Tag Archives: Canadian painters

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HANGING PAINTINGS WITH JOHNY DELUNA

25+ large paintings were hung at the Art Square Gallery last night – Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is getting ready for his Thursday (June 8, 6-9pm) opening reception of his solo show “Spontaneous Levitation” so I spent some time with him as he measured and moved, then measured again all his spectacular works. I snapped a few pics of close-up details (see below) from several of his paintings which illustrate the textural quality of his work with raised dots of paint with multiple colours – very hard to achieve and extremely time-consuming.20170605_190559 20170605_190611 20170605_182852And I love some of the mythical creatures and people who dance across the canvases….20170605_183058 20170605_183111 20170605_192137And who doesn’t love galloping giraffes (below) in a windswept land and seascape?20170605_182830As Johny was busy up the ladder, a young man came in obviously intrigued with what was going on…he was soon chatting with Johny about the paintings and the stories behind each one.20170605_191657 20170605_192400Hopefully you are also intrigued and will join Johny at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto (opp. the Art Gallery of Ontario) this Thursday Jun.8th 6-9pm. Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so if you can’t make it this week, you have another week to catch these wild and provocative paintings.

Here are some of the comments from Johny’s previous solo art show….come add your own observations and kudos.20170605_192001 20170605_192032_001 20170605_192048

 

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TORONTO ARTIST JOHNY DELUNA READY TO LAUNCH SOLO SHOW “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” THIS THURSDAY

With a final few brushstrokes left and the selection of which painting goes where on the gallery walls, Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is just a few days away from launching his exciting new solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation”, at the Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opp. the AGO).

I caught up with Johny over the weekend and asked him to share some last-minute thoughts on his new show….

As your solo show, Spontaneous Levitation, draws closer, how many new works of art will be represented at the show?  I will be showing about 10 new works from this year and about 15 works from prior years.img442From where have you drawn inspiration for these new canvases?  The genesis of most paintings starts with one small event or observation My inspirations come from observations of the human condition.  I try to depict the fragility of our lives, the unusual effects of random events, the consequences of our behavior.  It seems that issues rarely disappear they simply re-emerge in a modified form. I want to articulate these ideas in a new and fresh way, so I let the work express itself intuitively. Sometimes I don’t recognize the finished piece as mine. (No Free Lunch, below).No Free Lunch 36x48Can you share the story behind one or two of these new masterworks? The piece titled Eating Spaghetti With Scissors (below) is based on our need to add unnecessary complexity to our lives. Perhaps this complexity gives us comfort, the feeling that our life is richer and better.  I think we mistake motion with progress and quantity with quality.  When we can’t answer an important question with a straight answer, we fake it with circuitous logic. We vigorously defend this opinion with a mind numbing jumble of half baked ‘truths’, opinions, rumors and petty biases. We end up ‘going to the wall’ defending these opinions; opinions that that we don’t fully understand ourselves.Eating Spaghetti With Scissors acrylic on canvas 34 x 48What would you like gallery visitors to come away with after viewing your work?  I hope people will find the show to be very fresh, humorous and thought-provoking.  I hope the works will speak to each person in their own way. I hope visitors will encourage their friends to visit the show as well.art squCome meet Johny at his opening reception and view his provocative large-format paintings (acrylic on canvas) this Thursday June 8th (6-9pm) at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto. Show runs until June 19th.

 

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PETER HARRIS UNVEILS NEW PAINTINGS IN “EVENING WITH HOPPER” SOLO SHOW @ MIRA GODARD GALLERY IN YORKVILLE

While the rest of the city appeared to have “taken off” for the long Victoria Day weekend, I spent Saturday afternoon dropping in on some of the art galleries in the Yorkville neighbourhood. So nice to have such beauty and talent on my doorstep and the MIRA GODARD GALLERY at 22 Hazelton Avenue did not disappoint – I was lucky to find their current exhibiting artist PETER HARRIS at the gallery for a meet-n-greet. 20170520_134500Peter (pictured above) proudly showed off his intimate views of building entrances and night windows inspired by Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 “Nighthawks” painting of a New York diner late at night. Many of the images are recognizable Toronto views but I really liked this one (below) which is based on a New York City art deco era building – if you look thru the lobby you can even see another Hopper-inspired painting represented in the reception area.Lobby_Entrance-NY_Office_w

