Surf Art? Yes Please! 

By Monika Blichar 

I always love meeting new artists and sharing them in our network. This time, I catch up with Lindsay who has a daring sense of adventure in her art and life! 

Lindsay graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Television Film and New Media then proceeded to get her MAED at University of Phoenix. Lindsay is from the Hollywood area where she worked at DreamWorks as well as other film companies and eventually took on her own clients. Some clients include Marriott, US Hanger Company, Hilton, San Diego Rescue Mission, Pussers and many more!

“My work is shows the compliments of coastal living and the carefree lifestyle of surfing. I like to do work with passion that shows the beauty of the sport of surfing becoming one with nature. I like to show how creative nature’s beauty can be. I live outside of the DC area and was born and raised in southern California which I am constantly coming back to. I create ocean art, accessories and jewelry. www.BlueFusionSurfArt.com Paradise Found is a favorite spot in Kauai.” 


Being a Pirate and a Gypsy

By Monika Blichar 

When it comes to daydreaming and thinking up creative ideas, most artists can say that deep down, that’s all they ever really want to do. Being an artist is often like being a pirate and a gypsy; searching for that golden idea while striving to keep it secret until it is time to unveil. 

I caught up with Paula Godden owner and designer at The Pirate and the Gypsy and asked her to give us a few insights into her world of wonder. 

1-A lot of your inspiration to create a company came from your travels as a young girl. Do you have a favourite place that you have visited? 
Jerusalem, a place so rich in history and culture. As a young girl, I was wide eyed with wonder walking through the streets of the old city, visiting historic churches and sites, places I had heard about in stories and later read about in books. The lush greenery of the Mount of Olives, the beautiful beaches, floating on the Dead Sea, touching the spot where the Star of Bethlehem landed when it fell from the sky. The market places were always so filled with color and the hustle of merchants with their beautiful art work and jewelry. It was magical, like fantasy had come to life, especially after watching movies like Indiana Jones which romanticized the Middle East with all its natural treasures and mysteries. My imagination ran wild and it was at that time my writings and drawings really began to develop.

2-Is anyone else in your family creative? 
Yes, I have a lot of creative family members but the person that stands out the most for me is my Father, he was an amazing artist. I remember when I was little I would watch him, I was mesmerized by his drawings. I would constantly be bugging him to draw things for me and then as I got older he was the one I would go to when I wasn’t sure on how to draw something. He really helped me develop and hone my artistic skills.
3-Your work is made from many natural materials and stones. What is your favourite material to work with? 
I love working with all metals and stones but if I had to choose one of each I would have to say that copper and Larimar are my favourites. Some think of copper as a “poor man’s” metal, a dirty metal, but its not. Copper is such a wonderful easy metal to work with and has amazing healing and conductive properties. It has the ability enhance the properties of all other metals and stones that are in contact with it. Copper also has such a rich, vibrant colour it reminds me of the sun setting on the water; those deep reddy orange hues shimmering on the waves of the ocean. Turquoise is usually the favourite for natural blue stones, but Larimar has my heart. It reminds me of horizon where the ocean meets the sky, blue seas and white pillowy clouds. As you can probably tell I have my head in the clouds and my heart at the ocean.

4-What’s the most memorable design you have created? 
I’d have to choose the custom engagement/wedding ring remake I recently did. Working with a customer to bring their vision, their story to life was an amazing experience for me. This was definitely a challenging piece for me to do. I took on the project not just because of the story behind it, but for the opportunity to push my boundaries of creativity and increase my skill level. This customer hadn’t worn her wedding ring set for 15 years, saying the setting was too high and that it would get caught on things and scratch her children when carrying them. She gave me her vision and trusted me to take it and put my own creative twist on it and after 15 years she is now able to wear the expression of love and her family on her finger once again. The joy I experienced when I saw her face as she put her new ring on for the first time was overwhelming and I was even more moved but the testimonial she posted on my website. The process I went through on this custom piece brought my skill set to a whole new level and confirmed my love for the process of discovery, design and creation, this is why I hand pick all of my materials. My husband and I believe that in every piece of wood, glass, metal and stone there is a story and it is our joy to translate that story into the unique piece of art it becomes.

