Tag Archives: fine art

20170803_181306

MEET HANNA KOSTANSKI, URBAN GALLERY’S ARTIST OF THE MONTH!

Last night, Toronto’s coolest indie art venue, URBAN GALLERY, hosted the opening reception for HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work is inspired by vintage photographs of our city from years gone by, found in the City of Toronto Archives.  With permission from the Archives, Hanna has recreated well-known intersections and streetscapes from the early 1900’s through to the 1980’s, adding colour and movement to the imagery, bringing the scenes to life.  Her show, 20th Century Toronto: Intersections & Interactions, runs until August 26th at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) and I strongly recommend you visit in person to see if you recognize each of the locations she’s painted. Betcha you’ll be amazed to see how our city has changed!

About the artist:  Hanna was born in Szczecin, Poland, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. She obtained her BFA from OCAD University in 2007 and currently resides in Hamilton and works in Toronto. Her work can be found in dozens of private and public collections in both cities.Hanna Kostanski YONGE AND DUNDAS 1978 acrylic on board(Above) Yonge and Dundas, 1978 Acrylic on Wood 30″ x 60″ by Hanna Kostanski
From City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 92, Item 49 • Original Photograph by Harvey R. Naylor

Artist Statement:   For nearly a decade my work has been focused on the visible passage of time, experienced through the exploration and documentation of abandoned and decaying buildings in cities like Hamilton and Detroit. I have always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist.

My current body of work continues to explore the connection between people and their environment, but with a focus on historical representations of that relationship.  To that end, I have been working on a series of paintings based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and are nostalgic of the city as it used to be. They celebrate the many past incarnations of Toronto, the vibrant intersections of the city and the interactions of its people.  Hanna Kostanski (2017)

The gallery was quickly crowded with fans of Hanna’s work which has recently garnered some exciting media attention – even Toronto Mayor John Tory has weighed in on Twitter about Hanna’s ability to capture a sense of time and place with her large format paintings.20170803_18202620170803_17482220170803_17564020170803_16431220170803_164228Two of Hanna’s BFF’s came to support her and found a familiar sight in this painting (below) of Yonge Street between Queen & Dundas! 20170803_171702 20170803_173123I think this fellow (above) must work on Bay Street – he appears to be looking for the location where his office now sits and explaining the old geography to his lovely companion.20170803_173228 20170803_180704Hanna welcome many of her friends and fans (above), all of whom seemed eager to see her newest paintings.

Fellow artist Nancy Bennett (below) looks like she’s calling a cab from the intersection of Yonge & Dundas…LOL20170803_172148Amidst the hub-bub of the busy gallery, I managed to grab Hanna for a quick chat about her work…

Hanna is also offering fine prints for those who don’t have the space for the original BIG paintings…here’s a happy art-lovin’ family who purchased 2 prints of their favourite paintings….20170803_173528(0)Here’s Wayne Abell of Urban Source Catering (they always present the most deelish treats for gallery openings!!) with KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca, a Toronto-centric e-newspaper who really liked Hanna’s work.20170803_173304If you would like to come and play “spot the street” with Hanna’s work, please visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours and directions.  You can also follow Hanna on social media via her own website: www.hannakostanski.com

 

th

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!

20170708_142055

MEET ARTIST PAULINE LANGMAID, A TRUE NORTHERN SPIRIT!

Several months ago, I was sitting on the subway staring at the inane advertising banners – no I don’t want to meet sexy singles, nor do I want to buy a house and I am certainly not interested in a change of career at this point in my life! I overheard two ladies chatting and laughing nearby, so I found an opening to contribute to the conversation and soon found myself enjoying the journey with joyful companions. Skip ahead to present day and one of them, artist Pauline Langmaid, is now a friend and a client.

Based up north in Bracebridge, Pauline’s work is reminiscent of the famed Group of Several meets Edvard Munch meets Emily Carr – full of colour and bold strokes that describe her vision of the stark landscapes that surround her.Pauline-Langmaid_4351_Social-Media Pauline-Langmaid_Pic-Island_1600x1064I recently spoke with Pauline, asking her to share her thoughts on painting, her inspirations and her advice for others wanting a painterly life.

