Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buying Art (Lesson 3): Limited Edition Reproductions - Lithographic Prints and Giclées

As I touched on in my last installment, Buying Art ( Lesson 2), Authentic Art Reproductions vs Fakes, there are several different types of "reproductions" of original art. But, like everything else, there are some major differences. In the case of Michael's art, our reproductions are not only incredibly close to the original paintings, but also, produced on the highest quality papers, with the best inks, in the best methods available.

Michael at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Alabama
with Gallery Edition Canvases of Six Pack Salute, Feeding Frenzy, B-Movie Night and End of the Line and a framed Giclée Print on Watercolor paper of Service Fit For A King.


Today, limited edition reproductions are primarily produced using one of two printing processes; offset lithography and giclée printing. Offset lithographs have, for the most part, replaced traditional lithographs and serigraphs. Offset printing is relatively fast — a print run of 800 takes only about 2-3 hours — and the quality is pretty consistent throughout the print run. In other words, the first print and last print are the same quality. All the prints in the edition are run at the same time. The printing plates are metal and have to be destroyed at the end of the run. Most offset presses utilize 4-5 color "stations." Due to the way the multi-colored image is "separated" to accommodate the press, offset lithographs have a dot pattern (see Buying Art ( Lesson 2)) which is invisible to the naked eye. Giclée prints are produced on a press that "sprays" ink, from up to 11 color stations, onto the paper or canvas, so there is no dot pattern. Each print takes about 10-15 minutes to produce, each canvas can take up to 45 minutes to print. Giclée prints are renowned for being, at first glance, almost impossible to differentiate from an original painting.

If you've ever watched a show like "Auction Kings", you've probably heard talk about acid-free paper. They touch on the value of prints, etc. printed on acid-free vs non-acid-free paper. Because the acids in the paper will damage the reproduction over time, the acid-free ones have a greater longevity and, therefore, value. Technically, all paper is made using a wood-based pulp that naturally contains acid. This causes paper to yellow and deteriorate, especially when exposed to heat or light. During production, acid-free paper is treated with calcium or magnesium bicarbonate - neutralizing the natural acids in the wood pulp.  Once treated, this paper will be preserved for at least 100 years. So, you can see the importance of printing limited edition reproductions on acid-free stock. 100% acid-free canvas, such as we use for Michael's Gallery Edition Canvases, is based on the same principle.

Then there is the actual feel and weight of the paper, itself. For Michael's offset lithographs, we've stuck a #1 sheet (best quality paper available) with a satin or matte finish, 10pt stock. It has a beautiful finish and nice weight. When papers are too thin (poster-like) they tend to crease easily. And, ones that are too shiny, tend to have a lower quality, poster look to them. Michael's giclée prints are printed on 100% acid-free, heavyweight watercolor paper. Also utilizing the giclée printing process, Michael's canvases are printed on the best quality, heaviest, 100% cotton, acid free canvas available, today.

Ink also play as huge part in the longevity of a reproduction. There are printers that can produce low run, large format prints (signs and promotional banners are produced by this method these days), but they are NOT produced using giclée inks. The same goes for offset prints —brochures, posters, etc, are printed on the same type of press, but on second rate paper and with ordinary ink. In both Michael's offset lithographs and giclée reproductions, we use only specialty inks, which are specifically designed for 100-200 year light-fastedness. That being said, any work of art (originals included) should never, never, be hung in direct sunlight. Although a reproduction on acid-free stock with specialty inks will hold up longer than a poster or photocopied print, it will eventually succumb to the damaging effects of the sun. Even the best paint job, with layers of clear coat, will fade if you leave the car exposed to the elements!!

We really pride ourselves on the quality of the reproduction of Michael's work. His Limited Edition Prints and Giclée Prints are the exact same size as the original watercolor paintings, while the Gallery Edition Canvases are enlargements. All 3 types of reproductions are incredibly close in color, quality and sharpness to the original paintings. Michael hand inspects each reproduction himself, before it leaves the Studio.   

Like Michael and myself, most enthusiasts buy collectibles they like, rather than for their future value. However, due to the differences in quality and longevity of a reproduction, as an art buyer, you need to be as informed as possible about what you are buying.

Key questions to ask:

  • Is it a limited reproduction - how many have been produced?
  • What size if the original? What medium was it painted in?
  • What kind of paper/canvas is it reproduced on? Is it acid-free?
  • What is the process with which the reproductions were created?
Remember, when choosing art, there really is no right or wrong, only what inspires you, brings you joy, and/or adds to the color of your life. Thank you for including Michael's work in your collection! — Linda

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Air Travel and Gift Giving

Like everyone else, we've been watching news about the TSA, the body scanners and the "much too personal" physical searches. The whole thing has many people concerned about the health ramifications of the radiation, as well as being personally violated. There is actually a National Opt-Out Day (please note, the images on the site are a bit graphic) scheduled for Wednesday, November 24th, that urges people that are flying that day to make a stand against the whole thing. Hopefully the message will not only be received, but have an impact.

We, like many of our clients, have just opted out of air travel this year, period. We already passed on SEMA in Las Vegas and won't be flying anywhere this winter. Instead, we are shipping gifts across country to family and friends. It can be a bit pricey (cheaper than flying, though) and it's not the same as being there, but we're just not willing to subject ourselves and especially our children to the high doses of radiation or the invasive body searches. And, we can't expect our long distance loved ones to do any different.

One nice thing about saving the airfare, is that it leaves us with a bigger budget for the gifts, themselves. I know it's not how much you spend, but the sentiment that's important, but it feels good to have a bit more budget 'wiggle' room. I'm finding shopping funner this year! It seems I'm always busy, so I do quite a bit of my shopping on-line in the middle of the night. I've noticed that some on-line retailers offer shipping discounts during the holiday season, making it even more appealing.

Michael's automotive art is popular in the gift-giving department. Especially since we do offer Free Shipping anywhere in the World. We can ship your print directly to the recipient. You can be in Florida, wanting to send a gift to your cousin in Australia, and we can do that for you, free of charge. We'll even include a Christmas Card from you, if you like. Just let us know what you want it to say. The Planning for Christmas article in our Studio Newsletter, gives you a guideline for ordering deadlines to make it in time for Christmas. For International deliveries (Australia & Europe), we recommend a 2 week lead time.