As a landscape painter, I strive to create images that connect viewers to their immediate surroundings. While my work is situated in the present, it often invokes artists from the past whose paintings linger in our collective memory and influence how we think about the landscape. Edward Hopper and Lawren Harris are two such artists whose iconic imagery still resonates, and whose reputation casts a long shadow over all artists working within the genre. In the exhibition Evening with Hopper I began by meticulously recreating their historical paintings in miniature and framing them within current urban architecture. I wanted their historical depictions to be subsumed by the modern, acknowledging the power of their legacy while challenging their continued relevancy to a contemporary audience. – Peter Harris, 2017Entrance_at_668-Mtn_Landscape_sRedVestibule-ChopSuey_sAnother fave of mine is this interior of an elevator (below) – who would think that this interior space would make such a great painting subject? Just look at the metallic finishes and the light reflections…wow!Level_3_(Icebergs)_sMany of the paintings already have little red dots attached to their labels – the sign of a sale! The show continues until Sat. May 27th so I recommend you visit the gallery a.s.a.p. to see these exquisite works of art for yourself.  Visit the gallery’s website for hours & directions and you can see more of Peter’s work online – but much better to see them in person to experience the overwhelming effect of each canvas. Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!miragodardgalleryfront

Mira Godard Gallery, 22 Hazelton Ave, Toronto      www.godardgallery.com

(with exception of 1st two photos, all images courtesy of Mira Godard Gallery)

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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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URBAN GALLERY’S “VISIONS OF TORONTO” GROUP SHOW LAUNCHES TO A PACKED HOUSE!

Last night, I was thrilled to see so many art fans and collectors in attendance when URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, launched their annual group show. This year, the focus was on our own city – Visions of Toronto features paintings and photographic art showcasing the city’s stunning streetscapes, waterfront and familiar views interpreted in multiple mediums. Here’s gallery curator Allen Shugar to explain…..

I took a stroll around the gallery prior to the doors being opened so I could take some pics of the artwork….20160804_163906 20160804_163915 20160804_16420920160804_173909_001…then I ran into some of the artists arriving early.  Here’s Nik Buczok whose “View from a Mimico Balcony” photo features a sweeping view of the Toronto skyline from the west.20160804_165338 N. BUCZOK The View From A Mimico Balcony, black & white photographic print from film 20w x 16h $450 unframedAnd gallery favourite Erik Chong (below) brought his intricate view of the CN Tower titled “The Six Phenomenon 2016″20160804_165458 20160804_165507

Celebrity chef and photographer Lyndon Wiebe showed 2 photographs printed on linen. They looked like hyper-realistic paintings – I particularly liked the blustery harbourfront winter shot.20160804_164101Lindsey MacKay has 2 pieces in the show – below is her “Gooderham” painting (below)…most Torontonians will recognize this spot.20160804_17193820160804_172455Ian Strulovitch is pictured below with his “Passing By #2″ metallic print on plexiglass which shows a subway train in full flight! I watched as the gallery guests stood in front and shared their own interpretations of this piece. Exciting!20160804_181039One of the big hits of the show is “Union” an oil on canvas b&w graphic by Colin Nun (below). Is it an optical illusion or is it a name? Well, maybe both. It’s inspired by Union Station…see if you can read it.20160804_191109…many of the guests posed with Union including fellow artist Erik and famed blogger Vernon Chang a.k.a. MoVernie (bottom pic) who said it was his fave painting of the show.20160804_165741 Mo Vernie & Union'Urban Gallery was thrilled to welcome Larry Ostola, Director, Museums & Heritage Services and the Acting Director, Arts & Culture Services, Economic Development & Culture for the City of Toronto. Below, curator Allen shares his thoughts on the Toronto art scene with Larry and bottom, gallery owner Calvin tells Larry about the gallery’s commitment to supporting local artists.20160804_172726 20160804_173448

Let’s take a quick 360 degree walk-thru….

