Category Archives: Special Events

Flowers to go

ONLY 7 WEEKS UNTIL MOTHER’S DAY AND NO CLUE WHAT TO BUY THAT SPECIAL LADY? HERE’S THE PERFECT SOLUTION!

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  I want to give that world to someone else.” (artist Georgia O’Keefe)

Sadly, my own mum passed away back in 1988 so each year when Mother’s Day comes around, I try not to notice all the emotionally-manipulative advertising and soppy movies on TV featuring mums and their wayward kids who finally come home. But this year, I’m especially motivated to acknowledge the annual celebration of all things maternal thanks to author Debra Usher and her lovely new book The Love of Flowers which makes an ideal gift for that mum who has everything….and doesn’t need any more chocolates, lace handkerchiefs or designer spatulas!arabellaMailercopycopyThe 450-page full colour, hardcover book is full of glorious images of flowers –  over a thousand photos of original artwork from esteemed Canadian artists, plus a few celebrity US painters including TV and movie star, Jane Seymour (yes, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman herself!) – here’s her contribution to the book:23. Jane SeymourThe Love of Flowers is a special collectors’ edition of contemporary art that recaptures the beauty of flowers. Once a dominant theme in the history of art – the centrepiece of works by Luc Tuyman, Matisse, and Van Gogh – the celebration of flowers in art and their power to inspire and move us has somehow been overshadowed by other themes. Yet in our daily lives these creations of nature are still the center-piece of our very special moments: Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Happy Mother’s Day, Thank You, I Love You, Thinking of You – whatever the message, flowers have a unique and special power to put a smile on our face and touch those we care about, those we love in immeasurable ways. Debra Usher, author.

Take a look at a few of the pages….10. Brian Davis 8. Lenore Carr-Smith 7. Valerie ButtersDebra (pictured below) continues with her story behind the publication of this book:  It started with my own personal journey, the memories of my mother, her joy when we shared moments over flowers, but it soon gathered momentum as I explored the importance of flowers to others and other artists joined me in sharing their stories and their art. It became a journey that made me aware that we cannot lose the importance of this beauty and we need to celebrate it more. So The Love of Flowers is my report card on that journey – one which I hope you will cherish as much as all of us who have told our stories.  Debra-Usher

So with less than 2 months to go (Sunday May 14), I recommend you purchase a copy now (it comes in a lovely presentation box) from the publisher’s website:   www.arabelladesign.com/flower_book  Still lots of time to allow for shipping.

So beautiful and contemplative, The Love of Flowers could easily become a family heirloom; each artist’s work is accompanied by info on their work, so you’ll also learn about Canada’s premier artists – the book is both entertaining AND educational!'Splendor - Amaryllis'  36 x 48 AcrylicAnd if you’re in the New Brunswick region, why not meet Debra and get your copy personally autographed at one of these upcoming meet-n-greet events:

Scheduled for Saturday May 6, 1:00-3:00 pm at Gallery 78 for Mother’s Day Celebration.

May 12 – HANDWORKS GALLERY in Saint John, NB
Scheduled for Thursday May 12, 5:30-7:30 pm at Handworks Gallery for Mother’s Day celebration.

May 14 – ALGONQUIN RESORT in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, NB
Scheduled for Sunday May 14, 10:00am-2:00 pm at the Algonquin Resort for Mother’s Day celebration.

Lilacs, Pansies,&Tulips 00318831

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Contemporary artist, LOLA KERECKI, to open new indie gallery in Toronto

In 2 weeks’ time, I’ll be printing off the guest list and getting ready for the official grand opening of my friend, LOLA KERECKI‘s exciting new artistic endeavour – Toronto’s latest addition to the indie art scene: STOCKYARDS GALLERY! Lola is a very busy lady who not only paints stunning large canvases (mostly abstract portraits), but is currently undertaking an intense project management course that will add even more skills to her business portfolio. And now Lola (below) has become the Founder and curator of a great new space for Canadian artists to showcase their works. www.stockyardsgallery.ca As a successful and much sought after artist herself, her generosity in supporting fellow artists through this new undertaking may seem daunting to others but not to Lola – she is a bundle of energy, always quick with a smile and constantly exudes positive energy. She paints and does business under the name of “JustLola” – she is fast becoming a brand unto herself. So I recently asked her about her life, her career(s) and the new gallery and here’s what she told me:

As an artist with your own creative demands, what inspired you to open a gallery that showcases other artists’ work? And how do you balance your own work with marketing other artists’ works?  It was a very natural and organic development that just made sense to us. I had some artwork installed in Rebarn, the site for Stockyards Gallery, and it was selling well but it was becoming a challenge to keep up with the demand. We are very proud to offer 100% Canadian products both in furniture and now art. I think as a team of artists, we cross-promote and it benefits all of us because we all have different subject matters. I’ve chosen these current artists for the Fool For Art opening show because they are like-minded in that capacity.17265222_403390500030010_4024633169228926769_n16508936_386382941730766_1395139833557463211_nWhich other artists are showcasing during your opening month show, Fool For Art? And why did you select them?  I’ve chosen Robert McAffee and Brigitte Granton, both well-known Canadian landscape artists. I’ve also included a number of my own large-format paintings with a focus on portraits, pop art and collage. All these combined pieces will showcase a full spectrum of styles for the grand opening.Updated exhibition info for stockyards month long eventWith the Stockyards Gallery opening fast approaching, have you completed your own works for exhibition?  No, I often work best under pressure so I’m still creating; we will see what I will present for the show, and it will be a surprise for me as well….LOL! I have 5 canvases going at the same time. [Below are some of Lola’s current canvases]Smoking Lady Lola Kerecki  36x48 Oil on Canvas $2400 (1) Lip Ring Kerecki 30x36 Oil on Canvas $1600 Marilyn in pieces Lola Kerecki Mixed Media collage acrylic 36x48  $3500Being housed inside the Rebarn showroom, do you anticipate those clients finding the perfect artwork from the Stockyards selection displayed on the walls to go with their custom Rebarn woodwork furniture and accessories? Yes, and this is done purposefully. We have a specific kind of clientele who enjoys original custom furniture so now we can offer original art as well. We are a diversified destination point, so potential clients may be coming in for furniture but then they surprisingly find themselves gravitating towards the artwork. We also have a lot of foot traffic so those who have never heard of Rebarn (and now Stockyards Gallery) will be pleasantly surprised when they come in to browse.15337474_351115995257461_1086669202748960040_n 15267990_353068255062235_2638192854096319862_n

Lola with Rebarn's Mark Livingston

Lola with Rebarn’s Mark Livingston

As the curator of Stockyards Gallery, what are you looking for in theme or style from future artist exhibitors?  I’m looking for original artwork that compliments our furniture and is distinctly Canadian, and works that feature Toronto cityscapes. I think our clients are looking for something unique to connect with emotionally. [Below, samples of Robert McAffee’s and Brigitte Granton’s landscapes in Fool For Art]Nipigon Sunset Robert McAffee Oil on canvas $6800 Neddies Bay Brigitte Granton 30x40 Oil on canvas $3400Any other comments you’d like to share?  We support anything Canadian, everything we do is custom-made and we have mastered recycling to a whole other level. In my artwork alone, I have used old wood remnants to create something new and now I have a series of collages recycling magazines into one-of-a-kind art pieces. It is impossible to replicate so its completely original and conventional magazines will one day go out of print.logo 2

1611 Dupont Street, Toronto  T: 416-903-0117

Good luck, Just Lola!  I know Stockyards Gallery will become a popular destination for art lovers & artists alike!

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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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INTRODUCING CANADIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTIST JOHNY DELUNA

I recently met contemporary Canadian artist JOHNY DELUNA (below) whose colourful large acrylic-on-canvas paintings both inspire and intrigue me. He has a solo exhibition this summer (June 5-19) at the Art Square Gallery (opposite the AGO) in Toronto, and I wanted to give art fans an early heads-up so they do’t miss his extraordinary work. xxheadshotjohn1jpgI recently had the pleasure of chatting with Johny over a coffee, viewing his portfolio of mostly 3′ x 4′  canvases, each portraying deeper, darker stories beneath the exterior of bright, joyful images.  Every masterwork has been thoroughly thought out, exploring abstract themes in Johny’s riotous palette of primary colours.  I asked him a few questions about his work, his inspirations and the upcoming summer solo show….

You came late to painting professionally – what was your previous career focus and how did that inform your work?  I always loved painting, but couldn’t make a living at it – I needed a decent job to pay the bills.  The urge to paint never left me, but the responsibilities of looking after a family etc. took precedence.  I didn’t return to painting for over 25 years.  Whenever possible I took on projects that had a significant creative component.  I worked on a wide variety of projects including scientific film production, script writing, advertising , marketing and digital product development. However the need to paint was always lurking close to the surface.  I was always a closet painter.