This holiday season is definitely going to be different. I've heard that bookings at favorite kid-friendly holiday destinations, like Disney in Florida and California are down. As well as hot spots like Hawaii and other tropical destinations. And let's not forget North American ski resorts like Lake Placid, Aspen, Big White, Whistler and Banff. Maybe what needs to happen is a complete boycott of air-travel ... that would send the message, loud and clear!

Although, I have to admit that the on-line gift shopping is making our approach to the holidays a little less hectic and a bit more relaxed, I would like to see this "security" business resolved. Until it is, I don't see any air-travel in our near future.

Take care. Be safe. — Linda

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Corvette Painting Released

It's finally here —  Michael's long awaited Corvette painting. Entitled, "C1, See Them All" it features over 30 cars, spanning all six generations of America's classic sports car. It will be officially released tomorrow, but it's up on line now. It is the 7th painting in Michael's "Muscle Car Landscapes" Series.


The painting's name, "C1, See Them All," is a play on words. Taking advantage of the aptly named C1 through C6 generations of the Corvette, Michael chose the title to tell the story ... while stopping at a scenic rest stop, one of a group of late model Vette drivers have spotted a C1 in the valley. As he calls his fellow enthusiasts over, he realizes that he not only sees the one car, but has happened upon a find of epic proportions ... when he sees them all!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Carrot Cake - Sugar Free

October just plain got away from me! Between Canadian Thanksgiving and the Car Collector Auction in Toronto, and Michael working crazy hours to complete his latest all Corvette painting and a bout of the flu, not to mention Halloween with school aged kids, it just whizzed by!

As things calm down a bit, and before the frenzy of a New Release hits (it's called "C1, See Them All", by the way), I thought I'd take a moment and share another "new" sugar free recipe that I just baked last night. Although I'm the only one who has tasted tested it so far, I'm liking it. My father, who is a diabetic with a huge sweet tooth, will be the ultimate judge. But I think he'll approve, it's just decadent and moist enough for his liking!

Here's a quick photo I took, (it's obvious that Michael's the artist, not me!) in our dining room. Although you can't see it, that's "New to the Chase", Michael's 2001 Bullitt painting, in the background!

Sweet Carrot Cake - Sugar-free

Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups Splenda Grandular
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups oi

Frosting
1 2/3 cup Splenda
8 oz cream cheese (I use Philidelphia Spreadable - in the tub)
4 tblsp margarine
2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly dust with flour, bottom and sides of a bunt pan (which is what I used) or two 9-inch round pans. In a large bowl combine all Cake ingredients. Mix on medium for about 3 minutes. Pour in to prepared pan(s), bake for 45-60 minutes for the bunt, 35-45 for the 9-inch, or until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes, remove from pan(s) and cool completely.

For frosting, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Blend well with a spatula. The frosting may still need a bit of work, I've never made one completely sugar-free before. I recommend playing with the ingredients a bit, maybe adding some extra vanilla. Although mine was pretty good, I'm not sure it's quite sweet enough. Alternately, skip the icing, the cake is so moist, it really doesn't need it. Or make traditional icing and serve it "on the side". Just had another thought: this would be excellent with sugar-free whipped cream - yum!!

I'll let you know if it passes the tough dad test. In the mean time, watch for the release of Michael's Corvette piece ... any day now ...  and for my next "Buying Art" installment.  — Linda

Sunday, October 10, 2010

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

This is a bit off topic from my blogs about car related family fun, car shows, Michael's car art and diabetic friendly sugar free desserts, but it is something we really got talking about in Hershey, PA, when we were there at the Fall Meet this month. And that is High-Fructose Corn Syrup.

It's become such a hot-button topic recently, that there was even a 3-minute "rant" about it during a recent Law & Order episode. During a chat about obesity, especially in minors, one of the characters went all out with information about the sweetener, really drawing attention to the fact that it is a major ingredient in soft drinks. Which is being linked to obesity of all people, but primarily kids.

There's also been some studies that have shown that a rather startling percentage of High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) contains Mercury. Not good. We all learned that Mercury was a poison in grade school. So, we've been diligently checking food packages, paying specific attention to whether HFCS is listed in the ingredients. And, let me tell you, it's alarming.

Barn find at Hershey Fall Meet

That brings me to the car show/swap meet at Hershey. I doddled in the hotel room and ended up at the breakfast buffet by myself, leaving Michael and the kids to finish getting ready to hit the Green Field, Red Field and Chocolate Fields, at Hershey. Deciding on a Yoplait yogurt, I sat at the bar watching some morning program on the flat screen tv. Bored, I decided to read the label of the ketchup bottle in front of me ... and there is was ... HFCS.

Then I checked my yogurt ... and there it was again ... in YOGURT! You gotta be kidding me! I thought I was eating "healthy!" Turns out it's in everything. My guess is that it's cheap and probably acts as some kind of preservative! Well, you can imagine, I started checking EVERY label on EVERYTHING, both in the USA and Canada. Funny, but Canadian sodas don't list HFCS, neither does our yogurt, or cookies or cereal, etc.

What's with the double standard? Are the Canadian food and drug standards stricter than the FDA? Are we "safer" from the effects of HFCS? Sadly, doesn't look like it. I just pulled this off wikipedia, and my stomach dropped:

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) — also called glucose-fructose syrup in the UK, and glucose/fructose in Canada — comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness. In the United States, consumer foods and products typically use high-fructose corn syrup as a sugar substitute. In the United States, it has become very common in processed foods and beverages, including breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments.


Apparently we need to be on the lookout for other terms. And, without even looking, I know most of our packaged foods contain it by one name or another.

No matter what the name, it's probably close to impossible to avoid, but we should all pay attention. Whether it's Mercury heavy, or connected to obesity, it's definitely one to be aware of. Like many of our clients, Michael and I both work full time, run a household and juggle the activities of two busy kids. It's not like when I was a kid ... my mother made everything from scratch. I'm happy if we're eating "home cooking" rather than greasy take out, even if that home cooking starts with cans and packages! I think, though, it's time to take a step back from "convenience" and try getting back to basics.

Be well. - Linda

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buying Art (Lesson 2): Authentic Art Reproductions vs Fakes

Now-a-days, with the advancements or high-end photocopiers and the low cost of color copies in general, seeing unauthorized "prints" of artists' work at swap meets is not entirely uncommon.

Enlarged dot pattern in b&w printing.
Enlarged dot pattern in color printing.



