Thursday, December 29, 2011

Customized Viper Car Art | Artist Proofs with Custom Remarque

(noun) - A remarque is a small, personalized drawing or symbol that an artist adds (near his or her signature) on a print. The presence of a remarque increases the print's value.

Michael draws or paints a custom remarque, done to order for the client per their preferences on his Artist Proofs. Limited to only 20 per print edition, they are very rare, personal, and of course, a one-of-a-kind. 

Here are a couple of examples of what Michael has painted as the remarque for clients that purchased an  Artist Proofs with Custom Remarques on the Viper painting, "Dry Lake Snakes." Please excuse the quality of the  photographs, they are low resolution and poorly lit. The remarques, themselves are impeccable.

The "Spiderman Edition Viper" - there were only 2 of these built!
2008 Venom Red Convertible.
The client asked for the "top down"
Snakeskin Green Viper ... just beautiful!

Michael's Artist Proofs make an incredible gift, especially for those collectors that have 'everything!" Because they are so unique and personal, the lucky recipient knows you were thinking only of them. — Linda

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Christmas Tree | Hallmark, Carlton, American Greeting, Liberty Collector Car Ornaments Galore!

"Is Michael a watercolor artist with a focus on car art, or is he a true gearhead / car guy?" — is probably one of the top questions we get asked by car enthusiasts and art collectors, alike. I think that the ornaments that make up at least half of the decorations on our family Christmas tree (photos in no particular order) say it all!

Here's our tree this year. Yes, that is
"The Goat Farmer"
Gallery Edition Canvas

on the wall. We use that wall to rotate the art ...
hanging different ones at different times.
Our first muscle car ornament - the 1966 Mustang convertible,
complete with gifts in the back seat! Produced in 1992, it's the
2nd Hallmark Keepsake ornament in their "Classic American
" Series. We actually have two of these!
New this year, a 1968 Mustang Fastback from Hallmark's
Keepsake Collection . Except for the cream colored 'c' stripe,
I can't help but thing of Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt!
Could not resist adding this little gem ...  so this year we added
two! The 1st is the green fastback and the 2nd is this 1967 Shelby
GT350 from American Greetings' Heirloom Ornament Collection.
Since Michael released "Pure As The Driven Snow" this year
(white and blue Shelby GT500s) we just had to have this one!
1964 Pontiac GTO from the "Classic American Cars" series
by Hallmark. Dated Christmas 2010.
Dated 2002. 1970 Ford Mach 1 Mustang. A Hallmark Keepsake
Ornament from their "Classic American Cars" Series.
1964 1/2 Ford Mustang "Kiddie Car Classics" peddle car
made by Hallmark.
1961 Chevrolet Impala, "Classic American Cars" Series by
Hallmark Keepsake. Dated 2006.
40th Anniversary Ford Mustang  GT ornament from
Carlton Cards' Heirloom Collection. Dated 2004.
1969 Hurst Oldsmobile 442 from the "Classic American Cars"
series, by Hallmark Keepsake. Dated 1997.

1970 Chevelle SS 454 by American Greetings. This one's not
dated stamped, but I think it's circa 2003.
Dated 2009, Hallmark's 2009 Ford Mustang GT 45th
Anniversary Special Edition.
Finally, our 426 Hemi Engine Ornament by Liberty
Classics. We bought this one in Carlisle at the GM Nationals!
Produced in 2006.

We also have Barbie, Scooby-Doo, Sponge Bob and Hotwheels (also car related) adorning the tree (we do have kids, after all). But, it's easy to see, by the shear number of classic and modern car ornaments, that even over the holidays, our love of the automobile shines through!

Here's to a safe, peaceful, happy and fun holiday!! — Linda

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Car Art in Man Cave Garage

We have a number of clients that are creating man caves in the house and, even more often now, in the "garage." Here is one we had a chance to visit recently and see for our selves. Big thanks to Tim for giving us the grand tour. He has a really cool, eclectic collection of cars and a garage space to suit.

