Category Archives: Events

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DONNA LYPCHUK LAUNCHES HER “CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL” SOLO SHOW @ JINKS ART FACTORY, TORONTO

What a fun, wild’n’crazy night we enjoyed at the groovy Jinks Art Factory (cafe & tattoo parlour) in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood as photographic artist, writer and pop-culturist DONNA LYPCHUK opened her solo show Mystical Toronto: The Oculis of Donna Lypchuk for this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. So many friends and fellow artists showed up to make the night a great success for Donna who held court at this fun schmooze-fest – below Donna (2nd from L) welcomes some old friends.20170511_192037The venue, Jinks Art Factory, is a charming neighbourhood social hub for artists, writers, bon vivants and miscellaneous wastrels who enjoy the hospitality of Sarah and Jen, the owners and hostesses for last night’s soiree (pictured below with Donna in the centre).20170511_185306Jinks Arts Factory offers delicious coffees and edible treats in the cafe up front and has a comfortable tattoo parlour in the back where you can acquire your own personal art. Below – the ladies are their own best walking promo for their ink skills.20170511_185245Donna’s photos were simply and effectively displayed, featuring various sizes of prints on metallic paper giving the images an iridescent quality…20170511_185324 20170511_185354 20170511_185409…and her guests loved ’em!20170511_185613 20170511_202027Donna was happy…just an hour into the opening party, she had the red dots out and applied them to several photos. Congrats to the buyers – smart choices!20170511_195904As the night progressed, lots of bo-ho chic guests showed up and the energy in the cafe ramped up…20170511_185433 20170511_202030…and our happy smiling barista worked hard ensuring all were well “lubricated” with celebratory drinkies!20170511_185643 20170511_185649Loved meeting these three “cheeky monkeys” – longtime friends of Donna’s…thanks for playing along for this photo, ladies.20170511_190843The party eventually moved out to the sidewalk ….20170511_202158 20170511_202254…where Donna enjoyed more warm camaraderie with new arrivals.

Back inside Jinks, I tried my hand at snapping some “photographic art” – below, I spied the mid-century modern furnishings and a gorgeous cappuccino machine.20170511_191728 20170511_191742 20170511_191756And I had a blast resting my bum on this fab wooden bench from Playdead Cult, a decorative art, clothing and home furnishings store located on the next block along Queen St West.20170511_191454By 8pm, lots more people arrived to see the photos taken of various locations and hidden spots around the city…20170511_202434 20170511_191646 20170511_191658 20170511_191636Congratulations to Donna for her successful CONTACT launch party….(below, Donna “works it” with this photographer!)20170511_190755….and big thanks to Sarah and Jen of Jinks who are also hosting a neighbourhood BBQ tomorrow, Sat. May 13 (12-4pm) as part of the Spring into Parkdale street party.20170511_191438 20170511_191949Mystical Toronto: The Oculis of Donna Lypchuk runs until May 31st at Jinks Arts Factory, 1664 Queen St West (near Roncesvalles).  Photos are all available for sale: prices range from $25 – $60 and sizes range 8″x 10″ to 11″x 17″. Come out and support local artists…and coffee shops!images

 

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I VISIT THE EXCITING CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK!

As an auto racing fan from waaaaaay back (and author of 4 books on auto racing), this was a dream come true for me when I joined a group of Toronto event planners for a visit to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park out near Bowmanville, about an hour East of Toronto. They’ve created a beautifully appointed multi-level corp. event & banquet centre that’s suitable for business meetings, team building activities, weddings, any sort of group gathering, and I got to experience the wonderful catering companies they use.  I was thrilled to meet racing legend & Cdn Motorsport Hall of Fame driver Ron Fellows, his wife Lynda, son Sam and their charming team of marketing, hospitality and sales staff who run the venue.

Fearing the worst weather conditions, I joined my raincoat-clad events industry colleagues on the big white courtesy bus provided by www.luxury.to and started off early on Wednesday morning. Like a bunch of big kids, we were all “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” and after about an hour, the bus pulled into the CTMP grounds.20170504_10442620170504_112702And weren’t we lucky…they were doing some testing with Porches and Ferraris when we turned up. Vrooooom!

We were officially greeted by these lovely ladies who were our personal guides for the day.20170504_112329…then on to the presentations to learn more about the facilities and how they can be used for any of our special events.20170504_114831 20170504_113044Joining me was Zev Bertini, Business Development for Arrowonics.com (a new Toronto-based tech design company that creates awesome designs and light shows using multiple mini drones). Here he is (above) chatting to events reps, doin’ the business schmooze. Then it was on to lunch and oh boy, what a deelish spread they laid on for us….20170504_114846My first stop was Shrimp Cocktail‘s catering table…. Yummmm!  www.shrimpcocktailcafe.com20170504_121129 20170504_12115220170504_121155Then on to The Garage Guy BBQ whose sliders were so tasty….I went back for seconds! www.thegarageguy.ca20170504_121319 20170504_121341 20170504_121327(yes, you need big strong muscles to carry this many sliders…haa haa!)

