Tuesday, November 17, 2009

World's Best Banana Bread - Or So My Dad Says!

I now this is crazy timing, what with the phone ringing every 5 minutes and the emails pouring in due to the release of "Service Fit For A King," but my dad has been bugging me since we returned from the 'car event circuit', to bake up a batch of Banana Bread. Now, being a diabetic with a sweet tooth, good baked goods that meet the criteria are hard to find, so when he discovers something he likes, he just can't get enough. He claims my Banana Bread is hands down the best he's ever tasted. And if you knew my dad, you'd know he's not big in the empty praise department!

So, in between phone calls, I figured I'd whip up a couple of loaves, and while I'm at it, I may as well post the recipe.

Grandpa's Favorite Banana Bread 
  • 1 cup Granular Splenda
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 9x5" loaf pan with margarine. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except flour, soda and salt. Mix on medium for about 3 minutes. Stir in flour — should be the consistency of thick cake batter, if too "doughy" add a bit of milk. Pour in to greased pan, bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean (only insert the skewer once, or the bread will collapse, trust me, I know this!). Let cool 5 minutes. We like it hot out of the oven with a bit of butter.

I make my Banana Bread without nuts of any kind (schools aren't too nut friendly these days) but you are welcome to add a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts if you like. I hope you enjoy it at least 1/2 as much as my dad does. — Linda

Monday, November 16, 2009

1970 Superbird Painting Official Release

It's taken a bit to get back into the swing after our whirl-wind tour of the Car Collector Auction in Toronto, the pre-opening of the Wellborn Musclecar Museum in Alexander City, Alabama and SEMA in Las Vegas. I finally got it together and posted the webpage for Michael's newest release, Service Fit For A King, featuring Richard Petty's infamous #43, 1970 Superbird.

Service Fit For A King, is a great piece which is already receiving lots of accolades! With the edition size being a bit smaller than Michael's other prints (there are only 500 Limited Edition Giclées on Watercolor paper available), and the fact that it will appear in next year's RacingOne Official Nascar Souvenir Publication, it's sure to be a quick seller. I say next year, but it's really only a couple of months away. Hard to believe 2010 is just around the corner!

We showed the original for only one day in Toronto, and prints and the canvases for one day in Alabama, plus the postcards of the painting will be going out at the beginning of next week and I just sent out the email ... so there are still a few "key" Mopar numbers still available. From past experience, I know those and all years of cars are pretty much the top ones to go, along with #1 and #500 ... unless clients are collecting matching numbers, which I think is really cool!

Remember that this painting was created by Michael so that you can hang it as a horizontal or a vertical — again, very cool. No matter what your space, this painting works! All the paintings in this series, "Above Them All" will be created with the same idea in mind. Just so you know, there are only 500 prints, 20 Artist Proofs with Remarque and 50 Gallery Edition Canvases, TOTAL ... no matter how they are ordered.

Another thing that makes this series very unique ... is that unlike our other prints, these ones are reproduced on watercolor paper. The texture, look and feel of the paper is very similar to the cold-pressed watercolor board Michael paints on, so the Limited Edition Prints and Artist Proofs very closely mimic an original painting.

Have a "super" day! — Linda

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Classic Car Auction, Muscle Car Museum & SEMA

In a three week blur, we exhibited at the Classic Car Auction in Toronto, attended the pre-opening of the soon to be famous Wellborn Muscle Car Museum, and made some new friends at the Automotive Fine Art Exhibit put on by Hot Rod Heritage at SEMA ... wow!

The Auction was our best ever. It was great to see that no matter what the media says about the economy, spirits were high — everyone was having a great time! We set up on Thursday, then showed Michael's work Friday through Sunday. Monday was for regrouping and by Tuesday we were on the road to Alabama.

The Wellborn Muscle Car Museum is absolutely amazing. Scheduled to open to the public spring 2010, it is a must see for all muscle car enthusiasts. I knew it would be incredible, but it exceeded my expectations. Tim and Pam Wellborn are incredibly gracious hosts with a clear vision for the Museum and the collector hobby. Their tag line, "Preserving the American Musclecar Heritage," says it all.

Below are a couple of sneak peeks, including one of Michael with our set up (above). On the far right, you can see the Gallery Edition of his newest #43 Petty Superbird painting. You'll notice that the photos are pretty Mopar heavy, and with good reason: it was the Aero Warriors Superbird Reunion, held every 5 years in Alexander City - we were just lucky enough to be part of it!

Rounding out the trip to Alabama, you know we just HAD to take in the Nascar race at Talladega. To start the day off, 75 wing cars circled the track. Then came the race. Wow. It was amazing to experience our first live Nascar race at a Super Speedway. Incredible, and at the start/finish line no less! 'nough said.

Michael and I took off to Las Vegas (without our kids) just one day after returning from Alabama ... I know, right! SEMA is a pretty amazing experience ... it's just so big. We stayed pretty close to the Art Exhibit, taking the opportunity to meet some new collectors. Michael did take some photos of unique cars, I'll post some once I download them off the camera.

