mab art studio

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

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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! 

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Kathryn enjoying our first trip to a cafe in Amsterdam!

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The city centre has amazing cafes to visit.

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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!

Painting Dreams Art Tours meets Elizabeth’s Vines

We are so grateful to have made lots of new friends and connections while visiting Southwest France this year. One of the interesting women that we met this year is Elizabeth Vines. Elizabeth is a keen writer and lover of French wines, a worldly resident living in France, Canada, UK and Cypress throughout the year. Visit Elizabeth’s site here: http://elizabethsvines.com/

While we were in Dordogne, we met Elizabeth and to our pleasure, we found out that she loves to write about the area’s wine, food and music! Here is the latest from Elizabeth highlighting the Bergerac Wine Region! Be sure to check her out and sign up for our tour next year. Our free information session is on September 18 in our North Vancouver studio. Sign up here and learn how you too can enjoy South West France next year: Painting Dreams Art Tour Free Info Night

Bergerac Wine Region: jazz and wine

by elizabethsvines

The heat wave in South West France, with temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40 degrees C, has thankfully cooled.  Sunflowers continue to salute the sun and lavender hedges are buzzing with the sound of many bees and other pollinators doing their work.

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Lavender hedges
Sunflowers
Sunflowers saluting the sun
Trimming the vines
Trimming the vines

In the vineyards it’s work as usual.  The tractors are in the fields by 5.00 am getting a start on the work before it gets too hot.   Vine trimming is complete and new vines are planted where the vignerons are making changes to their vineyards.

Amid all the flurry of vineyard work, there is still time to enjoy music and wine!  More particularly jazz, performed at a wine chateau, in the barn or chai as it is called here, where the wine is made.

The Jazz En Chais, Cru 2015, a series of 5 jazz concerts held in the Pourpre Perigord area of South West France from March to November is very popular and offers live music, wine tasting at the host wine chateau as well as a farmer’s market where people can buy food and eat in situ before the concert.

Jazz en Chais concerts
Jazz en Chais concert: Chateau Court les Muts
Chateau Court Les Muts
Chateau Court Les Muts

Our most recent Jazz en Chais concert was held at Chateau Court Les Muts situated about 20 minutes from Bergerac and set in the gently rolling countryside of rural Dordogne, surrounded by the chateau’s own vineyards.   The wines of this Chateau are highly regarded in the area.

First of all, we enjoy a glass of Chateau Court Les Muts ‘L’Oracle’, their premier red wine:  50% Malbec, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, all black fruits, violets, chocolate and touch of white pepper.  Then, we find our seats in the chais and settle down to listen to the Serge Delaite Trio play a concert called Comme Bach… in which the classical music of Bach is harmonized with jazz classics by Duke Ellington, Bart Haward and others and played with talent, style and energy.  These concerts are a well attended and popular expression of South West France wine culture.

Being a fan of such music as Fly Me to The Moon, the Jazz En Chais series of live music partnered with high quality wines of the region ticks all the boxes for me for an enjoyable summer evening

References:  Les Jazz en Chais concerts, Cru 2015.  www.jazzpourpre.com

Chateau Court Les Muts,  www.court-les-muts.com.   See also their vine jewellery made on site.

Serge Delaite Trio. “Comme Bach”.

MONIKA TAKES FRANCE!

Some of you know that our owner and founder of MAB Ventures Inc., Monika Blichar, is taking a tour to France this summer alongside 9 creatives! As part of her fundraising and commitment to supporting kids summer art camp at our studio while she is away, she is currently painting 40 pieces to support the cause! A big thank you to everyone who has supported the initiative by purchasing one of these pieces!

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One of our kids class participants was inspired and painted her own version of the Talon Haut. Thank you to Shoe Straponz for commissioning this painting. www.shoestraponz.com 

40 Painting Challenge-Each Piece is $100!

Each sale of this 40 painting series will help take a group of artists to France for a professional international painting trip for two weeks. Faciliated by our studio and gallery; MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery, Monika will be teaching in France, but the studio in North Vancouver will remain open during this first international painting trip we are coordinating along with our guide Lynda Wrigley. By purchasing one of these original paintings, you are directly helping our studio and stable of artists gain international exposure and experience as well as facilitate cultural exchanges in the arts. Our studio will continue to facilitate classes and offer our third year of summer art camps for over 130 children. Our goal is to faciliate these trips year after year and with your help in any way possible, we can help dozens of artists exhibit their work and participate in professional development on the international stage.

The current paintings that are available are:

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To purchase one of these peices, please visit: http://mabartstudio.com/store.php#!/Monika-Art/c/5833065/inview=product51497706&offset=0&sort=normal 

Not in the market for a new painting? Art Cards by Monika are also available. Each is $4 and all proceeds support the studio while the tour is happening this year. Everyone needs a greeting card and these are stunning!