What first inspired you to start painting professionally, more than as a hobby?   I just wanted/needed to paint everyday and I belong to several wonderful groups of artists, The Burk’s Falls Art and Crafts Club, the Kearney Art Group; the Almaguin Highlands Arts Council; the East Central Ontario Artists Association; and the Muskoka Art and Craft Club who have been instrumental in my growth as an artist and continually encourage me to keep painting and to sell my paintings.Pauline 003Did you have any formal training and if so, where?  My first courses began when I was 8 years old at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery under the skilled direction of Paul Sloggett who is now a renowned Canadian Abstract artist.  I’ve also studied at Meta 4 Gallery, primarily with Linda Edwards.  The Haliburton School of the Arts introduced me to Ramune Luminaire and I took many courses from her as well both in Haliburton and in Oshawa at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  Janine Marsden and Diane Finlayson of Huntsville have also been instrumental in my growth as an artist.Pauline 007Who are your artistic inspirations?  I started out in love with Van Gogh’s work and moved on to Emily Carr – I long-lamented that she was not still around to guide and mentor me.  People over the years have told me that my work also reminds them of Edvard Munch’s work.  I have recently completed two paintings in the Jackson Pollock style and can understand why he painted this way – it was extremely satisfying.  Another huge inspiration is, of course, Mother Nature.  One of my favorite subjects is Georgian Bay after an awe inspiring kayaking trip with some wonderful girlfriends who are all over the age of 50.  I have painted at least 10 paintings of that trip in the past 3 years.Pauline-Langmaid_Georgian-Bay-Pine_1600x1283Pauline-Langmaid_4321_Social-MediaDo you have a preferred colour palette or technique, and if so, explain?  My favorite palette is orange and its complements, I’m not sure why.  My favorite way to paint is to find something in nature…sketch it, take photos of it, bring it back to the studio and begin putting down ideas.  I will often integrate many different scenes I’ve seen in nature into one painting.  At this point, I will pick my colour palette using my colour wheel, generally try to force the painting into something that I think it should be, fail miserably, then pray and do my best to let go!  Once I have been able to let go of the outcome, I get up very close and personal with my canvas and the paint just starts flowing and I try not to think.  Then the hard part comes when I need to stop this feeling part and look carefully at it and place finishing touches.17992122_1274465729297558_3029712665192584507_nYour current work shows a very bold style – how do people react to your paintings upon first sight?  And does this excite you as an artist?  I can place people’s reactions in two distinct categories.  They either “get it” or they don’t and that is ok with me.  Those who “get it” get very excited start dancing around in my small studio and expressing quite loudly that they see what I am trying to convey and often purchase at least one item, large or small, as a token of their experience.  Then there are those who don’t “get it” and they basically walk in and walk out.  All reactions are valid.  The comments I most often get are “WOW!”; “that’s interesting”; and “there’s just something about your painting, I can’t put my finger on it but I love it”.  People have definite favorites and some have compared one of my trees with a face to “Groot”, a character from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  At the time I painted her, I had never even seen the movie.  Possibly because my tag line is “art as worship” I have many conversations relating to God and spirit and how He/She/It moves in their lives.  More than once people have been moved to tears as a reaction to some of my paintings.  Of course I love to sell my paintings as this allows me to continue painting and spreading God’s love, however, just having people come into my studio and understand what it is I am trying to say is very gratifying. October Wind Three TreesCan you tell us about your studio which is located 3hrs north of Toronto?  My studio is located in the historical Clock Tower Center in Bracebridge, Ontario.  I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and was able to secure this lovely creative space.  I love my days in my little studio (below) where I get to paint and interact with people from all over the world.  I currently have a guest artist, Tamara Blakelok, also sharing my space.  Martin Sheffield, the owner of the building, had a vision and has created an amazing space for fine artists and artisans, and it’s also a Clock Museum housing many antique clocks available for sale.Pauline 014 Pauline 012Bracebridge’s historical Federal Post Office building, now renamed “The Clock Tower Centre” is officially listed as one of Ontario’s notable clock towers.  It’s located in the heart of the downtown at the corner of Bracebridge’s busiest main intersection, Manitoba and Taylor Streets.  Within the walls of the Clock Tower Centre you will find a treasure trove of artist studios, galleries, boutiques and spas creating an incredible shopping experience that will keep you coming back for more.

