Art/Culture/Abstract –  Ellsworth Kelly


Ellsworth Kelly (American, born 1923) is a painter and sculptor who established his own style amidst the pervasive influence of the Abstract Expressionist and Pop Art movements.ellsworth5

“I have worked to free shape from its ground, and then to work the shape so that it has a definite relationship to the space around it; so that it has a clarity and a measure within itself of its parts (angles, curves, edges and mass); and so that, with color and tonality, the shape finds its own space and always demands its freedom and separateness.” – Ellsworth Kelly


Maintaining a focus on the dynamic relationships between shape, form and color – Kelly was one of the first artists to create irregularly shaped canvases.  His subsequent layered reliefs, flat sculptures, and line drawings further challenged viewers’ conceptions of space.  While not adhering to any one artistic movement, Kelly virtually influenced the development of Minimalist, Hard-edge painting color field and Pop Art.ellsworththemodern

Kelly intends for viewers to experience his artwork with instinctive, physical responses to the work’s structure, color, and surrounding space rather than with contextual or interpretive analysis. He encourages a kind of silent encounter, or bodily participation by the viewer with the artwork, chiefly by presenting bold and contrasting colors free of gestural brushstrokes or recognizable imagery, panels protruding gracefully from the wall, and irregular forms inhabiting space as confidently as the viewer before them.

More Samplings
More Samplings
Background info:

The Artist
The Artist

Born in New York City, Kelly admired the works of Naturalist John James Audobon (American, 1785–1851) as a child and loved to draw, even though his parents only reluctantly permitted him to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. After serving during World War II for two years as a camouflage artist, Kelly was able to study on the GI Bill at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, MA, and then at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France.

Separated from the American art world while in Europe, Kelly developed his distinctive method of painting. These works echo Kelly’s desire to separate himself from the traditional roles of composition and the artist’s hand. Kelly only returned to the US when he believed that the enthusiasm for Abstract Expressionism had died down enough to allow his work to get some visibility. By the end of the 1950s, he was internationally recognized for his monochromatic canvases, which began to take the shape of non-rectangular forms such as ovals and curves. Kelly also began to create sculptures similar to his paintings, featuring simple two-dimensional forms. In 1970, the artist moved to upstate New York, where he shifted his focus to create large outdoor sculptures concerned more with color than form. Many of his public works are now on display around the world. Kelly now lives and works in Spencertown, NY.

Sources: +

From the Lauren Harris exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery 03/30/14
From the Lawren Harris exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery 03/30/14

 If there is a particular artist that you’d like to see featured on this blog please let us know.


Health MATTERS – What about Frozen foods?

frozen1 Not ALL frozen food is bad.

 Even though it’s home to ice cream and many other convenience foods, don’t race past the frozen-food section thinking it’s filled with only unhealthy foods.  Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great alternative to fresh.  If they’re flash-frozen at their peak, they retain their nutrients.  A neighbour picked fresh wild blueberries last summer and we quickly froze them at their peak and have used them regularly throughout the winter in smoothies & desserts like winter fruit crumble.frozen2

Wild caught frozen fish and shrimp are alright too if sodium levels are low and they haven’t been breaded.

 As for frozen pizzas, yes, they are quick, but usually one sixth of this kind of pizza contains 40 percent of your daily sodium, and 20 percent of your fat!  How many of us can eat just one sixth of this pizza?  Instead, buy fresh or frozen whole-wheat crusts or dough, and add your own healthy toppings.  That way, you control the amount of cheese and meats you use.

It’s hard to eat healthy all the time because people work and everyone has a different schedule.  It is possible though if you go for lean meats, and buy organic or free-range if you can afford it.  Boost the flavour of lean meats with rubs and marinades.  “Free-range” means they have had room to move around, as opposed to factory animals kept in closed conditions.  Organic means they haven’t been treated with antibiotics or hormones.