5-Where would you like to see your business and collection be in 5 years? 
I see my husband and I doing this full time. The Pirate & The Gypsy will have moved out of our home studio into a small local store front in New Westminster on Front Street with personal studio space for the two of us. Our online store will have expanded and flourished, going from a largely local audience to more expanded national audience. I see us growing and evolving. As the business grows so will our skills and possibly our creative direction. The Pirate & The Gypsy has grown so much in the past year with the addition of my husband’s woodworking and stained glass art. I am blessed to have him with me along for the ride, to be able to share our ideas, methods, and dreams for the future. I see some stained glass pendant collaborations in the future and maybe even some wood and metal pieces. In 5 years we will still be sailing the seas of our imaginations and creating form the heart. We want to create a culture where people come to us from all over the world when they want unique custom designed pieces that tell a story or that celebrate their life and their journey.  

6-Will you have any specials for Art World Expo attendees this year?
I have a few surprises up my sleeve for Expo attendees. I will be debuting a new limited edition collection at a special Art World Expo pricing. We will be giving away a complementary gift to the first 25 customers who visit our booth and while they are there they can enter our draw to win one of our necklaces.

For more information, be sure to visit The Pirate & The Gypsy Facebook Page

New CREATIVEBLOCH Artist Magazine and Group Art Show!


Creativebloch (www.creativebloch.com) is pleased to announce our first issue of CREATIVEBLOCH MAGAZINE! The magazine will be released as part of our Fall Group Art Show, ECLECTRICITY.  The first edition will include 17 amazing NYC artists, and will be available to order after October 6 exclusively though our website.

The artists will also be featured in our gallery show, which opens October 6, from 6-9 PM in DUMBO.  Come celebrate the show and the magazine!  

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1764380590509081/


Painting Dreams Art Tour-Wroclaw, Poland

by Monika Blichar

Wroclaw is known as “the meeting place”. With its picturesque architecture, many coffee shops and restaurants as well as attractions to visit, any artist will find an array of inspiration. The city is full of people, art, history and culture!


Photos: City Square called the Rynek, Botanical Gardens, and a painting from 1864. 

Our trip here this year is part of Painting Dreams International Art Tours. Each year, a group of artists joins us for a two week tour of a selected area overseas. This year, we chose to take the tour to Wroclaw as it is the European Culture Capital for 2016 with stop overs in Amsterdam and Warsaw. We arrived late on Saturday night and since arrival, have enjoyed visiting attractions such as the Rynek, museums, and art galleries. The city is quite busy this year and we are finding that many people speak English well. Our travellers are able to get around easily on the trolley system and our apartment is located minutes from the downtown core. So far, some of our highlights have been visiting the National Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the Panorama.


Though our group is small this year, we have made time to create works and are anticipating cooler weather in order to be able to paint plein air! The weather has been unusually hot for the area this year, but we have been able to create a few pieces over the last few days! Sketching has been ideal to get some ideas down on paper and our canvas pads and travel kits have been a great way to create pieces that are easily transportable and that can be made anywhere.


Sketch by Monika “Polish Princess” as well as two acrylic paintings. Inspirations for these pieces have been the city’s 300 some odd gnomes and Polish scenes, insects and architecture. Works in progress. 


Kathryn has been working steadily on her bird piece. Colours are coming along and she has been working from the workbook provided to tour members. “You’re Going to Make It-A Creativity Workbook to Help You Make Your Best Art” by tour operator and art instructor Monika Blichar. You can order your own copy of the workbook EBOOK HERE

If you are interested in travelling with Painting Dreams International Art Tours, please register for our next information session on August 28 held at our studio and gallery in North Vancouver, BC. If you are out of the area, we will be streaming the meeting so you will be able to be present virtually. Please register PAINTING DREAMS IN SPAIN 2017


Painting Dreams International Art Tour-Stop 1-Amsterdam

by Monika Blichar

One of the many canals. Photo credit Sabrina Widner.