It's been a fun 3 weeks, exciting and tiring, but well worth it. That being said, it's great to be home. The emails and phone messages have been piling up and I have lots of work ahead of me. To begin with, I'll be posting the webpage to release the Petty Superbird, Service Fit For A King, painting this week as well as sending out the email and postcards. And we'll be sending out the prints that have been pre-ordered. In the mean time, here's a look to hold you over!:

Like the other prints in the "Above Them All Series," this one can be ordered as a horizontal or vertical. Special Introductory Pricing will be in effect. Check your email and/or our website on Thursday for the official release. — Linda

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wellborn Muscle Car Museum

Michael, the children, and I will be in Alexander City, Alabama for the pre-Grand Opening of the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum this weekend. We're really excited about it. Housed in a restored car dealership, the Museum is said to house over 80 immaculate muscle cars, including the famous K&K Insurance Charger Daytona, raced by legendary driver, Bobby Issac. For those of you who don't know, some of the land speed records that Bobby Issac achieved, still stand today!

We also have the opportunity to attend the Aero Warriors reunion at the Talladega Speedway. Seeing that many wing cars in one location promises to be something incredible! If that wasn't enough, on Sunday, we'll be taking in the Talladega 500 ... too cool! We've been to the Molson Indy in Toronto, visited the track in Indianapolis, exhibited at the Lowes Motor Speedway in North Carolina, and attended a number of drag races over the years. Plus, we've been to a full out smash up derby in up-State New York (including the infamous figure eight school bus race!) as well as going to Monster Truck Jam, and of course, breathed in the Firestone and Goodyear fragments that come with the massive tire burnout competitions at events like GM Carlisle, but we've never been to a Nascar race. All of us, kids included, can't wait!

Michael will be formally releasing his newest painting, Service Fit For A King, featuring Richard Petty's famous Petty blue #43, 1970 Superbird. It's the second painting in Michael's "Above Them All Series." With the excitement building with each of his new releases, a number of prints have already been presold. Since I am writing this in a hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, I don't have access to an image of the painting, but as soon as I do, I'll post it.

Have a great weekend. I know we will. - Linda

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Collector Car Productions Auction (a.k.a. RM Auction) Toronto

Michael and I have exhibited his automotive artwork at the Toronto auction for about 3 years now. It's always been a good venue for us, even though we were tucked away in the hall adjacent to the actual auction. In fact, it's been the venue where we've shown many pieces for the first time. And this time is no exception ... we are pre-releasing his next two paintings —both sure to be super hot sellers! And, you may remember, it's where last fall, Michael was interviewed by Old Autos TV!

Recently, Dan Spendick, an RM shareholder and manager of the Toronto auction, purchased the Toronto auction, itself. The auction is now being run by Collector Car Productions, which was the company that the Toronto auctions actually started out with, until RM purchased it from Mr. Spendick about 20 years back. You can find information about the auction on RM's website: Collector Car Classic Car Auction Toronto

At first, we were a bit unsure of what, if any, changes there would be that might affect vendors, like ourselves. I don't know if it's due to the change in ownership, but for us, this year has been great. We've moved into the main hall where the auction is held. And consequently have already met a whole new group of collectors. On another good note, many of the staff that ran and organized the auctions in years past are still there. They are a great bunch and really make the whole experience that much better.

If you're in Toronto this weekend, stop by International Center, Hall 3. The doors open at 9:00 am daily, closing at 9:00 on Saturday, and late afternoon on Sunday. There are some really nice cars as well as some incredible deals to be had.

We hope to see you there. — Linda

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie

We had hoped to make it to Hershey, Pennsylvania this past weekend for one of the "greatest car shows in North America," but it just didn't work out. Between juggling kids and work schedules, it just wasn't in the stars this year. Maybe a good thing though, we heard the weather was pretty nasty ... with winds up to 45-50 mph on Wednesday and the threat of rain on Thursday and Friday!

As it turns out, it worked out well for two reasons: we were able to proof Michael's new print, "Marauders of Woodward" (now available on our website) and it was Canadian Thanksgiving. In North America we share many, many holidays, Thanksgiving being one of them, but for some reason, we celebrate ours a month earlier. Although I do all the cooking, I love turkey and pumpkin pie, so it's not that big of a hardship.

Now, not only is my dad a diabetic, but my mother was diagnosed last week. So, it's more important than ever that I come up with sugar free alternatives in the dessert department.  I've taken a recipe traditionally made with lots of sugar and changed it to suit our dietary needs.

Irvine’s Traditional Pumpkin Pie
Prep Time: 35 minutes, Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Yield: 2 pies

4 eggs
1 can (28 oz) pure pumpkin
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
1 1/4 cup Splenda granular
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup (approx 1 can) fat free evaporated milk
2 (9-inch) unbaked home-made or frozen deep dish pie shell

Beat eggs lightly in medium bowl. Add pure pumpkin, Splenda, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice and salt - mix on low until well combined. Blend in milk. Pour filling in pie shells. I'd recommend having some tart shells on hand, we had enough filling left over to fill 12 tart shells. These are a big hit with our kids — they really like the "mini-pies!"

Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking 30-35 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Serve topped with whipped cream made with Splenda instead of sugar.
 As an added bonus, if you're watching your weight (like me) this pie will meet the low fat, low sugar test. If your diet is super strict, pass on the whipped cream topping.

Happy Thanksgiving, whenever you celebrate it.— Linda

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We're in Moving Pictures

Or, rather, Michael's portfolio of automotive art is. It's my first attempt. I basically created a moving picture using stills of each of his paintings (GM, Ford and Mopar). Each frame includes the piece's name and image.