Carefully reading through labels in the frozen food section will help you choose what you need, and as long as you’re not eating from this section all the time, you should be just fine.  A bit of frozen (like peas, for instance) is totally acceptable.  Remember, balance is key.

some sauces & soups are good.
some frozen sauces & soups are very good




 How many of us have succumbed to trying the new & improved selection of frozen pizzas? Guilty!

Personally……I wish I went to WOOFstock 

woofstock2Not only because I never went to Woodstock, but because this sounds soooo much better. People and Pooches in the Florida Keys…………..a true Dog Day Afternoon.Keys Woofstock

A Day of Peace Paws & Music – try topping that!

Islamorada (CBSMiami) – Thousands of dog lovers, many with their pooches, enjoyed a day of peace, paws and music during the weekend Woofstock Music Fair in the Florida Keys .

woofstock4Singers, songwriters and musical groups kept the groove moving for the Saturday festival’s nearly 1,000 four-legged friends and more than 5,000 two-legged attendees. The event was staged at Islamorada’s Founders Park.

Dogs up for adoption showed off their swag and wag during the Rescue Me Mutt Strut with hopes of landing a “fur-ever” home from Florida Keys shelters and breed-specific animal rescue groups of South Florida.

Other canines showed off agility and dock-jumping skills to woo crowds.

Woofstock was organized by Key Largo’s MarrVelous Pet Rescues & Adoptions. The free event is one of the Keys’ largest pet-friendly festivals devoted to pet fostering, adoption, education and wellness, underscored by outdoor family fun and live music in the island community.

Right on!
Right on!

The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.


 Ahhh…I loved the Keys before – I love it now even  more.

Beauty biz – in the BUFF

 On the hunt to find the PERFECT NUDE

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Canotier
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Canotier
NARS sheer lipsitck in Cruising
NARS sheer lipsitck in Cruising

It has always been difficult to find the perfect shade of nude lipstick, maybe even more so than searching for the perfect Red.  I like a nude lip that doesn’t completely wash you out, still looks natural & closely resembles the color of your skin tone – only slightly enhanced.  I don’t mean plain old beige either, they come in a variety of shades to pick from.  Personally, I find ones that have a lot of pigment are the best – like those from *NARS.lipnarscruising2

Samplings of some Makeup Artist Favourites are found on this page.


Dior Rouge Lip Color in Beige Indecise
Dior Rouge Lip Color in Beige Indecise

What to look for: Two shades up from your natural skintone is a good start. Fair skins look best wearing shades with more pigment like a peachy/pink and darker skin, with more brown. Use some makeup artist wizardry and dab on some concealer to tone down a naturally pink lip (Angelina Jolie uses this trick all the time),  fill in your lips with a nude lip pencil (like Mac Spice) first or use Benefit Lip Plump (which is like a foundation for your lips) before applying lipstick. Don’t go too matte.

Tom Ford Lip Color in Sable Smoke
Tom Ford Lip Color in Sable Smoke

 Be VEIN: A key to understanding undertones is essential to finding a nude lipstick that won’t wash the rest of you out. A quick and easy way to figure it out is to look at the veins that show through the thin skin on the inside of your wrist: if they look blue, you have cool undertones and if they take on a slightly greenish hue, you’re warm. Not sure which way you go? You most likely have neutral undertones.  I believe mine to be blue/green.liptfspanishpink

Choosing a color for your skin tone:

For fair or pale skin: With lighter skin tones, avoid beige lipsticks, which will wash you out. Instead, look to soft pinks and peaches or pale apricot as your base shade.

For the golden girls: If you have lots of golden undertones in your skin, go for creamy, caramel-toned nudes and warm beiges. Avoid anything too cool, like grays or silver-toned shades.

For olive tones: If you have olive skin, you’re a lucky gal. Just about any nude shade will look great on you from beige to bronze to pinks. I love olives but I hate olive girls.

Tom Ford Lip Color in Blush Nude
Tom Ford Lip Color in Blush Nude

For skin with yellow undertones: Think light, creamy-toned beiges like latte or mocha.