One of the many canals. Photo credit Sabrina Widner.

One of the best parts of our operations is being able to travel with Painting Dreams International Art Tours. On top of our annual exhibition, studio classes and programs, we love summer because each year, we are able to go to artsy hotspots and explore with other creatives! We love hosting and coordinating these trips for art lovers and adventurers


Sabrina, Kathryn and I arriving at the airport! About 13 hours of travel from Vancouver with a stop over in Chicago.This year, we decided that we would take our tour to Wroclaw, Poland and make a couple stops before and after our 12 day tour. Our first stop is Amsterdam and let me tell you, if you are an artist of any sort, this is definitely a place you need to visit! Cafes, galleries, museums and exhibitions are in abundance-every corner is filled with unique artisan works as well as a fabulous ambience from 165 canals. Amsterdam has 51 galleries, approximately 1,515 cafes and bars, 1,281 bridges, 2,500 houseboats, and 881,000 bicycles. No shortage of things to sketch or paint here! 


Kathryn enjoying our first trip to a cafe in Amsterdam!


The city centre has amazing cafes to visit.


My first sketch complete with morning coffee!

From all the places I have travelled over the years, Amsterdam easily has the friendliest locals who not only smile and say good morning when they are whizzing past you on their bikes, but who are keen to help you have a great time here! If you haven’t yet, be sure to follow our page on Painting Dreams on Facebook! On Saturday, we will be heading off to Wroclaw to enjoy the European Culture Capital for 2016. Until then, be sure to connect with us as we explore the sights and attractions in Amsterdam!

Art World Expo: Vancouver Art, Fashion & Body Paint

When people think of Vancouver, most think of mountains, trees, ocean and, high priced real estate! If you aren’t from here, you probably won’t hear much about the huge pool of talent that lies within our city bounds unless you are a savvy collector or art buff.  One of the amazing  thing that we get to do each year is feature amazing artists, designers and musicians. Among some in this year’s show include Nancy Perreault, an eclectic and wild designer who is humbly making waves in the city and beyond. Guests can expect a range of designs that range from ready to wear to a glamorous party to wild, one a kind pieces perfect for glass cases on walls. Another highlight each year is the emtertainment. Among some of the great performers, Art World features some 20-30 performers each year including musicians, dancers, jugglers, hula hoppers, actors and of course musicians. Some of the artists performing this year include Gayle Arnold’s two person band The Strangest Days, as well as Kara Lockwood Music. In the past, we’ve highlighted local musicians including first time performers like Mat Walach to veteran rockers Bif Naked and Doug Fury. We pride ourselves in sharing local talent in all stages of their careers.    Another highlight of the show is our auction. Not only do the proceeds help support arts based initiatives such as arts programs for kids and adults, funds are also used to produce art exhibitions and support artists in the event. Guests can expect to bid on everything from hotel packages and BC activities and adventures to art from artists in our show and beyond!  This year, we are giving away two tickets each week when you repost this image and hashtag #artworldexpo! Body paint by Jess Hawkins. Line up!  Gary Weston 2014. Glamour Noir theme this year. Consider purchasing a mask this year by Coastal Storm Gallery. $20/ea or included in a VIP ticket. 

Guests can bid on amazing items and services in the auction. 



Calming Chaos – An Interview with Painter Graham McKenzie

Calming Chaos

– An Interview with Painter Graham McKenzie

by Alyssa Laube

Graham_Dec 13_33_TN  Graham_July 14_18_TN

About: Graham McKenzie is an easy-going and honest person who draws his artistic inspiration from nature. Most of his work is based off of hikes in the Fraser Valley, so British Columbians can visit the scene of Graham’s paintings! He finds joy in escaping the man-made world and immersing himself in the magical, sporadic qualities of the natural world. With his paintings, he invites the viewer to experience it with him.