Any reproduction made from a reproduction, is lower in quality, because it is another generation (or "step") away from the original painting. At each "step" away from the original painting, there is a degradation of quality. Usually, the color is off. and the image may appear fuzzy or out of focus. And often, if copied from an offset lithograph, the 'dot pattern' created during the original reproduction process is visible on the unauthorized copy, causing what is called a moire pattern.

Moire pattern
So, how do you know if it's an authentic reproduction, authorized or licensed by the artist? Aside from the telltale signs I've mentioned, there's an old saying, 'if it's too good to be true....'  For example, you've seen an artist's reproductions selling for $500 and up, and you spot some at a swap meet, for $20, chances are very good that they are unauthorized photocopies of the original print. Not only are they low quality, but whoever has made the copies, is actually breaking the law. It is a case of copyright infringement.

What about really famous art/artist, like say the DaVinci's "Mona Lisa". We've all seen her likeness used hundreds of times. Paintings like the "Mona Lisa" pre-date copyright laws. That being said, any new reproduction (especially those altered in some way from the original image) is subject to the same copyright laws as contemporary art.

Some artists, like Michael, go a little further in ensuring you know you have an authentic reproduction. Since 1997, Michael's Limited Edition Prints and Artist Proofs with Remarque have been accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and are embossed with his Studio Seal. [The following prints were released prior to the decision to include Certificates: Evolution of a Legend, Desert Snakes, Mach Speed, Thoroughbreds and Kings of the Road.] Michael's limited edition reproductions are all hand-signed and numbered, as are his Certificates of Authenticity.

If you should find yourself at an event where artwork is being offered, and you're unsure about a reproduction, the best way to verify that what you've seen is the real deal — contact the artist directly and ask them. This not only helps you make an informed decision, but helps him or her as well — giving them a chance to "catch the thief" and protect their work, their authorized dealers, and you (their client) from being ripped off. — Linda

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Buying Art (Lesson 1): Real Hand Drawn Original Paintings vs Digital Art


video
Progress of Michael's original watercolor painting of Marauders of Woodward
The white you see is the board he paints on, the blue is tape he uses to mask off the image.

Let me start by saying that art is subjective. Whatever the piece, and however it is created, if you love it and want to hang it on your wall, then you should. At the same time, I believe that you should always have as much information about what you're buying, so you know what you're investing in.

This summer, we had a client come to us talking about an artist claiming to use an airbrush to create his 'paintings.' What the artist was actually doing, was using the 'airbrush' tool in a program like Adobe Photoshop or Ilustrator, when digitally creating his pieces. In this day and age, with the technology computers offer us, and the advances in illustration, paint and photo touch-up programs of the last few years, some artists have chosen to take that route. And why not, it's quicker and safer, and the effects, when used correctly, can be beyond photo-realism. The problem lies with them misrepresenting their craft, because, as many people know, there is a huge difference in a hand-drawn, hand-painted work of art and one that is created digitally.

I'm a graphic designer (not an artist) and over the last 25 years, have worked on books, wine labels, ads, brochures, you name it. I've used Photoshop to edit and fix photographs supplied by clients, in order to make them usable for reproduction. I've created computer generated characters to adorn teaching posters. I've bought stock photos and completely edited them, changing colors, adding images, etc., to make them work for my clients. Michael has often marvelled at how easily I can manipulate or change an image using Photoshop. And, how carefree I can be when doing so. It's because I can keep a back up file on my computer, click back in my 'history', or simply fix an error without risk — something watercolor does NOT allow him to do.

Something else a program like Photoshop or Illustrator allows users to do is to reuse certain images, portions of images or objects again and again. For example, when you look at a series of digitally created prints, you'll often find the same background, figures and (in the case of automotive prints) the same cars. They may be a different size or color, but those things are easily changed. Once the digital artist has created that image or component, it can be used over and over again, by copying and pasting into the next document. Some people even keep their own set of 'stock' images to go back to and reuse as needed. And certain things, like gradations of color, are created with the click of a mouse ... the computer software does the work.

So, want to know what you're really looking at? Next time you talk to an artist saying he or she uses an airbrush, ask them what medium they use. An airbrush is a tool (whether the physical one or the computer tool), but if they are actually hand painting, they must be using watercolor, ink, gouache or acrylic paint as the medium. 

Aside for the obvious lack of risk, and ease of reusing elements, with computer generated art there is no actual original. With a piece that is done by hand, whether in oil, acrylic, gouache, airbrush, ink, pastels, pencil, charcoal or watercolor, there is always, always, a one-and-only original painting.

As I said in the beginning, art is very subjective and no matter how it is created, may be worthy of your collection. My intent is not to discredit digital artists, but instead to help clients make an informed choice — you should have all the information about a piece and it's creator. Kind of like a tribute or cloned  car ... as long as you know that's what you're getting and you're okay with it, there's no problem. Like the client I mentioned earlier, no one likes to feel like they've been misled.

The next time you invest in art, if how it's created is important to you, ask the questions ... "Is it hand painted?" "What is the medium?" and "Is there an original painting available?" — Linda

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Charlotte Autofair at the Speedway

Richard Petty will be on site to meet and greet his many fans. Here's what the official website has to say:

Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Richard Petty will greet fans on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carolina Carports vendor space in the Manufacturers' Midway during the Food Lion AutoFair. 

We'll be there too! And we'll have "Service Fit For A King" on display, both framed, unframed and as a Gallery Edition Giclée Canvas ... might be a good time to get it autographed by the King himself.

Service Fit For A King

We'll be showing Michael's work along side the classic car invitational display. Looks like we'll be in pretty good company. Scheduled for the weekend's activities:  the world's only collection of street legal bumper cars, a 70th anniversary display of 1940 Fords, custom vans and recent The Tonight Show guest 92-year-old Rachel Veitch.

The Food Lion Autofair runs August 26-29th at the Charlotte Motorspeedway. Hope to see you there. — Linda

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Mopar Nationals at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio

It was HOT at the Mopar Nationals this year. And I don't just mean all those Dodges and Plymouths! Don't get me wrong, there were some pretty amazing cars on site, including a nice collection of Vipers. But I'm pretty sure the temperatures reached over 105 degrees. Let's just say, it was a toasty automotive event.

