606_140325www.karola.ca

Rob Croxford!!! Who doesn’t love this guy’s work? Great sense of fun, intellectually stimulating, conversation starters, locally themed…and affordable. Bravo, Rob, another great show for you.

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20150606_140742www.robcroxford.com

Another fave of mine is Ian Busher (below) – in fact, I have one of his pieces hanging in my place right now. I thought Erena would enjoy meeting him and seeing how he works in the different mediums.

20150606_141140 20150606_141145www.studiobusher.com

I love discovering new artists I’ve never seen before…like Roberto Centazzo (below) who works in marble mosaics. Stunning to view in person, sorry my pics don’t do them justice. His elephant mosaic is made completely from stones found down at the Leslieville lakeshore…wow!

20150606_141717 20150606_141728 20150606_141839www.stonefolio.com

Sculptor Jeremy Guy (below) exhibited some of his more manageable pieces at Art Walk – I hear he has a sculpture garden with huge, over-sized pieces. Jeremy’s work is very tactile and you are encouraged to actually touch the artwork here.

20150606_143211 20150606_143220 20150606_143227www.jeremy-guy.com

Walking into Jessica Masters‘ booth (below) was a very calming experience. Her soft pastels beckoned me in…I felt as though I could escape right into her pictures, onto the sands of Maine and chase the seagulls. A lovely talented lady with charming stories for each of her pictures.

20150606_143445 20150606_143629www.jessicamasters.com

The uber fabulous Kelly Grace (below) was well-represented with her tiny perfect portraits as well as some new works (bottom pic). She was trying out a new hair ‘do which made me jealous…I so need a cut’n’colour!

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20150606_144453www.kellective.com

Atten…shun!  Brian Harvey strikes a pose between two of his Toronto streetscapes (below). Brian and Stewart Jones (who didn’t participate at this show) are two of my fave Toronto streetscape painters – each offers up pieces with great personality & atmosphere, and a colour palette that matches perfectly their real-life locations. Brian told me the diner was actually a New York City view, but the green-toned alleyway was a view not far from his home.

20150606_144902 20150606_144910 20150606_145031www.brianharvey.ca

Lois Shaw posed alongside one of her large format paintings of giant chili peppers…what a fabulous foodie picture! Can’t you just see this painting hanging in some classy Italian eatery? Lois has actually been commissioned to paint something just like that for a client’s new kitchen and needless to say, it was a big hit.

20150606_145416 20150606_145442 20150606_145527www.loisshawfineart.com

Dog-lover Zoey Zoric (below) offered some striking poochie portraits that attracted a lot of 4-legged as well as 2-legged fans. I got to meet a lovely collie who came in for a drink of water and a cool-down with Zoey who was also promoting Happy Tails Rescue organization – they rescue, foster and adopt out small furry friends. If you’re looking for a new pal, drop in to her booth on Sunday and pick up some information or visit their website: www.happytailsrescue.ca

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20150606_150528www.zoeyzoric.tumblr.com

The last booth I visited was that of Kari Serrao. Love love looooove her farmyard animals with their soulful eyes staring back at me. Another booth that made me think twice about my steak and eggs, bacon, lamb chops…. so Erena and I went for sushi after visiting show…thanks, Kari!

20150606_151311www.kariserrao.com

Tomorrow looks like a nice, sunny day but go early as there is some rain coming in towards the end of Sunday. Check out the official website for details: http://www.artistsnetwork.ca/see-art-buy-art/riverdale-art-walk

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!

URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES KHAT KARIM’S SHOW OF CONTEMPORARY ABSTRACT ART

Another fab soiree with the folks at Toronto’s Urban Gallery…last night they opened their month-long Under My Skin show for Canadian artist Khat Karim, featuring her wildly colourful and movement-filled abstract contemporary work.

20150604_181049Khat uses a variety of painting applications – hands, brushes and other unorthodox painting tools to drip, splash, pour, and layer paint to create her strikingly, raw, organic works of art. The intricate movements and swirls in her paintings capture the interplay of skill and unplanned occurrences that determines the final outcome. This process allows her to abandon self-control and surrender to her subconscious bringing forth an emotional release.

20150604_175707 20150604_180623Khat was surrounded by friends and members of her family (below) who came out to support and celebrate her show opening.

20150604_175927 20150604_184702 20150604_184914 20150604_184724(0)Fellow artists Angel Torres (below r) and Brenda Clews (centre) joined Snapd photographer Morgan (left) to admire Khat’s work.

Morgan, Brenda and AngelAnd I attempted somewhat unsuccessfully to snap a selfie or two (below) in front of my fave paintings….at least you can see Khat’s superb technique and colour palette in close-up.20150604_180141 20150604_180434…the crowds kept coming and soon the gallery was full of admiring art-lovers.

20150604_180101 20150604_181026 20150604_183740 20150604_183459Congrats to Khat…we hope to see lots of red dots over the coming weeks. Under My Skin runs until Saturday June 27th at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East. Check their website for hours: www.urbangallery.ca

20150604_181039 Seeing The Light Under My Skin IMG_0659