Tag Archives: Horses

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JAMS AND HORSIES AND BUTTERFLIES, OH MY!

Thanks to the great tour group SHORTTRIPS.CA I enjoyed a day of coach touring around London & Cambridge, a couple of hours West of Toronto this past Saturday and oh what fabulous things I did!!

Departing Toronto at the crack o’ dawn, our “cruise director” Chris advised us that our first stop was the historic Banting House in London. Frederick Banting (with his partner Charles Best) discovered the insulin treatment for diabetes and this was a home he lived in for about a year during the 1920’s when he worked on the cure. 20200307_103806 20200307_103923Unfortunately all the beautiful glass windows had been removed for repair and restoration so all the window spaces were boarded up and the interior was quite dark. I managed to grab a few photos, esp. of his own artwork with was influenced by his friendship with A.Y. Jackson & the Group of Seven….20200307_10462620200307_104653 20200307_105047 20200307_105024 We were given about and hour and a half here, so after I finished my house tour, I headed out into the sunshine and took a walk down the street to check out the local stores. I discovered the “food incubator”, a warehouse full of delicious locally made foods, coffee, packaged goods, and discovered the booth of Glen Farms Herbs & Preserves, run by David Glen. He was busy making all sorts of tasty treats as I browsed the shelves….20200307_112308 20200307_112323 20200307_112342 20200307_112418I picked up local honey, blackcurrant jam (yummmmm) some Apple Mango chutney as well as a few more pots of  goodies. David is hoping to bring his hand-crafted wares to Toronto so check the website for news…  https://www.instagram.com/glenfarmsgourmet

Back on the bus, we then headed off for lunch at the McLachlan Family Farm & Pancake House, about an hour or so away. Our tummies were rumbling so we all encouraged our driver, Roxanne, to step on it!20200307_135124As everyone piled out and was escorted over to the campfire and sugaring off educational exhibits, I spied something a little more exciting so off I went…..

How exciting – I sat right up front for a great view….er, well, they did have cute furry butts!  Here’s maybe a nicer view…20200307_124340There was so much to see around the camp….lots of activities for the kids and those of us oldies who just wanna walk thru the forest…info about the farm and all they offer can be found at: www.mclachlansyrup.ca 20200307_124242 20200307_132616 20200307_134918 20200307_135205(0)The yummy lunch buffet included as many pancakes as I wanted (3), sausage, ham, baked beans, home fries and I had the biggest jug of fresh maple syrup all to myself!20200307_130131Burp! After about 2hrs of sweet fun, we all piled back onto the bus to go visit our 3rd and final destination – the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. As Roxanne guided our bus through country backroads and highways, we all dozed off, digesting all the sugar we consumed…LOL. 20200307_163924Suddenly, out of the countryside and farmland, the big buildings of the conservatory appeared and we hastened off the bus in desperate need of bathrooms (all that  coffee, hot chocolate & syrup had taken its toll!) then into the hot steamy conservatory to visit the fluttering fairy-like creatures.

It brought back memories of my visit to the big butterfly world in Phoenix, Arizona, a year ago.  Just look at all the pretty b.flies…20200307_162302 20200307_162647 20200307_163312This giant owl moth even decided to hitch-hike on my butt!20200307_162529There were cute quails and lots of pretty little birds (finches, I think) flying around – they eat all the dead bugs, grubs, etc, keeping the enclosure clean for the butterflies.20200307_162857 20200307_162604

Our tour group was given coffee, tea and snacks … then time for one last pit stop before heading home to Toronto. OMG, this (below) was on the back of the loo doors; how about going to the upcoming “Bug Fest” to nibble on real insects? No thank you!! I’ll stick to admiring the wee beasties as they fly around…LOL But if you want to visit yourself, directions and hours can be found here: www.cambridgebutterfly.com20200307_172432Thanks again to the wonderful folks at www.ShortTrips.ca for such an exciting, fun-filled day. Check out all their upcoming excursions that include meals and admissions to all the venues -I highly recommend their big blue bus.20200307_133415

 

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MY ARIZONA ADVENTURE (Pt. III) – a western ghost town & a cowboy shoot ’em up!