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For more information about the trip details and how you can help or sign up for our trip next year, please visit:

http://www.gofundme.com/kf8vig

 

Looking for some fabulous advertising? Monika is currently working with select companies to advertise products and services while we she travels. Do you have an interesting product or service you’d like to promote in France, Poland and Germany? Grab a sticker on her suitcase,  travel tote or even get your photos on the official photography for the event! Learn more about advertising opportunities for your business here: http://mabartstudio.com/events.php 

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Seventy Countries to Touch An Interview with Jan Kasparec

By Alyssa Laube

About: Jan Kasparec, born in the Czech Republic, has settled in Vancouver after several years of travelling and exploring the world’s cultures. The influences of his travels can be seen in the artist’s work, which is very diverse, ranging from paintings and drawings to photography and writing. This year, he will be exhibiting some of his artwork at the Art World Expo!

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You were born in the Czech Republic but moved to Vancouver. How did the two unique cultures effect you and your art?

I would say that my art is more affected by my inner journey rather than geographical location. Nevertheless, it’s not by chance that we call Europe the “old continent”. The art scene in Europe is an essential part of society, much more than in North America. Being immersed and educated in it from the age of 8 did make an impact on my artistic path. But Vancouver was love at first sight for me; a blind date that ended up in the best possible outcome: my new home. Just the feeling of living in a place I love puts my creativity on a very good frequency.

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You’ve also travelled many other places in your life, including France, Brazil, Australia, and many more! Can you explain the effects that your travels have had on you?

Travelling opened my heart and melted the mental preconceptions that our society is so good at building inside of us. I understood that we are all the same, good in our essence, and what keeps us separate is an illusion; a clever fear-fiction created by the ruling class. I also realized that my frustration or sadness over the largely unfulfilled potential of human society and destruction of this planet doesn’t help to resolve it. Meditation and unconditional love taught me that the only possible outward change comes from within. 70 countries later, I still feel like I am at the beginning of a long journey.

Which place sticks in your mind the most, or had the greatest impression on you?

There’s no place I’d rather be than here and now of course! But if I have to name a few milestones on my journey I would mention mother India, where I took 10 days of silent Vipassana meditation and experienced an inner insight. People of the mountain plateau of Tajikistan (Pamir) touched my heart deeply. Mongolia was where I first lived in the state of no-time, some might call it Satori. Those moments shape my life in this very moment. Once you know there’s only light, you can’t be fooled by darkness anymore, regardless how “real” it seems to be.

On that note, could you share one memory or anecdote from your life that stands out or effected you as an artist?

Once, I was drawing a receptionist in Vietnam who fell asleep, while one of the most beautiful women I ever dated was patiently waiting for me to finish. It was our first date and the portrait was no good. I was late and exhausted. I thought I would never see her again, but she was actually one of the rare souls that I fell crazily in love with. I always remember the sleeping receptionist with half-open mouth when I remember her.

You’ve painted quite a few images of Buddha. Why does Buddha inspire you to create art?

I’ve had visions of Buddha in my meditations. I knew I had to paint “him” (I perceive Buddha as a quality rather than a particular person). Since that day, I’ve painted quite a few, and new visions come in the moments of silence of my mind. They’re very different from the conventional depictions of Buddha, but it’s my most successful theme so far. I’ve sold all of them without ever having a second thought of sales to taint the painting process. I am not Buddhist per say, but Buddha is my everyday teacher, encouraging me to empty myself, let desires go, and see through my attachments. Every day I fail many times and every day I come back to it in a loving way. The journey is the destination.

How would you describe your studio, and what’s most important to you in a studio?

My studio is my sanctuary. Most important is the energy of peace and belonging. I’ve charged my studio with this energy by lots of interior modifications and countless meditations, yoga practices, sittings with crystals, dances… Almost everyone who comes to spend time here tells me how good they feel here without knowing why. It always makes me smile. I spend much more time here than at home, where I only go to sleep. I love my studio dearly, including the mice and winter chill!

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To see Jan’s studio yourself, you can visit: 

#1000-420 Parker Street Studios, East Vancouver.

What fascinates you about creating portraits?

What is most fascinating about people’s faces is the truth in their eyes. You can fake a pose on a photograph. I don’t think you can do that on a painted portrait. 

What was it that drew you to Canada?

I had just finished 17 months of globetrotting when I met a buddy, who I hadn’t seen in five years, in a pub in Prague. Another trip wasn’t something I was considering, so when he said, “Go check out Vancouver, man, you’ll love it!” I didn’t think much of it. Well, a couple of beers later, the idea became more attractive. I applied for a visa the same week and moved a few months later. In a broad sense, I was just supposed to be here. Why that is I don’t need to know, but beer was a rather painless accelerator.

What is your favourite part of Vancouver to photograph or paint?

Vancouver is a rare gem. I love seaside landscapes with snowy mountains looming in the background, industrial cranes somehow in harmony with their natural surroundings, railways and factories in North Vancouver, cargo trains in Strathcona surrounded by old graffiti’d warehouses, shabby buildings in Chinatown, waterfalls in Lynn Valley….I could go on for a while. This city has so much and I’ve still only seen so little of it!

Was the first time you bought oil paints at 24 your first true experience with art?

Yes, I first bought oil paints when I was 24 but I painted as soon as I learned how to hold a pastel (around the age of 2). The first true experience of art, if this can even be described by something so limiting as words, dates to early childhood. When you become blank and create out of pure joy, you are living a true experience of art. We are all creative by definition, and we are all true artists. Most forget along the way. I was fortunate enough to remember.

To learn more about Jan, and see some of his creations, visit:

http://painting.kasparec.com/