Dave Fox: The Journey from Pedaling to Painting

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You probably remember Dave Fox and his wife Angela from their years as owners of Bassline Fitness in downtown Kirkland.  You could often find Dave sweating and pedaling his spin bike on stage while motivating large groups of fitness junkies in their signature "Mash-Up" classes. This dynamic duo opened their first gym, Gorilla Sports, in 1995 and then continued to open 13 more gyms all over the US (and sold some along the way).  This magical formula of challenging classes with great music and an upbeat, high-energy vibe created quite a local following. But things changed for Dave one day in 2017 when he suffered from a blood clot in his right leg that had gone to his lung.  He stopped teaching to focus on his recovery and then, you guessed it, a pandemic shut us all down.  Bassline included.

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Covid did have a few upsides, one being the self-discovery and emergence of talents and exploration many of us never had time for before (you'd think I would be a better cook by now?) Dave always had an interest in art, but never before did he have the time to let this creative side of him unfold.  Years used to go by between his art projects, so when he stepped away from the gyms, he was excited to give oil painting a go.  He said, "the only way to learn how to paint is to paint."  He started out doing YouTube and art instructional videos and is enjoying the evolution of his artistic style. Oil is a slow-drying medium and typically a piece takes him 3-4 weeks to complete.  Dave starts with a photo that he edits digitally before using that as a reference for the final piece that he will layer and create with his brush.  A spare bedroom in their home has been transformed into his studio where he puts on some music and can quickly lose himself in 3-4 hours of painting.  His dogs, Kai and Kula (photo), seem quite content in this space also.


When Dave takes or finds a photo to paint he just asked himself, "can I see myself painting this?" It's whatever strikes his fancy.  Then when it feels right, he builds his plan, starting from the back, then the forefront, and then refining everything at the end. Many of his works are from around Kirkland in familiar settings we all know and love such as  T-dock, the stairs on Central, and the blow-up floaties at Via Lago.  Some take more time than others, like the big bear (photo above, not a Kirkland bear, LOL) that has the detail of hairlike brush strokes to make him pop off the canvas. Dave also does commission pieces and lots of his art can be put in different formats such as bags, phone cases, etc.  Check out his website at davefoxstudio.com.  I was lucky enough to score a pack of Kirkland-themed blank greeting cards (final photo above, cards are $6/ea, and various seasons!), a great gift for a fellow Kirklander.  You can follow Dave on Facebook here.  

Grounded Above the Clouds


Janice Winfrey (right in photo) lost everything in the devastating Paradise, CA fires of 2018, barely escaping with her husband and dog and the clothes on her back.  This tragedy also managed to open the door of opportunity for her to move closer to family in Washington, and fulfill her dream of starting a business with her sister, April Laskey (left in photo).  Professionally, Janice  has been a nurse for many years and found the culture to be very stressful.  Her co-workers barely knew each other and often worked different shifts. She wished she could find a way to incorporate more community building and support structure to her field. Her sister April, a weight loss coach, has a passion for art.  How could they join forces in an effort that was meaningful for both of them? That's when Grounded Above the Clouds was born. 

Squirreled away in the back of 30 Lakeshore Plaza is their adorable space where Grounded Above the Clouds has been open since November 8th.  In the front room is where they have local artists creations for sale and in the backroom.............that's where the magic happens. Janice and April host workshops that bring people to together for an art project, which is less about the artistic outcome and more about the opening up the creative side of your brain and connecting with the people around you. Workshops are typically in a 2 or 3 part series and have a guided theme or objective which focuses on personal and professional growth and innovation. 

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Some of the classes they teach and others have guest instructors.  This is not a step-by-step project because everyone is working on their own unique creation.  These could range  from fluid painting (messy fun!), hand-built ceramics, brush calligraphy, comic book drawing, hand knitting ( I totally want to try this!), or art meditation to name a few.