Graham_Dec 13_36_TN

Your interest in art started with wax crayons. When did you pick one up for the first time?    Is there a reason why you loved it so much?  

When young, we all pick up wax crayons. I remember my first real art lesson was given to me by my mother. While visiting some friends and colouring with their child, I liked the way his colours looked compared to mine. I told my mother that I wanted crayons like his. She simply said, “Don`t push down so hard.”

Art left your life for a while. Do you know why that happened, and what inspired you to get back into it?          

I don`t think I lost interest in art, it just faded away for a while. I started having dreams which rekindled it, and soon started to push a pencil around.

How did working with your drafting board help you develop as an artist?                   

An artist, no matter what their skill level is, needs a work place; a place where you can return to your work and not have to clear up because it’s dinner or bed time.

How has your art evolved over time?      

I really believe that practice makes you better. The more you paint, draw, or scribble, the faster your fingers and brain learn to communicate. I feel that my paintings have evolved over the last couple of years because I’ve made an effort to make painting more than just a hobby. I have always been a detail-oriented person and have been working creating more depth in my work.

Your desire to paint nature and landscapes started after you began to hike in the Fraser Valley. What is it about this place that inspires you?

Even as a child, I spent a lot of time in the woods playing and making forts. Walking into the forest really excites me! I love the green of B.C.. The way the moss grows and hangs from the trees creates a magical wonderland.

What are some of your other favourite places to paint?      

I don`t know if I have a favourite place to paint but I really like the Cultus Lake area and Lindeman Lake as well.

Why do you love to paint nature, rather than anything else?        

I work in the aerospace industry, where everything is measured down to the one-hundred thousandth of an inch. Everything is very controlled. Now, with nature, everything is beautifully random and free. It`s that freedom that allows a person’s mind to wander, paint a branch or throw some leaves here and there to suit your mind’s eye.

What does creating art do for you?              

Sometimes, when painting, you get into this zone where things are flowing. It`s almost like meditation. You’re thinking about what you’re painting, your day, the people in your life, listening to music, or sometimes all of them at once. It sounds busy and crowded but your mind just wanders. Then you look up at the clock and 3-4 hours have flown by.

How would you like to challenge yourself in the future?

I feel like I`m just getting started in my painting career, so I definitely want to put more effort in and be more disciplined. Large canvases are intimidating, so I think I have to tackle some of those as well. I’ve been fortunate in that I have met a lot of helpful and unselfish people over the last couple of years who’ve been very supportive. I want to continue to support others that I meet and pay it forward, as they say. B.C. has a great artistic community and I’m grateful that I’m starting to mix in.



Volunteer at Art World Expo TM 2015!

Are you a lover of the arts and culture? Do you enjoy meeting new people and working in a creative environment?

If so, we are looking for you!



ART WORLD EXPO 2015-Dedicated Volunteers Needed!


Event Date: May 1, 2015

We need help to make this show amazing in celebration of our 5th anniversary special edition!

Event Management, promotions, fundraising and ongoing social media volunteers needed!

*Opportunities to work with Film and TV Producers, Specialized Arts & Entertainment Companies, Artists, Jewelers, Designers, Sculptors and More!*

We will have several events and campaigns throughout the year to make this 4th installment as magical and creative as possible!

-Film & Segment TV Production
-Studio Interns & Volunteers
-Local & International Fundraising Initiatives


MAB Ventures Inc. is pleased to produce the 5th Annual Art World Expo. We are looking for reliable and ethical volunteers who are interested in volunteering at this large scale event featuring over 100 artists, designers, body painters, installation artists and more. This event is one of a kind and has to date featured over 400 artists!