20160804_171705 20160804_171715 20160804_171919 It certainly was a night to remember for the participating artists20160804_171724 K. ALBERTSEN The Boardwalk And The Fog print on dibond 37w x 15h $700 K. McIntrye THE SUBWAY, mixed media on canvas 25w 21h $5000With prices ranging from $375 to $3,400, Visions of Toronto runs throughout the month of August – if you’d like to view the art in person (and maybe pick up a piece or two), check the website for hours:  www.urbangallery.ca

Congratulations to Calvin, Allen and Wayne for such a successful launch!13934738_10153575002506577_706519997170307398_n

 

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“EAST MEETS WEST” WATERCOLOUR SHOW LAUNCHES AT URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Another wonderful  art show opened yesterday at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen st East, Toronto, with an artists’ reception featuring two Canadian watercolourists, Fariba Mirhosseini and Stella Dai. Their works are based on personal experiences abroad and at home in Canada, and while their styles are distinctly different, their mutual love of colour and form brought them together for this exhibition. From village scenes in the Far East to the streets and landscapes of Canada, the artists capture these moments by painting what they see and feel in watercolour, and they hope it engages you to experience these as well.

20151003_143700 20151003_145419 20151003_145459 20151003_151840Fariba Mirhosseini (pictured below) was born in Tehran, Iran. Prior to being immersed into the field of painting and watercolor, she attained her post diploma degree in professional floral arrangement design at Seneca College. A novice in the world of painting and watercolour, her passion for colour combination and mixing of colours brought her to realize her potential as a painter. 20151003_151442

20151003_151844Stella Dai was born in Shanghai, China. Drawing has been her hobby since childhood. She studied sketch and coloring from a local art school and art institute in her leisure time. When painting, she immerses herself fully, which helps her relieve daily chaos and work stress. She turns to her painting as an essential way to deliver emotions and reflect her interpretation of life. Here’s Stella chatting with gallery guests (below, centre).20151003_150629

20151003_151937 20151003_151904The enthusiastic attendees enjoyed refreshments, courtesy of UrbanSource Catering….(here’s gallery curator Allen Shugar playing bartender)20151003_151103…..and “red dots” appeared beside several paintings indicating they would be off to new homes at the end of the exhibition (Oct.31)20151003_151808Photographer Drew from SNAPd newspaper snapped a few shots and mingled with art fans and friends of the artists….who also took photos!20151003_151558

20151003_15104220151003_145941Both artists enjoyed chatting with visitors who seemed engrossed in the paintings…20151003_145832 20151003_152520

20151003_150743If you would like to enjoy these beautiful watercolours, please check the gallery’s website for their new fall/winter hours:  http://www.urbangallery.ca/    and if you would like to enjoy a “virtual visit”, here’s a brief video of the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-OtC4WeuW0   

East Meets West continues to Saturday Oct. 31st.20151003_152447

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MORE EXCITING POP-ART….THIS TIME BY TORONTO’S OWN STEPHEN TRICANICO

Another fabulous artist’s reception at Urban Gallery tonight – the launch of their August show “Left Brain, Right Brain” by 24yr old Toronto abstract expressionist/pop artist Stephen Tricanico (below)

20150806_172054Stephen spent the last year allowing himself to have a heightened focus on waking up and creating every day which resulted in the works shown in this new exhibition.

Artist statement:   With the pop works, I was trying to create a visual reinterpretation of plays on words and poetry, having pieces based on thoughts I once had. The abstracts result from wanting to do something based on a feeling, allowing the work to satisfy my left and right brain, and hopefully the viewers as well.

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20150806_171959The growing crowd of art aficionados that filled the gallery seemed to agree – these were exciting and provocative works. Congrats to Urban Gallery for introducing this talented artist.

20150806_172305 20150806_172232I met up with two of the charming gallery assistants from the Andy Warhol exhibit at Revolver Gallery’s Bloor St pop-up (see previous blog story). Meet Valeria (below L) and Lily (below R) who came out to see Stephen’s work.

20150806_175741Below, the fabulous Paddy Reagan (left) enjoyed schmoozing with Urban Source Catering’s Wayne Abell (right)

20150806_172602And the oh so sassy ladies below are KJ Mullins, Publisher of Newz4U.net (left) and Urban’s own gallery goddess Kaspara Albertsen (right)

20150806_172749Even “her Maj” put in an appearance….“you want fries with that, Liz?”

20150806_172132There were lots more cutie pies…..