Until a few minutes ago, I hadn't quite figured out how to add music yet. I was thinking that the instrumental music from the soundtrack of the movie "Bullitt" might be pretty cool, so ... check it out below and let me know what you think! — Linda

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Art on Display - Close to Home!

As you may already know, we have several dealers across North America that exhibit and sell Limited Edtion Prints, Artist Proofs with Remarque and the Gallery Edition Canvases, of Michael's automotive fine art. There has, however, not been anyone in the Niagara Region. But that just changed, this week!

We get calls and emails from admirers and collectors of Michael's work, about "stopping by to see the Studio and some more of his work." That'd be great, but, Michael's Studio is located in our near-century home. And with two kids and a home office as well, currently it isn't open to the public. Although that is one of our goals/dreams, it's down the road (collector car lined road, that is!). We'd actually like to have a Classic Car Showroom/Gallery/Studio ... how cool would THAT be!?!?!

That makes having a local gallery/frame shop showing his work, all that much more exciting. So right now, if you're in the area, you can now stop by Artscapes Gallery in St. Catharines and see a number of reproductions of Michael's art on display. Located on the west end of the city, Artscapes is easy to get to from the QEW — just take the Hwy 406 and exit at Fourth Avenue. (shown clockwise from the left: "Opens at Eight," "Mach Speed," "It's A Grand Sport")

Carol Gay, the owner of Artscapes, has been framing our prints and originals for about 10 years now. As an authorized dealer, even if she doesn't have the reproduction you're looking for, she can get it from us and frame it for you. Carol is really into customer service. With over 30 years of experience, she offers quality custom framing and superior workmanship. A couple of the unique services Carol makes available are, "home consultation" and a "try it before you buy it" program. (shown right: "Feeding Frenzy" in the window)

Artscapes Gallery
100 4th Ave
St Catharines, Ontario
L2S 3P2

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hershey ... mmmmm

Admittedly, when I first heard the word "Hershey" mentioned, I thought of those cute little Hershey Kisses. Our 9 year old daughter, a self proclaimed chocoholic, still does! But over the years, cars have taken over our lives (in a good way), and like gearheads the world over, "Hershey" congers up visions of classic automobiles rather than chocolaty little morsels. Due to scheduling and other commitments, sadly we've never had the opportunity to attend. We have, however, heard from clients and friends that have gone that it is simply amazing. And it looks as though we're about to find out for ourselves!!

October is a busy month for us. We usually have a new print release and this year is no exception. I'll be posting the New Release webpage for "Marauders of Woodward" later this week. Michael has completed the painting (featuring the 2003-2004 Mercury Marauders on the famous Woodward Ave in Detroit, Michigan, it looks amazing) and we're working on scheduling the print production, etc.

We also usually exhibit at one or two car events during the month. Last year you may have seen us at Fall Carlisle (set up across from the food court under the grandstand) or at the RM Fall Auction held at the International Centre in Toronto. Last time we were at an RM Auction was this past April. There, we released the first print in Michael's new Above Them All Series, "It's a Grand Sport" (shown below). This October we'll be set up at the Auction again, however have decided to pass on Fall Carlisle. Planning instead to attend the event in Hershey with the kids!

Because it is such a busy time, we're not positive yet that we can go ... but we're trying to make it happen. I'll keep you posted. In the mean time, however, if you're planning to go to Hershey, you can see Michael's work up close and personal. Our friend (and Authorized Representative) Jim McDermott will be set up in the green lot, featuring a few of Michael's pieces, including a couple of Gallery Edition Canvases. If you haven't seen these in person yet, it's worth stopping by just to have the chance — they are super cool. Jim will set up at GCC7-8. He'll also be at Fall Carlisle — you'll find him in Building 'T' at spaces 57 and 58.

If you're looking for a way to spend a fall weekend, end of the season deals or early Christmas presents, here are the show dates to mark on you calendar. I've included the websites too:
Happy motoring! —Linda

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Charlotte AutoFair 2009 - WOW!

The Charlotte AutoFair held at the Lowes Motor Speedway in North Carolina was an incredible event. For us, it was the longest car show/event we have participated in, to date. Each trip took about 12 hours through some of the greenest and most beautiful countryside we've seen.

Although I did not get a chance to get out and walk around much (that's Michael's department - rough hey, having to look at cool cars and search for parts for our 71 Formula!), I did get to gaze upon some pretty awesome cars myself. During a quiet moment (the awards ceremony) on Sunday afternoon, I took the photo below from behind our desk, to show you what my view was for the weekend ... not too shabby!

The cars in this garage were there by invitation, so you can imagine the quality and pedigree before us. There was an assortment of classic cars, race cars, modern muscle cars and hotrods, presented by professional restoration shops as well as private collectors.

This was a unique set up for us. Usually we have our outdoor easy up tents to anchor the display (we even use them at indoor venues). However, this time round we couldn't do that, so had to set up a "free standing" display. The results ... just great! This photo was taken on Wednesday (setup day), just after we finished putting up the Gallery Edition Canvases and some framed Limited Edition Prints:

If you look closely at this next photo, you'll see our display down at the far end of the garage. Just to give you an idea of how big it was, I took the picture from about 1/2 way down the length of the building.

