Tag Archives: fine art


20150110_165843Dropped in yesterday to say happy new year to Gallery 36 owner Trevor Allen and his lovely gallery colleague Violetta yesterday. They recently moved from their original space in Hazelton Lanes (now under yet another renovation and reconstruction) over to 92 Avenue Road (opposite the west entrance to the Lanes). The gallery is chock-a-block full of colourful original paintings, Murano art glass and stunning bronze sculptures.

20150110_170218 20150110_165801 20150110_165746Gallery 36 now represents UK-born Canadian artist Gary Pilkington, whose unique work not only stopped me in my tracks, it’s got me saving up my pennies (and planning to return my forest of wine bottles for refund$!!) to possess one of his pieces. Check out Gary’s work below….

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20150110_165606 20150110_165718Here’s the artist’s statement: Every piece is extraordinary, and diverse in design, so it makes sense that Gary’s approach to painting is also uncommon: “Instead of applying a medium with my hands, paintbrush or pallet knife, I let gravity, chance, luck, and randomization take control over the painting.” Gary uses an unconventional technique called “pulling paint,” using different channels to pull it down. Here, he finds the exhilarating feeling of exploring colour, inspiring his creative presence and ingenuity. He also uses tiles, plexi-glass, and aluminum sheets, reinforcing his deviation from the norm. Pilkington’s influences include Jackson Pollock, Keith Tyson, Damien Hurst, and Jason Martin; these influences are revealed in Gary’s work – abstract and fluid.

You can find out more about Gary here: https://pilkingtonsart.wordpress.com/ 

The Murano glass (made in Italy) is stunning and a real favourite of mine. I have a number of handcrafted rings and some small art glass pieces but would love to add some of Trevor’s catalogue to my collection (many more wine bottle refunds are needed, tho! LOL)

20150110_165923 20150110_165928And look at these beautiful glass hummingbirds (below)….so delicate, yes?

20150110_165944 20150110_170005Thanks for the hospitality, Trevor, and I look fwd to attending your planned Gary Pilkington reception, hopefully in the spring.




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URBAN GALLERY & URBAN SOURCE CATERING hosted their monthly Urban Foodie event last night, inviting local food artisans Whisky & Spice, Haute-Goat and No. 7 Hot Sauce to sample their delicious wares, paired with Rockway wines courtesy of TreAmici (see weblinks at end of story).

20141016_174604 20141016_174930Carlos & Sandra from No.7 Hot Sauce (above) showcased their hot’n’spicy sauces based on their family’s traditional recipes in varying levels of “heat”.Urban Source Catering’s Jean-Marc enjoyed sampling each flavour…it was love at first taste!

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Debbie Nightingale (above right) brought her complete range of Haute-Goat products including goats’ milk chocolate truffles, caramel sauce and the new maple or chocolate goats’ milk fudge (OMG, it is a “party in your mouth”, trust me!). Haute-Goat also has a luxurious line of body creams, soaps and lip balm that not only feels great, it smells good enough to eat!

20141016_174925 20141016_181628 IMG_2889Dan Gordon from Whisky & Spice was on hand to spread the word about his premium, handcrafted mustards that feature whisky/honey, Porter beer and Riesling/apple flavours and there were lots of happy taste-testers who took home jars for themselves and gifts. Yummmm.

The refreshing wines offered throughout the event were courtesy of Tre Amici and account manager Andrew Paradis (below) was on hand to personally pour our drinkies. Obviously one of the more popular people last night, Andrew found himself surrounded by some of the lovely ladies in attendance! A tough job but someone has to pour the wine, eh, Andrew?

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Artist J. David Murphy whose work is on display at the gallery until the end of this month was also in attendance and the guests enjoyed chatting with him about his stunning northern Ontario landscapes. Here’s David (below, left) chatting with gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (below, right) and other guests.

