Saturday, December 20, 2008

I am useless at writing Christmas cards but yet I like to write so I guess I will do my best to summarize 08 in my blog today and wish everyone a Merry Christmas at the same time.

Its been an amazing year. 2008...what a wild ride!!

I turned 40 this year on January 8th and decided to try something new. I wanted to make a difference in some way this year so I began a series of 8 events leading to 08/08/08- the day of the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics. It was a great project and was so rewarding in so many ways. Throughout the year I created shows that brought artists and musicians together for events all designed to bring unity. By the end of the year I had worked with over 75 different musicians, artists, dancers....and not to mention had a great art contest with submissions from artists from all around the world.

The spring of 2008 also gave birth to the beginnings of the mural Le Cadeau Du Cheval- The Horse Gift and my 12th annual Night of Artists festival. The NOA Festival was one of the best ever and had some amazing moment and lots of great images to treasure.Combined with the 8 events it was a busy time but a wonderful time too. I also released my 5th edition of NOA magazine. Everything was really well received and the spring was rockin' with good times and lots of excitement.

In the spring I had to make some tough decisions as well. After three years of hard work I had to make the difficult choice to step away from the Guitar Woman project. I had worked hundreds of hours helping create shows across the country, lining up media coverage, designing logos, posters, arranging photo shoots, video coverage for documentary usage, helping align web design and helping contact women for interviews. Unfortunately new directions pushed me on to different projects.
As the summer neared the 8 shows continued to gain momentum and once again I was immersed in fun times doing the Taste of Edmonton, Capital Ex and even the Artwalk. I had a wonderful year with my own personal artwork which was amazing because I barely had time to do any. The summer was very busy assembling the last few pieces of the mural The Horse Gift. Trying to locate artists, find paintings that hadn't been returned and lining up venues for the mural to be toured to once it was completed was a non stop adventure.

Also during the summer we lined up two more major mural projects for 2009!! So we are very excited about the future!

On a personal note I had a great year hanging out with my great friend Jennifer who I traveled to Vegas, Vancouver and Calgary to name a few. We both had started new projects and her support for what I was doing made things that much more enjoyable and she also had great success with her business. It was fun to watch the growth of both our projects.

MY BROTHER ALSO GOT MARRIED!! How exciting was that! He married a wonderful beautiful gal and also welcomed two new children into his life. Then to end the year off he announced that they will be having a child of their own in June of 2009! EXCITING... I love the fact I will have a little one to hang out with here in Edmonton. I miss my sister and her kids dearly and of course miss seeing my folks as well. They all live on the coast so the time I get to share with them is limited.

Sadly on another personal note I lost my best friend in the world. My little friend Roscoe died suddenly. He was the best dog I could ever have imagined. I still miss him today. Probably will for a long while.

Once the fall hit the excitement really began. The mural The Horse Gift was unveiled at Spruce Meadows in Calgary Alberta Canada. It was an instant international hit. The mural was featured in international magazines such as Cowboys and Indians, Western Horseman and Horse Illustrated and so many bigger newspapers and smaller local features in various publications.

Also we were featured on various TV Programs. Cowboy Country TV did a great feature on the mural. Also CITY TV did a segment called Celebrity Chefs where Lewis and I actually cooked while talking about the murals. Good for a laugh :-). Not to mention we worked with William Shatner, spent time with world renowned horse whisperer John Lyons, and were part of a private concert with Corb Lund.

We also did live radio broadcasts in various cities around North America. Two shows were over an hour long and were a lot of fun to do just talking about the murals.Can you believe the website ha shad over 20 million visits in one year??? WHOA!!!

As the fall progressed I toured with Paul Lavoie and the always entertaining Len Kozak with the mural to Calgary,Alberta- Las Vegas, Nevada -and Columbus Ohio. Lots of travel time but fun at the same time. The only thing that was missing was having Lewis Lavoie along with us as of course- he is the one that brings the murals to life. We hopefully represented him as well as all the other artists in a way that they would be proud.

As the year finishes off I sit here by my new little fireplace in minus 30 degree celcius weather in the house I have lived in for 20 years and prepare to head off to visit my family for Christmas. How blessed I am to have the incredible family I have around me again for this year. Truth is...all the other stuff I talk about is just icing on the cake. All that really matters in my life is my family and friends and the rest is my recreation. But in that recreation I have extended my family and friends.

2008 brought so many new people into my life and it has been truly an astounding year. The artists that helped with the murals and the Night of Artists shows, the musicians who believed in me and performed at all my events, the fans of the shows and the people that put everything together for me when i needed a good a year.
To all those that take the time to read what i write- thank you. I hope to have many more great stories in 2009. Maybe I'll take up ballroom dancing while I develop my guitar skills and work on a new series of charcoal drawings. Maybe I'll write a book on top of my annual magazine...Maybe I'll have that surgery on my shoulder I have been avoiding for 10 years.

Maybe I will just live my life day by day and treasure every moment that comes my way. Yep...thats what I will do. So for now...this is me and this is my year. Life is it up!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas

I honestly have to say that I am ready to get out of here. The only thing that makes me want to stay right now is the fact that I am going back home to the ultimate deep freeze ...-30 celsius from what I hear.

