ast night, I joined 100+ guests of artist and gallery owner LOLA LIVINGSTON as she unveiled her 2nd group show, I ♥ CANADA, at 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)Here are the stunning landscape paintings by LEE MUNN who attended with his charming wife (pictured below with a royal “special guest”)….JOHNY DELUNA has 2 pieces featured in this show -here he is (at left) schmoozing with fellow artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER and his wife.And here’s Johny chatting with glass sculptor LAYNE VERBEEK about his featured pieces of hand-carved cast glass.Layne sold 2 beautiful pieces of art glass to casting director and art lover, RON LEACH (below with his prized new artworks)Here’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)Watch out Erik, the Mounties are after their man!One 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.I 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!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!Lola’s husband, Mark, helped man the bar (below) – he owns Rebarn, designing and handcrafting custom wood furniture, doors and home accessories.Enjoy a couple more photos from last night’s festivities…. I ♥ CANADA runs until July 29th at Stockyards Gallery, 1611 Dupont Street, Toronto. Check the website for hours and directions: www.stockyardsgallery.ca
How nice to walk into an art gallery and be met with such warmth and welcoming hospitality – artist Tanzina Amin and her husband Carlos Sa Rodrigues of ARTUSIASM GALLERY located at 1684 St Clair West, Toronto, were the perfect hosts last night as they opened their “Summerfest 2017″ group show featuring works by local artists in multiple mediums.I was pleased to introduce fellow gallery owner and artist Lola Livingston of Stockyards Gallery to Tanzina and Carlos, who welcomed the opportunity of sharing “stories from the trenches” of operating an art gallery in the city. Here’s Lola (pictured below L) with Tanzina and Carlos…all smiles as they celebrate another successful opening!I love Tanzina’s bold abstract portraits…she works with a bright and colourful palette and I would love to add one of these stunning paintings to my own modest collection.I spied so many more exciting works….there was a style and technique for every taste and I hope to see lots of “red dots” denoting sales when I visit again. Check out these delicate watercolours (below) and the florals, too.
Constellation by Leslie Karen Hall
Peach Coloured Rose by Lowell Lo
…..and these Aspen trees by Leah Dockrill kept drawing me back. It was as if they were alive and I could almost hear the rustling of their leaves!Tanzina and Carlos always make sure gallery visitors are well fed and watered at their opening events….the home-made samosas are deelishArtist and gallery regular Linda Deramaix strikes a pose (below) underneath her own artwork titled “Resilience”. Nice to see you again, Linda!So many difference pieces to stimulate your artistic senses….…and lots of artwork to provoke conversation….Summerfest 2017 runs to the end of this month (June) and I recommend you drop in on Tanzina and Carlos to enjoy all the beautiful works (all of which are affordable and are looking for new forever homes!) by talented local artists. Artusiasm Gallery is located at 1684 St Clair Ave West and you can learn more about their services, hours & artists at: www.artusiasm.com
Guaranteed to deliver at least 150 belly-laughs, GLEN FOSTER (a.k.a. That Canadian Guy) headlines at the Absolute Comedy Club, 2335 Yonge St, Toronto, on Canada Day Saturday July 1st. And with an early 8pm showtime, you’ll still be able to catch the big fireworks displays around the city afterwards.Glen (pictured above) has been one of Canada’s top comedians for over thirty years – I’ve known him ever since his first set at Yuk Yuk’s back in the 80’s where I was the comedy agent and business manager. Since then, Glen’s become a mainstay on the Canadian comedy circuit -he didn’t just work the road, he’s one of the comics who built it! His comedy is clever and intelligent, combining reflections on his own personal experiences with razor sharp commentary on current events and popular culture.
Glen has appeared many times at the world-renowned Just For Laughs festival, had his own TV specials on the Comedy Network and can be heard frequently on CBC Radio’s “The Debaters”. He has also released his own comedy DVDs and is a club favourite across the country. That Canadian Guy is a reference to Glen’s first network comedy special during which he joked about the fact people could call him “that Canadian guy” if they couldn’t remember his name. Sure enough, after the show aired, Glen received a flood of e-mails from viewers who said, “I couldn’t remember your name but I remembered “that Canadian guy.”Glen headlines at the Absolute Comedy club June 28 through July 2 and you can purchase tickets for all of Glen’s performances and his special Canada Day July 1st show here: https://www.absolutecomedy.ca/toronto
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.He even had a 4-legged art fan drop by…Fellow artist, Nancy Bennett (below), brought some of her friends to admire the intricate and detailed work.Media maven Georgina Bencsik grabbed Johny for a selfie (below)
Johny’s elegant partner, Katrina (below), was also a work of art herself as she helped host the soiree…..and I was thrilled to welcome some guests visiting from Australia who fell in love with Johny’s work.Sandy, 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?Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so please come on down and meet the artist who will be on-site most days.
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.And I love some of the mythical creatures and people who dance across the canvases….And who doesn’t love galloping giraffes (below) in a windswept land and seascape?As 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.Hopefully 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.
So nice to catch up with old artist friends and check out their new works when I dropped by the annual RIVERDALE ARTWALK at Jimmy Simpson Park along Queen St East today. I was also pleased to discover some exciting new painters I’d never seen before, several of whom came in from Mississauga – is there a secret arts community out there we don’t know about? Boy, are they ever talented out west!! For instance, Neerja Trehan (below) whose bright canvases drew me in to the first booth I encountered upon arriving. www.NeerjaTrehan.comI then turned the corner and wandered down the second aisle and who did I find? The amazing Mark J. Gleberzon www.mjggallery.comwho was happy to pose with his customized skateboard. Always a joy to see Mark and his work…one day I hope to acquire a piece for my own modest art collection.Here’s Kate Taylor who just got back from various art shows around the world. www.katetaylorstudio.com She brought some of her well-traveled art pieces to the show today…again, another artist I hope to include in my personal collection one day!Dear Rea Kelly…she always greets me with open arms and a warm hug! Love her big, bold and bright florals (below) www.reakelly.comAnother exciting new discovery for me was Josee Duranleau (below) who uses found images and photographs from bygone eras then applies her own paint and vision to them. www.joseeduranleau.com Her stunning “Queen of the Catwalk” (3rd pic below) glittered and shimmered in today’s sunlight.And I found Laird McMurray‘s exquisite tiny fishing flies with illustrations charming and innovative (below) and perfect for Dad’s Day gifting.He was busy greeting clients and art fans (bottom pic, left) so hopefully he won’t have too much to pack up and take home on Sunday! Just wish he had a dedicated website to share more of his work.Julia McNeely posed proudly with her wee beasties (below) …don’t you just love the big chicken? You can find more of her work on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/julia.mcneelyChristopher Masoure is another of the Mississauga contingent – here he is with potential buyers (below). His stark large-format paintings are stunning in close-up. Check out his work for yourself at www.studiomasoure.comMargaret Horvat‘s paintings of beautiful blooms were such a lovely surprise…and she also hails from out west, too…..well, Burlington, at least! www.margarethorvat.com Here she is (below) in her garden of art!And here’s the always-smiling Morgan Jones who offered such a lovely warm welcome to his booth. He has a number of new “travelling gnomes” pieces…so cute! You can view his gnomes and many other images on his website: www.morganjonesart.comIan Busher always surprises me and here he is (below) with a whole new series of colourful geometric paintings. I’m a proud owner of one of his woodland creature artworks so I’m a little biased about this artist – I think he’s fab! www.studiobusher.comW. Stephen Cooper (below) is always makes me feel so welcome at his booth. His photographic artwork of abandoned old junkers always pleases the eye. His work inspired me to snap the various old trucks down at the Distillery District. www.wstephencooper.comJamie MacLean was busy with customers so I didn’t disturb him, but I did check out his latest works. I first met him earlier this year at The Artist Project. Next week, he’ll be up at the Rosedale Art Fair so you can see his stunning tree paintings in person. jamiemacleanfineart.bigcartel.comI just love young Robert Strickland‘s bold florals (below). Big peonies, delicate roses and other glorious buds and blooms painted in the old-school tradition but with a definite edge. Keep an eye on this artist… www.robertstricklandart.comSheila Thompson (below, in white) is another artist whose work intrigues me…she works in felt & fibre and adds special touches to each piece, like a porcupine quill. As her business cards say…”warm your walls”! www.sheilathompson.ca Elena Balkos showed off her large format photography of exotic beaches, and of course I headed straight for the one behind her to the right – it’s of the Algarve region of Portugal which I consider my “spiritual home”. Bravo, Elena – they’re all gorgeous, esp. those of your own home, Greece. www.elenabalkos.comSo here she is….the one and only Nancy Bennett! Nancy and I worked together waaaay back in the late 70’s and it’s been so nice to reconnect and see what each of us has been up to since then. Nancy’s created quite the wonderful artistic life for herself and here she is (below) entertaining more old friends from her school days! www.nancybennett.caAnother new artist for me, Nadia Lassman (below) showed off her cool, calming impressionist-inspired works inside the park’s adjoining community centre. A former lawyer, Nadia is now a full-time artist showcasing her work here, in Miami, Scottsdale and New York. Bravo, Nadia, I love your work! www.nadialassmanart.comAlso inside the community centre, I found Rob Croxford and his humourous Toronto-centric critter posters, as well as lots of fun word-play smalls, robots and vintage pin-up girl pieces. Rob was making lots of sales so I had to wait several minutes to grab him for this quick pic….congrats on another successful show, Rob! www.robcroxford.com
Riverdale Artwalk is open again tomorrow (Sunday June 4) but it looks like rain so take your umbrellas. The artists will all be there so come out and support them and take home a little framed memory, too. For more information about this show and other upcoming events, visit www.artistsnetwork.ca
As the annual Inside Out LGBT Film Festival winds down, the parties are still going strong and last night, URBAN SOURCE CATERING made sure everyone was well-fed at the “Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall Pink Carpet” soiree held at the Artscape Sandbox venue in downtown Toronto. There were lots of tasty Moroccan beef sirloin hors d’oeuvres (above), veggie samosas and smoked salmon on wild rice cakes(below) …..…and Jerk Prawns and Chicken Rendang skewers (above), all of which were gobbled up by appreciative guests. The deelish gourmet mac-n-cheese (below)were a big hit with the guests.…and the guests had fun at the wacky photo booth – wonder what digital background was being added..hmmm?Meet our Executive Chef Lyndon Wiebe (below L) with his trusty kitchen staff who kept the food coming!I also had fun over at the bar where I found these upside down glasses reflecting all the colours of the event space lights and people’s outfits.If you would like to have your party or corporate event catered by Urban Source Catering, please visit their website for menu ideas: www.urbancatering.com
Last night (Tues. May 30), my culinary friends at URBAN SOURCE CREATIVE CATERING tickled the tastebuds of some 150 guests at the Inside Out/Toronto LGBT Film Festival Centrepiece Gala Reception presented at the Artscape Sandbox in downtown Toronto. And oh boy, did they ever deliver some delicious treats ….The cheerful and efficient Inside Out volunteer waiters were barely out of the kitchen door before guests reached out for the trays of hors d’oeuvres…and yes, the wild blue and pink lighting created some pretty funky effects!…so I ambushed the serving crew as they exited the kitchen to get more “normal” lighting…LOL!The shrimp were a big hit, especially with this excited guest (below)The fabulous well-stocked bar was provided by Stud Vodka and Inside Out, offering wine, beer and smart cocktails served by bartenders who were always on the lookout for thirsty party-goers….Lots of fun, food and photo opps for all….Wayne from Urban Catering posed at the photo wall with colleague Cybele (below) in between schmoozing with guests and Festival organizers …..Inside Out/Toronto LGBT Film Festival runs to June 4th in downtown Toronto and you can learn more about the films, filmmakers and social activities at www.insideout.caCongratulations on a job well done, Urban Source Catering…your food and kitchen staff were terrific. For more details on Urban’s menus and special events catering, please visit: www.urbancatering.com
Each year, Toronto hosts a special weekend called “Doors Open” where we can visit beautiful buildings around the city that are normally closed to the public such as offices, law courts, architectural treasures and places of worship. I’m fortunate to live next door to one very special building: St Paul’s Anglican church which is one of the largest parish churches in N. America. When I entered, the organist was practicing – take a listen here…
During today’s special tour, visitors got to see some of the most gorgeous stained glass windows in Canada, many depicting heroic WWI stories and in fact, one of the windows was made from the glass fragments found around some 70 destroyed churches and buildings in Belgium, France and Italy.Around the walls of the massive interior were many plaques and memorials dedicated to past parishioners who had lost their lives fighting in Europe….…and the incredible wooden carvings of angels were breathtaking…Not a lot of people ever look up when they visit such venues but I always do (you never know what cool things you can spy up above) and I’m so glad I did…check out these awesome state-of-the-art fans in this video. They look old-school to fit in but are actually brand new….
The marble altar (above) shows the Last Supper – it’s so beautiful and is flanked on either side by historic figures from the first World War. There is just one female depicted in the carvings and statuary…Florence Nightingale! I found another beautiful window behind the altar screen (below). I could have stood there for an hour enjoying all the intricacies in this little window and the marble carvings in front….Next month marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of St Paul’s and to commemorate the occasion, a special craft lager has been created, the St Paul’s CLXXV, which will be available in 6-packs for a limited time only following their June 11th anniversary service. Considering the church’s reputation for warm hospitality and sharing food and drink, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!
If you’d like to learn more about this fine church and the wonderful work they do, please visit: www.stpaulsbloor.org
My friends at URBAN SOURCE CATERING did themselves proud last night when they treated the sponsors and corporate partners of the Inside Out Film Festival to a medley of tasty treats and refreshing party cocktails and wines.Below, Urban Source Catering’s co-owner Wayne Abell welcomed the Festival’s newly appointed Exec. Director, Andria Wilson, to URBAN GALLERY… …and Andria, in turn, welcomed Inside Out’s special guests to the pre-Festival launch party such as Kelly from RBC (below R with Brad Campbell, Dir. of Corp. Sales for the fest).Andria got busy with social media postings along with colleagues Clayton and Andrew (LtoR, below)Delicious bite-sized treats were served along with wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic bevvies by the catering staff below)Andria enjoyed a few nibblies with the guests……and enjoyed the festivities with colleagues Winnie Luk (below L), the Dir. of Operations & Events, and Andrew Murphy (below R) Dir. of Programming.Then it was time for the presentation and teaser trailer of upcoming festival filmsCongrats to Marketing & Outreach Mgr, Clayton Lee (below R) and tech assistant CJ (L) for helping present the video.Brad’s assistant, Nick (below R) posed for a quick snapshot with Festival Coordinator Jayne Schneider (L) in front of photographic art being featured in this year’s CONTACT show at Urban Gallery……and below, gallery owner Calvin Hambrook lined up the guests for even more photo opps.As many guests observed, the table decorations were elegant and colourful…If you’d like to learn more about the Inside Out Film Festival and see this year’s line-up of LGBTQ-focused films, please visit their website:www.insideout.ca
And if you’d like to learn more about the fabulous catering offered by Urban Source Catering and the exquisite adjoining venue available for corporate & private rentals, Urban Gallery, please visit their websites: www.urbancatering.com ~ www.urbangallery.ca
Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto (just 1 block E of Parliament) with street and lot parking close by.