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20141016_191101Urban Source Catering‘s kitchen magician, Chef Lyndon, served up some pretty amazing hors d’oeuvres throughout the event….and as the evening wound-down he finally emerged from the kitchen to say hello to all the guests (below)

20141016_182810 20141016_200545This month’s Urban Foodie event was a big success with guests and vendors enjoying the art, the food, the wine and the camaraderie while a monsoon-like rainstorm pelted down outside. Big thank-you to Calvin, Wayne, Jean-Marc, gallery curator Allen, coordinator Kaspara and the cheery service staff for their warm hospitality. Bravo, Urban!

20141016_181637Urban Gallery: http://www.urbangallery.ca  Urban Source Catering:  www.urbancatering.com  Haute-Goat:  www.hautegoat.com  No.7 Hot Sauce:  www.no7hotsauce.com  Whisky&Spice:  http://www.whiskyandspica.ca  Tre Amici Wines: http://www.treamiciwines.com


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I had the pleasure of meeting young Toronto-based artist LORETTE C. LUZAJIC at this summer’s Toronto Outdoor Art Show and she so impressed me with her energy and bubbly, welcoming personality.  Lorette is no stereotypical angst-ridden artist who needs pain to create…this girl is FUN!  When she told me about her innovative (and super cool) workshops, I knew I had to share the news with you and encourage any Toronto art lovers to join in.  So here’s the scoop…..


Have you  always wanted to get your hands dirty in an artist’s studio but didn’t know where to begin?  Or maybe you love art and want to get more from galleries and openings? Perhaps you’d like to know more and develop confidence to talk about art with others – to ask questions and respond to artwork?  Well, here’s the perfect opportunity to develop your own artistic skills:  join artist LORETTE C. LUZAJIC in her workshop and discover the benefits of participation and creativity. Lorette has two fun workshops in September: Wine and Art and Art for People Who Can’t Draw.

DSC02209 Lorette at work OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith her Idea Factory series, you will engage your creative side in comfortable, informal and intimate group workshops. The special two-tiered class model is uniquely designed to remove pressures and expenses of longer-term course commitments, while providing more benefit than traditional workshops through the chance to review, reflect and return. Participants gather to learn and play, then reconvene a week later. Each workshop consists of two x three hour “play dates” one week apart.
studio with wine If you want to develop your creative side and learn more about art, you’ll be empowered to dive in, explore, experiment and expand. You will leave your inhibitions, limitations and intimidations at home and participate for the sheer joy of creativity.

Visit http://www.ideafountain.ca/workshops.html for more information.


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After 50 years of supporting The National Ballet of Canada, the 99 Yorkville Avenue store PAPER THINGS will be closing its doors when the current lease expires at the end of September….but they are going out in style! The once fancy-schmancy stationery, greeting cards and gift store has been converted into a stunning gallery space and this evening they are launching a fabulous show and sale of artwork presented by The Volunteer Committee,  The National Ballet of Canada.


I dropped in for a brief chat with artist and store/gallery director, Echo Railton, this afternoon and she kindly escorted me around the wonderful airy space and intro’d me to some artists I had not previously known. Wow, what beautiful (and affordable) works of art, featuring stunning photography from around the world, oils, acrylics, watercolours, sculptures, even a few delicate mobiles hanging from the ceiling.  Here are a few examples of the works on show that you might want to add to your collection…..

My favourites have to be Tony Batten‘s stunning canvases (below) portraying elegant, peaceful French cafe-scapes.  You can almost imagine yourself sitting there sipping a cuppa latte, inhaling the fragrant lavender and listening to the birds sing……

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The Toronto-based artist is represented in Windsor Castle’s Royal Collection and his work is also held privately by HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. Tony’s work is in the collections of The Government of Ontario, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Vancouver’s Museum of the Pacific and the City of Toronto among others. His large canvas of Newfoundland (below) is particularly spectacular…what do you think?


I also loved the small still-life originals (below) by Guelph-based Janette Hayhoe. Each one offers a glimpse of everyday life from our homes, our kitchens….all lovingly executed and framed beautifully. At $300 each, I can see collectors snapping up 3 or 4 at a time.