The mural was definitely a hit here. Too bad the people who were running the show here in Vegas didn't have a bit more vision with how to set it up as far as a good location goes as it could have been so much better. The crowds that came to see the mural were all in awe which makes it all worthwhile...always does. It was great meeting SUE KROLL, TOM DORR, PAT LAMBRECHT HOULD, DONNA RIDGWAY and a plethora of fans of KAT MOORE. I don;t think you artists know how much we look forward to meeting you. It truly puts more spirit into us when we meet the team personally that helped create this masterpiece that is loved by so many.

So we went through our typical crazy tear down 24 hours. The show on Saturday was quite slow by the afternoon so we began tearing down by 4:30 p.m.. We worked our butts off and had it all taken down by 10p.m. and then went for a nice dinner. But we couldn't relax yet. The next morning we had to get up bright and early and head back to the venue to make sure our mural shipping all was set. In the process we had to chat to all the robot businesses of Las Vegas who, from what I can gather, can not make any decisions without consulting some sort of rule book for any small requests. Enough to drive you crazy as all you want to deal with is someone who is a person with their own mind to make decisions. I guess that's where law suit mania has probably changed the world as people live in fear of the what ifs.

So when all was said and done we had survived the ordeal of las vegas and could chill out for an afternoon. So what better way to do that then too look at the fake recreations of world landmarks and appreciate the amazing detail put into the work by the local union workers in copying the masterpiece architectural structures of Europe.

So- today we will have to hang out for the day and wait for our flight tonight - late- and finally be home by 3 a.m.. Apparently its supposed to start snowing tonight in Las vegas. I guess thats our warm up (or cool down process) for heading home. Hope we don;t get snowed in!

On that note...Viva Las Vegas. We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun...but the farewell is sweet and the next mural destination will be announced soon. Now its time to head home for and a beautiful Christmas.

Here is one last shot of the mural...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

LAST DAY!! Yes!! Glad its done...
It was good but home is always better. Friday had a couple of surprises. One was really cool one was not so cool. The not so cool part was we discovered that through the beauty of unions in las Vegas the cost of shipping the mural 40 yards across the parking lot of a fork lift is the same price as putting the mural on a truck and shipping it across the country. How is that possible you ask?? Thats what we asked too. Could you imagine our surprise and disappointment?? Not sure where they get their rates from for their efforts but whatever...thats "the man stickin" it to us. It felt like we were literally thrown to the dogs....or dino's
But I called Lewis back at home and he said "Phil-when you get home we'll have some apple pie and turkey and none of those bad union guys will matter anymore" that put a smile on my face again.

The cool news was Jewel was in the neigbourhood and not only came by the mural but was on stage next to the mural doing a show. Paul wasn;t around so we missed a photo op around the mural but it was a quick look so that might have been tough anyways. The interesting thing is that she is also on the cover of the Cowboys and Indians magazine that the mural is featured in so she can always go home and read about the mural. Much like I have done :-).The crowds were really good today and the new touch screen we have to highlight all the artists work in front of the mural is wonderful. Now all the onlookers can actually go into the website and actually read all the artists comments while they look at the mural and see who painted each square!! Its great!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

2 days left of the actual show. Whew...
Thought I'd post an image today with some trivia....These Pink FLAMINGO's are not what you would normally discover in Las Vegas. These FLAMINGO's are very pretty birds. FLAMINGO's some times stand on one leg. These FLAMINGO's can be seen in our hotel. Can you guess what hotel we are staying at?? It starts with an "F"...good luck!!

The mural had some good crowds today. The people fom the Calgary Stampede came by today and gave the mural RAVE reviews! The lady representing the Western Showcase and her husband wnt as far as to say "This is by far the highlight of the show". The Calgary Stampede is looking at bringing the mural to thier huge event as a feature in the western Showcase. That would be a great show in our back yard!

So before we left the venue I kissed the lucky elk and then went off to meet Paul and Lewis' sister and brother inlaw who came to Vegas for a visit. We decided to go out for Brazilian food at Pampas! Great idea!!! I Highly recommend it if you are a meat lover. They bring you meat on skewers of all sorts and you choose what you want to eat and pull it off the skewers as they come around to your table. Paul here is getting some Ham and Pineapple!Then we took a nice group shot of us full on Brazilian...
Today we should know about Baltimore and the next stop on the tour. I am hoping to post that right away. Keep looking here and more will be announced soon!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ARRGGGGGHH!! I just wrote a long blog and then my computer crashed so you readers are going to get jipped now as I don;t have time to write another. The show was kinda slow yesterday but we had a cute family come by holding in their hands the Horse illustrated Magazine with the mural in it and three little girls with eyes wide as saucers staring at the mural like they had just seen Santa Claus! The mother indicated that the girls have loved horses since the day they were born and this mural is like a dream to them. The children- probably 6-7 and 8 years old literally were bouncing in their shoes and smiling from ear to ear. This makes it all worthwile to see that kind of reaction. Thre more show days to go.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We are gearing up for a busy weekend as the big finale of the mural and the NFR happens Thursday- Saturday. Many people have been asking exactly where the mural is. It is located in the Las Vegas Convention Centre at the back corner to the right when you walk into the building. We are showcased directly beside Flint Rasmussen rodeo performer who hosts a talk show daily.

