Just like in the movies, the real wild west has plenty of ghost towns and my hosts, AJ and Tom, took me to the Goldfields ghost town north of Phoenix. It used to be a real working gold mine town back in the late 1800’s complete with mines, a saloon, general store, a prairie apothecary and bordello (a genuine whorehouse). We arrived in time to enjoy a train ride around the town, play in the shootin’ gallery and witness a noisy shoot-out with the local Sheriff and bad guys. So much fun and the views of the spectacular Superstitions rocks/mountains were breathtaking. I dropped in to the Siphon Draw Apothecary where lovely pharmacist/medicine woman Colleen (pictured below) created a beautiful refreshing & healing body spray for me using natural aloe and geranium oils. www.siphondraw.comAJ took some great pics of the saloon, the bordello and other buildings (below)……as I saved seats for the big showdown at the OK (for now) corral!
What a hoot! After this, we decided we needed to try our own hands at shootin’ so we headed to the shack out back and took up laser rifles…Didn’t feel much like the real thing but for 2 bucks, I ain’t complaining. Bang…bang bang. Gotcha, ya vermit! AJ & Tom took a time-out at the big saloon and posed for me in front of the horses and the big mountains in the background.Next, we rode the choo choo train that circled the town, giving us a great view of all the buildings and mining activities.
If you want to visit Goldfield ghost town for yourself and experience the excitement of the wild west, here’s all the info your need: www.goldfieldghosttown.comTomorrow…join me in Sedona (below) the new age capital of Arizona, where I experience a “vortex” and marvel at the rock formations and mesas, and the stunning beauty of the desert during the rare “super bloom”.
URBAN GALLERY‘s artist for December 2018 offers up a whole herd of colourful, vibrant horses galloping across the gallery walls: VANESSA CUARTAS presents lively abstract equine portraits in her solo show BRIO that runs now until December 29th….a glorious exhibition on which to end the year!
Of Colombian heritage, Vanessa is originally from Miami, and now resides in Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida with an emphasis on graphic design, later receiving an Art Direction Diploma from the Miami Ad School. Throughout her school years and any personal time, Vanessa always found time to paint as much as she could, and rode her family’s horses regularly. She became passionate about the Puerto Rican Paso Fino breed and if you look carefully at her paintings, you can see their influence in the conformation (stance) of each subject.We spoke with Vanessa just before the gallery doors were opened and here is what she shared…
A designer by day and artist by night, her passion for painting has grown stronger in recent years. When she first moved to Toronto, she was without an established circle of friends and struggling to find an artistic focus so Vanessa decided to do what she loved most: paint horses. Her unique contemporary style has found an appreciative audience and her circle of friends has grown exponentially, many of whom attended the gallery on Vanessa’s opening day, Saturday Dec. 8th (below).Her bold colorful BRIO series conveys movement and a lot of positive energy that attracts attention, even from the littlest art fans….Joining Vanessa at the opening were her husband, Mario (below R) and brother JP (below (L)And gallery curator, Allen Shugar (below L) and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) joined Vanessa to celebrate her opening.If you love horses, you will LOVE this exhibition….…and within the first half-hour of her opening reception, Vanessa had already sold one piece, titled “The Journey”(below)
If you missed the opening reception, you can come meet the artist Saturday Dec.15th (2pm to 4pm) and you can also visit the gallery weekdays and Saturdays throughout the month of December. Log on to www.UrbanGallery.ca for hours and directions – located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto.
Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY has become known for showcasing exciting and unique multi-media artworks in their monthly exhibitions, and for May, they present 4 outstanding photographers as part of this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. In their “Women at Work” show, Urban features images of women going about their work-a-day lives, be it as horse grooms, boxers, ballerinas, mothers, fashionistas….and the photos are simply gorgeous.Dorothy Chiotti (below) is a horse-lover as well as photographer and her images of barn life illustrate the exhausting round-the-clock life of caring for our 4-legged friends. Apart from simply exhibiting her work here, Dorothy is donating 10% from sales of her work to Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue of Hagarsville so please choose your fave photo and know that your purchase will help support the great work Whispering Hearts does for abused and abandoned equines. Bravo, Dorothy!
And here are some of Dorothy’s photos…I next spoke with Wally Jay Parker – this is her very first time exhibiting her work publicly and she was so excited!
…and big CONGRATULATIONS as one of Wally Jay’s photos was the first to be sold at yesterday’s opening reception!! Digital & analogue photographer and collage artist Erin McGean joined me next for a quick chat…
…and two of her works were next to sell at the opening party. Congrats, Erin. Her family was there, too, and showed off their favourite picture of mum’s (bottom)The only male photographer in the show, Lyndon Wiebe, is a well traveled photographer as well as celebrity chef. Lyndon and 2 of his chef pals traveled the world for the popular “Chefs Run Wild” tv show. Lyndon is also the executive chef for Urban Source Catering (the gallery’s yummy caterer for all their opening receptions). Lyndon is bashful when it comes to video interviews but I managed to grab a few quick photos of him (below), including one of him with the subject of his charming ballerina photos.There were lots of family and friends who came out to show support for the artists and the gallery was humming with positive comments and kudos from all……even Erin and Dorothy exchanged artistic visions (below)KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (below left) checked in at the door with gallery hostess Kelly…yes, you’re on the guest list!“Women at Work” runs throughout May as part of the city-wide CONTACT fest so do come down and support your local photographic artists. Check the gallery’s website for hours & directions: www.urbangallery.ca
My friends down at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) are putting out a “call for submissions” for next year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (May 2016) so they’re looking for professional or semi-pro photographers and emerging photographic artists to submit photos of horses, ponies, donkeys, mules…even zebras!…for next year’s city-wide festival.Deadline is Sept. 30thso hurry up and email Calvin at Urban Gallery (firstname.lastname@example.org) for fest info and eligibility. Am sure you can do better than my efforts (below)…LOL