For dark-toned skin: Go for chocolate tones such as rich golden browns and coffees.

For the rest of your FACE – a pop of pink or peach blush plus bronzer keeps the face vibrant.

On another note: *I found “the best” toned-down earthy/muted brick red lipstick (goes on smooth & a bit sheer) from NARS – called Gipsy.

Do you have a favourite NUDE? Please share.





style:  ART in FASHION

The Fashion Illustrator


Last Wednesday I posted about wearing ART as Fashion.  This time I want to discuss ART IN FASHION.

I love looking at fashion illustrations almost as much as the real thing because of the beauty and artistic value. Unlike fashion photographers, illustrators normally don’t have to work with models to create fashion illustrations. Their models could be in their minds or referred to some photos. The artists have more freedom to connect emotions, artistic style to the essence of their work.vogue5


For instance, The above image was used on the front cover of Cally Blackman’s best-selling book, 100 Years of Fashion Illustration. The crystals shimmer in the night light and as if accident would have it, Downton lands one single circle of red paint vogue3precisely where the model’s nipple is hidden.  vogue2


vogue4Before fashion photography, illustrators were integral to the industry and their work featured throughout the best magazines.  Today, fashion illustrations appeal to collectors as art in their own right.

Fashion illustrators can work in a variety of environments, including fashion houses, design studios, and as freelancers, and the work can be quite diverse and interesting, especially in the case of people who are very talented.

Garance Doré
*Garance Doré – see below
Gloria Radio – Graphic & Fashion Designer, Barcelona, Spain.
Gloria Radio – Graphic & Fashion Designer, Barcelona, Spain.

Work in this field usually requires a degree from an art or fashion school, along with extensive experience in the industry. One of the most classic jobs for a fashion illustrator is in the sketching of concepts which have not yet been realized. When fashion designers start to develop a new line, they rely on fashion illustrators to bring their ideas to life so that they can have images to use in design and to sell the line before prototypes have been made. A fashion illustrator may work on everything from shoes to hats, developing and fleshing out concepts for designers.

 Long live the fashion illustrator!  I hope you enjoy the samplings chosen for this post.


*Garance Doré is an illustrator, photographer and fashion blogger. Her illustration talent has allowed her to collaborate creatively with Vogue Paris, Dior, Chopard, Louis Vuitton, Reed Krakoff, Kate Spade, Céline and many others. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in London, New York, and Sydney.  I follow her fashion blog which is in both French and English at

Simply Satisfying – Vegan Chocolate Chip / Coconut Cookies

20140321_121356These vegan friendly cookies are yummy enough for non-vegans too.  They do not include the usual suspects (dairy such as  butter, or eggs) nor refined sugar and all-purpose flour that are commonly used to make cookies.


They include:

1 cup instant oatmeal (or rolled oats)

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. fine seasalt

Sprinkling of ground Cinnamon (about ¼ – ½ tsp.)

¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used organic dark cane)

1/3 cup canola oil

¼ cup almond milk (I used the unsweetened version)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or 1 ½ tsp. & ½ tsp. of almond extract)

½ cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips (like Sunspire –

½ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Note: For my first batch I used a combo of Ghirardelli milk & semi-sweet chocolate chips that were on hand.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together oatmeal (or oats), pastry flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon & seasalt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, almond milk, vanilla (or combo of vanilla & almond extract); pour mixture into the batter and stir until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

For each cookie, drop 1 Tbsp. (or 2 Tbsp. for bigger cookies) of dough 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets.  Note: Some of the dough might fall apart as you try to drop it – just roll it in your hands a little to shape it before putting it back on the sheet.  It will still bake okay.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Let them cool slightly before moving them to a plate or tray.  ENJOY these delicious guilt free cookies.

You can try substituting peanut butter instead of the coconut flakes or even adding a bit of natural peanut butter to the mix.  I haven’t tried this yet but it definitely sounds good.

Do you have a great vegan cookie recipe you’d like to share?