The show opened at 8:00 am daily, and shut down at exactly 6:00 pm. A big thanks to the organizers and security staff ... we really were in great hands. Getting out "early" meant we had time to explore local restaurants ... I tried gator and cactus for the first time ... wow!

We had a really fun weekend, once again meeting long time clients for the first time face to face. As well as, a whole new group of people, some of which had never seen Michael's work before ... very exciting! We also made some great new friends, and look forward to seeing them again very soon - thanks B&H for the fabulous dinner.

We are already looking forward to next year's events ... we might even make the trip out in spring of 2010! See you at the show!!! - Linda

Monday, September 7, 2009

See You At The Charlotte AutoFair

We are going to North Carolina to the Charlotte AutoFair held at the Lowe's Motor Speedway. Back in 1994, for the 30th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang, Michael, Jackie (a good friend of ours) and I made the trip to, what was then called, the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was the biggest show we attended that year and it was very exciting. Enthusiasts from all over the world made the trip. President Bill Clinton even took his Mustang out on the track! You could just feel the energy in the air.

So going back, brings back some really great memories. At the time,  Michael only had two prints available, "Evolution of a Legend", which he painted in tribute to the Mustang for the Anniversary, and "Desert Snakes", the first print in the now sold out, Reflections of Horsepower Series. That series really was the start to Michael's "signature style" - he is known for his incredible use of reflective surfaces. The show also inspired Michael to incorporate the Speedway in "Mach Speed" (shown above). The Limited Edition Prints and in some cases, Artist Proofs with Remarque are sold out, however, Gallery Edition Canvases are available in the series.

Since then, Michael's portfolio has really grown to include all years of the famous pony car as well as a collection of Pontiac, Chev and Mopar paintings. It should be a fun show. And we are really looking forward to visiting North Carolina again ... if memory serves, it's a beautiful state. I think our set up will be located in the Art Display area, which is in the garage with the feature cars. If you're down in that neck of the woods, stop by and see us.

See you at the Speedway! - Linda

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Is Bigger Better?

Hard to believe the summer car show season is almost over.  Although we weren't sure we'd be able to do it, in August we made the trip to the Mopar Nationals in Hebron, Ohio - kids in tow! It definitely made for an interesting "juggle." Luckily we had our friend and dealer, Jim McDermott, there to help us keep everything running smoothly. It turned out to be a great show. And, the kids had a fabulous time at the Fort Rapids Waterpark in Columbus.

The show, itself, was a lot of fun. Everyone that made it out seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. The weather was perfect, even the forecasted rain managed to stay away. We're looking forward to 2010.

I wanted to post some show photos (we took so many this summer) and was looking through a bunch of them, when I came across this one. Although it was taken at the Mopar Nationals 2008, I just had to show it. It's set just outside of the National Trail Raceway, on the road leading to the main entrance. The images on the billboard are about 7 feet tall. It begs to ask the question, "is bigger, better?"

All I can say is, WOW ....  maybe! There's just something about seeing Michael's art that big and that high up!

It's been a busy summer that seems to have flown by. The kids are getting ready to start back to school next week and we're settling into our fall routines.

There are still a couple of shows coming up in October/November (like SEMA in Las Vegas) before winter hits, hopefully we'll see you there! - Linda

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chrysler Carlisle - What a Blast!

Spending the weekend at All-Chrysler Carlisle, we got to visit with so many collectors of Michael's car art prints, as well as meet new clients (and friends) collecting prints, artist proofs and canvases, that it felt like a great big reunion party! I can't remember the last time we had so many laughs. The 3 day show just flew by. Even the impending dark weather (there was a threat of a tornado at one point) did not dampen spirits. In fact, turns out we were very fortunate, as hail and other bad weather skirted around us.

From past experience (we took over $1100 damage last year at the MCA Show at the Ford Plant in Oakville during a flash downpour), we decided to take down the framed Limited Edition Prints, Gallery Edition Canvases, Artist Proofs and even "display only" prints we had up. And just in time, too ... within minutes of us wrapping them up and loading then in the old Grand Caravan, we were hit with a quick, heavy rain. Lucky for us, no damage at all!

As those of you who attended the show know, we had a great spot this year. With 30 feet of space, we were able to display all four Gallery Edition Canvases in Michael's "Reflections of Mopower Series." The series now consists of two verticals, "Six Pack Salute" and "Opens At Eight," and two horizontals, "B-Movie Night" and the NEW E-body Cuda painting, "Feeding Frenzy" (shown above, behind Michael and one of our clients). We were also able to display one of the last Canvases of the popular "They Came With The Farm" painting.

Michael and I are both looking forward to our next car show trek ... we'll be joining Jim at the Mopar Nationals in Hebron, Ohio. He'll have a 20' booth in the Manufacturers Midway (E18). Michael will be there on and off during the weekend. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi!

I hope that like us, you too, are enjoying the car show season this year! The cars are cool. The parts are plentiful. And the crowds are great! - Linda

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Car Show Weekend

We're off again, this time to one of the largest Mopar shows in this end of the country, the All-Chrylser Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This time we are exhibiting Michael's work, as opposed to just having fun! Although I must admit, I generally have fun at a car show .... rain or shine, it's always an adventure. Plus, both Michael and I enjoy meeting our clientele face to face and there's never a shortage of "car stories" to share.