VIEW FROM OUR TENT AT THE MOPAR NATIONALS IN HEBRON, OHIO

We were in our new location (L4-5) this year., which worked out perfectly for us. Instead of looking across the aisle at tools, we had a great view of a couple of Petty wing cars and a smaller view of the beginning of the staging lanes for the drag strip. So, for once, I got so see a lot of cars. Usually, Michael goes out exploring, admiring, photographing and shopping, while I "man the booth."

We also had a chance to meet up with some friends (old and new) as well as visit with Mopar Enthusiast  Editor Geoff Stunkard, who we'd seen last at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum during the Wing Car Reunion in October 2009. He's going to be including a bit about "They Came With The Farm Too" in this year's November issue. Thanks Geoff!

If you're a fan of the Amos Automotive magazine line up, you've probably seen a copy of Muscle Car Enthusiast February 2008. If you haven't, it's worth looking out for. You may even want to contact the magazine and see about a back issue. It's a favorite issue of mine, because it featured "Opens At Eight" on the cover and they ran a supporting article about Michael in the magazine ... very cool!

MUSCLE CAR ENTHUSIAST CHALLENGER COVER

It's been a busy August for us, with the end not in sight yet. We are off to North Carolina to exhibit Michael's paintings at the Autofair. We'll be set up along side some pretty rare rides in the invitational automobile exhibit. If you have one more car show in you this year, stop on by and check out the cars and Michael's art! See you there. — Linda

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bothwell Car Show and Swap Meet Sponsored by Old Autos

I think I've mentioned before, that we might be considered a gear head family. This past weekend definitely speaks to that truth! Instead of taking it easy, hanging out on the home front, on one of the only non-working weekends we have this summer, we packed up the kids and headed for the annual Bothwell Car Show and Swap Meet in Bothwell, Ontario. It's brought to us by the folks at Old Autos.


About a 3 hour drive from our home, I have to say, it was a lot of fun. The swap meet held some great buys; Michael lucked out and found a spare wheel for our 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula (apparently we didn't have one). I found some nifty collectible elephants for my mom's 74th birthday. Our daughter discovered auto related signage for her bedroom door (85 mph speed limit), and our son wheeled a sweet deal on a couple of 'dubbed out', hot rod 1:18 scale vehicles. And, the kettle corn was some of the best we've had. Overall a great success. My only complaint ... we didn't win the 50/50. The lady who did, took home over $17,000. That's NOT a typo. It's one of the biggest pots around and people travel from far and wide just for the chance to take it home.

All was not lost though, on the way home, we stayed in London at the Best Western Lamplighter ... if you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it ... they really know how to treat their guests.

But, back to the event. The swap meet covers 2 days (Friday and Saturday), with a car show all day Saturday. I caught Michael checking out some pretty nice rides, including an Olds the same color green as the one in his newest painting, "Four-Barrel Four-Speeds with Dual Exhaust". And, I have a feeling he might have been getting come inspiration for the next one?!?!?

Checking out the Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Do we see a Sting Ray in the next painting?
We even ran into a couple of clients, showing off their cars at the event. See you in Kitchener at Moparfest in a couple of weeks! Speaking of Moparfest, if you go on the West Jet Festivals webpage, you can vote for Moparfest as your favorite Canadian festival ... very neat.

We're gearing up for our next event, the Mopar Nationals at the National Trails Raceway just outside Columbus, Ohio. I'm looking forward to seeing some more familiar faces and showing off some of Michael's work. If you're in the area, stop by and see us at C9-10 on the Manufacturers Midway. Safe driving. Take care. — Linda

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Car Shows in July

July is almost over, and with it nearly half the summer car show season has slipped by. I cannot believe it has been a month since I last posted anything on our blog. Between going to Chrysler Carlisle and the Concourse D'Elegance at Meadowbrook, the release of Michael's 429 Boss Mustang painting, "Boss Building" and the kids being home on summer vacation, it's been pretty crazy!

30' of art at Chrysler Carlisle 2010

Sometimes it's a juggle having two young kids (they're 10 and 12 now) and being able to attend and exhibit Michael's automotive art at car events. But getting to show people his incredibly detailed work up close and personal, and seeing their reactions to it, it's worth it! We get a lot of 'ooohs' and 'aaahs'. The most common thing we here?: "WOW!"

It's that kind of reaction that keeps Michael painting and let's him know he made the right decision in walking away from a successful career as as commercial artist to turn his talents on capturing the classic lines of the automobile! And he's lovin' it!

Here are just a few things people have had to say about Michael's paintings and the Limited Edition Prints, Artist Proofs with Remarque and Gallery Edition Canvases he offers:

"AWESOME!!!" — David M.

"Love Michael's art - especially that Petty print he recently released." — Terry D.

"... [they] look fantastic (as usual)" — Anthony T.

"The print looks great.  I can't wait for it to come so I can hang it next to the other one." — Dave H.

"Beautiful art work." — Jack N.
"Your passion for auto/art is leaps above the rest." — B.H.

"I love your work and can’t wait to buy your next Chevy painting – I have them all so far." — Dave L.

Thank you to everyone, everywhere, who has been so supportive of Michael's work! He couldn't do it without you!! From our family to yours, we hope you're enjoying a safe, happy, car show filled, summer. See you "at the show!" — Linda

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mopar Magic Show Close to Home

If you're in the Ottawa, Ontario area ... specifically anywhere near Cornwall ... and you're the least bit interested in Mopars, you should check out the Mopar Magic 2010 Car Show at Lamoureux Riverfront Park in Cornwall, Ontario. It's being held, rain or shine, on Saturday July 3rd. What a great way to round out the July 1st / July 4th (depending which side of the border you're from) long weekend!

Admission to the public is free, Car Registration is only $12 at the gate!




It's the 7th year this show's been around and our first time attending. Notman Chrysler Dodge Jeep is graciously sponsoring the event and allowing us to come along for the fun!!

If you haven't already seen Michael's "Service Fit For A King" or "They Came With The Farm Too" in person (especially as large Gallery Edition Canvaes), getting out to the show is a great excuse to!

Hope to see you there. Have a safe & joy-filled Canada Day and Fourth of July!! — Linda

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day 2010!

This year, in celebration of Father's Day, we'll be doing something completely different ... instead of attending an automotive event, we'll be exhibiting Michael's Limited Edition Prints and Gallery Edition Canvases at a local car show. Only 10 minutes from our home, The Autodream Group in Niagara Falls is hosting it's 4th Annual, any make, any model, classic car show. Last year, over 150 cars graced the restoration company's grounds. And this year they expect even more!