This summer  he opened his property to the public to host a car show with proceeds going to prostrate cancer. Due to a scheduling conflict we couldn't make it this year, but hope to for 2012. I'll post more info as it becomes available. In the mean time, here are a few pics of this set up.

Viper Gallery Edition Canvas, "Dry Lake Snakes,"  (bottom right) still wrapped,
ready to hang with the other Michael Irvine Mopar canvases.
Tim likes the Gallery Edition Canvases because he can hang them high
 and still enjoy the details. Giving him more "space to hang stuff!"
 I like the way he has them arranged ... two horizontals bookended by
two verticals.
Along with the art, Tim has an incredible collection of diecasts, models,
and Viper magazine cover (along with the customized car!)
In the background, Michael and Tim. Under the car
cover ... Reggie Jackson's burnt (now rebuilt) Challenger.
I took the photographs with my phone (forgot the camera at home), so they're not the best quality. But still, who can resist sneaking a peek into someone else's garage! — Linda

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Easy Sugar Free Apple Bread

It can be a juggle sometimes; along with Michael's car art, there's the kids, the house, the cooking, the laundry, along with baking sugar free breads and cakes for my diabetic parents. With most of Michael's talented energy concentrated on the painting of the automotive watercolors (it is where he shines, after all), the rest pretty much falls to me. And, unlike some people, I am not a super mega multi-tasker!

In how we run our business, we take no short cuts — Michael takes so much time and puts so much into each and every painting, that the "business" end (which falls primarily to me) has to be reflective of those same high standards.

That is one of the reasons why, when I have to, I find ways to make household duties easier or quicker. There are, after all, only so many hours in a day. The recipe that follows, is one that started out as banana bread, originally published in 1987 in the Pillsbury Kitchens' Family Cookbook. I've modified it to suit our family's dietary needs. According to my parents, it's even better that my "World's Best Banana Bread".

I also like this recipe, because unlike many others you'll find, this one has ingredients which are pretty much a staple in most kitchens. And, the prep time is about 10 minutes!

Easy Sugar Free Apple Bread

2 cups Splenda Granular
2 cups apple sauce
   (no sugar added)
1 cup margarine,
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt (or "No Salt")
4 cups all purpose flour

Grease a bundt cake pan. Heat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, blend first 9 ingredients, beat 1 minute on medium speed. Add flour, mix well — I like to speed this up but using the mixer at low speed for about 1 minute. Pour into bundt pan. Viola, your part is pretty much done! Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

The apple sauce makes this a very moist bread. The cinnamon and nutmeg give it a rich flavor. As a bonus, it doesn't taste sugar free! If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. — Linda

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Personalized Art: Custom Remarques

As you may already know, along with the Limited Edition car art prints that automotive fine artist Michael Irvine offers of his original watercolor paintings, he also releases 20 Artist Proofs with Custom Remarque. I've touched on these in previous posts (search Artist Proof on this blog) and there is a page on our website dedicated to these unique, personalized works:

What makes them so unique, is that he paints (or draws) the Remarque on the Proof, as it is ordered. Each Remarque is done to order, per the client's wishes. It's a very inexpensive way to have a one-of-a-kind, done just for you! They are an excellent way to commemorate a special occasion, get your car "in a painting", honor a colleague, retiree, family member or friend. Or, to give yourself a little something!

Here are a couple of Michael's more recent ones. In the photos, rather than cropping right to the Remarque imags, I've left a bit of the painting image showing.

Remarque on "Shakin' Up The Street", featuring
2003-2004 Mach 1 Mustangs.

Remarque on "Bird Sanctuary", featuring the
Pontiac Trans Am, Firebird and Formula.

If you have any questions, please contact me at As the holidays approach, the time is getting short for ordering an Artist Proof with Custom Remarque as a Christmas gift. However, there still is time. Place your order by December 12th, and you can have your Artist Proof under the tree!! — Linda

Friday, November 25, 2011

Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals 2011

The Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals in Chicago was a great event to round out our show year. Held indoors at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, it was a round up of some of the sweetest cars from across North America.