You seem to have a lot of support from your local community via social media and attendance at art shows – has this helped your decision to reach out to a bigger audience in Toronto and across Canada?  I was invited to do a solo show at the Dwight Public Library last year and at the Pickering Village Jam Festival this year.  I also participate in group shows across Northern Ontario and in Algonquin Park.  The Burk’s Falls Art & Crafts Club has an Arts Center where all members show and sell their work and I have pieces for sale at this location.  I do have quite a following via social media and, yes, these things have encouraged me to reach out and test the waters in the larger Toronto market and across Canada.  I kept telling my Burk’s Falls group that the Group of Seven painted their masterpieces up here and took them to Toronto to sell.  I decided I needed to put my money where my mouth is!The Hills Are AliveAny other comments or advice for those taking up a paintbrush?  Just keep painting but also learn by intention the basics of drawing, composition and of colour.  This makes a huge impact in our work.  Get connected with other like-minded people who are willing to share their expertise and once you get some expertise share that with others, remembering:
“We Learn…
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss
80% of what we experience
95% of what we teach others.”- William Glasser

So I say stick with the winners.  Most importantly, get connected with your higher power whoever or whatever that is for you personally.  For me this is God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost who direct my path and help me to paint my paintings.The Other Side 3

You can learn more about Pauline at: www.paulinelangmaid.com and you can view her paintings in Toronto at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East (“O Canada” group show closes July 29). You can also follower her on social media at:  Facebook.com/Pauline-Langmaid-Fine-ArtPauline 016I recommend buying a Pauline Langmaid original now before too many collectors find her and recognize her talent! You can’t go wrong investing in Canadian artists.Print

 

 

 

20170629_211633

STOCKYARDS GALLERY CELEBRATES CANADA’S 150th BIRTHDAY WITH GROUP SHOW

ast night, I joined 100+ guests of artist and gallery owner LOLA LIVINGSTON as she unveiled her 2nd group show, I ♥ CANADAat the new STOCKYARDS GALLERY located at 1611 Dupont St, Toronto (inside the fabulous Rebarn showroom). Featuring multiple artists working in various mediums, the show will run throughout the month of July…although several pieces were sold on the spot last night!

Here’s Lola cutting the celebratory cake that carries a copy of her painting Super Justin (a portrait of our popular Prime Minister)20170629_214246Here are the stunning landscape paintings by LEE MUNN who attended with his charming wife (pictured below with a royal “special guest”)….20170629_182732 20170629_200549JOHNY DELUNA has 2 pieces featured in this show -here he is (at left) schmoozing with fellow artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER and his wife.20170629_183719And here’s Johny chatting with glass sculptor LAYNE VERBEEK about his featured pieces of hand-carved cast glass.20170629_184017Layne sold 2 beautiful pieces of art glass to casting director and art lover, RON LEACH (below with his prized new artworks)20170629_214739Here’s award-winning fine artist ERIK CHONG with Lola…Erik brought his wife Jeanette to help celebrate Canada’s anniversary with the other artists, including ANGEL TORRES (bottom pic)20170629_191151 20170629_195409(0)Watch out Erik, the Mounties are after their man!20170629_195450One of Toronto’s happiest artists must be SHAWN SKEIR who was always ready for a photo opp. Here he is (far left) arriving with friends….then hanging with AL “RUNT” CURRIE who also had a couple of works in the show…and sold one last night, too.20170629_195929(0) 20170629_20002620170629_200039I was pleased to meet film industry professional and photographic artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER  (below) for whom this was his debut showcase. Robert has a great eye for everyday objects and places, making them appear quite mythic in his photographs. Unfortunately, due to lighting reflections, I wasn’t able to capture a true image of his work so best to go visit in person to see what I mean. There’s an awesome photo of a giant ship’s propeller complete with rusty patina – I think that will have my name on it before the end of the show!20170629_184550_001 20170629_191106(0)Lola was such a busy lady, welcoming so many of her friends, family and art lovers to her unique indie gallery….and the deelish spread attracted lots of hungry patrons!20170629_194546 20170629_193512 20170629_183749Lola’s husband, Mark, helped man the bar (below) – he owns Rebarn, designing and handcrafting custom wood furniture, doors and home accessories.20170629_203930Enjoy a couple more photos from last night’s festivities…. 20170629_185622 20170629_191041I ♥ CANADA runs until July 29th at Stockyards Gallery, 1611 Dupont Street, Toronto. Check the website for hours and directions:  www.stockyardsgallery.ca

Happy Canada Day and Happy Canada150 to all!20170629_194608logo 1

 

 

20170608_180820

GREAT OPENING NIGHT FOR JOHNY DELUNA’S “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” ART SHOW

Congratulations to Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA on a great opening reception for his solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation” at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opposite the Art Gallery of Ontario) in Toronto. Last night, Johny greeted friends, family, art collectors and other gallery curators to his colourful, provocative show.20170608_181006 20170608_182959 20170608_183042 20170608_18330520170608_200348(0)He even had a 4-legged art fan drop by…20170608_184734Fellow artist, Nancy Bennett (below), brought some of her friends to admire the intricate and detailed work.20170608_182229 20170608_181034Media maven Georgina Bencsik grabbed Johny for a selfie (below)20170608_182928