It's worth stopping by their Open House (running at the same time as the show), just to see the incredible 50,000 square foot facility. Not to mention, the cars the Autodream Group has on display!

So, if you're anywhere near Niagara Falls, Ontario and need a 'classic car fix' or you want to surprise dad and 'take him to the show', stop by and check it out: 


The Autodream Group


Hope to see you there ... and no matter what you do, have a very Happy Father's Day!! - Linda

Monday, June 7, 2010

Automotive Art in the Headlines

Great to see some more press on Michael's latest paintings. I have to thank all the publications (magazine and on-line) that so graciously make the room to feature his new Limited Edition Prints, Artist Proofs with Remarque and Gallery Edition Canvases.

And, a great big thanks goes to those writers that take the time to scribe some pretty cool stuff about his work. Here's a link to a recent blurb in Old Cars Weekly on-line (click on the logo to get to the article). I'll be posting more as I come across them. Thanks! - Linda

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Outdoor Carshow of the Season

Even though the heavy rain storm on Friday night made for some really wet grounds, The Fleetwood Country Cruizein in London Ontario had another great turnout this year. The weather was fabulous on Saturday, with the second day of forecasted rain holding off until early evening — we were able to teardown and pack up before it hit! With the heavy rains on Friday night, apparently a few cars got stuck in the mud, but they managed to pull them out to safety with the help of Steve Plunkett, himself. I haven't heard about any major damage, but I'm pretty sure some photos will find their way onto the web!


The show is one of Canada's largest outdoor car shows and is open to muscle, classic and sports cars from all over. One neat attraction is the Amphi-Car "drive" through the pond. And there's more to see indoors. Steve Plunkett's Cadillacs of the 30s Museum and the 31-car garage were open to the public as well. Currently an one day show, it's gotten so big, Steve's talking about making it two days long, starting next year.

Along with giving us the chance to see some amazing collector cars, the event supports, not only the Plunkett Foundation, but also over 20 other charitable organizations ... very cool. If you didn't make it out this year, mark your calendar for the 2011 event. It's usually held the first weekend in June.

Once again, it was nice to see some familiar faces and to have the chance to show Michael's work to a new collection of admirers as well. Our display covered over 30 feet, giving us the opportunity to display 17 Gallery Edition Canvases, including the matching "They Came With The Farm" and "They Came With The Farm Too" set —side by side, they really are traffic stopping! Also on display for the first time, was the Gallery Editon Canvase of Michael's latest release, "Boss Building"! {note: intro pricing ends one June 26}

Thanks to everyone for stopping by. See you at the next show! — Linda

Monday, May 31, 2010

Boss 429 Painting Officially Released

June is here, and along with what I consider the official start to the 2010 car show season, is the official release of Michael's latest automotive painting, featuring the 1969 and 1970 Boss 429, entitled "Boss Building."


We'll be showing it in person for the first time this weekend at the Fleetwood Country Cruizein in London, Ontario, while simultaneously, showing it at Ford Carlisle! Michael and I will be at Fleetwood, while our friend, Jim McDermott (Mac's Art & Automobile Collectibles), will be setting up on the Carlisle Fairgrounds in our usual spot (H1-HH1). He'll not only have the Limited Edition Prints of "Boss Building," but he'll also be showing one of the Gallery Edition Canvases. If your plans over the weekend, include a trip to Ford Carlisle, stop by and see Jim — tell him we sent you!

Also on-site at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, you can see one of Michael's other Gallery Edition Canvases, on display at the "Mustang Magazine" booth, by the Grandstand. "Mustang Magazine" will be holding a draw, and one lucky winner will walk away with the limited Gallery Edition Canvas of "Big Blocks Behind the Barn." Find out more, by visiting their blog.

Links of interest:

I think it will be a great weekend, no matter what show you attend. With Father's Day just around the corner, what a nice treat to take dad to the car show ... or sneak out yourself, for that special gift! Happy car showing. — Linda

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Aero Car Reunion tour of Wellborn Muscle Car Museum



I just spotted this on YouTube ... very cool. The Wellborn Muscle Car Museum is definitely a must-see stop on any enthusiasts tour of the southern states. It is, quite simply, fabulous! Although I don't think we appear in the video, Michael and I were there back in October of 2009 for the Daytona Superbird Auto Club Reunion. Several of Michael's original watercolor Mopar paintings are on display in the Museum and the Gift Shop now offers Limited Edition Prints of most of Michael's work.

Check out this link to the Legendary Collector Cars website ... there are lots more photos, if you look closely, you'll see Michael's Limited Edition Prints and Gallery Edition Canvases in a couple of them, including the #43 Canvas of "Service Fit For a King"!

If you were there for the pre-Grand Opening, send us some pics or video, I'd love to include them on our blog. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. — Linda

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rare Boss Mustang Assembly Plant Photos

Muscle cars reached collector status sometime in the early 80s. That's not to say that their value skyrocketed at that time, but enthusiasts were already starting to buy them up and restore them. And, they were collecting, publishing and when the Internet age hit, posting every little thing about them that they could find. There is so much stuff out there, it's amazing - from vintage neon and metal signs, to car manuals, photographs and ads from back in the day. You need only to travel to a swap meet or car show to find lots of treasures. But after a few years, you figure you've seen pretty much all that's out there.  So, that when after all these years, something "new" (that's actually old) crops up, it's pretty amazing. Such is the case with the Randy Hernandez collection of photos.

Michael got his first glimpse of Randy's photos of the Kar Kraft Brighton Michigan Plant in Mustang Magazine a few months ago. Featuring the aerial of the plant in a double-page spread, the images were amazing to see. Turns out, the photos were Randy's dads, Fran Hernandez, who worked at Kar Kraft back in '69. He was the Manufacturing Liaison Manager (the most senior Ford Motor Company employee on-site).


Timing is everything ... especially when it comes to being inspired to paint. Michael had been thinking about a Boss painting for a while. He had just started sketching out some ideas when he saw the magazine layout ... and the rest is history! We contacted Randy and bought a CD from him with over 20 never-before-seen pics - pretty cool! It was that little bit of inspiration that Michael needed. Here's a sneak peek at the final creation - "Boss Building". It'll be released this weekend.