For those of you that came by to see us last year (our first time at the Nationals), please note that we have moved up, so to speak. We are now located at J93-95. It'll be the first time we show Michael's stunning new Cuda painting, "Feeding Frenzy." And stunning it is. Even after all these years (we've been together for almost 2 decades) I am still amazed by his talent and commitment to his craft. He's continually pushing himself to make each piece more challenging than it's predecessors.

What I'm sure will soon be coined the "perfect E-body Cuda painting," the colors in "Feeding Frenzy" are a true tribute to those wild Mopar/Plymouth colors of the 70s. As far as reflections go, well Michael's really outdone himself this time. Check out the chrome tanker truck! Fittingly, this is the 4th painting in his 'Reflections of Mopower Series.' (The series includes: Six Pack Salute, Opens At Eight, B-Movie Night).

If you're in the Carlisle, stop by and see us. In the mean time, here's a quote I came across ... I'd only add "and there's a car show within driving distance!" LOL.  Have a wonderful weekend. - Linda
A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  ~James Dent

Friday, June 26, 2009

First Car Show of the Summer

Michael's work will be on display by us and our dealers at a number of classic car shows and meets this summer, including  All-Chrysler Carlisle, the Pontiac & GTO Nationals, Mopar Nationals, Moparfest, Ford, Mustang and GM shows, as well as the Truck show in Las Vegas! But this weekend, our first trip to the car show field is just for fun.

June just blew past us, summer's here and the kids are out of school! Michael's latest creation, "Feeding Frenzy" is almost complete, so July will busy with the new release of this stunning Cuda piece. So we thought now would be the best time to take off for the weekend. And you've probably figured out by now, that we're kinda gear heads, or at least really, really into cars! In true car guy fashion, we're off to a car show for the weekend ... GM Carlisle, none-the-less!  It's our first time, and we can't wait to check out the Chevelles, Camaros, Novas and more! It'll be like stepping into a scene like the one in "Always Room For One More" (above).

I'm really looking forward to spending time with the kids, just relaxing ... okay, maybe "relaxing" is the wrong word ... we will, after all, be walking all day, searching for parts for the Firebird, looking to cool off or dry off (depending on the Pennsylvania weather), shopping for Hotwheels for our son, or looking for any girlie stuff for our daughter. But we'll be away. At a car show. Outdoors. And together. It just does't get any better.

Here's to a safe and happy summer and to lots of trips to the show. - Linda

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mustang and All Ford Weekend

For all you Ford lover's in the Jeffersonville, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky area, there's a show scheduled just before Father's Day. The "Mustang and All Ford Weekend," sponsored by the Falls City Mustang Club, will be held on Saturday, June 20th. Attending a car show is a great way to spend part of your Father's Day weekend. And you never know what Dad's Day goodies you may come across!
Show details:
8 A.M. on Saturday June 20th
Located at Quartermaster Station, Hwy. 62 (E. 10th St.), Jeffersonville, IN. Exit #1 off I -65 just across the bridge from Louisville, KY.
There is also a Pony Trail to Salem Speedway on Friday for show participants. Contact info: Steve Merritt 812-944-5271.
Stop by and check out the expected 200 or so cars, and say hi to Jim. He'll have a few of Michael's Mustang prints framed (available for purchase) on display as well as will be accepting orders for, amongst other things, Michael's much anticipated, "Marauders of Woodward" print, due to be released later this year.

Jim is authorized to accept orders for the EXCLUSIVE PRE-RELEASE OFFER of "Marauders of Woodward", which expires June 30th, 2009. This is a unique opportunity to prepurchase a limited piece of artwork, at an incredible price. As an added bonus, all Limited Edition Prints, Artist Proofs and Gallery Edition Canvases ordered before the June 30th deadline will be co-signed by Steve Babcock (Production Manager of the Maruauder) and will be accompanied by a reproduction of Michael's original sketch. This is a historic, first time ever, exclusive opportunity!

Jim will also be showing a Gallery Edition Canvas of the sold out print, "Kings of the Road." At twice the size of the original painting, it's really cool!

If you haven't had the opportunity to see Michael's work up close and personal, you are in for a treat ... his use of high impact color and incredible attention to detail is second to none. And can only truly be appreciated when you see his art in person.

Whatever you choose to do this upcoming weekend, have fun doing it! Happy Father's Day. - Linda & Michael

Friday, June 12, 2009

Father's Day - Sweeet & Sugar Free Dessert!

We were at the Fleetwood Country Cruizin (a sweeeet car show with over 3000 cars, including 1500 Ford Mustangs, a real 1970 orange Plymouth Superbird, countless Oldsmobiles, Chevys, Pontiacs, Mopars, race cars, motorbikes, firetrucks, Amphicars, you name it) in London, Ontario on June 5th, and a new client was purchasing Michael's GTO painting, "The Goat Farmer" (shown above), for his dad for Father's Day. Good thing too, because I had forgotten Father's Day is just around the corner! Although I talk a lot about Michael's automotive art, muscle cars and the car shows and events we attend, I thought this time I'd share a recipe instead.

My father is a diabetic, has been for over 25 years. And for the most part, until recently, has managed the whole time with diet alone. Events like Christmas, birthdays and Father's Day, have become a personal challenge for me .... to create an amazing dessert, using no sugar. Like many people afflicted with Diabetes, my father has a huge sweet tooth. Managing the disease without drugs, he has all but removed sugar from his diet, so my desserts are a real treat.