Art/Culture/Controversy – Barnett Newman’s “Voice of Fire”

Twenty four years ago a painting by Barnett Newman ignited a firestorm in Canada.

“In titles I try to evoke the emotional complex that I was under.” – Barnett Newman (1905-1970)


Which leads me to ask…what qualifies as art, especially in the increasingly bizarre world of modern art?

From Malevich’s Black Square, a pure black canvas, to DuChamp’s Fountain, a urinal turned upside down, modern art can take on forms from the bizarre to the mundane. This leaves many people wondering, how can these seemingly simple pieces become famous works of art?

In 1990, The National Gallery of Canada made a controversial purchase of a well-known contemporary painting by Newman entitled “Voice of Fire” referred to as “the biggest art scandal in the country.” The painting is almost 18 feet tall and features a simple red stripe on a blue background.  Although Voice of Fire hung peacefully on loan in the gallery for two years, it was the subject of public outcry when, in the spring of 1990, the gallery decided to purchase the painting for $1.76 million.  More than two decades later, the almost $1.8-million price might sound modest, but it seemed extravagant then. vof2

As Capital News reported, the purchase was so highly contested by the public and the media that it was taken all the way to the House of Commons and sparked a fad of T-shirts and ties patterned after the painting.

If the fuss over the price seems quaint in hindsight, the deeper question is: Can three stripes, no matter how monumentally presented, be considered an important creation?—is not so easily dismissed.

The popular sentiment was that nearly 1.8 million of the tax payer’s dollars was a colossal waste of money for a painting widely dismissed as three stripes of colour. “My kid could have painted that” about sums it up (ignorantly if I may say so), with a fair sprinkling of “He’s not even Canadian!”

But supporters of the acquisition held that fine art shouldn’t have to be accessible; it’s there to challenge, and to push the boundaries. Newman’s work did that, especially when on display in the Gallery, where its enormous size and bold colours really were quite startling to behold. Plus, it was a work of some relevance to Canadians, even if Newman was an American painter: it had hung in the geodesic dome American Pavillion at Expo67 in Montreal.

vof2 (2)Limiting his colours to red and blue, he created this powerful vertical canvas to be suspended from the dome’s ceiling. While it appears simple in form, Voice of Fire conveys a range of meanings. Newman intended the work to be studied from a short distance; its enormous scale transforms the space and tests our sensory experience.

If the painting was sold today it would be worth in the area of $70 million.

Genesis by Barnett Newman
Genesis by Barnett Newman

Newman was born in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland. He was known to be an articulate writer and spokesman for modern art. Newman was also very spiritual and saw his work as such. The Voices of Fire title comes from the biblical voice from the burning bush.

Taken from & Maclean’

And as time will did!
As time always tells….it did!




Health MATTERS – How to Maximize your Diet for your Age


health1 Getting older may not always be fun but it’s a part of life and you should make the most of whatever age you happen to be right now. Mistakes made in your 20’s can affect you later on but with a healthy lifestyle of exercise and eating correctly you can turn it around to become the BEST YOU possible – isn’t that what we all strive for?

Our nutritional needs change throughout the years; and depending at what stage of life we’re at, we may want to avoid certain food-related missteps and find out what foods we should be eating more of.

These tips come from dietitians (who specialize primarily in women’s health) on how to make the most of your diet for your specific age group. Of course you can take some of it with a grain of salt – but make it a tiny grain because no matter what age you’re at – too much salt intake  is never a good idea.