For information on how you can get your hands on these rare photos, contact Randy Hernandez (he's located in Michigan). — Linda

Monday, May 10, 2010

Collecitble: Mopar Magazine - Car Art on the Cover

Mopar Collectors Guide - July 2010

Magazine Editor Rob Wolf has honored Michael's great Mopar art once again, by putting his newest creation, They Came With The Farm Too, on the cover of the July issue of the Mopar Collectors Guide! These magazines have become quite the collectibles themselves, not only for the great content, but also for the uniqueness of the covers. Many clients go so far as to bring them to car shows and other automotive events in the hopes of Michael being there and having him autograph their copy.

If you're thinking of making the trek, magazine in hand, then just drop us an email to find out if we'll be at the event you plan to attend - we haven't quite nailed down our summer show schedule yet. I can tell you, we'll be at All-Chrysler Carlisle in July to start. We're in Row 'J', just a few steps from the grandstands.

This is the 5th cover of MCG that Michael has been featured on ... a great big thank you to Rob and all the staff at the Mopar Collectors Guide! To add to your collection and get your hands on a back issue, visit MCG on-line. — Linda

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mopar Dream Farm Continued

It's hard to believe that March flew by as quickly as it did. It's always a busy month, what with kids home for Spring Break, but this time it seemed even crazier. And now, we're half way into April! Before we know it, summer will be upon us. And with it, the summer car shows.

Our first big show would have been last weekend. We had planned on exhibiting Michael's automotive art at the Charlotte Autofair in North Carolina, however due to my mother's health, we just couldn't make the trip this time round. If you went, I'd love to hear how it was!

What we were able to do, however, was participate in a local event, Car Collector Auction (formerly RM Auction) at the International Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Only an hour's drive from our home in St. Catharines, we could each make the drive back and forth, as needed, over the 3 days. That meant, I could be here for my mom and at the event as well.



Along with the personal stuff, what's been keeping us super busy is the release of the long awaited sequel painting to Michael's incredibly popular, They Came With The Farm, aptly named .... They Came With The Farm Too (as in "as well"). When you see the two paintings next to each other, you realize the second one is actually a continuation of the first scene. It's really quite amazing.


Don't forget that the first one was painted 3 years ago, that's part of what makes it so incredible. Think about it, not only did Michael have to "line up" the scene, because one painting starts where the other ends, but he also had to match the color palette. Now, these are not out-of-the-tube paints ... each one is mixed - kind of like a custom paint job. The colors of every blade of grass, the sky, the sun and the shadows, all have to "match" the original painting.


Next, objects, trees and cars that were "cropped" on the right hand side of They Came With The Farm, have to appear in the second painting. Classic Mopars that were reflected in the body panels of the cars, had to appear in painting. And the cars in the first one, needed to be reflected in the cars in the new one! If that wasn't enough, the paintings had to work as a pair (color, layout), that was the goal, after all, and yet, like the first one, They Came With The Farm Too had to stand alone as well!!


Incredibly challenging and difficult, Michael pulled it off! Whether hung together or separately, this is an amazing collector set. Add to it that we are matching print numbers, and it just doesn't get much better ... although, if there was a third, maybe .... we ARE getting tons of inquiries!

For now, we'll just have to wait and see. Here's to a fabulous Spring! — Linda

All Automobile Sites

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tiramisu Recipe - Simply Wonderful

February and March were extremely busy months at our little art studio. With over 25% of Michael's new painting, They Came With The Farm Too, being preordered before it was completed, you can imagine how busy we were once it was released! For Michael it was signing, numbering and embossing all the prints as well as the Certificates of Authenticity! Plus, he packs each order himself - that was a lot of tubes. Let's just say, FedEx loves us. For me, just the organization of paperwork and shipping documents alone, was a bit overwhelming.

Most of the first big rush is behind us now, making this weekend kind of a nice "breather" for me. As I prepare Easter lunch today and get ready to make my self-proclaimed, "best Tiramisu in the world," I am reminded that I promised to share this little flavor morsel with anyone who reads my blog!

Now, as you may already know, both my parents have diabetes, but my father, in particular, has an extreme sweet tooth. I am continually trying out new recipes (finding ways of making traditional ones as sugar free as possible), and although many are unsuccessful, this one's a real winner (even with non-diabetic friends). It's rich, decadent, and almost sugar free. I say almost, because although I've tried, I have not yet succeeded in finding sugar-free alcohol or making sugarless lady fingers. For now, I'm using store bought ones. What I do, however, is cut down the number of ladyfingers. My dad says the best part is the filling, anyway.

So, here goes. I hope you enjoy it. By the way, you may want to keep this little number a secret ... it's not as hard to make as people let on. Whenever I make this Tiramisu, I am always reminded of the Kellogg's Rice Krispie commercial where the mom dusts herself with flour to make it look like she's slaved over the squares!

Tiramisu Recipe - Simply Wonderful

6 large eggs, separated
1 cup Splenda Granulated
16 oz (475 gram) tub of Mascarpone
20 ladyfingers
1 cup Espresso or strong coffee
(I mix Maxwell House Instant Rich Dark Roast; 3 tbsp into 1 cup  water)
2 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur
1/8 cup cocoa
Optional: whipping cream (sweetened with Splenda

To make the filling, combine 6 egg yolks, 4 tbsp coffee, Splenda, brandy and 2 tbsp coffee liqueur into the large mixing bowl.  Beat at medium speed for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add Mascarpone and beat another 3 - 5 minutes until smooth.

In another bowl beat 6 egg whites and a pinch of Splenda until forms stiff peaks. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.

Pour the coffee and remaining tbsp coffee liqueur into flat dish, dip one side of each ladyfinger and layer the bottom of a large, clear serving dish (I use a trifle bowl) with 6-7 ladyfingers. Unlike a traditional recipe, the fingers don't need to touch, since we are using less. I often break them in half before dipping - that way I can spread them out more on each layer.

Cover the ladyfingers with 1/3 of Mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa. I use a flour sifter, it makes for a nice even dusting. Alternately, you can use a small mess strainer. I use a fairly liberal dusting on the "in-between" layers, a lighter one on the top.

Continue layering and finish with a Mascarpone mixture layer, dusted with cocoa.

Refrigerate for at least an 1 hour before serving. If you can leave it overnight, it's even better!

