Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Just a few short days short of summer, and spring finally arrived. And, just in time for Father's Day! As we do each year, we had a some lucky dads ask for, and receive, one (or two) of Michael's prints for their special day. There are definitely some off-spring collecting some major points this year!

The AutoDream Group is a complete
car restoration facility.

Michael and I got to spend the day with some of those dads, their kids and their cars at the AutoDream Group Annual Open House in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The weather, as promised, was picture perfect and, from what I could tell, the event was a great success. Thanks again to Greg, Matt and Charles for inviting us along for the ride this year!

Check out their site and blog later this month. Like last year, I'm sure they'll be posting some photos.

Not being to spend the day with their dad, our kids gave Grandpa a treat by standing in for me. Secretly, I think my dad really enjoyed the extra attention!

My dad also turned 73 this past week, and all he asked for was for me to make him a special dessert. Falling on, what is now become, an oldie, but a goody, I whipped up a double batch of Tiramisu —12 eggs and 32 oz of Marscipone later — I think he's set for a while. If you missed my blog post with the recipe, check out: If you have a sweet tooth, like mocha, chocolate and creamy desserts, you'll love this one. And, it's pretty much sugar-free!! Plus, it's easy to make and has a big WOW impact!

Hope your Dad's Day was wonderful, as well.
Have fun! See you at the next show. — Linda

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Keeping the Hobby Alive - The Next Generation of Car Enthusiasts

One thing I love about the car enthusiast hobby, is that although it's definitely for grownups, it can be a real family experience. And THAT, is great to see. Especially when you consider that in order for it to thrive into the future, we have to get the next generation interested early on.

It's wonderful to see fathers and sons, or whole families for that matter, cruising the show field at events like those held in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Or mom and dad with a couple of kids in tow at a Wednesday night cruise-in at the local shopping mall or burger joint.

I'm glad to see kid-friendly stuff and activities crop up at carshows, as well.  Especially for the younger ones, whose attention spans are a bit shorter. And that organizations like Take a Kid to a Carshow exist. Monster trucks, dirt track stock car racing and days at the drag strip, are also super for getting kids excited about cars and trucks — I mean who doesn't love the noise and excitement! The Cars movies aren't hurting the hobby either, and show us that there is interest even at the youngest of ages.

When we exhibit at car events, we get a chance to see the effects of involving young people in person. It gave me goose bumps when, at the Mopar Nationals, an 8 year old boy chose one of Michael's automotive art prints over a Sony PSP. Or, when at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum, a 12 year old spent his saved up lawn mowing money to do the same.

And, then there's this: Antoinette, a client of ours, sent us a photo of her husband, Peter, with their little granddaughter reading her favorite book ... the Mopar Collectors Guide ... you just have to love that!

Mopar lover's favorite bedtime reading: Mopar Collectors Guide!

It gives me hope for the future of the hobby. Be safe and have fun. — Linda

Monday, June 6, 2011

What People Are Saying About Michael's Latest Shelby Painting

"Pure As The Driven Snow" - 'Pure' Shelby Painting

On Pure As The Driven Snow, released June, 2011
"Very cool painting! If I was Ford guy, I would buy it." - Dave
"Michael's a creative genius. The internet just doesn't do it justice. Better in person than I could even have imagined—I was blown away when I saw it." - Jim
"Really nice Shelbys." - Joanne
"LOVE IT!!! Hook me up with one." - Paul
"Beautiful!." - Tim
"Give your Mike a big thumbs up on this print — excellent work and on the Boss 429 [Boss Building, released June 2010] one as well." - Mike
"Thank you for sharing this most beautiful print." - Bill
"Wow. That's watercolor? Wow. His work is amazing." - Susan 
"I like the painting more each time I look at it." - Dave
These are just a few of the accolades that we've been receiving on "Pure As The Driven Snow," which was released early last week and shown for the first time at Steve Plunkett's Fleetwood Country Cruise-In and Ford Carlisle, this past weekend. Once again, Michael has pushed himself creatively to give art collectors and car enthusiasts, like himself, more than they bargained for! — Linda

Fleetwood Country Cruize-In 2011

We spent another wonderful weekend at the Fleetwood Country Cruize-In. With the exception of a bit of rain on Saturday morning (and some thunder), the weather was 'car show' perfect. As we've come to expect, the cars on display were incredible and our host, Steve Plunkett, incredibly gracious. All proceeds generated by this annual event go to the Plunkett Foundation, which in turn supports many charities. Only in it's 9th year, the show has already managed to raise over 4 million dollars ... that's awesome!

This was Michael's and my 3rd time at the Cruize-In and I finally had a chance to tour Steve's Auto Salon — in a word, amazing. His collection of Cadillacs has got to be, bar none, the most impressive collection in North America. He not only has several 1 of 1 rare prototypes, but has some incredible gems like the 'Kennedy car', which he recently lent for use in the TV series, "The Kennedys".

Steve, himself, gave us a personal tour of the Auto Salon, giving us a unique one-on-one perspective on the cars (Cadillacs), the company (General Motors) and this 1915 ad, that is still today, considered to be one of the all time best advertisements, ever created. The ad, made up strictly of copy and no images, speaks to the caliber, quality and integrity of an individual or company, and the work that they produce. From my understanding, it's what GM, has not only striven to achieve, but has succeeded in doing over the years. Steve has it prominently displayed, larger than life, above the main floor of the salon. He made sure to point it out to us and give us a printed copy - very cool. I thought you might enjoy reading it as much as I did. — Linda:

The Penalty of Leadership - Cadillac ad from 1915,
that ran in the Saturday Evening Post

The Penalty of Leadership
In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be merely mediocre, he will be left severely alone - if he achieve a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you, unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest genius. Multitudes flocked to worship at the shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could not build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is the leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy - but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as the human passions - envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains - the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live - lives.

By Theodore F. MacManus