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Monday, 26 August 2013

Featured Artist Yvette Daou-Yacoub

 Yvette Daou-Yacoub

 Yvette Daou-Yacoub was born into a family with five uncles who were fine high end jewellers and Goldsmiths. She inherited her passion for jewellery from her uncles.
Growing up as a little girl she had two big dreams: to study law and to design jewellery and accessories.
Finally, after much perseverance, one of her dreams is coming true…Yvette is now designing jewellery using gem stones, pearls, and crystals just like she used to dream as a little girl.

Where were you born?
 Beirut, Lebanon
Immigrated to Canada in 1986

If you could have an art related vacation anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 
 Paris & New York
Both cities understand Fashion and art wears, they enjoy accessorizing any wardrobe and any outfit for any occasion.

How did you get your start in the world of art?
 Since I was a child I loved jewellery and accessories, I don’t remember a time that going shopping with my mom and not coming with new bracelet or a pair of earrings.
That was my dream since I was a child that when the time is right I would love to start my little business of designing and creating jewellery and accessories to fit every budget and every occasion, no matter how big or small that could be.  I understood from my childhood years that not every woman can afford to wear diamonds and rubies, that broke my heart every time I hear a lady saying I wish I could afford that, or even men walking in my uncles’ jewellery store, looking at all the beautiful necklaces made of diamonds, rubies, Safire, pearls etc… taking a deep breath and telling my uncles: I would have loved to buy this for my wife or my daughter but unfortunately my budget does not allow it…
And, that I promised myself since then that I will create a line of jewellery that every woman, old or young, should be able to wear and enjoy, and feel very proud.  I always believed that everyone deserve to have what their heart desires and there should be a market for it…
So, after researching and investigating for alternatives, I discovered beading and that got me started 10 years ago, I felt I was ready for it and I started taking courses and enrolling myself in all kind or workshops until I reached to the standard I am pleased with.  My first course was with Canadian Jewellery Association, and it was about pearls. It is my favour it until now, my certificate is posted on my website.

What’s your favourite thing to create and why?
 I love designing jewellery: Necklaces in particular, because they complement the face and the posture of the wearer

Do you have go-to paints/colors that you love to use in your art work?
I love using opaque colours like blue turquoise, black onyx, red jasper and natural colours of pearls. They are easy to match them with any other transparent gems and crystals, and they complement any skin tone

Who has been your biggest inspiration as an artist?
My uncles, I come from a five uncles high end jewellers, they are Gemologist and Goldsmiths, they design their pieces and sell them to high ranked government agents and politicians. I have 2 of them in Washington, DC USA
I have worked in their stores for few years when I first came to Canada back in the 80’s and early 90’s, and every time one of those millionaire personality call to set up an appointment to see my uncle because he wanted a custom design piece of jewellery for his wife or his daughter for that special event…or a Galla…I remember having the butterfly in my stomach, I would get so excited to see what design my uncle would come out with….it was the most exciting time for me…I realized then, this is I wanted to do in my life too….Trust me if I say until now I get the same feeling and the same excitement every time  I receive a phone call or an e-mail from someone who is looking for custom design pieces for wedding or any other special occasions….

What have been some of your crowning achievements?
8 years ago, I submitted the beading program to the town of Richmond Hill, and I have beading teaching beading workshops ever since. I like to share my passion to beading….and now I have established a Richmond Hill Beading Artists, I have around 25 members in my group and we do exhibit and sell twice a year. What makes our Beaded Art show and sale special is that every Show and Sale supports a local charity.  Our next Show & Sale is in November 21,22,23,24, 2013 and this is our 3rd Fall Beaded Art Show and Sale, in this show we will be supporting the Alzheimer Society of York Region. 

I think this is my best achievement and I am very proud of it.

If you could have three wishes as an artist, what would they be?
I wish I can spread more of my passion and enthusiasm of my hobby to more of people, because I would like them to have that joyful feeling that I get every time I am beading or wearing them.
I wish people would look at beading as a work of art and not only just a craft to kill time, there is a lot of art in designing and creating that perfect necklace. You need to have a good taste of colour and good imagination to create a one of a kind item.
I wish people would appreciate the benefit of  beading. It is very therapeutic, it calms the nerves, rejuvenates the soul, and refreshes the brain.  Therapist and Psychologist encourage their patients in their treatment to have a hobby that involves working with their hands and distracting them from their bad thoughts so they can get out of their depression and anxiety. Beading is the perfect fit for that, because gemstones and crystals carry good and positive energy that can be transmitted to you while touching them and playing with them…

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
To continue with what I am doing, and never give up

What colour best describes your personality?
Red, because it is vibrant and very passionate

Thank you Yvette

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Featured Artist of the Week: Alexandra K Conrad

Alexandra K Conrad  

905 883 5539

Alexandra K. Conrad, an honours graduate of OCA (OCAD University), has also Master of Science Degree in Geography and is registered Professional Engineer of Ontario in the discipline of Mineral Engineering.
In her professional journey, after working in engineering projects, she moved to the field of arts, doing designs and illustrations (commercial and medical) as well as fine art paintings. She paints in various media but mainly in acrylic and oil. Subjects of her paintings include landscapes, cityscapes, nature, visual interpretation of music, abstract and portraits. Doing portraits is her most successful work, with the greatest clients appreciation.
            In 2007 she was accepted as a member of the Portrait Society of Canada (
PSC), based on her work on portraits. She is a member of Richmond Hill Group Artists (RHGA) as well as associate member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA).

Yonge St in Richmond Hill
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 18 x 16 inches

Where were you born? 
I was born in Gostynin, Poland, which is the town located north - west from Warsaw.
I was there only for four years after I lived and studied in
I came to Canada in 1976 and stayed here since then.

If you could have an art related vacation anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 
I have two places where I would like to have an art vacation.
One place is:
Tuscany, Italy is my dream destination for art related vacation.
I have always been enchanted with its scenery seen in the movies and photo books.
I love to see
Tuscany’s landscape with the hills and nature, especially cypress trees and olive groves, the winding country roads, fields, architecture of towns and the remarkable light constantly changing the scenery.
The other place is:
South of France including Arles where Vincent van Gogh was creating his fantastic paintings.  His use of colours, application of paint – the strong and interpretive brush strokes
I always admire. I would like to see the actual places, which he interpreted in his paintings.

What’s your favourite thing to create and why?

I particularly enjoy painting portraits. When creating a portrait, besides portraying likeness, catching the person’s feeling and expression is my biggest challenge and accomplishment. In my portrait painting I am not after a photographic representation of the person, but rather showing my impression of the individual and his/her overall physical and emotional gesture. To capture this gesture I am not looking only for the special facial expression, which has tremendous importance in the portrait, but also, for overall pose, including the position of the hands and legs. All these gesture elements contribute to the intimate expression of the individual and represent the “soul of that person” in that moment.
Quite often, in the portraits, which I have done, the eyes of the person stare straight at the viewer and his/her gaze follows the onlooker when he/she moves from side to side looking at the painting. This creates the additional emotional connection between the portrayed person and the person looking at the painting.

“Mrs Elefteria with Kenjisan”
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 24 x 36 inches

Besides portraits I paint other themes, which inspire me. (landscape, cityscape, nature, abstract).

“David Dunlop Observatory in the Fall”
Medium: watercolour on paper
Size: 20.5 x 14 inches

How did you get your start in the world of art?

I always liked to draw and paint however my professional art career started later on in life.  My other business engagements did not leave too much time for art creation. However, whenever possible I have been drawing and painting since young age and finally I dedicated more time for art. Professionally I have been engaged in art for approximately 20 years, after graduating from the OCA (OCAD University). 

Do you have go-to paints/colors that you love to use in your artwork?
Red and all sun related colours I use quite often in my artwork.


“Red Poppies”
Medium: oil on gallery canvas
Size: 16 x 20 inches

Who has been your biggest inspiration as an artist? 

From my early years, my mother influenced my love to art and art creation. She admired paintings of the Impressionists especially Vincent van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

Painting portraits is my most satisfying work of art so far. Clients’ appreciation and satisfaction bring me a lot of pleasure.
I received positive comments from the art professionals about my work on portraits.
One of them is a long time art professor Stefan Stankiewicz –
Fine Art University in Gdansk, Poland. He encouraged me to allocate more time in my art creation to painting portraits.

: “Caribbean Girl”
Medium: oil on gallery canvas
Size: 14 x 11 inches

Medium: pastel on paper
Size: 14 x 15 inches

If you could have three wishes as an artist, what would they be?
I wish that I had more time for painting, a spacious studio and
to have a growing number of friends artist.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Paint what you feel and the way you see it. Paint and draw a lot.

What colour best describes your personality?

It is difficult to say, however I like red, which I use for accents in almost every painting.
I am trying to be optimistic in various life situations and red is a happy colour,
so I guess that is my colour. 

“Elora Walk”
Medium: oil on gallery canvas
Size: 36 x 36 inches


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Art in the Park photos

It was a wonderful day at Tannery Park in Richmond Hill.

Five of the studio tour artists...Ona Kingdon, Victor Molev, Ben Lee, Olena Lopatina and Yvette Daou-Yacoub were at the park during its official opening. It was a wonderful opportunity for the artists to meet and talk to members of the public and for the public to watch each of the artists at work.

 Ona was painting a miniature watercolour. People were fascinated to see her work with such small brushes.

 Members of the public chatting to Victor about his work

and to Olena too.

 Ben Lee was working on a watercolour on canvas of the park itself

 and Yvette had beautiful jewellery for sale.

 It was a wonderful way to let people know about the Studio Tour.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Art in the Park!

The forcast is for a beautifully sunny day tomorrow so  why not come out and see some of the Studio Tour Artists at work (Saturday August 17, 2013) 11 am -2pm for an Art in the Park event at Tannery Park, Richmond Hill.

Please click on the map to see location

Each of the artists will be doing demo's and will also be available to talk to. Some will also be selling a selection of their work. 

Hope to see you there!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Featured Artist Don Downer

   Don Downer

Online Gallery: Fine Art America
Contact (phone or e mail) 
Don's enthusiasm for the outdoor world is conagious and he enjoys sharing his passion for nature and photography with children and adults alike. So let's find out more about Don.

Where were you born?     
Penetanguishene, Ontario

If you could have an art related vacation anywhere in the world where would you go and why?   
I would go to Madagascar or the Galapagos Islands because of all the unique animals that are there – and I haven’t been there yet.   

What’s your favourite thing to create and why?
My favourite thing to create is a moving and inspiring photograph of nature.

How did you get your start in the world of art?
I’ve always loved to take photographs and when I retired, an artist-friend of mine, suggested that I should be showing my work to other people and so we started doing shows together.

Do you have go-to paints/colors that you love to use in your art work?
I like oranges, especially sunsets – because I don’t see many sunrises – especially now that I am retired.  I also am very fond of all the blues – especially water blues.

Who has been your biggest inspiration as an artist?
Probably the work of Robert Bateman has been my biggest inspiration.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?
I have had several successful shows and I was asked to provide two pieces of photography from Georgian Bay as a memorial which now are on permanent display in the hospice in Penetanguishene, Ontario.

If you could have three wishes as an artist, what would they be?

That people would buy my work!
That I didn’t have to any work on the computer;
That I had more time to take photographs.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Be true to your own inspiration, and, keep it simple.

What colour best describes your personality?
Blue with splashes of orange!

Thank you Don

Friday, 2 August 2013

Featured Artist: Ona Kingdon

This weeks Studio Tour featured artist is:


Ona works primarily in transparent watercolour and loves the luminescence of this medium. She enjoys building up the depth and variation of colour through multiple glazes one pigment at a time and preserves the white of the paper to create highlights. 

 Ona began painting in watercolour seriously in late 2008 and, over the last few years, has won many awards both locally and internationally.

Hope you enjoy learning more about Ona in the following answers.

Where were you born? 

I was born in the south west of England.

If you could have an art related vacation anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 

I like places where there are interesting people because I love painting human emotion. I also enjoy meeting my art friends from around the world and visiting the big watercolour exhibitions so my ideal art vacation would have to include one of these too.

What’s your favourite thing to create and why?

I like creating art that captures elements of the emotions of life. Something that makes people smile, cry, feel sad, feel longing or pure joy.

How did you get your start in the world of art?

When I was small I would go with my mum to drama events. She would give me some pencils and a sketch pad to keep me amused and I would get lost in a colourful imaginative world where a simple scribble could become a tree, a few shapes a friendly giant and a triangle a mountain far on the eastern horizon. My mum would tell me the names of three objects and I would use them to create a story in my mind and then illustrate the story on paper.

Things didn’t always go to plan though. Once, when I was about three years old I was with my mum in a very old Victorian theatre with a sloped floor. I dropped my pencils in the middle of a very serious and tragic scene on stage. The pencils rattled noisily on the wooden floor all the way from the back of the theatre where I was sat, to the front of the stage. As they rolled clattered along, everyone in the crowded audience bent their heads to see what the noise was. It looked just like an inverted Mexican wave. I guess, even from an early age, that I was destined to be noticed as an artist :)

Do you have go-to paints/colors that you love to use in your art work?

I am in love with the Daniel Smith Quinacradone range of colours and use at least a couple of them in every painting I do. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration as an artist? 

There are several watercolour artists that I really admire such as Paul Jackson, John Salminen, Jane Freeman and Birgit O’Connor and I love the work of Dali too but I have to say my biggest inspiration as an artist has to be the deaf children that I taught for over 15 years. This experience helped me to develop a strong understanding of how feelings, emotion and knowledge can be communicated visually and the many children that I supported over the years really taught me how to see the more subtle aspects of how emotion can be conveyed.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

Becoming an Elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, a signature member of both the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and the North West Watercolor Society.

Winning Awards for the last two years In the Transparent Watercolor Society of America’s National Exhibition and several other big international exhibitions

Being chosen as one of the top 10 one’s to watch in 2012 by the Watercolor Artist Magazine

If you could have three wishes as an artist, what would they be?

To inspire others to have a go

To connect emotionally in some way to people through my art

To rise to challenges in the art world and keep growing and developing as an artist

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Be you and be proud of being different. This way the work you produce comes from the heart and will have so much more meaning.

What colour best describes your personality?

I don’t think I am a single colour but more of an analogous section of the colour wheel from the warm blues through the purples and violets and into the cooler pinks. 
The color blue is reserved, thoughtful and quiet and likes to do things in its own way quite like I do. The color indigo reflects great devotion along with fairness and impartiality. It also stimulates creative activity which I love. The color purple links to imagination and spirituality allowing us to get in touch with our deeper thoughts. I love running with my imagination and seeing where it takes me and tend to think a lot about things. The color pink is compassion, nurturing and love. It is affectionate, thoughtful and caring and has gentle loving energy. I guess this is my motherly side although caring and compassion do tend to come across in many of my paintings too.