I scoop my Tiramisu into dessert bowls and top with whipped cream (which according to my dad, makes everything better). It's not "pretty" but I'm more about taste than presentation! The dessert does look fabulous in the serving bowl, however, so you may want to "show it off" before scooping/serving. You may have seen photos where the Tiramisu is cut into pretty squares. Because we use less ladyfingers, my version is not as stiff. The ladyfingers absorb some of the moisture, making other recipes more "rigid."

From our family to yours, have a wonderful Easter weekend. Enjoy the food, no matter what you have, but especially the company of family and friends. See you soon. — Linda

Monday, March 8, 2010

Muscle Car Magazine Covers

It all started back in late spring 2007. Rob Wolf, of the Mopar Collectors Guide (MCG), gave us a call. He wanted to put Michael's first all Mopar painting, "They Came With The Farm," on the cover of his magazine. Our first reaction was to say, no. Up until then, we had always turned down queries about utilizing Michael's automotive paintings on anything other than the Limited Edition Prints, or Artist Proofs with Remarque, or Gallery Edition Canvases. Our feeling was (and still is), that if a collector is investing in a limited piece of art, it should in fact, be limited. Not that suddenly the complete, un-altered image appears on mugs, notecards and t-shirts.

That being said, a magazine cover was intriguing. Especially since it would be supported by an article about Michael and his art. Rob described in detail how the cover would be handled and we ultimately agreed. The rest, as we say, is history.

One interesting thing that came about due to Michael being "covered" ... it created a whole new kind of collectible. Now clients who have the Limited Edition Prints, Artist Proof with Remarque or Gallery Edition Canvases and the matching postcards, can also add the magazines to their collection! In fact, many have come up to us as automotive events and auctions, and had Michael autograph their copy of the magazine .... how cool is that! While some just hang on to their magazines as keepsakes, adding them to their collections, others frame them up right alongside their reproduction.

If you're interested in getting in on the collecting ... check out MCG's back issues webpage: http://www.moparcollectorsguide.com/backissues.html, they may still have some copies available. Then, next time you attend an event we're exhibiting at, bring your copy. Michael will happily autograph it for you! — Linda

Here are the covers and their issue dates:

"They Came With The Farm"
August 2007

"Six Pack Salute"
April 2008






"Feeding Frenzy"
December 2009
"Service Fit For A King"
April 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Disaster at Russo and Steele Car Auction

I know it looks like old news, but I had forgotten to post this blog in February, my apologies — sometimes life just takes over.

The folks at the Mustang Magazine, covered the disaster brought on by mother nature, at the Russo and Steele Auction in January. Here's a link to the article on their blog: High Winds Hit Russo Steele’ Scottsdale Auction

Warning: some of the photos are pretty nasty to look at.

A bit of background on this publication .... the brain child of Curt Patterson and other like minded Mustang aficionados and legends in the business, it's one of the nicest Mustang magazines to grace the shelves of convenience stores and bookstores nationwide. Going back to basics, it it dedicated solely to the classic pony car. If you have a chance, visit their website and give it a look-see, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and even a little bit impressed. — Linda

Life Advice for Partners of Classic Car Buffs

The headline, "Old car crush irks wife," appeared in our local paper last weekend. As you can guess, it was about the amount of money a woman's husband was spending on his classic car (no, no one mentioned the year, make and model). Here's the question and the advice, Sun Media columnist Robin Anderson, had to give:
Dear Robin: My husband is into old cars. The other day, he let me know he is sending a car out for some work -- to the tune of $8,000. I almost snorted my coffee. Why is it he thinks it is perfectly fine to drop that kind of money on an old car, but has a fit when he sees the grocery bill? — Seeing (candyapple) red

Dear Seeing Red: If he is spending the grocery, family vacation or home renovation money on it, you can bet your tush I have a problem with this. But as far as I'm concerned, there are so many worse things he could be doing. If he is home every night, treats you well, loves you, is not addicted to drugs or running around on you, let him have his hobby. If he has a problem with the grocery bill, take him with you the next time you shop and ask him which of his favourite meals he can do without.
— from "School of Life", St. Catharines Standard, January 22, 2010
It's funny, that's exactly the attitude that I share with many wives and partners of muscle car enthusiasts. As the wife of someone who is heavily into cars, I've kind of taken it one step farther ...  "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em — and drag the kids along too!" I'm joking, of course, they come along willingly most of the time! I'm not kidding about joining Michael, though. It's pretty much been like that from the beginning. Like Robin says, of all the things he could be doing or spending our money on, the car hobby is my first choice! And, for the most part, muscle cars and sports cars are a pretty good investment, either increasing in value or at least holding their own.

It's also given us the opportunity to work side by side, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. And, I do like muscle cars, especially their aggressive front ends and all that chrome. I've even worked on the cars alongside Michael. I've detailed interiors and re-upholstered our 1967 Mustang GTA Convertible.
Here's something you might not know: if you look at Michael's painting, Flashback on the Track, you'll see that the 2005 Legend Lime Mustang is reflected in the wall of the Nashville Speedway. But, it's reflected as a 1967 GT Fastback ... that reflection is based on our car. The one I worked on!

So, next time there's a car show, grab your partner, go to the show and treat her to a nice dinner. You never know, she might really enjoy herself. If she's like me, at the very least, she'll appreciate spending time with you and of not cooking or doing the dishes! — Linda

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Muscle Car Barn Finds

Every now and then, you hear stories of old barns either housing, or surrounded by vintage cars, including some pretty amazing muscle cars. Like a couple of years back at the Mopar Nationals in Ohio, I heard a young guy had come across and purchased (at a steal) a real, solid, original, all stock Plymouth Superbird. I know, right? Like lots of folks, you may be skeptical about the existence of these incredible finds. Well, think again. I came across this blog this weekend (Cars in Barns) and just HAD to share it. The cars that author, Ryan Brutt, has spotted and photographed range in pretty decent condition to ... is that one standing on end? There are Camaros, GTXs, Superbirds, Valiants and more. Definitely worth a look-see and read-through.

Hearing about finds like the one in the UK a few years ago, played a part in inspiring Michael to create his first Muscle Car Landscapes' painting (Big Blocks Behind the Barn, featuring a cool assortment of Mustangs) about 4 years ago. The series has since grown to five paintings, with a sixth one on the way, and has become very popular among collectors. For some, they find their car in the scene. For many it's just the thought of the possibility of coming across such a find. For others, it's a reflection of their own collection!