20150806_172202 20150806_172359…and I really liked Stephen’s abstracts, esp. this real dope piece!

Stephen’s show “Left Brain, Right Brain” runs until August 29th and you can check out more details on Urban Gallery’s website: www.urbangallery.ca  

Gallery hours:
Noon to 5pm Monday through Saturday
Noon to 8pm Thursdays
Closed Sundays & Holidays
Viewings outside gallery hours by appointment

Bruce Lawes- A New Birth of Freedom (in the works final stages)

BRUCE K. LAWES celebrates 4th of July with new portrait of President Abraham Lincoln

For the past two years, award-winning Canadian artist BRUCE K.LAWES has been visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield national park during the annual July 4th celebrations, painting historical military scenes and portraits from his tent studio on the side of the battleground. As the thousands of dedicated volunteers reenacted cavalry charges, skirmishes and arm-to-arm combat in front of him, Bruce created several haunting portraits of Union and Confederate troops and war generals while the crowds of park visitors and July 4th celebrants watched on.

June 7 #3G'Burg 5This year, Bruce decided to stay home and complete his most exciting Civil War era portrait to date – that of President Abraham Lincoln in quiet contemplation of the speech he was to deliver the following day in Gettysburg.  Bruce placed his subject in the exact room of the now historic Wills House where Lincoln wrote his address and slept the night prior to delivering what we now know as the “Gettysburg Address”.  I asked Bruce to share his thoughts and inspirations for the portrait which goes under the hammer at this year’s prestigious Coeur d’Alene Auction of Fine Art in Reno, Nevada, on July 25th.

What was your experience like last year at Coeur d’Alene and what/who introduced your work to the prestigious auction?
As this was my first time in this auction with a relatively untested subject matter for me, although I felt the portrait of Custer was done well (see below), 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 auction officials/gallery partners, my worries vanished very quickly when they said that there had been a lot of interest in my painting. In fact, the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team was one notable individual who was going to be bidding on my painting.

Custer Before the Storm (Coeur d'Alene copy signed in frame)Did the positive response to your Custer portrait inspire you to explore more historical re-imagining of Civil War milestones or personalities?
The response to my Custer portrait 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?
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?
While consulting my friend J. David (J.D.) Petruzzi, award winning Civil War author and historian, as to how to portray Lincoln in a unique authentic setting, we discussed the Wills house where Lincoln stayed the night before delivering his Gettysburg Address. With creative and historical minds working, the result was to paint him the day before the Address and in a second painting show him during the day of the Address (this painting is in the planning stages). The problem that I was now faced with was authentic reference points for the bedroom Lincoln stayed in at the Wills House. Fortunately, the house was designated as a museum and the whole building and surrounding buildings in the square have been maintained as it was back in 1863. Being from Pennsylvania, J.D. and his partner, Cindy Mullins, a dedicated Lincoln historian, kindly offered to travel to Gettysburg and take some reference photos of the bedroom (see below) with the guidance of my mental sketch or vision.

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wills houseYou first sculpted a clay bust of Lincoln in order to commence work – how did this help you? Can you explain your painting process?
As the photography of the day was poor and only 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 fall. I used this 3-D model just the same as though the President was there in front of me posing in a sitting for a portrait.

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

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

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

museumI’m also grateful for the testimonial from leading Lincoln expert Dr. Gabor S. Boritt, which adds considerable weight to the authenticity of the painting’s location and subject matter: 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 Will’s 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

Apart from this unique Lincoln painting, what other projects are you working on and at what upcoming shows and sales will your work be featured?
I’m presently completing my painting for the July 16l “Masters In Miniature Exhibition & Sale” at Trailside Galleries in Jackson Hole, WY, that will be very different from the Lincoln project as the subject matter is wildlife (“Savannah Sunrise” see below). 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 racing crown, so keep watching for my next creation.

Bruce Lawes- Savannah Sunrise (internet)

You can follow Bruce here:  www.facebook.com/bklawesart

Other important weblinks
Coeur d’Alene Art Auction  http://www.cdaartauction.com/
J. David Petruzzi http://jdpetruzzi.com/
Trailside Galleries http://www.trailsidegalleries.com/exhibitions/masters-in-miniature-invitational-2015#46