My next nibblies stop was Pilar’s Catering whose Korean BBQ chicken pops and empanadas were scrumptious! www.Pilarscatering.ca20170504_122635 20170504_122641 20170504_122654Next on my tasting menu (below) was the desserts table…OMG, I was in chocoholic heaven, thanks to the ladies of KCC Gourmet & Catering Inc.  www.kccgourmetcatering.com20170504_122716 20170504_122721I needed more savoury bites so I then went over to the Peter & Pauls table for some of their special lobster mac & cheese. Definitely a winner…wish I’d gone back for more (am still licking my lips from that one!) www.bypeterandpauls.com20170504_123245It was then time for a drinkies so I visited Steve (below) from REIF Estate Winery (from the Niagara wine region) who was sampling some of their tasty wines. www.reifwinery.com 20170504_124504 20170504_124514A couple of the attendees won a draw for a quick trip around the track with Ron at the wheel…dammit, I didn’t win but at least I got to snap some pics of the lucky ones who did (below)20170504_122129 20170504_122157Zev and I had fun at the photo wall…20170504_125555 20170504_125543…where I also ran into an old friend, Mark Awad (below L) from bbBlanc Audio/Visual who was attending with a colleague. www.bbblanc.com20170504_125242We were then given a tour of the various track facilities and several guests posed out front with some of the cars from the Ron Fellows Driving Experience – yes, you too can learn to drive like a race car driver!  20170504_130317 20170504_130334 20170504_130604As our big bus wound through the Grand Prix grounds, we spied some of the racers…oooo, hot men & fast cars – what more could a girl want??!!20170504_131731…and there’s the podium (below) where all race winners pose with their trophies and pit crews20170504_131614We then stopped by the karting track (below) where I spied some of the racing suits hanging up…I nearly grabbed one and took a turn on the track myself!20170504_132526 20170504_132318Zev jumped up on the kart podium (below) and struck a pose with some of the event planners…LOL20170504_132928(0)..then after one last visit to the event centre to watch more of the on-track activity (below) …..

…we bade farewell to everyone and headed back to Toronto. All this time, the monsoon-like rain that had been forecast was kept at bay until we got back into the city then down she came! Farewell, CTMP, and thanks for your warm and generous hospitality…we will all be back soon.

I encourage you to visit the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, either for business or pleasure, and you can find all the information on corporate events, weddings, race days and speed weekends on their website: www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com

 

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A VISIT TO ARTUSIASM ART GALLERY, TORONTO

Last Friday evening, I had the pleasure of visiting a charming new storefront gallery along St. Clair West in Toronto – ARTUSIASM GALLERY – owned by Carlos Sa Rodrigues and his talented artist wife, Tanzina Amin pictured below.  Their current show, Life in the City, runs until May 1st.

Photo courtesy Linda Langerak

Photo courtesy Linda Langerak

Accomplished photographer and artist Linda Langerak invited me to the opening soiree and I was so pleased I accepted – what an exciting array of art from established and emerging local artists, and I was thrilled to find a number of pieces by a favourite painter friend, Kirk Sutherland (below).20170421_201952 18011082_1918219125130778_2553514075971526526_nOwner Tanzina is also quite the talent with a paintbrush – I really like her colourful exotic portraits (below)20170421_202542 20170421_202751 20170421_203648Another artist friend, Aisha Chiguichon, was also exhibiting there with 2 pieces, and she was having fun posing for friends just like a red carpet veteran!20170421_203558 20170421_202434 20170421_202444…even Linda started snapping away at all the work by fellow artists (below)20170421_203605I managed to round up several artists for a photo call…look at all those happy smiling faces!20170421_202518 20170421_20313520170421_203624The general consensus from the artists was that they all felt respected and well cared for by Carlos and Tanzina who even built a special access ramp for wheelchair-bound artist H. Jordyn Taylor, pictured below with her painting “Below the Stains of Time”. The usually shy Jordyn had a blast meeting lots of new fans of her work.20170421_203306Another lovely painting I discovered was “Don’t Tell Me to Smile” by Helena Napal, pictured below with her work.20170421_202346There were a couple of really fine cityscapes featuring the iconic CN Tower…20170421_201930 20170421_202057…and lots of familiar street scenes and abstracts, too.20170421_202015 20170421_202028 20170421_203518So many local Toronto artists are showcased in this show and I strongly recommend you drop by Artusiasm Gallery located at 1684 St Clair West, Toronto before the show closes on May 1.  You can’t miss the gallery – just look for this stunning streetcar painting in the window!20170421_202954Congratulations to Tanzina, Carlos and all the artists for a wonderful opening!  Check their website for details: www.artusiasm.com20170421_211419