Originally created as a Corvette only, then Corvette and Chevy show, three years ago it evolved into the show it is today. It was really cool to see that many impressive cars all under one roof. With this year's show being the success it was, I can only imagine how it will grow in years to come. 

Here is just a taste of some of the cars we got to see up close and personal. I'll post more photos once I download them from our digital camera.

Look familiar? There's one just like it in "Bird Sanctuary".
There were actually 2 of these on the show floor!!

What view — that's our display in the back ground. We got
to look at a sea of Corvettes for the weekend!

Super rare barn find. Boss designer, Larry Shinoda's car.

Next year's Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals is already in the planning. Mark your calender (weekend before Thanksgiving) ... it's worth the trip. — Linda

Saturday, November 5, 2011

SEMA 2011

We didn't make it to SEMA this year, but we have been there 3 times in the last 5 years. I found this article on the SpeedTV blog site ... as in the past, looks like there were pretty cool cars and accessories to check out! Including Richard Petty's Signature Series 2012 Mustang.

Too bad we couldn't attend this year, but at least Michael's work was on display there. Once again, Dots Gallery was on-site and open for business, offering a number of Michael's limited edition car prints. If you were lucky enough to go to SEMA this year, post some pics ... we'd love to see them! Thanks. — Linda


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Electronic Pickpocketing: Drawbacks to a cashless society

At events like car shows and auctions, where we sell Michael's car art, we often get raised eyebrows over our use of the old, manual, credit card machine. Having had 3 of our own credit cards compromised during an 18month period, we have been, perhaps, overly protective. And we want to make extra sure that our clients' credit card information remains safe with us, thus, we've stayed away from the wireless terminals.

Now, it seems there are even more opportunities for theives to steal our credit information. Check out this little video about the latest kinds of "pickpockets." I, for one, am changing our credit cards to the "old school" variety. — Linda

Offensive technology Electronic Pickpocketing: Drawbacks to a cashless society

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs - Words of Wisdom

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
–  Steve Jobs
It seems that not only was Steve Jobs a visionary when it came to technology, but also in his view on life. I came across a website (Macstories), where they posted 60 quotes that were classic "Steve." I read through them, and have to agree with many of the commentators ... the quotes were funny, ironic, straightforward and ya, inspirational.
Innovation distinguishes between
a leader and a follower.

–  Steve Jobs, in via
Now, although I do use a Macintosh computer daily, I've never been a huge Apple follower. I chose to use Macs primarily due to my choice of career. As a graphic designer/creative consultant, I needed the equipment and software that met the "industry standards." And Macs were, and still are, 'it' as far as the graphics community goes.

I actually have both a PC and two Macs (an iMac and a MacBook), and have had several of both over my 25 year career as a designer. And although I'm not as heavily into design as I used to be, focusing instead on marketing and promoting Michael's work, I do still keep a couple of fingers in the pot. And, that's why I've stuck with the Macs. From my experience, they are pretty much problem free. I've never had a virus, or a major system failure. I have to tell you, that's worth it right there! About 5 years back we had a PC backup drive die in the morning, by that afternoon, the main drive had gone as well .... $2500 and 4 weeks later ... you get the picture (not pretty). Needless to say, I'm pretty loyal to the Mac when it comes to work.

That's why, even though I'm not an Apple junkie or even follower, really (I don't have an iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc), I was drawn to read up a bit on Steve Jobs. Who, agreeably, was an incredible visionary and creative genius.

Here are my two favorite quotes. The first one, because as the wife of an artist with Michael's drive and determination — never allowing me, or anyone else, to rush him through any of his paintings — it sums up Michael's commitment to his craft and style in a nutshell. And although we'd all like to see him paint faster (because we want to see more of his work), he'd rather only produce 3 or 4 great paintings in a year, than 6-8, what he would consider, second-rate ones. And I get that. He puts so much into each piece, he's not willing to do less than his best.