I actually started painting as a child and worked actively on artistic experimentation and exploration until I was about 25. I was untrained so I tried all sorts of things – found materials, melted and painted plastics, wood burning (pyrography), wire sculptures, stone sculptures and acrylic paints. I mostly painted large semi-abstract canvases. I liked the expanses of color and motion.Collateral Damage MARCHWhat has been the main inspiration for your style and colour palette?  The main inspiration for my work is observing the human condition. I try to say things about, happiness, sadness confusion, hypocrisy, ignorance, cruelty, indifference and self delusion. I never put myself above these frailties – but I laugh at my own weaknesses more than I laugh at others. I try to embed my stories deep enough in the paintings so that each viewer can experience them in their own way.art squI was never a great admirer of pointillism; my style of painting was the result of experiments just to get myself painting again. I simply love bright colors – there are no bad ones. They are like kids in a park – laughing, running and playing together.

Dancing in the Dark

Dancing in the Dark

Upon initial viewing, your paintings are full of humour and lightness, however, behind each work there seems to be a darker meaning. Can you explain your artistic interpretations and share one such story from a particular painting?  As I said, my paintings are mostly observations, parables or vignettes. These are the catalysts for the paintings.  I try to present ideas obliquely. This gives me more freedom of expression and a wider visual lexicon to play with.  It also gives the viewer more freedom of interpretation.

I try to entice the viewer into the work through color, energy, humor and curious or bizarre imagery.  Behind all that is the story – the viewer is free to go as deep as they want. I hope everyone see’s the works differently.One of the more oblique works is about learning to accept people for who they are – not who we think they should be. My painting called  I’d Love You If You Were Someone Else (below) for instance, is an argument between a table and a chair.chairYou paint in a contemporary pointillism style in large format – how detailed and time-consuming is this compared with the bold brushstrokes of other artists?  Each artist approaches their work differently. If an artist can create a stunning piece in ten minutes – that’s great. The piece works or it doesn’t no matter how long you labor over it.  My paintings take about 3-5 weeks to complete. I don’t use a brush – I use a simple calligraphy pen and liquid ink. I can only work a few hours at a time – because I can’t focus any more.

Detail from "The Kiss"

Detail from “The Kiss”

Your upcoming solo exhibition is called Spontaneous Levitation – what inspired this title?  Well – Spontaneous Levitation is a bit of a play on the word levity – humour. I hope the show feels fresh, free, and energizing.  img420

At my last show, I met a painter from Brazil. He showed me some photos of his large canvases. They were wonderful. He had injured his shoulder badly in a car accident and had not painted for a number of years. He wandered around the show for about half an hour. On the way out he smiled and shook my hand…“Obrigado,” he said “your work makes me hungry to paint again”.

1457016348What advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to create a life as a professional painter? The only advice I can offer aspiring artists is

  1. Get a day job so you can afford to paint what you want.
  2. Try to be honest and express your inner voice – it’s scary but do it
  3. Open yourself to the unknown – the otherness
  4. Never give up.
"April in New York"

“April in New York”

"Fear of Flying"

“Fear of Flying”

I can’t wait to see Johny’s work in person, hanging on the walls of Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto (directly opp. the Art Gallery of Ontario) between June 5 – 19, 2017.  I’ll be posting more details on the show closer to the date so stay tuned.  In the interim, you can follow Johny on Twtr @johnydeluna or visit his website: www.johnydeluna.comThe Usual Suspects

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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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JUST RELEASED: STUNNING NEW BOOK OF FLORAL PAINTINGS FROM CANADIAN AUTHOR & PUBLISHER DEBRA USHER

For a number of years, I’ve been reading a wonderful quarterly Canadian magazine featuring stories on artists, art galleries and news about the business of the art world – it’s called Arabella Design and can be found in major bookstores across the country as well as by subscription.Arabella cover

I first met publisher DEBRA USHER and her charming husband BRIAN while visiting one of my favourite galleries in Toronto, Westmount Gallery, when I was working with internationally renowned hyper-realism artist Bruce Lawes who had a special exhibition at the gallery – see Bruce’s equine art featured on the magazine cover (above). While waiting for media and art lovers to arrive, I spent some time flipping through the pages of back issues of Arabella and chatted with Debra and Brian about their ongoing support of emerging as well as established artists and regional galleries.