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS ANNUAL CENTENNIAL COLLEGE ART SHOW FOR 1ST YR “STUDIO ARTS” PROGRAM STUDENTS

Another wonderful afternoon of celebrating emerging Canadian artists took place at Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY as students from the Centennial College Studio Arts program opened their 2 week exhibition of multi-media works. FEVER showcases 25 emerging artists who explore the frontiers deeply submerged within the box.20170325_140117Under the guidance of Program Coordinator Prof. David McClyment, the 1st year students enjoyed their first professional gallery experience including meeting media and schmoozing with art fans, friends and family who came out to support them.  20170325_132850 20170325_132839 20170325_13294720170325_140615 20170325_133112 20170325_133128Here’s Prof. McClyment (below L) with some of his student artists…20170325_14054920170325_145227The unique and provocative work by Priscilla Koopman attracted many new fans, including Jenny Huddy, a visitor from Australia who is pictured (below R) with Priscilla (L)20170325_142837

20170325_133048 20170325_133053Here’s Matthew Oakes who proudly posed alongside his work….20170325_140325Another favourite was this unique double sided painting and clay sculpture self-portrait of Joy who attracted a lot of camera attention…20170325_132918 20170325_141531 20170325_14393220170325_143905And so many more wonderful artworks to view….20170325_140034 20170325_141102(0)Urban Gallery’s curator Allen Shugar (below R) chatted with the students….20170325_140059…and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) greeted artists and their guests at the front door…20170325_140449The reception was catered by the adjoining UrbanSource Catering…oooh yummm!20170325_140409Congratulations to Prof. McClyment and his students on a great show…20170325_150158 20170325_140112You have until April 1st to visit and support these emerging stars of the Canadian art world. For gallery hours, visit:  www.urbangallery.caFever Image CENTENNIAL COLLEGE March 2017

POST SCRIPT: There was big excitement for one young artist – Dara Collins – when her beautiful mixed-media (with tiny twinkling lights) of a mountain scene called “Unrefined Illusions” was sold at the end of the opening reception. The buyer was art lover David Currah from Fife House.  Bravo and congratulations to Dara – pictured below with her artwork.UNREFINED ILLUSIONS Dara Collins -sold

 

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TIME TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE EXCITING TORONTO ART EVENTS

Lots of great art shows and solo exhibits coming up in the next few months so I thought I’d give my readers the advance news so you can mark your calendars.

First up, URBAN GALLERY hosts the annual Centennial College Studio Arts Program (1st year students) titled “Fever” the last weeks of March with the opening reception Sat. March 25th (2-5pm). RSVP to attend: urbangalleryart1@gmail.com  The gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto. For additional information, visit www.urbangallery.caFever Image CENTENNIAL COLLEGE March 2017 Priscilla Koopman email Ying Shi emailThen the following Saturday, April 1st, we have the grand opening of the new indie gallery, STOCKYARDS GALLERY, located at 1611 Dupont St, Toronto, with their first group show, Fool For Art. The show features works from renowned Canadian artists Robert McAffee and Brigitte Granton as well as gallery founder and artist, Lola Kerecki (works featured below, in order of listing).  www.stockyardsgallery.caUpdated exhibition info for stockyards month long event Nipigon Sunset Robert McAffee Oil on canvas $6800 Neddies Bay Brigitte Granton 30x40 Oil on canvas $3400 Smoking Lady Lola Kerecki  36x48 Oil on Canvas $2400 (1)Then we go back to URBAN GALLERY on Sat. April 8th (2-5pm) for the opening of Colin Nunn‘s solo show, Prototype, which runs through the month of April.  RSVP to attend the opening reception: urbangalleryart1@gmail.com  For additional information, visit www.urbangallery.caColinNun-Deluxe goodluck_1 joy_1From May 4 to 31, URBAN GALLERY presents their annual group show Water: Sustaining Life for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival featuring the works of Karen Silver, Maria Ricossa, Chris Hominuk and Alex Turner (see below, images in order of above listing). the opening reception is Sat. May 6th (2-5pm).  RSVP to attend the opening reception: urbangalleryart1@gmail.com  For additional information, visit www.urbangallery.caSymmetry Karen Silver 497 KBRICOSSA_Blue DressCHRIS HOMINUK Oneida FallsTURNER TransformationIn June, local contemporary/surrealist painter JOHNY DELUNA presents his solo show, Spontaneous Levitation, at the Art Square Gallery, located at 334 Dundas St West (opposite the AGO). Show runs June 5 thru 19th, with the opening reception on Thurs. June 8 (6-9 pm). Kindly RSVP to attend opening night to: FordhamPR@rogers.com  For more information about this exciting artist visit: www.johnydeluna.comSong To The Moon webs size April In New York - mar chair fearofflying  small1And don’t forget the big Toronto Outdoor Art Show and the charming Riverdale Art Walk taking place this summer – our city is so rich with talented artists of every medium. Please come out and support Canadian artists….purchases are always appreciated and ooo’s and aaah’s are welcome, too!