The second quote is along the same lines, be excellent in whatever you do, but goes beyond that in it's total message: Life is a gift. Make the most of it. Do what you love. And do it really, really well. (you can quote me!!). I think that says it all. — Linda

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
–  Steve Jobs, interview in Businessweek
“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.” –  Steve Jobs, interview in Fortune

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Romantic Marriage Proposal for Auto Enthusiasts

I don't think of myself as a romantic, but being a part of a "muscle car wedding proposal" gave me goosebumps!!

We know many of Michael's car art prints, artist proofs and gallery edition canvases have been given as a gift for a number of occasions: birthday, retirement, anniversary, Father's Day, client and customer appreciation; grooms have bought an automotive print for their best man gift; brides have ordered artist proofs as gifts for their husband-to-be (traditionally called the groom gift, I think). But incorporating automotive fine art, in something as deeply personal as asking for a woman's hand in marriage, may very well be a first. And Dave, chose Michael's Road Runner painting, "BEEP BEEP!", to do it!

Here's a little video I put together. I hope it puts a smile on your face. — Linda

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Too Busy to Blog - A Car Show Summer

Looking back, I cannot believe my last post was way back in June for Father's Day! Actually, with our busy summer schedule, I guess it's not all that surprising. Like many self employed people, we don't really have a down time, and if anything, the "car show season" makes summer even busier for us. Add to that our kids on summer break, and there's not much spare time. All that being said, we had a really great couple of months — managing to juggle both work and play.

We kicked off the summer with a trip to Cornwall, Ontario, for a local show put on by Jack Notman and his team at Notman Chrysler Dodge Jeep. What a treat. A small, local event, it's strictly a car show, no swamp meet, kiddie rides, or food fair. It gives area folks (from as far away as Quebec and Upper State New York) a chance to show off their pride and joy, have some fun, and support the local chapter of the Girl Guides (who do an awesome job of keeping everyone fed with great burgers and hotdogs!)

The event definitely draws an eclectic crowd. The cars — or more correctly, vehicles — ranged from a painted-up boogie van, to a rare special edition Viper, classic Chargers, Challengers, Darts and more, new Challengers and Chargers, even Chrysler's new Journey was present! Really, a great mix of old and new. The most unique, was the Road Runner and car hauler combo ... perfectly matched, they took best of show.

This was our second year, and having it fall on the Canada Day long weekend, made it even more special. With our kids fresh out of school for the summer, we turned the little trip into a mini family getaway. A sort of "kick off to the summer!" On Saturday we were able to enjoy the fireworks display over the Seaway – really nicely done – then the car show on Sunday, and a trip to Ottawa on Monday to round it out. Then we had a week at home and were off again.

Our next event was the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals .... but that's a whole other story. You'll just have to wait for my next post. I can tell you, though, romance was in the air. ;) — Linda

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Baseball Legend Hits It Out Of The Park At Auburn Auction

And so does Michael's art!

In grand fashion, Mr. October's Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue stripes, 1965 Shelby Mustang brought in a whopping $225,000 at the Auburn Auction Park this past weekend. We were lucky enough to be there and to meet the man himself .... several times! Turns out, Reggie Jackson is not only a baseball legend and a classic car buff, but he has a wonderful appreciation for great art as well.

We met him for the first time while setting up on Thursday after a 7.5 hour drive - we were a little wilted, but still in the game, so to speak. Then again on Friday, and Saturday too. It's not surprising then, that he now has several of Michael's pieces in his collection. Including a great big canvas of "C1, See Them All." Needless to say, after selling his Shelby for top dollar, his spirits were high and he was gracious enough to let me snap a couple of photos.

Checking out the Corvette Gallery
Edition Canvas, "C1, See Them All",
and getting ready to shake on it!
Baseball Legend "Mr. October", Reggie Jackson
with Automotive Artist Michael Irvine.
 Corvette painting, "C1, See Them All"
covers all six generations of 'America's
favorite sports car'.

Seems to me that it's also a bit of a coincidence (maybe fate), that Michael was just finishing up his latest painting, "Pure As The Driven Snow", featuring one of the big ticket cars that Reggie sold at the auction! The all Shelby painting will be released in early June, and it's going to be spectacular.