It's taken me a while, but I've managed to fine tune a couple of desserts that, by my dad's tough standards, are real winners ... and are completely sugar, glucose, fructose, etc. free! Here's one of my latest creations (by the way, this one even received the stamp of approval by my brother, a Chef of 20 years!):

1 - 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup Splenda granulated
1 - 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten for 2-3 minutes on high
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 1 loaf pan (I use a pyrex one).
  2. Combine flour, Spenda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until crumbly. (This procedure may be done with a mixer at the lowest speed).
  3. Stir together eggs, milk and vanilla in a small mixing bowl; add 1/3 of the egg mixture to flour mixture. Beat at low speed of an electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed for 30 seconds or until batter is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl. Repeat procedure 2 times. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut into 12 equal slices. If cake happens to "fall" or "compress", don't worry, it still works very well in the dessert.
2 lbs fresh strawberries
1/4 cup Splenda granulated
6 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Slice strawberries.
  2. Toss with Splenda and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours (a bit longer is better - makes more "syrup").
2 cups whipping cream
2 tblsp Spenda
  1. Stir Splenda into whipping cream, whip until stiff.
  2. Place 2 slices of cake, side by side, in 6 individual serving dishes.
  3. Top with strawberries, distributing evenly.
  4. Top each with generous dolop of whip cream.
  5. Serve it up ... guilt free!!
Whether you treat your father to gifts like automotive fine art, a trip to a car show, a nice meal, or just some quiet time (without being pestered to do yard work), we hope that both you and dad enjoy it. I know Michael will. Dessert aside, I overheard him talking to our son about working on one of our cars - the 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula (it's the gold one on the right, behind the cactus)! Have a Happy Father's Day. - Linda

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cool Mustang Police Chase

We receive emails daily from our clients, that include photos of their cars (of course - everyone hopes to see their car appear in one of Michael's automotive fine art paintings!), photos of car shows and other automotive events, family album stuff, and then, just cool things that they, themselves, have come across.

The video below is just that. And trust me, even if you're not a fan of Ford's Shelby Mustang, you'll have to admit that this ad for one of America's top modern muscle cars is just really, really cool! And face it, we all like cool stuff!

"Ask anybody over 50 this question, "What's the coolest thing you've ever owned?" Without missing a beat, most people will mention a favorite car or truck. It's been this way for generations. Cars are cool. Americans love them, what they stand for, their technology, and the freedom they provide."- by Rex Roy | AOL Autos

I don't usually forward emails, or share the jokes, etc that we receive. But this was just too neat to pass up on passing on. And although there are muscle cars used in almost every type of tv ad these days, including most recently Cialis and Nivea, this ad is all about the car, for the car lover! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. - Linda

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspiring Car Art

As an automotive artist, one of the questions Michael gets asked most often is, "What motivates or inspires you in your car art?" There is no one answer. Sometimes it's being at the right place at the right time. Or at the right car show at the right time, as was the case for the painting, "From Showroom to Showfield" (shown above).

It was back in 1997 (I can't believe it's been 12 years!). We were attending the All-Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Not only an amazing swap meet for anyone looking to restore a car, but also a pretty good car show. Over the years we've seen incredible collections of Cougars, Fairlanes, Torinos, Galaxies, Thunderbirds, to name a few. And of course, Mustangs.

In 1997, however, Michael noticed that more and more new cars were showing up on the field. Literally, it seemed, driving (or being trailered) from the Ford showroom or car lot, right to the showfield. New classes were created and these cars became instant classics. This inspired Michael to paint, "From Showroom to Showfield" - paying tribute to the Mystic and Saleen Mustangs, with a nod and a glimpse at the other classics in the reflections of these incredible cars.

"Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people." - Lee Iacocca

Recently, something else has helped to influence Michael - let's call it collective enthusiasm! Michael is known internationally for his paintings of "modern muscle" with paintings like, "New to the Chase", "The Chase Lives On" and "Shakin' Up the Street", so a Marauder painting was on the list of future projects. But it is David Popovich and the Motor City Marauders that are making it really happen. A group of owners/ enthusiasts, they have gotten together to commission Michael to create one of his high impact color, stunning watercolor paintings, this time featuring the powerful Mercury Marauder.

As a special thanks to this great group, Michael has decided to release a reproduction of the original sketch to those collectors that preorder "Marauders of Woodward" before May 17th, 2009. This is a one time, free offer - additional sketches will NOT be available. This is also the first time, ever, that Michael has released a pencil sketch, making this even more special, unique and collectible. Plus, all prints ordered before June 30th, 2009 will be co-signed by Steve Babcock, "The Father of the Marauder", Mercury Marauder Production Manager!

As part of the deal with the Motor City Marauders, for Michael to start painting, 100 orders need to be prepaid. The sooner that goal is reached, the sooner he'll start and the sooner the prints and sketches will be released. Now that's motivational! - Linda

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Immortalizing Collector Cars

Why is the 1968 Shelby GT 500 ("Kings of the Road" shown above) so collectible, while, say the 1976 Chevrolet Chevette is not. Okay, admittedly, that's an extreme example and the reasons are beyond obvious, but my point is, what makes one car soar in collectibility and value in the eyes of collectors and enthusiasts, while others are seemingly passed over? And what, if anything, can change a car's status?