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. 20190407_113004 20190407_124038 20190407_121441 IMG_7518I 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.com 20190407_132057AJ took some great pics of the saloon, the bordello and other buildings (below)…IMG_7529 IMG_7534 IMG_7563 IMG_7558…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…20190407_122435Didn’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.20190407_124152Next, we rode the choo choo train that circled the town, giving us a great view of all the buildings and mining activities.20190407_133136 20190407_135505

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.comIMG_7593Tomorrow…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”.20190408_121116

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VANESSA CUARTAS’ COLOURFUL HORSE PAINTINGS STAMPEDE INTO URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

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.20181208_132318 20181208_132234We 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).20181208_15345720181208_145619 20181208_145604Her bold colorful BRIO series conveys movement and a lot of positive energy that attracts attention, even from the littlest art fans….20181208_152742Joining Vanessa at the opening were her husband, Mario (below R) and brother JP (below (L)20181208_132939And gallery curator, Allen Shugar (below L) and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) joined Vanessa to celebrate her opening.20181208_135152If you love horses, you will LOVE this exhibition….20181208_132332 20181208_132959 20181208_141302_001…and within the first half-hour of her opening reception, Vanessa had already sold one piece, titled “The Journey”(below)20181208_142046

20181208_132149 20181208_132114 20181208_135547 20181208_135803If 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.IMG_3165

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URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “WOMEN AT WORK” SHOW FOR SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

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.20180505_141503Dorothy 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…Chiotta 2 Chiotti 4 Chiotti 6I 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!! 20180505_135247_001 _MG_0424 THE-PLACE-MY-VOICE-IS-HEARD-by-WJ-Parker-at-URBAN-GALLERY.-975x650Digital & 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)BE FEMININE by Erin McGean20180505_135110 20180505_142251The 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.20180505_14201720180505_14050120180505_140455 20180505_140514 20180505_142500 20180505_140523There 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…20180505_141450 20180505_144543…even Erin and Dorothy exchanged artistic visions (below)20180505_142326KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (below left) checked in at the door with gallery hostess Kellyyes, you’re on the guest list!20180505_141847“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 CONTACT May

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I WANNA BE A COWGIRL! ARTIST BRUCE K. LAWES COMPLETES ANOTHER STUNNING EQUINE PORTRAIT

Is this not the coolest cowgirl painting ever? Yes, this is a painting… not a photo. I must say it brought back many happy horsey memories of my own youth, spending hours in the saddle and in the barn with ponies and horses at the local riding stables back home in Australia.

Internationally renowned artist Bruce K. Lawes has just completed this 18″ x 13″ oil on linen painting of a girl and her horse titled “Partners” in time for The Great American West art show and sale at the Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, AZ. taking place Nov. 21st.  http://www.settlerswest.com/html/gaw.html

So if you need to feed that inner cowgirl (or boy) soul, check out Bruce’s brand new website for more details of this and other horse paintings. “Partners” will soon be available for sale as a Limited Edition print – but why not sign up for Bruce’s e-newsletter and you could actually WIN a print of “Partners” or other Limited Edition prints (see samples below) as Bruce will be drawing a name each month from his subscription list to win a Limited Edition print of your choice, valued at US$195.00.   http://bklawesart.com/a-pryor-engagement gypsy-blu-sunrise in-the-ready

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CALL FOR ENTRIES: URBAN GALLERY TO HOST EQUINE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW DURING NEXT YEAR’S “CONTACT PHOTO FESTIVAL”.

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.logoDeadline is Sept. 30th so hurry up and email Calvin at Urban Gallery (urbangalleryart1@gmail.com) for fest info and eligibility. Am sure you can do better than my efforts (below)…LOL

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