As for the Auction, it was pretty good overall. Not one of the best events we've attended, but from what I hear, it's come a long way already from when Kruse ran things. It's sure to grow in years to come - it's definitely got the potential and RM is a great organization, with excellent people working with and for them.

It'll be interesting too, to see what other celebrities make the trip. I have no doubt Michael's work is adorning the walls, and will continue to hang in, many a prominent home!

Here's to a Grand Slam spring & summer!!
See you at the big show!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Buying Art (Lesson 4) - Artist Proofs

If you attended one of the car shows that Michael and I displayed his automotive art at recently, like Performance World in Toronto or the London Custom and Speed Show, you may have heard me describe an Artist Proof with Remarque to a client.

First, we should touch on what an Artist Proof is.
  • An Artist Proof was, quite simply, exactly what it sounds like ... an individual reproduction that the artist had painstakingly gone over, or 'proofed', to ensure that there were absolutely no imperfections. 
  • Usually, the artist hand-inspected 10% of the original print run in this manner. That means, if the number of prints released was 800, he or she, would also proof and set aside another 80 Artist Proofs. 
  • These then went into the artist's personal collection and, if released to the public, had a higher value (sometime sold for up to 4 times the price of the limited edition prints).
  • In the past, art reproductions were mainly produced using two methods; as lithographs or serigraphs. In both instances, the plates were such that they deteriorated during the printing process, in turn increasing the chance of 'imperfect' prints. That is one of the reasons that lower numbers were sought after in limited edition, numbered prints — the first prints of a run were just better quality. That is why #1 was more valuable to a collector and more highly sought after than #800, for example.
  • Now-a-days, most limited edition reproductions are produced as offset lithographs or giclées. In the case of the former, the plates are made of metal and need to be destroyed at the end of the print run. Giclées are printed one at a time, with the water-based ink being sprayed onto the paper or canvas, so there are no plates. In both cases, there is little to no chance of imperfections and often, #800 is one of the first prints sold.

    Remarque painted in watercolor on painting,
    "C1, See Them All," by Michael Irvine
    Remarque painted in watercolor on painting,
    "Big Blocks Behind the Barn," by Michael Irvine

    Next, what is a 'Remarque'?
    • A Remarque is a small, personalized drawing or painting that an artist adds in the lower margin of a print. The presence of a Remarque increases the print's value.
    • Originally, Remarques were remarks made, in pencil, that identified the various stages a printing plate went through while in the process of being finalized. 
    • Nowadays, a Remarque is a 'value-added' option for print collectors. Each Remarque is a one-of-a-kind, original. 

    Remarque (client's car) drawn in pencil on painting,
    "Flashback On The Track," by Michael Irvine
    Remarque (client's car) painted in watercolor on painting
    "Feeding Frenzy," by Michael Irvine

    Finally, Michael's Artist Proofs with Remarque.
    • As I've mentioned above, there is little to no chance of imperfections when using today's technology. And, Michael checks each and every print that leaves the studio. So, in essence, all his prints are proofs.
    • Michael wanted to give collectors of Artist Proofs something truly unique and valuable. There are only 20 Artist Proofs with Remarque released with each print edition — making them very rare. They are done 'custom' per client's order.
    • Remarques can be requested done in pencil or painted in watercolor.
    • Michael numbers the Artist Proof and dates it for the date of the Remarque's completion. e.g. AP 5/20  04.13.2011. He also signs the Remarque, as well as the Artist Proof.
    • Each Artist Proof with Remarque is a one-of-a-kind original, and is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.
    An Artist Proof with Remarque is a wonderful addition to an art collection. It offers collectors an incredibly unique piece, at a fraction of the cost of an original painting. They are perfect for marking a special occasion or honoring a special friend, co-worker or family member. They are also a great way to 'get your car onto the art!'