Of course there are several factors that contribute to the popularity of an automobile; production numbers, horsepower, performance, aesthetics ... the list goes on. Once a car is immortalized, in movies, television shows, die cast replicas and art, however, it's status and value as a true collector car increases. I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that didn't have a Ford Mustang in it. Or a Chevy Corvette. Or a Dodge Charger. Arguably, these are some of the most iconic and highly valued classics on the market today.

That brings me to the Mercury Marauder - specifically the 2003-2004 limited production models, designed by Steve Babcock. Many owners of this car are die hard enthusiasts. Many started with the Ford Mustang, and have since moved to the roomier Marauder. It may appear to some to be a luxury sedan, but make no mistake, like many "sleepers," this is a powerful muscle car!

So far, these cars are revered by the people that own them, but have not yet reached the collector values that some of their counterparts have. But that may be about to change. Working with the Motor City Marauders, Michael has started on a painting, entitled "Marauders of Woodward." It features all four colors of Mercury's sinister 300 hp 4.6 V8, racing down the famous Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan during the annual Dreamcruise. With plans to have it completed this summer, fans of the Marauder are in for a treat. This is the first time the car has been immortalized in this way.

Dave Popovich of the Motor City Marauders, having been a long time fan and owner of some of Michael's work, including "Shakin' Up The Street," (shown above) was instrumental in making this happen. It's his devotion to the car, the website, forum and its members, that helped inspire Michael. As always, Michael strives to be as technically accurate as possible, so a big thanks to Steve Babcock for his help in that area.

Limited Edition Prints, Artist Proofs with Remarque and Gallery Editon Canvases of "Marauders of Woodward" are slated to be released by fall 2009. I'll keep you posted. - Linda

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

People & Things in Your Life

This week, a very good friend's mother passed away. Although it wasn't a surprise, still it hit hard. My friend chose to spend hours on the road several times a month over the course of the year that her mother was in hospital. In the last few weeks, she made the 4 hour round trip almost daily. I think she didn't want to have any regrets. And although it may have been a bit trying sometimes, juggling work, kids and an ailing mother, I think she's at peace with how she handled things.

The whole thing got me thinking about decisions we make every day about who and what we include in our lives. We all make choices daily about who we spend time with as well as how we spend it. I don't think anyone ever regrets spending a few hours with someone who makes them feel good or is important to them in some way. The same goes for the items we surround ourselves with.

I'm not suggesting that buying everything we see is the ticket to happiness, far from it. But every now and then an object, collectible, car ... whatever, comes up that you just know you'll regret passing on.

"To believe in yourself and to follow your dreams, to have goals in life and a drive to succeed, and to surround yourself with the things and the people that make you happy - this is success!" - Sasha Azevdo

I've heard Michael's philosophy on the whole, 'missing out' thing. It goes something like this: "You don't regret the one you did buy (unless it's a real lemon of a car) but you do regret missing out on the one you really wanted."

About 6 years ago, in search of a 2nd classic car, Michael spotted a 1970 Mach 1 in the Auto Trader. It was located about 2 hours north of us. I couldn't go see it with him, so Michael set off on his own. He and I talked about it before he left. He felt it was a fair price for the car if it was in the condition as described. I didn't resist, in fact gave him the green light to go ahead - no phone call needed. It turned out to be better than he thought, a great specimen of a Ford Mustang, Mach 1! Pewter with a red interior, I think it had the fold down back seat and air conditioning.

For some reason, Michael hesitated. Having a clear path to purchase it, he chose, instead to hop into the van and give me a call. As he pulled in across the street from where the Mach was parked, he saw another guy shaking hands with the owner and then both of them walking into the house together. And that was that. To say he regretted losing the car, would be an understatement. Needless to say, he's never made that mistake again!

This is true of other things as well. Those that collect Michael's car art know what I'm talking about: missing out on a limited edition print or canvas. Michael's Mach 1 print, Mach Speed, sold out a couple of years ago. I've lost count of how many requests we've had for it since then. There are a lot of people kicking themselves, especially since it's tripled in price in the secondary market. Many have asked about a second printing, but as a limited edition, once they're gone, that's it. It is available as a Gallery Edition Canvas.

Take the time to smell the flowers. Spend time with a friend or loved one. Apply for that job. Ask that person out for coffee. And surround yourself with people and objects that enhance your life. - Linda

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is Art is Healthy?

I picked up a copy of our local newspaper today and in the Arts & Entertainment section I came across the headline, "Doctor prescribes a healthy dose of art." You can see how that would peak my interest, with Michael being an artist. As it turned out, the article was about an area doctor who took the building her old practice was in and converted it into an art gallery which would feature her abstract paintings as well as those of other local artists. The headline obviously originated from her being a physician as well the following quote:
"Art is very truthful. What comes out is very honest; it comes from the soul, from one's spirit."
Anything that powerful has to have a healthy effect on us. That got me thinking about art and what it contributes to our lives. We've always said that although it's not a staple, like water or bread, having beautiful things surrounding us is important to our well being and in that sense art is essential to our lives. For some, a colorful floral or rich landscape brightens their day. For others a Norman Rockwell-style piece reflecting the past is the ticket. And for others still, it's a subject they are passionate about. Like cars.