As with many of Michael's works, the paintings in this series are based on fantasy, rather than reality. In Michael's paintings the cars are solid and near road worthy. Like he says, he's done the restoration thing, he'd rather just own 'em and drive 'em! The settings, cars, everything, right down to the leaves on the ground, come from Michael's incredible imagination.

The Muscle Car Landscapes Series now consists of: Big Blocks Behind the Barn (Ford Mustangs, Shelbys, Mach 1s and Bosses), They Came With The Farm (Dodge Chargers, Challengers, Cudas, Plymouth GTXs and Daytonas), Always Room For One More (GM's Chevelles, Novas and Camaros), Bird Sanctuary (Pontiac's Firebirds, Trans Ams and Formulas) and The Goat Farmer (Pontiac's GTOs and Judges). The new one, due to be released any day, is the much anticipated and sought after, "They Came With The Farm, Too" - featuring over 25 classic Mopars including Chargers, Barracudas, Darts, Demons, Challengers, Superbees and more, it's already 25% pre-sold!

Whether there will be more paintings in the series is still undecided. But if there are more, I'm sure they'll be as well received as the first ones. And, as sought after as those elusive barn finds! - Linda

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Author, Editor, Photographer & Friend - Brad Bowling

Being the wife of one of North America's premier automotive artists comes with a few 'perks.' Not the least of which is the opportunity to do a bit of traveling and meeting like-minded enthusiasts across the nation. Every now and again, however, we meet someone that is not only a motohead, but like Michael, has the opportunity to live and breath the stuff! Such was the case last fall, when we met Mr. Brad Bowling and his lovely wife, Heather.

If you're a car guy or gal, you've more than likely heard of Brad or at the very least, read something written by him. Not only has he penned several cool Mustang books (including The Saleen Book - 20 Years of Saleen Mustangs), but he is the Editor of Amos Automotive's "Cars & Parts" magazine. On top of that, he is a photographer, spending a great deal of his time photographing (you guessed it) classic cars! How cool is that?

It's funny, but we actually unknowingly met Brad back in 2004 at the launch of the Saleen book. It was in the evening, after the 40th Anniversary Ford Mustang Show in Nashville, Tennessee. We had attended the show as spectators ... even taking our 4 year old daughter and 6 year old son. We heard about the "Saleen after party" and just HAD to go. Wow. Am I every glad we did. Not only did we meet Mr. Saleen, but we saw his newest concept cars AND we were able to get our hands on one of the Limited Edition Signed Numbered books! After getting home from the AutoFair, I checked the book ... in between two pages I found the original receipt signed by Brad. Small world.

If you'd like to get your hands on the Saleen book or any of Brad's other titles, check out his website: www.bradbowling.com. You'll also find a listing of his most recent articles and photos.

Above is a photograph Brad shot of Michael in front of the Gallery Editon Canvas of his incredible Cuda painting, Feeding Frenzy, at the AutoFair in September 2009. Coincidentally, Michael is speaking with Steve Saleen!

Since first meeting Brad and Heather, we've become good friends. We had a chance to see them in Las Vegas during SEMA (thanks again Brad, for the whirlwind tour!) last October, and are hoping to get down to North Carolina for AutoFair this spring. As always, I'll keep you posted. — Linda

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Michael's Favorite aka World's Greatest Cheesecake

We had a super busy December. With the release of "Service Fit For A King," the shipping of "Marauders of Woodward" (which were co-signed by the Father of the Marauder, Steve Babcock) and the pre-release of the much anticipated, "They Came With The Farm, Too" (which will be completed any day now), I literally planned our annual Christmas Eve dinner on the 23rd! Was I a bit panicky, you could say that!

I usually make an old standby, like a fruit trifle or my famous Tiramisu (don't worry, I'll post that recipe too!), but Michael requested a cheesecake. With two diabetic parents - one with a heavy sweet tooth, it had to be fabulous AND sugar free. According to Michael, I nailed it. He says it was the best cheesecake I've ever made and, quite possibly, the best he's ever had. Now, I don't know about that ... but my dad wasn't complaining, that's for sure! It only takes about 2 hours plus cooling time, so you can make it the same day you serve it. If you do try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did. — Linda

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup Splenda Granulated
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
⅓ cup reduced fat milk
½ cup dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix crust ingredients together, and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. (I put mine on the porch to cool quickly.)

Reset oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Beat cream cheese, Splenda and flour together until smooth. Add vanilla, mix well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix for about 2 minutes. Add milk, blend well.

Measure ½ cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add dulce de leche and stir until well combined.

Pour plain batter over crust. Top with dulce de leche batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter and gently swirl into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hrs before serving.

Serve on it's own or with whipped cream sweetened with Splenda.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thanking Everyone Automotive!

It's hard to believe that it's 2010 already. December was a blur and January is flying by. 2009 was good to us and 2010 looks to be even better. I would like to thank those groups and individuals that helped make it happen.

First, let me thank the many magazines that have featured Michael's new automotive art releases. Having press releases included in such publications as the Mopar Collectors Guide, Muscle Car Enthusiast, Mopar Enthusiast, Hemmings Muscle Machines, High-Performance Pontiac, Mopar Muscle and Muscle Car Review, really helps to feature Michael's paintings. It gives readers and collectors a first glimpse and the unique story behind one of Michael's incredible automotive creations.

I would also like to thank our dealers throughout Canada and the United States. It's through them that many new clients have an opportunity to see Michael's work, up close and personal for the first time. Some have been on board for many years, some have just joined us recently ... it's really a pleasure working with them all and I look forward to continued success. If there is a car event in your area, drop me an e-mail and I'll find out if the dealer is going to be there showing Michael's Limited Edition Prints and/or Gallery Editon Canvases.

Finally, I'd like to thank the most important people of all— our clients. You are truly the ones that keep Michael painting. It's through your support and incredible feedback, that Michael finds the inspiration to continue doing what he loves — capturing beautiful automobiles in water color. So, whether you've been collecting Michael's work for a number of years, or just purchased your first Limited Edition Print, Artist Proof, Gallery Edition Canvas or original painting, from our family to yours, many, many thanks.

To everyone, here's to a prosperous 2010.
May the year ahead be full of joy and find you and your loved ones both healthy and happy. — Linda & Michael Irvine