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