A few years later, I’m now able to support Debra & Brian as they rollout the promotional campaign to introduce their spectacular hard-cover book, THE LOVE OF FLOWERS, to readers and those who love all things floral. But be warned…this ain’t your grandma’s pretty flower book! The 450 pages are packed with nearly 2,000 glossy images of paintings depicting all manner of blooms from a wide variety of common garden flowers as well as exotics from far away lands. The book is big, bold and sexy and is the perfect addition to any personal library or coffee table. Once you start flipping through the pages, you won’t be able to stop!1. Beauty of White Flowers 18. Dennis MagnussonI recently spoke with the author and publisher and asked her about the inspiration for the book:

I am extremely proud of this book and the artists represented on the 450 full-colour pages. There are over 1900 paintings and images and 50 stories represented in this hard cover book.

 After the death of my mother, I decided to present a floral tribute to her in our spring edition of Arabella magazine and asked floral artists from all over Canada and the US to send in images of their paintings. Because of the overwhelming response, an idea to incorporate all of these stunning paintings into a book was formed and now here we are – The Love of Flowers was born and I’m so happy to be able to share all these glorious images with my readers.

Artists who paint flowers and capture the beauty and time of a fleeting moment are truly special but very often ignored in the artistic world. This book showcases both the range of talent and diversity of ideas out there. Each artist has a unique reason they paint flowers and our floral landscape and the book is a journey of the world around us that we sometimes miss. So I invite you to come travel down a road with a fragrance so delightful, is filled with colours and transfixes the heart and soul with both love and laughter.   Debra Usher, author (below)Debra-UsherHaving just received my own copy of The Love of Flowers, I can tell you that this is an extraordinary book, ideal as a family keepsake and something to be shared with children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours. The luxe matte finish of the hardcover invites the reader to turn the first page where the colours jump out at first viewing. Each of the artists, most of whom are Canadian, is profiled along with the richly toned images of their skilled works, and turning the pages, you will discover all sorts of flowers and blooms that will brighten even the dullest winter day.10. Brian Davis 22. Adriana Rinaldi 4. Rena BiermanDebra is currently planning several book signing appearances across the country, the first of which takes place at Handworks Gallery in Saint John, NB on Thursday February 9, then at the Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre in St. Andrews, NB on Sat. Feb 11, with additional appearances and art lectures in BC slated for March. Please check the Arabella website and Facebook page for upcoming events in your region.

The Love of Flowers
450pg full-colour, hardcover book (1,900 images + 50 artist stories)
Published by Arabella Inc.
$85.00 (plus shipping & handling) available online

The Love of Flowers will soon be available in major bookstores but why not order your copy now direct from the publisher:  http://www.arabelladesign.com/flower_book.htm

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INT’L BEST-SELLING AUTHOR TO PROMOTE NEW HEALTHY LIFESTYLE BOOK IN TORONTO FEB. 6 & 7

I was recently contacted by Lyn-Genet Recitas, holistic health expert and author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Plan, who told me she will be visiting Toronto Feb 4 – 7, 2017, to promote her exciting new book  THE METABOLISM PLAN: Discover the Foods and Exercises that Work for Your Body to Reduce Inflammation and Drop Pounds Fast.  Torontonians will be able to see her live on Citytv’s Breakfast TV and  CTV’s The Social on Monday Feb 6, then on Global’s Morning Show the following day with more appearances being added.thLyn-Genet’s latest soon-to-be best seller, THE METABOLISM PLAN takes The Plan to a new level with a revolutionary 30-day diet that’s customized to boost one’s metabolism to burn fat, reduce inflammation, increase weight loss and energy. THE METABOLISM PLAN includes new recipes and an exciting new exercise plan that teaches readers why it’s best to workout smarter, not harder. In fact, readers can get in optimal shape in as little as 12 minutes, 3 times a week! THE METABOLISM PLAN addresses many hidden issues that can sabotage one’s metabolism and inhibit weight loss.image003About the Author:  Lyn-Genet Recitas is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Plan and The Plan Cookbook, which offers an effective way to lose weight, improve health and reverse the aging process. A sports and holistic nutritionist, Recitas has helped hundreds of thousands of men and women reach their best health by finding their chemical responses to food, not counting calories. Recitas has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show (see below), Fox & Friends, and Fox News, and in Women’s RunningFitness, and More magazines, among others.th (3)

www.lyngenet.com
www.facebook.com/TheLynGenetPlan
@lyngenet on Twitter
@lyngenetplan on Instagram

If you are an online influencer/blogger in the food, weight mgmn’t, anti-aging or health & wellness sectors, I would be happy arrange an interview with Lyn-Genet or fwd a review copy of her book, so please contact me a.s.a.p.  If you want to make a healthy (and simple) change to your lifestyle & eating habits, watch for Lyn-Genet on your favourite morning tv shows.th (2)

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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