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TORONTO’S URBANSOURCE CATERING CELEBRATES 32YR ANNIVERSARY TODAY!

I’d like to offer a very special shout-out to my friends Wayne Abell and Calvin Hambrook who, as UrbanSource Catering, have fed-n-watered Toronto’s corporate and private sectors for 32 years….yes, today is their anniversary and I’m thrilled to present them with this virtual celebration!

Starting off on Yonge Street (south of Eglinton), Wayne and Calvin (pictured below L to R) opened their first store in 1985 offering prepared foods, lattes and lots of catering advice.Crazy Owners Opening DayThey soon outgrew their quaint shop housed in a terrace of historical buildings, and based on customer demands, they changed the business model from a retail store-come caterers to a full service catering company. The catering biz grew fast so they moved to their current location on Queen Street East which houses a large commercial kitchen and a suite of offices. Several years ago, the space next door became vacant so Calvin and Wayne took that over and launched Urban Gallery, a non-commission independent art gallery that also serves as a great event space for rent. Needless to say, they cater ALL the events in the gallery.20161216_184023 20160930_181245 20140918_175000Apart from their corporate events, private parties and spectacular wedding soirees, UrbanSource Catering has supported many of Toronto’s philanthropic causes, catering fundraisers, media launches and special events, eg: United Church’s Heart & Vision Awards, Fife House, PRIDE Toronto, plus the annual InsideOut Film Festival.

Bravo and congratulations to Calvin, Wayne and the staff of UrbanSource Catering – you continually deliver the best, on time and on budget!Calvin, Wayne and the URBAN SOURCE CATERING Crew

www.urbancatering.comC

 

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NICEST GUY IN CANADIAN SHOWBIZ CELEBRATES 5th ANNIVERSARY AS ARTISTIC DIR. @ PEMBROKE’S FESTIVAL HALL

With so many live music and entertainment venues closing on an almost weekly basis across the country, Pembroke’s 600-seat FESTIVAL HALL is steadily building audience attendance and presenting line-ups that include music legends, current hit-makers, orchestral recitals and outrageous comedy shows that are the envy of show promoters in major cities. And the person largely responsible for this outstanding achievement is Artistic Director (and my dear friend) RICK WHARTON who celebrates 5 years at the helm next month, April 2017.b&wAfter starting his showbiz career as a comedian at Yuk Yuk’s and Second City, Rick created his popular television character “The Conspiracy Guy” on SPACE: The Imagination Station. Rick then spent 20 years in the Canadian music industry, working with Universal Music where he began as the liaison between record company, radio and retail – he helped maximize profile and value of the company’s music catalogue; marketed, tracked and promoted influential recording artists including The Tragically Hip, U2, Guns’n’Roses, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Rik Emmett, Alanis, Pursuit of Happiness, Michael W. Smith and others. He was quickly promoted to Head of Promotion in Ontario. Independently, he has also helped develop and manage the careers of many musicians as well as handled production and marketing duties.

with Alanis Morissette

with Alanis Morissette

Flanked by Aerosmith

Flanked by Aerosmith

Stepping into the role of Artistic Director at Festival Hall in 2012, he spearheaded the revival of the Hall by attracting big name performers from all music genres, comedians, classical recording artists, as well as celebrity guest speakers and supporting local theatrical groups. Some of the artists to grace the stage under his direction include:  Gord Downie, Matt Dusk, Rik Emmett, Randy Bachman, John McDermott, Gowan, Michael Burgess, Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe, Lunch at Allen’s, Sab and the Family Band, Malcom Burn and The Spoons , The Barra McNeils . Country stars Marty Stuart, April Verch and Corb Lund. Comedians Gerry Dee, Glenn Foster, Ron James, Derek Edwards, Carla Collins, Mary Walsh, the comic ensemble Women Full Clothed, as well as hosting the Canadian Comedy Awards’ Funniest Person In The Valley show.  He has also opened the doors to many theatrical events and Festival Hall is now home to local theatre groups.

I want people to experience the wonder of what the theatre offers. The magic of taking you away from life’s problems for a little while theatre can change and affect lives for the better.   Rick Wharton

Pembroke-Festival-Hall-Interior-1-1024x684Pembroke’s Festival Hall Centre for the Arts (above) is the largest performing arts centre in the Ottawa Valley. Through theatre, music, dance, storytelling, comedy, visual arts and educational programming, Festival Hall fosters artistic and historic awareness.   Since 2012, the hall has hosted over 55,000 theatre patrons for hundreds of productions that reflect the rich cultural diversity of the region. It’s also home to the Streetlight Theatre Company, Pembroke Symphony Orchestra, Kiwanis Music Festival, UTurn, and the Sears Drama Festival.