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There are some beautiful B&W photos (below) of  ballerinas taken by former  principal dancer of  The National Ballet of Canada Vanessa Harwood and Bruce Zinger who is one of The National Ballet of Canada’s regular photographers that made me wish I’d kept up my ballet classes as a young girl…but I opted for tap instead and spent way too many years clomping about thinking I was going to be the next Ginger Rogers. Obviously that didn’t work out for me!

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The multi-talented Echo (pictured below) has a number of pieces in the gallery, too, and I love this piece which is on a sheet of metal and shows a special bee native to Florida as he gathers his pollen from a colourful array of flowers.


Here are a few more examples of the work on display and all the artists’ profiles can be found on the Paper Things website listed at the end of this blog post.

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You will also see this beautiful, delicate tutu designed by Linda Lundstrom in collaboration with the Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada, which is part of their TUTU PROJECT, a curated celebration of the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary. The tutu featured here is made up of  costume material from each of the productions sponsored by The Volunteer Committee for the Company. You can find out more about the project here: http://www.national.ballet.ca

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Originally housed in The Colonnade on Bloor St West in the 60’s and in its present location on Yorkville Ave since 1973, Paper Things has contributed over $2 million to The National Ballet of Canada since opening. Bravo!

There are 2 other special receptions for the show apart from this evening’s opening soiree that runs 4-8pm. You can also attend a reception on Thurs. Sept. 4th and the closing night Wed. Sept, 24th. http://www.paperthings.ca

Thank you for your warm hospitality, ladies, and good luck with the show.  Here’s Echo, below centre, with the friendly store volunteers Lorna (L) and Therese (R)


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It’s the Simcoe Day (or Civic) long weekend here in Toronto and I managed to squeeze in a trip to ArtFest Toronto held at the historic Distillery District.  Fortunately the threatening lighting and rain storm held off long enough for me to make a flying visit, snap a few pics and connect with some super cool artists and craftspeople I’d never met before. Let me share my trip with you….

First off, I met Ottawa-based contemporary artist Therese Boisclair  http://www.tboisclair.com  who offered beautiful paintings in various sizes and I was pleased to pick up one of her miniatures – like I had a choice…it just called my name so I had to bring it home with me!

20140804_111839 20140804_111845Next door to her was a delightful, fun booth called CG Monsters (below)…..cute stuffed not-so-scary “monsters” crafted by the talented  Chantal Morin  www.etsy.com/shop/cgmonsters 

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Mural artist Arthur II was helped by kids and adults with his latest giant artwork painted live on-site. How cool is this? He had just stepped away when I visited but his assistant (pictured below) confirmed that Arthur would be adding more to the piece before the end of the 3-day exhibition.


Hamilton-base designer & craftsman, Ali Genc of Copper Art Canada had a stunning display of copper jewellery – earrings, pendants and great bracelets.  Unfortuantely, Ali doesn’t have his website up yet but I do recommend checking out his affordable wearable art if you see him at future craft/artisan shows like this.

20140804_113246 20140804_113252 20140804_1133062014 has become the “year of the glass” jewellery for me – I’ve fallen in love with Murano glass and lampwork beads and I found several great exhibitors today including Kathy Steers of Creativity in Glass Designs. Her colourful, happy designs attracted a lot of attention and I had my eye on the blue pendant (bottom pic) as well as the stunning copper & purple piece worn by her charming  friend from Indonesia who helped out in Kathy’s booth. Rats! I forgot to go back and pick up these 2 pieces so fingers crossed I can catch up with her later this week. http://www.CreativityInGlassDesigns.com 

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I then discovered S. Dias, a very gifted woodwork craftsman who carved this stunning rocking horse (complete with real horse hair mane & tail). His unique serving trays are actually made from wine crates and feature wood-burned labels from France, Italy and other int’l wine regions. No website but if you like his work, email him at s.dias.arts@gmail.com

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Just as I turned a corner, the sun came streaming out and seemed to shine directly on a cute little booth, Colours by Chris, featuring stunning handpainted artware and fun little jewellery pieces, including stones & pebbles found on the shores of the Messenia region (Kalamata) of Greece. Chris (pictured below) has created dainty little pendants with sterling silver fixtures. No website yet but you can probably find her at the next ArtFest at the end of this month – same venue, same times.