20170608_183217 20170608_191556Johny’s elegant partner, Katrina (below), was also a work of art herself as she helped host the soiree…20170608_184804..and I was thrilled to welcome some guests visiting from Australia who fell in love with Johny’s work.20170608_200334 20170608_201323 20170608_202027Sandy, above with Johny, actually runs a community arts program back home in Queensland, Australia, so she was excited to chat with him about his work….and maybe an invitation to visit Down Under in the future?20170608_191609Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so please come on down and meet the artist who will be on-site most days.20170608_181013

 

 

 

 

20170605_182840

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

 

12495088_1162093693802415_8558783644521486855_n

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!

20170224_120819

“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/

20170224_131511

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

20161201_172830

URBAN GALLERY INTRO’S EXCITING NEW ARTIST USING FLUORESCENT PAINT TO CREATE PROVOCATIVE IMAGES OF FAMILIAR FANTASIES

Local artist MEGHAN THOMAS had a fantastic opening reception for her show, LUMINOSITY, at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) this evening. Thanks to the temporarily hung “black lights” overhead, her fantastical large-format paintings literally sparkled, revealing all manner of hidden images and treasures within each canvas.  The show runs through December and ends January 14th, 2017. For directions and gallery hours, visit:  www.urbangallery.ca20161201_174630 20161201_174612 Here, let Meghan tell you about her work and inspirations herself….

20161201_173043Guests to the gallery were mesmerized by Meghan’s Hollywood/fantasy inspired work…armed with black-light flashlights, fans wandered from piece to piece shining the light across the paintings and finding hidden messages and images in the fluorescence. Even Fritz Lang’s iconic “Metropolis” robot was given a new updated vibe (below)20161201_172549 20161201_174654…and Willy Wonka got the Meghan treatment, too (pictured above). And below, Humpty Dumpty sat on a new wall thanks to Meghan’s imagination..20161201_173019And we were all feeling a little flushed after reading the hidden messages glowing in this wicked “trainspotting” tribute (below)20161201_173028Gallery visitors really enjoyed the experiential viewing of Meghan’s art and UrbanSource Catering fed their tummies while the paintings fed their souls. Below are my favourite mini samosas with yoghurt dip….yummmm!20161201_182211Here’s the fab artist herself wearing a fun glow-in-the-dark satchel while gallery curator, Allen Shugar enjoys a chuckle with her!20161201_173057Meghan’s proud mum (below, centre) was there, too, sharing tales of her talented daughter with visitors20161201_174437Other artists dropped by, including Brenda Clews here being photographed by Stacey of Snap’d Cabbagetown newspaper.20161201_181908 20161201_182227Actor Chris Currie (below right) schmoozed with gallery owner Calvin (below left)20161201_182313Allen and Calvin check out Lucy and her TV “Vitameatavegamin”episode. We ALL love Lucy!20161201_173255 20161201_181947Hope to see you at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East in Toronto between now and January 14th, 2017. If you’d like to learn more about Meghan and her unique style, visit her website: www.megswarpaint.com

www.urbangallery.ca

20160910_141623

GRACE DAM OPENS HER SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY IN TORONTO

Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY turned up the a/c for the launch of GRACE DAM‘s hot solo exhibition “The Artist Unmasked” which runs until October 1st.  Family and friends turned out on the sultry Saturday afternoon to celebrate her show and sale of paintings that reflects the complexity of life, the challenge of relationships –and the connections between earth and sky.20160910_144606“My approach combines figurative and abstract elements to explore the emotions and meaning inherent in my surroundings. My subject matter, sparked by the mood and politics of the day, is then researched and studied before I attempt to capture it on canvas. My message may appeal or it may provoke –my aim is to tempt the viewer to linger long enough to tease out the meaning.”    Grace Dam

20160910_14143620160910_14172620160910_141452Fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below) arrived to show support…20160910_143352…as did good friend Linda Kaplan, shown below with Grace.20160910_143150Grace’s husband, Howie, admired her work…20160910_141635…as did her lovely daughter Hillary (below)20160910_141932Below, Wayne Abell of UrbanSource Catering and KJ Mullins, publisher of Newz4U.ca were happy to come out and celebrate Grace’s grand opening….20160910_142304

The Wait 48w x 36h Oil diptych Canadian Icons (Niagara Falls diptych) 48 x 60 oil on canvas Image THE MASK by Grace Dam -oil on canvasFor further information on Grace’s paintings and gallery hours, please visit: www.urbangallery.ca/20160910_144606

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20160804_175946

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