Rick and I go way back to the early 80’s when I ran Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret in Toronto – he was a frequent performer there. When I left to open my own talent & media relations agency in 1986, I would often run in to him backstage at the various concerts and tours I worked. One of my fave photos is this one (below) where Rick unexpectedly “photo bombed” me when posing with Monkee Davy Jones. Hey hey, it's Davy Jones with GlendaRick has often worked with leading comedians such as Rick Mercer and the late great Robin Williams (below)
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wharton and williams…and he’s remained close friends with Canadian guitar god, Rik Emmett (below) with whom he’s worked on numerous tours and celebrity appearances.rikemmettCONGRATULATIONS, Rick, on reaching this milestone anniversary at Festival Hall…and thank you for supporting so many Canadian artists as well as securing the big name acts for your stage. Bravo, Spudman, and wishing you many more years as the impresario of Pembroke!spaceDuring Rick’s fifth anniversary month, Festival Hall presents the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra’s We Got Rhythm on Saturday Apr. 8th, int’l recording star John McDermott (Raised on Songs and Stories) on Friday Apr.28th and Whiskey Jack performing Stories and Songs of Stompin’ Tom on Saturday Apr.22nd. See www.festhall.ca for details of these and other April concerts.

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“THE ARTIST PROJECT” SHOWCASES CANADIAN ARTISTS THIS WEEKEND IN TORONTO

Thanks to local artist and friend, MARK GLEBERZON, I was able to visit this year’s ARTIST PROJECT taking place over the weekend at the Better Living Centre in the CNE grounds where I met lots of exciting new artists as well as catching up with old friends whose work I love and cherish. So walk the aisles with me now as I check out the displays of extraordinary colour, design, texture and wonder!

First, let’s meet up with Mark who kindly comp’ed me in – I love his work which always makes me smile. www.mjggallery.com/225-2/

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Mark celebrates a potential sale!

Mark celebrates a potential sale!

When I first entered the massive showroom, I was immediately struck by the sassy, saucy paintings of Alexis Fraser, a.k.a. Lipstick Lex!  Her work features fabulous “kisses” from famous (and not-so-famous) lips. www.lipsticklex.com20170224_120224 20170224_115925I then met the charming Margarethe Vanderpas (below) who shared her exquisite landscapes with me. She’s based in Stratford, Ontario, and welcomes studio visit by appointment. www.margarethe-vanderpas.com20170224_120556I love meeting happy artists, those who enjoy meeting new fans at art expos like this one…and Eleanor Lowden is one such artist. Her work is full of life, joy and colour. Check out her work at www.eleanorlowden.com20170224_120922Show me pictures of horses and I’ll stop in my tracks. Ellen Cameron is showcasing her stunning equine photography, including printing some horsey portraits on aluminium sheets (2nd pic below). I met Ellen a couple of years ago at an equestrian show and I was thrilled she remembered me.  www.ellencameron.com 20170224_121205 20170224_121224 20170224_121238The work of Mary McLorn Valle so took my breath away, I forgot to take a photo of her – I just stared at the giant flowers and the colour grids. Check out her portfolio at www.marymv.com 20170224_121542FormFlow_06FormFlow_01Noella Noel (below) is based in Prince Edward County, just East of Toronto – the new hot spot for artists, vineyards and great artisinal foods. Here she is in front of her “Heart of Gold” acrylic on canvas.  www.bayhausgallery.com 20170224_122532Now here’s a new artist with a unique point of view – her name is Natasha Miller and she lives on a tiny island in the Bay of Fundy. Her website carries some awesome images so I hope you’ll check her out: www.nrmiller.com/20170224_122735 20170224_122628 20170224_122744Visiting from Israel is Orit Fuchs whose work reflects her gregarious personality and sense of fun!  Drop by her booth and say welcome to Canada….. www.oritfuchs.com/20170224_123112Cute and bubbly Mary Ann Slater brought a sense of wonder and fun to the show with her bright images of everyday items from way back when (she had my life summed up in just a few pictures!!). You can view more of her acrylic realism on her website: www.maryannslater.com 20170224_123202 20170224_123233Here’s the talented Cdn/Nigerian artist Benny Bing whose big, bold images of friends and celebrities caught many visitors’ attention. The striking paintings of African and Indigenous American women were quite breathtaking in person. www.bennybing.com20170224_123602 20170224_123720Insert the theme from Jaws here…Zoe Lefort reminded me why I don’t go in to the water any more with her giant portrait of a great white shark. Aaaaargh!  But she did have lots more less lethal paintings on display – LOL!   www.zoelefort.com20170224_124026(0)I love it when I discover a new artist whose work really resonates with me. Sometimes it’s a landscape, sometimes it’s a contemporary abstract, and sometimes it’s a….raining cow! Yes, that’s what local artist Morgan Sheardown called his display and I fell in love with one little picture that has now found a home on my walls…scroll down to the bottom of the blog to see which one.  www.morgansheardown.com20170224_124634 20170224_124639Now here’s a brand new spin on the “big eyes” trend, thanks to the brilliant mind of Michelle Vella.  Her vision (no pun intended) of comic portraiture will make you smile. www.michellevella.com20170224_125212 20170224_125240Joanna Bell paints dynamic landscapes with spectacular horizons..talk about vast spaces!  Incredibly subtle skies add an exciting energy to the detailed lower sections of each photographic artwork. Loved the red-roofed barn below…so atmospheric that I thought I was standing right there in the field! www.joannabell.com  20170224_125337 20170224_125409Here’s the fun and fabulous Linda DeLuca whose western-themed paintings are a favourite of mine. www.lindadeluca77.com   In a previous Artist Project blog, I featured one of her paintings and a friend saw it online and immediately asked me to connect her with Linda and she purchased it – a big red horse’s head. Hopefully I’ll make another art “love connection” for Linda with these current pieces….20170224_125705 20170224_125716 20170224_125722Kari Serrao creates images of wild wee beasties in Elizabethan costumes. Sounds a bit wacky but, boy, do these paintings look awesome in person! One of these portraits would look great in your home library or office. Check ’em out here: www.kariserrao.com  Kari’s work will blow your mind!20170224_125950 20170224_125932 20170224_130054Hello, Kate Taylor! I’ve been following Kate’s work for a number of years – I love her use of colour in her abstract mixed media acrylics. She’s also involved with the annual Riverdale Art Walk each summer so look for her booth there on Queen St East later this year.  www.katetaylorstudio.com