We are getting set to take a break for Christmas (which will be nice) but before we leave here we are hoping to announce the next show destination of the mural. We are just waiting for the official confirmation which should be announced soon. Its wonderful how more and more venues are contacting us asking to host the mural.

Last night Paul and I finally took in a show and chilled a bit. Then to celebrate after the fact Paul sat down and dominated the black jack tables and made almost 10 dollars. awesome...totally awesome. Paul was awarded golden beads for his black jack success from the dealer ...golden plastic beads.

Its non stop big winners here thats for sure. Only 4 more days to go and we are looking forward to the big weekend. here we go.....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The crowds were flocking today to the mural as the word spreads. We were kept very busy talking about the mural all day today. So good thing i did the gragling in the morning. Lots of great chatter and another couple of venues interested. It is now looking like a strong possibility our next stop on the tour is going to be Baltimore Maryland at the end of January. I will hopefully be confirming in the next 48 hours.

Monday was a take it easy kinda day. Paul and I had a fancy meal at Burger King then went off to Bally's and gathered a few necklaces at the Blackjack tables. For every blackjack you get the give you a necklace. I left with three and Paul with 2. The rest of the table had none haha. So I guess you can say we were the lucky ones at that table as we also left with a few bucks in our pocket while the others at the table left without their shirts. Funny how that can happen.

One more week to go. Truth is...I am ready to leave. The ringing of the machines is driving me crazy!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

So last night we went out for a nice dinner at Ah Sin overlooking the fountains of the Bellagio with Caesar's Palace in the distance. It was a much better day at the mural today as for some reason the crowds sunday were bigger then on saturday. (weird...Vegas does things its own unique way thats for sure)

We had a nice surprise as two more artists came by. Pat Lambrecht Hould and Tom Dorr stopped by. What a nice treat!! I did not expect them and it was a realy pleasure to meet them.

Another nice treat was the arrival of our ace in the hole team member Beatrice Lavoie. The mother of Paul and Lewis and a key team mate for helping out with the murals. She is down here for a visit and a holiday. Not only was it great to see her down here...she is one mean slot machine player as this jubilant photo proves!!

Today we are hoping for much of the same crowd success as yesterday. The great feature in Cowboys and Indians magazine this month is certainly adding to the buzz and also there is a feature coming out now in Horse Illustrated. So the buzz keeps growing.

Another day - another explanation of the mural 100 times an hour to the masses....time to go gargle and get my voice ready. Believe it or not I dropped out of University because I was scared to stand in front of the class and do any presentations let alone...scared to speak out loud period. Who'd a thunk i would be talking to thousands now in strange public settings...weird...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Today we plugged away again at the mural on a day where we expected it to be one of the busiest days but in actuality was the slowest day as of yet. We are in such an odd location that it does make finding the mural a bit of an adventure. So hopefully Saturday was not a true indication of what to expect.

We did have another wonderful artist stop by for a visit. Sue Kroll popped on by coming from Utah. We had a great visit and got some good shots of her with the mural.
Also Donna Ridgway cam by again as well so we were able to connect Donna and sue who had never met face to face.

We also always love to try to get reactions from the kids and families. It is always wonderful to see. This little girl LOVED all the little horses in the mural.

So off we go on another day adventure. Vegas is a bit of a sensory over load location. Its a great place for a 3 or four day holiday but for two weeks you kinda wish you had a place to get away to for some quiet time. I love my mornings getting up before the worlds awake but even mornings here are full of noise and crowds. Luckily the room is peaceful.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday was a busy day with the mural as the crowds began to flock! There was definitely a buz around the mural. Even a CBS TV Director stopped by from Chicago saying that this mural needs national a big way and he has some BIG ideas. Curious to see where he wants to go with it. We exchanged cards and we'll see.

One of the fabulous artists stopped by today! Donna Ridgway made it out to see the mural with her husband and once again what a treat it was for us to meet her. I love meeting the artists. I just hope we can meet them all someday.
Another interesting moment was a wonderful lady who stopped by whose miniature horse had been painted into the mural by Kat Moore in a touching tribute with a young child by its side (panel #115) The lady was from an organization called Personal Ponies Ltd. This is an awesome program started by an avid horse lover, Marianne Alexander, who found a way to bring ponies to children and adults of special needs. She absolutely loved the mural and of course Kats painting and we had some great pics with her and her granddaughter who is vying for Rodeo Queen.We have brought a new display monitor to accompany the mural which has been a huge hit with the crowds. They can actually gothrough the mural one square at a time and learn about all the artists.Then last but not least...Paul and I kicked back and went off for a cruise of Vegas including the amazing fountain show at the Bellagio....check it out!!