If you are interested in volunteering, please send your resume to us at artworldexpo@gmail.com. A semi-formal 30 minute interview is required prior to becoming a volunteer. Selected applicants should be prepared to submit three references.

Volunteers will receive:
-swag bags with products and service discounts
-free painting lesson(s) at MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery
-Reference Letter upon successful completion of volunteer assignment(s)
-Opportunities to work, network and learn from industry professionals

-commission based ticket sales opportunities via affiliate programs

This event is a one of a kind experience that happens once a year. We are looking for volunteers who are able to commit to a shift from 4:30 pm-12:30 am or 6:30 pm-2:30 am in addition to a two hour weekly effort in any of the above area. Hours needed for this event can be done in studio, online or at events/initiatives leading up to the event and vary in duties from social media marketing, handing out flyers, fundraising and gallery/promotion set up/take down in our studio or in the community. We ask that all volunteers commit to a three month minimum commitment at the eight hour minimum. If you are a volunteer interested in only working at the event or have a specific schedule/availability, please specify in your initial email. We look forward to hearing from you!

Artist Vicki Rae at Art World Expo 2014

Accomplished artist Vicki Rae joins Monika Blichar in studio for a candid interview about her craft.

ART WORLD EXPO TM Proudly Presents: Artist Vicki Rae

Vicki currently lives and works in New Westminster, BC. She received formal training at the Lorenzo di Medici Art Institute in Florence, Italy and is otherwise ‘self taught’.

A Vancouverite with Native Canadian and South African roots Vicki has explored various themes such as SAFARI and other wildlife subjects, dance and human experience, spirituality and psychology.

Using a striking, vivid pallet, expressionism and the full spectrum of human emotion Vicki’s body of work honours and embraces the light and the shadow, and en masse, is a captivating visual journal of her life and experiences.

“Employing intuition as a guide and raw emotion as fuel, I give all of myself to my Art. I engage with each piece, as if in a dance, and allowing the painting to lead me I aim to reveal it’s unique energy, it’s voice and the story it has to tell.”

For more information about Vicki, please visit:

Art World Expo TM tickets are available online:

By Phone: 1 604 999 6177

Email: artworldexpo@gmail.com

Event Information, Applications and Artist Interviews:

Connect on Social Media:

2014 Theme: CIRCUS!
“Life’s A Circus, Enjoy the Show!”
Don’t forget your Top Hats and Clown Costumes!

Art World Expo is an annual fine art show and sale representing local and international artists of all mediums. The event was founded by Monika Blichar in Vancouver, BC in 2010 and is held at Telus World of Science the first Friday of May each year. For more information about Monika Blichar for MAB Ventures Inc. including information about MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery, please visit: https://www.monikablichar.com 

Art World Expo & 360 Replays

ART WORLD EXPO TM is pleased to present this amazing video of a one of a kind body art installation featuring the creative process in a unique way captured by 360 Replays.

360 Replays develops interactive technology for Internet TV. Their mission is to make interactive TV the regular TV on the planet. In addition, 360 produces camera systems that can be used to capture interactive content delivered over Internet television.

For more information about 360, visit:

Art World Expo is an annual large scale art show and fundraiser featuring over 100 artist exhibitors, fashion shows, a body painting competition and live demonstrations. The fourth annual event will take place on May 2, 2014. The event is produced by MAB Ventures Inc., An Arts & Entertainment Agency with proceeds benefiting Make and Break Arts Foundation. The event takes place at Telus World of Science in Vancouver,BC, Canada and features artists from around the world.

For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please visit:


Order tickets by phone 604 999 6177

Body Painting Artist: Cory Keys

Hair & Face Make Up: Monika Blichar

Model: Emily Blackwell, Red Goddess Talent

Thank you to the Art World Expo TM 2014 Platinum Sponsors:

Twin Peaks Construction

Fresh Vancouver Magazine