20170224_130306 20170224_130311Richard Ahnert always has a busy booth. Over the years, I’ve photographed Richard’s work in outdoor art shows, galleries and the annual Artist Project, and he always surprises me with his Anthropomorphic Musings in Oil. Visit his site to see for yourself: www.mycanvas.ca20170224_130540Colombian-born artist Carolina Vargas Reis offered a very unique large-format painting – a giant bouquet of red roses…but look carefully. There is only one stem! Carolina posted the story behind her work (see below) that is both intriguing and amusing.  www.vargasreis.com20170224_130751 20170224_130907Ramona Nordal has created paintings that remind me of the pop graphic-meets-Beardsley style of the mid to late 60’s. I swear that’s a blue Twiggy!  www.ramonanordal.com 20170224_132115Ottawa-based Gordon Harrison (below) offers sumptuous Canadian landscapes in his booth, very appropriate for this year’s Canada150 anniversary celebrations. www.gordonharrisongallery.com 20170224_132652 20170224_132704Henry Ho was another artist new to me – again, anything with horses and I’m there! Integrating ancient Chinese calligraphy with his Tai Chi skills, Henry’s created beautiful, delicate images on X’uan paper, invoking a spiritual quality to his work.  www.isartgallerycom   20170224_132949 20170224_133108Below, I caught Jamie MacLean mid-munch as he grabbed a quick lunch in his booth. But he still had time to strike a pose as he showcased his landscapes, some of which are on aluminium sheets. A late-comer to the art world, Jamie holds an engineering degree but finally turned his attention to his painting in 2004. We’re glad he did – just look at these gorgeous works…   www.jamiemacleanfineart.bigcartel.com  20170224_133355 20170224_133323 20170224_133334I was getting a bit tired walking on the hard concrete floors when all of a sudden I spied these huge oil-on-canvas images of Thai Buddhist monks painted by Agata Wisniewski. What a gentle calming influence they had on me, as did the artist herself. www.indigo4evr.com 

20170224_133534 20170224_133608Paula White-Diamond (below) displayed beautiful floral miniatures as well as large-format canvases. Another “peaceful” feeling booth where I felt welcome, surrounded by her delicate paintings.  www.pwdartist.com  20170224_133625Hey, there’s Bullwinkle! Loved these ceramic “horny mooses” by Caroline Leoncini Roux. These would look perfect in a man-cave or in your cottage up north! Check out her Instagram for more images: @bycestelle 20170224_140323 20170224_140504My Facebook friend, Florian Holzinger, had a very colourful booth featuring high impact graphic art in unusual linear shapes. His work hangs in some of the best collections in town! www.florianholzinger.com – or follow him on Fcbk.20170224_140610 20170224_140614 20170224_140714Another new artist for me was Erin Brekke Conn whose work included some very tactile paintings (see close-up of the mountain goat’s horn in 3rd pic). Her landscape and wildlife paintings utilize the pointillism style – thousands of tiny dots, some of which are raised, giving a multi-dimensional appearance to her work.  www.erinbrekkeconn.com 20170224_141426 20170224_141434 20170224_141441Talk about “flashback Friday”!! Here’s my old friend Nancy Bennett with whom I used to work back in the late 70’s at Woody Gundy (investment brokers). Nancy cut the cord from her 9 to 5 office life and became co-founder of the Four Corners Studio in Riverdale/Leslieville. No wonder she’s smiling and looking relaxed and stress-free. No more Bay Street for her! www.nancybennett.ca20170224_141735