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Just next to Chris was ArtFest Toronto HQ where show producer & President Lory MacDonald (below) was meeting and greeting visitors, handing out show programs and answering all sorts of questions from the happy visitors. http://www.artfesttoronto.com 


As a contributing editor and arts & entertainment columnist for The Rider (www.TheRider.com), Ontario’s “voice of the horse” newspaper, I was thrilled to meet Sarah Bohan of KOOL Designs – Sarah (in 4th picture) recycles equine feed bags & packaging and crafts them into fashionable totes, shoulder bags and purses, even insulated “equus” carriers for your cool drinks (see 3rd pic) sometimes using old bridle leather and reins as shoulder straps and handles. Her designs help keep the commercial packaging out of landfill so not only are they fashion-forward they’re also eco-friendly. Check out her page at http://www.Facebook.com/2KOOLdesigns and watch for a story on KOOL Designs in an upcoming Rider issue. Bravo, Sarah – my new “green” champ!

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Artist Ivan Trotter brought some of the most colourful and charming paintings of Parisian street scenes and Tuscan landscapes to ArtFest – take a look at these gorgeous pieces painted on canvas and board. http://www.artbyivan.com

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Hey, how about a unique, sturdy leather rhino in your living room? Or a moose…a buffalo….an elephant? Reiner’s Originals offers quality leather Ottomans which can support adults, not just kids. I just love the beige bulldog here. http://www.reiners.ca 

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There was a charming young folksinger with her guitar in the main courtyard singing one of my fave 60’s tunes “Look What They’ve Done to my Song, Ma” (originally by Melanie, then recorded by The New Seekers in the 70’s) so I stopped and sang along with her for a bit. Lots of fun.


“Pretty .. rocker .. chic .. accessories” is how Colleen Poitras (below) is described. Her accessories and jewellery designs are also available at Made You Look boutique. Her metal cuffs are stunning – my photo doesn’t do them justice – with delicate engravings and pressed designs. Check out her site: http://www.ColleenPoitras.com

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Photographer Michael Hyman (below) was very popular and I snapped a couple of pics while he was busy wrapping artwork for customers.

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I grew up in a home filled with lovely pictures of birds – English birds – and the minute I saw artist Marilyn Kutsukake’s booth Birds with Words, I knew I had to snap a few pics. Her daughter was minding the store when I visited (pictured below). http://www.marilynkatsukakeart.com

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Next to the birdies, I found sculptor Irene Sirko whose stunning stone pieces are so tactile (feely-touchy) that I just had to! Loved running my hands over the green stone (I believe it’s fuchsite).  https://www.facebook.com/Irene.Sirko.Sculptor
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Then I found the lovely young folks at BravaSkin, a local soap maker presenting the most adorable soaps is shapes and scents for everyone. Eva Zhu explained how much fun she has designing all the cute cupcake soaps for bridal parties and tea parties, as well as the “rubber ducky” soaps for little kids (this big kid would love one, too!) http://www.BravaSkin.com

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So all in all, I had a wonderful time at http://www.ArtFestToronto.com – there’s another event over the Labour Day long weekend (Aug.29-Sep.1) at the Distillery District so if you’re in town then, you simply MUST visit and support our local artisans and craftspeople. You’ll find affordable art, gifts and treats and the venue is such a fun place to hang out and take photos of the old heritage warehouses and buildings. But ladies, wear flat shoes as the cobblestones are hell on your heels! Enjoy a few more random pics… and do leave a comment – let me know how you like the story.

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Big news for artist, Bruce K. Lawes, whose stunning historic portrait of a young George Armstrong Custer went under the hammer at this past Saturday’s Coeur d’Alene auction in Reno, NV.  The 6ft x 3 1/2 ft painting exceeded the reserve and Custer is now on his way to an American collector’s home.  Here’s Bruce just before the auction started with Trailside Galleries owner Maryvonne Leshe & Trailside Mkt’g Director Kimberly Fletcher, who now represent Bruce in the S.W.  Bravo and congrats, Bruce, glad to see you relaxing by the pool afterwards! http://www.bklawesart.com

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Our favourite mustard man, Dan Gordon from WHISKY & SPICE presented a sampling event at McEwan’s at The Shops at Don Mills (Toronto) yesterday and he reports he got lots of thumbs-up from the discerning shoppers. He’ll be back with more tasting opps throughout August but you can  find the 3 flavoured W&S mustards on the shelves already. http://www.whiskyandspice.ca









So happy to reconnect with old pal, Sandy Graham, who used to run Toronto’s hottest 50’s&60’s live music venue, Route 66, way back when. I ran Ollie’s at the old Ports of Call on Yonge @ Summerhill during the same period and we had a friendly rivalry. I used to date one of her cute waiters – Danny – and I would often make it down to the Route before closing time, drop a qtr in the old jukebox, and Danny & I would dance to Rum & CocaCola by the Andrews Sisters, clearing the floor and getting rounds of applause for our Fred’n’Ginger style dancing.  Aaaaah, good times!  11 years ago, Sandy founded the annual Beach Celtic Festival which takes place this year on Sept 6 & 7 and she’s asked me to undertake the promotions and publicity for the fest.  http://www.thecelticfestival.com  So watch for updates and news over the coming weeks.

Beach Celtic Poster 2014

The Canadian Comedy Awards have a couple more weeks of voting so make sure you log on and cast your vote for the best stand-up, sketch troupe, etc. http://www.canadiancomedy.ca  If you’re planning on attending the Awards this year in Ottawa (Sept.10-14), keep checking the site for news and updates.

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I’m busy writing book reviews for my fave Canadian horse newspaper, The Rider (http://www.TheRider.com) for the August issue.  Did you know that Harlequin has a cowboy-themed series of romance novels? I’m enjoying one book, Invincible, due for release next month. And being a lifelong Monkees fan, I’m thrilled to be able to write about the new cookbook, Written in Our Hearts, created as a fundraiser for the late Davy Jones’ horse charity http://www.Facebook.com/writteninourhearts  Watch for the reviews on The Rider’s website around Aug. 15.


Davy_JPGJerriCoverMockUp3If you’re looking for something hot’n’sexy to do this coming Saturday night, why not drop by piano lounge Salute on Bellair in Yorkville to see/listen to Deena who will be presenting her sultry song stylin’s from 9pm onwards.  http://www.DeenatheArtist.com

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So lots of stuff happening this week….time to grab another mug of coffee and get my head down. In the words of my patron saint of PR, “grace and decorum…grace and decorum” !

Hyacinth Booquet!


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After such a jam-packed calendar last week, I’m looking fwd to a bit of a breather this week but…. I’m meeting with Tim Progrosh tomorrow (Tuesday July 22) to talk over  this year’s promotions for the annual Canadian Comedy Awards

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…hopefully we’ll come up with some innovative ideas for online engagement and putting more bums-in-seats at the awards gala in Ottawa mid-September.  www.canadiancomedy.ca

On Saturday July 26th, the big Coeur d’Alene auction takes place in Reno, Nevada, and our favourite artist, Bruce K. Lawes has his stunning historic portrait of George Armstrong Custer imagined from his Gettysburg Civil War campaign (“Custer: Before the Storm” 5ft high by 3 1/2ft wide) on the block. We’re hoping for bids in excess of $75K and the chat on the street is that it could reach into the six figures. Good luck, Bruce! You can follow Custer’s journey via Bruce’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/bklawesart

Bruce Lawes- Custer Before the Storm (Coeur d'Alene copy signed in frame) Glenda's copy

Then on Sunday July 27th, Whisky & Spice takes their awesome hand-crafted gourmet flavoured mustards to McEwan’s up at Shops at Don Mills in Toronto for a sampling event between noon and 5pm. Lots of products in various sizes available for sale – great for your Sunday night roast, steaks or family BBQ!  www.whiskyandspice.ca



Let us know if you have anything exciting coming up in Toronto that we may be able to support or bring our clients to.



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