I met one of our clients in person last summer. Since we don't do very many shows, it was somewhat of a rare treat. His wife told us that he has one of Michael's prints (I think it's "They Came With The Farm" - the all Mopar painting), hanging in the hall just outside their bedroom door. Each and every morning he spends 5 minutes gazing at the print. He says it sets the mood for his day. His wife said that he's been happier since he started the ritual - he rarely misses a day!

Michael is a very talented and versatile artist. And I'm not just saying that because I'm his wife. Over the years, he's expertly painted wildlife, architectural landmarks, vineyards and orchards. In fact, he's been asked on more than one occasion to expand his portfolio to include other subject matters. But his passion is the automobile. He just loves cars, plain and simple. And that's why he paints them. He takes enjoyment in painting them, driving them, working on them and just plain looking at them! Call him a gearhead, motorhead or enthusiast, he's right in there with the people that collect his work. It's that passion that comes through in each and every painting. It's that passion that people feel when they look at his work.

So, is art healthy? Absolutley. It adds color to our walls and to our lives. It brightens a gray day and lifts our spirits. It brings us joy and creates positive feelings. Sounds pretty healthy to me! - Linda

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Muscle Cars in Movies

It happened again. We're watching "Race to Witch Mountain," and low and behold ... a 1968 Mustang Fastback, just like Steve McQueen drove in the famous car chase classic, "Bullitt." Early in the movie we get a little teaser, by way of a "Bullitt" poster on the hero's motel room wall. It's his dream to one day own one. He even carries a key fob with the running horse on it as a reminder. It's no surprise that at the end of the movie, he gets his wish - driving away in a dark green, 1968 Ford Mustang GT. I think it may have even had all the emblems removed, just like Frank Bullitt's did!

That got me thinking about just how often we've seen muscle cars in movies. Mustangs are popular, maybe because they're billed as "America's favorite pony car," or maybe it's just because they are so recogizable and there are still lots of them around. Most recently, I can think of "Knightrider" (the TV series), "I Am Legend" and "Death Race." I found this site which lists a number of movies both old and new, you may want to check it out: Mustangs in Movies

But it doesn't stop at Mustangs. Mopars show up all over the place as well. In "Death Race," for example, as well as a large assortment of titles over the years. The General Lee from "The Dukes of Hazzard," the 1968 Charger from "Bullitt" and Kowalski's 1970 Dodge Challenger in "Vanishing Point" being three of the most famous, and the list goes on. Here's a link to a list of a few of them: Mopars in Movies, but I'm sure there are lots more.

I haven't found a website about Chevys yet, but Corvettes, Camaros and Trans Ams are always making cameo appearances if not in lead roles. One of my favorites is Burt Reynold's Trans Am in "Smokey and the Bandit." I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Muscle Car Family Game

We're sitting in the dark theater. "Paul Blart Mall Cop" is playing on the big screen. After a somewhat silly and funny start, the movie has taken a softer, more romantic twist. Out of the darkness, I hear "Mustang!" I don't even have to look to see who broke the silence ... it was our 10 year old son. Since he could talk, it's been our family's version of the driving game "punch bug." Everytime someone spots a Ford Mustang, the first one to yell it out is 'king of the hill' - at least until the next time!

Back to the movie theater: because most of the movie takes place in a shopping mall, we really had no expectation of seeing any cars at all, let alone a blast from the past. So, it was a pleasant surprise as the mildly romantic scene came to a close and we're in the parking lot of the mall, where the object of Paul's affections (Amy) unlocks her 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible. Yellow with a black ragtop, there sits America's favourite pony car! So, the cry of "Mustang" was justified - even expected!!

Along with being able to play almost anywhere; a movie theatre, drive-in, car show, restaurant parking lot ... you get the idea ... there's really no limit as to what cars or how many different makes and models you include. The game can, of course, be altered to fit your own tastes in American muscle cars or sports cars. Although seeing an old Challenger or Charger on the road may be a rare sight, now that Dodge has revived both those cars into modern muscle, your chances are much higher. And, though it's true there is some financial stuff going on with General Motors right now, I haven't heard anything about the door closing on the new Camaro.

All in all, it's fun, easy, free and the whole family can play along. You can even make it more interesting, but awarding a prize (like a Hotwheels car) at the end of the trip, or month, or whatever you choose. In a day and age where kids riding in the back have their eyes glued to their latest hand held video game or movie playing on the dvd player, it gives them a reason to look out the window and enjoy a bit of the countryside. All the while, helping to point out some of the classics we might miss with our eyes on the road!

Plus, it's a great game for the ride to the car show (which as the wife and family of a muscle car enthusiast and automotive artist, we do a lot) .... it gets everyone, including our 8 year old daughter ... involved and primed for the day ahead! On route, the chance of seeing a classic Duster, Dart, Cuda and even the rare Superbird is possible. If you're a Ford fan, why not look for a Bullitt or Saleen Mustang, Shelby, Cougar, Galaxie, Torino or Fairlane. Award bonus points if they can also guess the year of the Pontiac's GTO Judge, Trans Am, Firebird or Chev's Chevelle, Camaro or Nova. It's a fun way to get the next generation interested in the car collector hobby!! May as well get them started young!