I felt the presence of Audrey Hepburn in this booth. Andrea Stajan-Ferkul, another Fcbk friend of mine, invoked the spirit of the 50’s movie ingenue and fashionista with these elegant dress portraits. Just lovely…  www.andreastajanferkul.com 20170224_142846 20170224_142953Sculptor Derya Ozparlak recently arrived in Toronto with her husband from her home country of Turkey and she brought her impactful and slightly naughty balloon and metal sculptures to the Artist Project.  www.deryaozparlak.com 20170224_143252 20170224_143257Young artist Adam Giroux was a stand-out with his portraits featuring themes of restrain, growth, identity and obsession. Adam articulated his process with such maturity, I can’t wait to see where he goes with his boundary-pushing work in the coming years. His work will be showcased March 4 to April 1/17 at www.galleryhouse.ca20170224_143855(0) 20170224_143902I got the chance to chat with the winner of last year’s Artist Project art competition, Joel Martimbeault. Based in Montreal, his haunting portraits mesmerize the viewer.  www.martimbo.com20170224_144322Why not let Joel tell you himself about his journey as an artist…

So after 3 hours of schlepping up and down the aisles, I was exhausted but so inspired by the work on show. The Artist Project is on now and runs all weekend (Feb 24-26) and I strongly recommend you visit and check out all the artists on show.   www.theartistproject.com/20170224_142725 20170224_124443And here’s my special acquisition from this year’s Artist Project – my little “raining cows” from Morgan Sheardown. Hope you like it, too.20170224_145255

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS IN MAGAZINE’S END-OF-YEAR BASH!

Last Friday (Dec.16/16) friends and sponsors of IN Magazine joined the publishing team for their annual end-of-year bash at URBAN GALLERY located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto (www.urbangallery.ca).

With delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served by sister company Urban Source Catering, the guests enjoyed a fabulous night celebrating another successful year of publishing for the glossy magazine targeting Toronto’s LGBT community.  www.inmagazine.ca/20161216_180758The current show by local artist Meghan Thomas provided the perfect edgy backdrop for the festivities (below)20161216_174229 20161216_182237Publisher Patricia Salib is pictured above right with guests, as is Dir. of  Marketing Woodrow Monteiro (below, right).20161216_180817 20161216_181614The guests really enjoyed the specialty cocktails, especially the refreshing & highly potent Tipsy Elf (above/below)20161216_183359Charming server Melissa (below) kept everyone well-fed…20161216_181641…while bartender Mischa (pictured below) kept everyone well-lubricated!!20161216_174719The holiday spread was quite spectacular – my favourite is this amazing brie (below) with its crispy, crunchy, sugary crust…mmmm, yum!20161216_17472920161216_18063920161216_18074620161216_174750

Urban Gallery provides the perfect space for smaller corporate events (up to 80 cap.) or private functions so please visit their website for rental details www.urbangallery.ca. Likewise, UrbanSource Catering offers a selection of menus for cocktail parties, gala dinners or buffets or smaller family occasions. For menu selections, visit www.urbancatering.com

Gallery and catering company owners Calvin Hambrook and Wayne Abell (pictured below, L to R) wish all their clients and artists the happiest of holidays.20161216_181141

 

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COME WALK THE AISLES OF TORONTO’S NATIONAL WOMEN’S SHOW WITH ME….

Thanks to KJ Mullins, publisher of the web-based NEWZ4U.ca news portal, I was granted a media pass to explore the National Women’s Show today and wow, what a blast I had!  Arriving just before the doors were open to the public, I was able to get a running start (I soon slowed to a plod as I got weighed down by samples and freebies) on the thousands of “civilian” attendees so sit back, relax, grab a cuppa joe and enjoy this virtual tour.