    To learn more about Michael's Artist Proof with Remarque, click here.
    Happy art collecting! — Linda

      Friday, March 11, 2011

      Performance World Car Show - Toronto International Centre

      You can check out Michael's work in person March 11, 12 and 13 at the International Centre in Toronto, Ontario. We'll be showing prints and Gallery Edition Canvases of "C1, See Them All" and "BEEP BEEP!" for the first time! As well as the Gallery Edition Canvas of "Four–Barrel Four–Speeds With Dual Exhaust". It looks like it's going to be a great show.

      Also at the show, an amazing collection of custom hot rods, a lot of very cool muscle cars and corvettes, a display of Bullitt Mustangs covering all three generations, and a hall dedicated to the tuners! All in all, a great indoor event, perfect for a rainy weekend.

      Maybe we'll see you there. - Linda

      Tuesday, February 22, 2011

      The Evolution of the Art and the Artist

      Artist Michael Irvine's Mission Statement:
      "To constantly challenge myself and create
      paintings that I can be proud to stand in
      front of."
      - Michael Irvine

      And he really does live, and paint, by that statement. If Michael's not completely happy with the setting, title, cars, story, any part of the painting, he won't paint it.

      For the better part of 20 years, the fine art was more of a hobby, for Michael. He had a successful and lucrative career as a commercial illustrator, and he dabbled in his own art. Always a lover of the automobile, his subject of choice was easy! About 4 years ago, we sat down and had a serious discussion on where we saw ourselves in the future. As recognition in the automotive world grew, so did the demand (from our clients) for Michael to release prints more often than once or twice a year. Juggling both the commercial art, as well as the automotive paintings, became to much and a decision had to be made. I'm glad to say, the right one!

      Now, that's when things got interesting ...

      Michael started to find new ways of challenging himself with every new painting. First it was the level of detail and the number of cars. Then the 'fantasy' setting, like the paintings in the Muscle Car Landscapes Series. Then, in a piece like "Feeding Frenzy", he took his use of reflective surfaces to a new level - the only non-reflective surface is the sky.

      There are the paintings in the Above Them All Series ("Service Fit For A King", "It's A Grand Sport"), which not only give you a unique, bird's eye view of an iconic, history making vehicle, but also allow you to hang your art, your way.

      Recently, he's pushing himself creatively - to tell a story, or give the onlooker a view, not only beyond the ordinary, but almost the surreal. Like in "BEEP BEEP!", he is pushing himself creatively, to capture, what I think, is the 'personality' of the vehicles.

      It'll be interesting to see what he comes out with next. All I know, is his sketchbook is extraordinary!! Thanks for your support, I'll keep you posted. - Linda

      Friday, February 11, 2011

      Do You Know Your Engines?

      Taking a bit of a breather since finishing his latest painting, "Beep Beep!" featuring the powerful Plymouth Road Runners, Michael came across this cool and challenging game. He said it was tough and a couple had him baffled. In the end, he scored a respectable 15 out of 19 ... how will you measure up?

      It's called the "Engine ID Game #2 (V8s from 1957 to 1972) Trivia Game", check it out at: AMERICAN ... and good luck!

      Courtesy of

      Tuesday, January 18, 2011

      Roadrunner & Coyote Animated Cartoon - A Hint at Michael's Next Painting

      All you Mopar fans will be glad to hear that Michael is busy working on his latest painting, which is due to be released in early February 2011. The video clip above should give you a pretty good hint as to what the feature cars in the painting are! As much as I'd like to, I haven't been given the go ahead to leak any more information than that. All I can say, is that if you're a true Plymouth Roadrunner fan, you're gonna love it!

      Here's what I can tell you:
      • It's the same size as Feeding Frenzy and B-Movie Night
      • It's one of the paintings in Michael's "American Blacktop" Series
      • There will be 800 Limited Edition Prints released
      • 20 Artist Proofs with Remarque made available
      • 50 Gallery Edition Canvases released (I can't wait to see this one big!!)

      In the mean time, to hold you over, check out this link: with the complete Looney Tunes video ... it's great!

      Enjoy the show! — Linda