Today is the one sunny day forecast for this week so I took a stroll thru my neighbourhood parkettes and gardens, snapping away at all the pretty flowers that have finally poked their heads above ground.Across the street from my building is the old Manufacturers Life Bldg, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens that I frequently photograph. Thanks to the heavy rains yesterday, most of the tulips looked a bit beaten down but I found a few nice beds still in tact – below Then down the little side street you’ll find a charming parkette (pictured below) that’s usually populated (sadly) with homeless folk but today I had the place to myself…and the flowers. This poor little tulip looked so lonely – his mates obviously failed to sprout!Lots more flowers to enjoy in this tiny nature strip alongside Church Street north of Bloor, including these stunning Magnolia blossoms in the back garden of one of the neighbouring row houses. Lots more lovely flowers to capture along the side streets near Yonge & Bloor… I strolled down Hazelton Avenue in the heart of chi-chi Yorkville and found some lovely surprises in the cottage gardens…. …then back home via Yorkville Ave, dropping in to say hi to the firemen of Station 312. Hope you enjoyed my little virtual tour of the lovely flowers and gardens near my home…now go get out there in the sunshine yourself!
“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!The 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:The 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…. Debra (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.
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!And 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
May 14 – ALGONQUIN RESORT in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, NB
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.
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! I 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)Having 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. Debra 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
Last night I was thrilled to attend the opening of my dear friend DONNA LYPCHUK‘s show that’s part of this year’s CONTACT Photography Festival taking place at galleries and venues across Toronto throughout the month of May.Hosted in the unique setting of Mrs.Huizengas Antique Emporium @28 Roncesvalles Ave, the 60+ framed and unframed photographic prints feature stunning landscapes, floral portraits and sassy street scenes. The show also includes one of Donna’s most famous shots of a hurricane-like tempest over Toronto back in August of 2015 – this photo went viral over the internet, was published by news outlets across the country and became Instagram’s “Photo of the Day”. It is also the title photo for Donna’s show promotional materials (see bottom of blog).A long-time resident and arts scene contributor of the Queen Street West Bo-ho community, Donna was a weekly columnist (“the necrofile”) for the now-defunct eye Weekly newspaper as well as a published author, playwright and multi-media artist…… and my dear friend since the early 80’s when we both worked at Yuk Yuk’s. Her own sense of humour and whimsy can be seen in a number of her photos, as well as her “darker side”. I particularly liked her charming “Swan” series, esp. the full-colour framed print featured below….Donna greeted all her friends who dropped in to admire her work and support the show, and I watched as several prints were sold, too – congrats, Donna! For those wishing to purchase her work, Donna (below, centre) has priced her photo prints very affordably – you can pick up a great picture for as little as $16 or as much as $160. Donna’s florals attracted a lot of attention – here are two of my faves…. I really liked this one (above) as the trees look like naked bodies dancing thru the flowers!!
I highly recommend checking out these beautiful photos that will hang in Mrs. Huizengas throughout the month of May…and have fun checking out all the kitsch and vintage treasures in this huge antique emporium. For store hours call T: 416-533-2112. Thank you for supporting Canadian artists….especially Donna Lypchuk