 In your 20s and 30s:  work, partying a little (or a lot), thinking of having kids, or chasing after young children – all while trying to fit in a social life.  Your energy needs are high, so protein should be a vital component to your diet.  Make choices now to lay the foundation for your future health.  Get lots of whole grain breads, quinoa and rice; they have been shown to slash the risk of heart disease later.  It’s vital that you reach the highest bone density possible during this stage – which means consuming dairy, and other calcium sources.  IDEAL FOODS: bananas for magnesiaum (also helps with PMS and to counter sugar cravings).  Oranges for vitamin C and to help build collagen in the bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels, and helps with the absorption of iron.  Spinach for folate, but if you don’t like spinach then any other leafy green vegetable.  Fatty fish, Plain Yogurt (helps your body absorb Vitamin D), Protein and Whole Grains which provide stamina and help maintain stable blood sugar levels. MISTAKES TO AVOID: consuming too much caffeine, pop and alcohol (all of these diminish calcium).  Not eating regularly throughout the day and cutting out necessary food groups (for example, not eating carbs in an effort to lose weight, or cutting out dairy).

my brain says right but my heart says left
my brain says right but my heart says left

In your 40’s: this is prime time for preventing health issues in later life.  You’re probably busier than ever, but you may not be as physically active as you once were.  Good-for-you fats found in high-quality mono and polyunsaturated oils (like olive and canola) are great choices.  Try to eat more fish, and boost your grain and fibre intake.  IDEAL FOODS: lemons for detoxifying, purifying effect on your skin and organs.  You can toss slices into a glass of water or hot tea.  Fish with the omega-3 fatty acids for helping your skin stay hydrated and they have an anit-inflammatory effect. Eggs which are high in protein and zinc which help the body absorb Vitamin A.  Almonds are a “good” fat as they contain vitamin E and calcium.  Apples as a source of fibre and protein.  MISTAKES TO AVOID: eating too much (change portion sizes), not eating enough protein, eating too many takeout or convenience foods (high in fat & salt) and eating low-fat foods that are high in sugar (read the label and check the amount of sugar).  You do need some fat in your diet (it keeps you looking younger) but the right kind.

In your 50’s: Iron becomes less of an issue once you stop having periods so it’s okay to eat protein sources other than red meat.  However, you still need plenty of calcium to protect your bones, so load up on dairy and other souces of calcium.  The onset of menopause brings a host of changes that can be mildly annoying (body shape, hot flashes, sleeplessness) to debilitating. Now is a good time to boost your intake of antioxidants in order to prevent common chronic conditions that can occur later (cardiovascular disease and the big “C”).  Eating plenty of fibre and water are essential for healthy bowels.  IDEAL FOODS: Soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens (helps to balance hormones) and tofu is a protein that has been shown to have a positive effect on bone density.  Lentils (plant-based proteins) can help to regulate hormones.  Fresh vegetables are high in natural fibre and will help prevent fat from being deposited around your stomach. Watermelon and other fruit with a high water content (like apples, grapes) keep up the natural hydration levels in your body.  MISTAKES TO AVOID: eating too much as your metabolism slows down, eating mindlessly, drinking too much coffee or alcohol (they worsen sleep and any sleeplessness, anxiety or depression you may be experiencing.  Too much spicy food can exacberate hot flashes.

In your 60’s and beyond: Unfortunate as it sounds, the older you are, the more likely you are to develop a chronic ailment like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc.  Low-salt, nutrient-rich foods are essential for your continued good health.  Try to get more omega-3 and 6 such as nuts and seafood as these have been shown to combat memory loss, depression, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  I know this all sounds pretty depressing but it’s in the numbers – you can help prevent a lot of the ailments or at least help postpone them.   Eat  yogurt regularly and maintain a high-fibre diet.  IDEAL FOODS:  blueberries are packed with antioxidants and great for circulation and for healthy brain function. Fatty fish, Macadamia nuts for preventing high cholesterol, Spinach is one of the highest sources of lutein (an antioxidant that can help stave off macular degeneration, a leading cause of visual impairment.  MISTAKES TO AVOID: eating too much salt, not drinking enough water, not eating regularly enough (5 small meals throughout the day is better than 3 big meals), eating too much saturated and trans fat which make circulation sluggish and affect brain function.  Nobody wants that at any age!

This is my idea of an ideal healthy meal - all in good taste
This is my idea of an ideal healthy meal – all in good taste.

 And remember, exercise is important for all ages.

Also, while I’m at it:

*Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Healthwith host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on – #1 internet radio station in North America.  Here’s the link: