Saturday, August 24, 2019

Enjoying the Great Outdoors with Jack Ross and Becca Rowland...

Our "Picnics and Potlucks" Summer Group Exhbition is winding down this week.  Today we feature new works by Jack Ross and Becca Rowland.  

This is Jack's first group exhibition with Argyle Fine Art. Jack is an Artist, Educator and Graduate of NSCAD. He has shown work at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, the Seeds Gallery, the Craig Gallery, at Dine by Design East, and with Swoon Fine Art.  Keep an eye out for other works from Jack in the coming months!

Becca Rowland, is a former world traveller who has lived on four continents but now resides in Nova Scotia.  Becca has been a contributor to Argyle's Pre-Shrunk Exhibition in the past.  She works predominately in ink and watercolour.

Jack Ross, Stream, 16" x 20", acrylic on board

Jack's "Stream" painting depicts two figures relaxing outdoors.  We felt The work added a leisurely element to our Picnics and Potlucks show.  What could be better than spending a summer day outside with friends?

Becca Roland, The Ants Go Marching, 5" x 7", watercolour and ink

Becca's "The Ants Go Marching", is a reminder of what happens when we leave food out. Picnics and Ants go hand in hand! We celebrate the efforts of these highly efficient and hard working insects... 

As part of "The Picnics and Potlucks" exhibition, we've asked our artists to submit their favorite potluck recipes...

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Goat Cheese 

1 cup arborio rice
1 container (or 4 cups) chicken stock / or vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 medium shallot (about 1/2 cup or 1/2 small onion, chopped)
6 – 7 Fresh cremini mushrooms, half finely chopped, the other half sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup goat cheese 
fresh thyme
salt (to taste)

1. Gather the ingredients.

2. Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot. 

3. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add in the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. 

4. Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil. Sauté for another minute or so, until the rice becomes translucent and there is a slightly nutty aroma. Don't overheat and let the rice turn brown, we’re just toasting the rice to start. 

5. Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed. 

6. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. 

7. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. Add in the remaining (sliced) half of the mushrooms while the rice is still cooking. 

8. Stir in the goat cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. 

Becca Rowland 
Greek Pasta Salad 


16 oz short pasta (rotini, bow ties, penne)
3/4 long english cucumber , diced 
1 pint grape tomatoes , halved
1 bell pepper (red or orange), diced
1/2 cup sliced pitted olives
1 cup feta cheese , cubed
1/3 cup red onion , diced 


1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
salt & pepper to taste 


Whisk together dressing ingredients.
Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Argyle Fine Art's "Picnics and Potlucks" exhibition continues to August 28th.

You can view the exhibition online HERE

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Don't forget to Eat your Vegies

Our Summer Show, "Picnics and Potlucks" continues for another week, so it's time to come and see all the works created for the show in person before they are gone! If that's not enough to tempt you, we have air conditioning!

Today we thought we'd remind you all to eat your vegies or at least enjoy and perhaps buy one of these paintings that were created especially for the show. Both artists Alexander Koltakov and Merrilee Sett are new artists to the gallery walls and we're delighted with all these delicious greens. Almost makes you want to go home and make hodge podge.

Still Life with Vegetables and Greens, by Alexander Koltakov, 24" x 24", Oil on Canvas

Stalks and Bonds, by Merrilee Sett measures 16" x 20" and is watercolour on paper

Merrilee also shared a favourite potluck recipe with all of us, that pairs very nicely with her watercolour. Check it out below and enjoy making it tonight!  Hope to see you soon at the gallery!!!!

Asparagus Parmigiana

2 bunches of asparagus,about 2 lbs. (1Kg.)
1Tbsp. of butter
 salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3tbsp. coarsely ground parmesan cheese

Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus.  Slice each spear on the diagonal and into 3 pieces.  Melt butter in a large frying pan set over medium heat.   When bubbling,add the asparagus.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook,stirring until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.Turn onto platter. Sprinkle with cheese.  Serve hot or warm.

Receipt from the New Chatelaine Cookbook,
by Monda Rosenberg

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Cold Beer on a Hot Day!

Our Summer themed show continues and no picnic or potluck would be complete without some tasty beverages. Now, we know not everyone likes beer but many do too. In fact, the craft beer industry in Nova Scotia is booming!  Artists Rachel Ogden and Lynn Johnson painted up some beer for us to enjoy on this hot day. Check out their favourite recipes that they like to make for potlucks too!  Food, Beer, Art...what's not to love about this. Visit us soon for the full amazing effect of original art.

Rachel Ogden is an emerging artist who chose the popular TALL SHIP beer by Garrison Brewing, who is one of the pioneers of craft brewing in Nova Scotia. There once was a time when there was really just them and Propeller. This little painting measures 5" x 7", acrylic on canvas and will quench your thirst anytime.

Rachel's recipe for a potluck sounds great too. Check it out below and maybe make it this weekend!

Taboulie Salad 

half cup of cooked quinoa 
2 chopped tomatoes 
half a cucumber 
1 bunch chopped parsley 
6 chopped mint leaves 
2 green onions 
3 tbsp of lemon juice
3 tbsp of olive oil

Mix together and serve cool

At the end of a summer's day it's nice to sit near the campfire and yes, sip on more beer. This beauty of a painting is painted by Lynn Johnson and is called simply "Campfire and A Cold One", measures 5" x 7" , Acrylic on board and ready to hang. These paintings are making us thirsty!

Lynn gave us a great recipe as well, to inspire us all the next time we are heading out to a picnic or potluck. It's below!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Cajun Salmon with Fresh tomato salsa 


6 ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped (nothing better than straight from the garden!!!)

1 small spanish onion, chopped 

1 tsp each -- coriander, basil & chives

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 tsps red wine vinegar

3 tsps balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt / pepper to taste 

Mix all ingredients together - even better if you do a few hours ahead & refridgerate.

Cajun Salmon:

4 fillets or salmon steaks

1/4 to 1/2 cup Cajun spice mix

1/4 cup butter

Dredge salmon in the cajun spice.  Add to oven safe fry pan.  Sear both sides using enough butter they don't stick.  Then place skillet in 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes until fish flakes.  

The cool salsa with the spicy fish is a great combo!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Anyone for Dessert? Kim Danio Never Ceases to Amaze!

GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE!  Artist Kim Danio tantalizes us with some delicious looking pastries on an exquisite decorative cake stand. Made from re-purposed shoes and other found objects. Kim meticulously alters and combines recycled materials to produce familiar objects. She finds inspiration for her pieces from her surroundings; her interests and memories are reflected in the work she creates.

Kim Danio, "Anyone for Dessert?", re-purposed shoes, mixed media, 11 x 11 x 11 inches

Kim makes a conscious effort to coax new forms out of the existing structure of each object, while carefully preserving the integrity of each shoe.  This work created for the Picnics and Potlucks show, "Anyone for Dessert?" is no exception.  Each "pastry" is carefully created to disguise the baby shoe hiding underneath.  Decorative elements such as candied fruit made from buttons, and the textile-based frosting are applied to create the illusion of dessert toppings.  Eclairs, Mille Feuilles and other tasty treats are all featured here and looking for a home of their own...maybe with you!   

Kim Danio, "Anyone for Dessert?", re-purposed shoes, mixed media, (DETAIL)

Kim's potluck offering is this great Boston Lettuce and Endives salad recipe, and is sure to be a hit!

Argyle Fine Art's "Picnics and Potlucks" Summer Group Exhibition continues to August 28th.  Don't miss it.

Boston Lettuce and Endives


4 cups (100 g) Boston lettuce leaves (about 1 small head), shredded
2 white endives, halved and broken into leaves
2 red endives, halved and broken into leaves
1 red apple, cored and cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup (90 g) red grapes, halved
1/2 cup (50 g) roasted walnuts


1/4 cup (60 ml) mayonnaise
2 tbsp (30 ml) cider vinegar
1 tbsp (15 ml) whole-grain mustard
1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup 
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped Preparation Salad


1. In a large bowl, combine the boston lettuce, endives, apple, grapes and walnuts. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.

3. When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Popsicles for Lunch? Sure! Kim Floyd's Cool Art!

We hope you are all enjoying a lovely summer. No summer would be complete without a cool treat of ice cream and popsicles, and local artist Kim Floyd brought it all to our latest summer exhibit, "Picnics and Potlucks", which we strongly encourage you visit in person but can also view online HERE. 

It's kind of fitting that Kim decided to paint this POPsicle as her brand of artwork tends to be of the pop art genre. Lots of colour and high contrast! Selecting the background colours to her paintings is just as important as the main subject and composition. 

"Lime Popsicle", 8" x 6", Acrylic on board, Kim Floyd

Drip drip drip.....quickly pick up this ice cream before it melts!  What's your favourite flavour? A favourite of Kim's is of the Chocolate Mint variety.

Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream, 12" x 6", Acrylic on Board, Kim Floyd

Although Kim was all about cool treat themes with her art for this show, she went with a classic potluck recipe- another potato salad version. We're happy to post her recipe to Warm Potato Salad below!   ENJOY and make sure to drop by the gallery soon.

Warm Potato Salad 

6 boiled new potatoes quartered
½ an orange pepper chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach chopped
12 kalamata olives pitted and sliced
8 sundried tomatoes soaked and sliced
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Combine potatoes, orange pepper, baby spinach, olives, sundried tomato in a salad bowl. Whisk dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and olive oil together in a small bowl. Stir dressing into salad and toss. Serve warm but keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Picnics & Potlucks Feature: Paulette Melanson's Abstracts with a Side of Potato Salad

Good day to all! It's Monday and a great time to begin featuring our summer exhibit, day by day, with works from all the artists and their favourite recipes too. If you haven't seen the show in person yet, make a point to pop by this week and feel even more summery than you have been, with whimsical, vibrant and delicious looking art made with the them of "Picnics and Potlucks" in mind. The show has an overall summertime good times vibe we think everyone will enjoy! The full show is online HERE as well.

"The Picnic", acrylic on canvas, 38" x 55", Paulette Melanson, $1800
Today we are excited to share the two large abstract paintings by local artist Paulette Melanson. We've known Paulette for many years now. We first met her at our annual Pre-Shrunk show, which is the very best way for us to begin working with new artists!  At that time Paulette was still primarily working with acrylics and painting with a more representational art practice focus (simply defined as it just as it sounds- painting things to look as we see them in life).  But what's been so intriguing over the years is how Paulette has been experimenting with different mediums and styles and has fallen in love with a more abstract way of expressing the inspirations all around her.

"Summer Celebrations", acrylic on canvas, 55" x 38", Paulette Melanson, $1800

As a follower of her artwork, Paulette's art  it's a great example to those that may not "get abstract" to begin to understand it more, as you follow the progression from a more representational scene and abstract it...almost like when you take a photo on the macro setting of your camera or phone. Of course, there's more to it than that, but it's important to keep yourself open to new ways of seeing and styles of art and Paulette is an artist worth watching!

Here's a delicious recipe that is a favourite of Paulette's as well! Make sure to visit these paintings in person as they are larger than you may imagine and try this recipe too. Feel free to share your pictures of your food if you make this recipe- we'd love to see what YOU create!

Baby-Red-Potato Salad

2.5 kg baby red-skinned potatoes
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped parsley (or Lighthouse freeze dried)


Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook until tender, 17 to 20 min. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut in half and place in a very large bowl.

Whisk vinegar with Dijon, shallots and salt. Whisk in oil. Add half of this vinaigrette to warm potatoes. Stir to coat.

Cool potatoes to room temperature. Just before serving, stir in remaining vinaigrette and parsley.Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2019

SPOTLIGHT: Gordon MacDonald's "Closure"

"Closure" is one of 24 new paintings featured in Gordon MacDonald's "Atmosphere" exhibition, currently showing at Argyle Fine Art.  A recent social media post by the artist drew our attention to this work in particular: 

Gordon MacDonald, "Closure", oil on canvas, 22" x 26"

"I pass by this building on my way to a grocery store.  It’s in an awkward place and doesn’t seem to connect with anything around it.  It has a tattoo shop and a sketchy mattress outlet.  Fifteen years ago, I used to buy copper sheets from a door around the side.  It has a half exposed railroad track beside it and reminds me of the street car tracks that get discovered during roadwork.  

I don’t know its past and it may have been a warehouse for produce or something.  It feels like it’s an architectural “hand me down” that was only ever used for its function, without any need or effort to be noticed by the public.  

There is one tree on the side that faces a vacant lot that, although it’s fenced off, I trespass to get a view of open sky in the city..."

"..I thought what if I could venerate this to an icon?

What if, like 15th century icons, I use background to imply something else, otherworldly light, direct point of view...

What if…?

It’s just a building I pass".

Gordon MacDonald, on his painting "Closure" from The "Atmosphere" exhibition, 2019

We asked Gordon about his inspiration for this piece, and he referred us to a self-portrait he painted entitled "The 56".  

At first glance it's unclear what the immediate connection would be.  The colour palette offers some insight, the brushwork and certain compositional elements are also similar.

Subtle as it may be, Gordon tells us, it was the white of the subjects shirt collar that inspired the painting of "Closure".

Upon closer inspection, a similar white line can be seen bordering the roof of the building.  

It was something about the collar's hard edge, and the tonal values of the self-portrait that Gordon also saw in the building, and its immediate surroundings.

There's a certain "atmosphere" that exists in both paintings.    

For Gordon it evokes a sensation that he would describe as his "Ah Ha!" moment.  The perfect combination of elements, (that when you see it), takes your breath away.  

It's the thing that motivates an artist to paint and to create art.  For Gordon the "Ah Ha!" moment represents the driving force of his studio practice, re-creating that which he experiences in nature. 

Gordon's statement suggests treating the building as a sort of icon, much in the same way one might experience a portrait.  Creating something extraordinary out of the ordinary. 

"Closure" is currently available for purchase, and can be seen along with other new works in Gordon's current exhibition "Atmosphere" until August 6th.