My first stop was the charming HRH Custom Creations booth where I met Amy and say her beautifully made metal signs and butterflies. www.hrhcustomcreations.com20161104_105702(0)Then next up I was drawn into the Sweets Canada booth where Sam Dhutia and his pretty assistant let me sample some of their flower-infused artisan chocolate. Sam gave me a box of Q’bites with milk chocolate and black licorice and a deelish bar of Dark Chocolate/Cranberry with Lavender petals to bring home and I just had my first bite….OMG – yummm. Check out their range of edible flower & chocolate treats here: www.sweetscanada.com 20161104_110107 20161104_110111 20161104_110116I love the Happy Bees Honey man (below) who was so pleased to sample his yummy treats. I caved in a bought a jar – I’ll probably christen it tomorrow on my breakfast toast. Based in Welland, Ontario, his busy winged workers feast on wildflowers so their products are naturally sweet and oh so good for you.  www.happybeesapiary.ca20161104_111008 20161104_111202Across the aisle, I found products courtesy of African “killer bees”! Yikes….the lip balm was actually quite lovely and they also offered great little stocking stuffers such as beeswax candles and mini honey jars (see below) www.africanbronzehoney.com20161104_111549 20161104_111607I was intrigued by the Enright Cattle Co. booth (below) showcasing their fashionably rugged leather bags, totes and purses. The cattle farm based in Tweed uses the hides from their beef beasties and, as a meat-eater, I was all in favour of this company’s “use every part” philosophy.  www.enrightcattlecompany.com20161104_112235 20161104_112253I then met entrepreneur Eriver Muwanguzi who is introducing African jewellery and fashion designers to Toronto through his company, Tofara  www.tofara.com  He showed me unique handcrafted pieces from various countries and I was blown away by these statement pieces (below).20161104_112628 20161104_112637 20161104_112700I had some fun schmoozing with the “ladies in blue” – officers from the Peel Region Police Recruiting dept. Yes, I was tempted to sign on but I hardly think they’d want this grumpy old broad patrolling their precinct…LOL20161104_112826CwbcafRWgAAAJYRHave you ever visited the Ste. Anne’s Spa and Bakery? Just a short train ride or drive from Toronto, you can experience relaxation in the country with spa treatments, skin products and now a healthy gluten-free bakery. And if these jovial staff (below) are any indication, it’s a very happy place to visit.  www.steannes.com20161104_113713 20161104_11372120161104_113757Nice to see Veronica of www.iloveisola.com jewelry at the show – her handcrafted bracelets and necklaces use semi-precious stones and each has an energy or healing component.20161104_113836(0)Unikati & Co. offers handcrafted toys, bags, jewellery and all sorts of lovely things, all made by people in areas of conflict, war survivors, rural families, hunger project workers…every piece has a story to tell from around the world. www.unikati.ca20161104_114010 20161104_114023 20161104_114125The lovely ladies of Lazizza explained their ultimate shapewear collection (move over, Spanx, these Canuck girls have got you beat!) to me and I may be calling on them soon so I can look fab during all the Christmas celebrations. Check them out yourself: www.lazizzashapewear.com 20161104_115212 20161104_115201 20161104_115408Invocation (below) is a First Nations aromatherapy company offering home fragrance and perfumes made from natural organic or wildcrafted ingredients. The range of fragrances enhance your mood, increase energy or can relax and soothe.  www.invocation.ca 20161104_12224720161104_122241 20161104_122255Here are a few random shots taken around the showroom….20161104_123243 20161104_111832 20161104_113304Here’s something a little different but oh so comfortable, esp. if you’re built like moi! The Breast Rest garment replaces your typical underwire bra (ouch!) and makes hangin’ round the house really comfortable. The cotton lycra Comfort Support System is fully customizable to your body shape and is designed as a solution to the discomforts of the traditional bra. It has pillow-like support and revolutionary design which provides the comfort and support for which you have been yearning.  www.thebreastrest.com20161104_123731 20161104_123734 20161104_123744

As soon as I saw the word “Australia” I knew I had to stop and find out more about the Rodan + Fields Anti-Aging products (below). I spoke with John and Bill (OMG, their faces were as smooth as a baby’s bum) and they kindly gave me a “personal pamper pack” filled with all sorts of potions, lotions, unctions and serums to try at home. The products are beautifully packaged and promise clinically proven skincare and anti-aging results. They are introducing the line to Australia next year so I’m emailing friends and family back home to watch out for it. Check out John and Bill’s website for details: www.holygrailforskin.com20161104_125905 20161104_125911 20161104_125919Now here’s something different – the Divorce Angels is a resource network for those going through the divorce process. Having had several friends go through the trauma of separating their families over the past 20yrs, I know how much they would have appreciated this support. www.thedivorceangels.com  Pictured below left, Marni Sky is co-founder and she also featured a lovely collection of handcrafted empowerment bracelets created by a member of this unique support group.

20161104_131759 20161104_131810As I was leaving, exhausted and hungry (I couldn’t even get near the food sampling booths due to huge crowds), I made one last stop at the Children of Hope Uganda booth. I so wanted the stunning purple and orange handwoven basket pictured below, but I settled for 2 cute pink bead elephant keychains and a pair of handmade bead earrings in the same colour as the basket. www.childrenofhopeuganda.org/shop20161104_132556(0) 20161104_132523 20161104_132534I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the National Women’s Show – and what a wonderful show it is this year. I spent over 3hrs there and still had more stuff to see, hear, watch. The show runs until Sunday night so hopefully you’ll consider a visit yourself over the weekend.  Located in the South bldg of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, here’s the link to information and tickets: http://www.nationalwomenshow.com/en/toronto/visitor/20161104_124047