Here is the schedule. Classes range from $45-75 depending on materials.  The goal is to provide a space that is comfortable and experiential that can connect people, build resiliency and encourage creativity.  These ladies specialize in corporate team building sessions so people can bring some of these life lessons back to their work culture.   The name "Grounded Above the Clouds" represents the way people can have normal jobs and still be dreamers and explore other possibilities that might be out there.  You don't always have to have one thing or the other-why limit yourself? It's okay to dream. 

Go say hi to Janice and April to learn more about their passion for opening your mind through art. Bring your team from work.   They are open Tues-Sat 11-7 pm.  You need to be a bit of a Kirkland expert to find it (despite the giant letters that say "Lakeshore Plaza"), so I drew you an arrow. It's just under the stairs that go down the side of Wilde Rover.  Through the door and the lobby and it's back on the left.  They'd love your suggestions for new classes  and teachers too. Have fun, I can't wait to try it.




Dr. Seuss Comes to Kirkland

GunnarWindow decal 20 by 28     GunnarLifes great balancing acts framed1  

TM & (c) Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP 2019

Gunnar Nordstrom has been a loyal Kirklander for 30+ years so it seems only natural that he would bring his business back home to our downtown after 11 years in Bellevue.   Gunnar Nordstrom, Dealers in Contemporary Fine Art, will be arriving the first weekend in November at 92 Kirkland Ave (previously Bikini Beach and then
Holodeck Studio)..  Great things often come in small packages, and even though this space is small, the rotating featured artists are sure to be some of our faves.  One of the biggest draws is always the Art of Dr. Seuss (yes, THE Dr. Seuss), which are limited editions produced by Chase Art and the estate of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Gunnar is one of twenty galleries in the country lucky enough to sell these works. 

GunnarParallel Lives  48 x 72
To kick things off, Svetlana Shalygina, an abstract/figurative artist from CA, will be the first to have her work featured in the Kirkland location from Nov 2-20th with Parallel Lives.

Day and hours are Tues-Sat 11-6, Sun 12-5 and closed on Monday.  Gunnar is always there to answer questions (and pour some wine?) and help you explore your art interests.  Be sure to pop in!

Kirkland Artist Studio Tour 5/12-13

ArtJodieMasiwchuk <--pet portraits by Jodie Sarah, KAST participant

In my mom's DREAM Mother's Day weekend on May 12-13th, she would have me take her to brunch and then do the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour together (10am-6pm).  That's right, quality time together- where she could tell me about the same things over and over and walk insanely slow without me complaining or grimacing.  At least we'd have the amazing art to keep our attention drawn away from discussing her latest parenting tips.  But seriously, she's ok.  And this is a fun event where you have the opportunity to visit local artists' studios around Kirkland for a peek behind the scenes of how they work and a chance to purchase art that makes you happy.  And it's FREE, which is always happy too.  This is their 15th annual, and you can pick up a program at the Kirkland Arts Center with a map of participating artist's locations. There's glass, paintings, furniture, jewelry, photography, sculpture and more.

Ever wonder what happened to the artists that used to display their work at the Kirkland Arts Center Store in Kirkland Park Place? They have formed a group called "Artists Outside the Box" and are looking for new places to display their work throughout the community.  Currently you can find some pieces at The Book Tree and Windermere Kirkland.  Check them out. Reach out.  Perhaps you need some fresh art to display in your Kirkland business? 

Being Thankful, Then Shop Local

Happy Thanksgiving, Kirkland!!

After the turkey coma has worn off and the last slice of pumpkin pie is gone,it's time to get to shopping. We know you'll be clicking away on Black Friday while watching the Apple Cup, but then on Saturday, THAT's the day.  The one where you re-emerge from your house, breathe in some fresh PNW winter air and head to your favorite little shops for "Small Business Saturday' on 11/26.  This is how you keep your credit card warm...the downtown merchants will all be open until 8pm or later.  So show the locals your love and enjoy great customer service while giving back to your community.  Some shops will have giving trees and also offer special promotions throughout the season. 

Also on Sat 11/26 you can preview the Kirkland Art Center's Holiday Art Market 11am-6pm. Shop for unique handmade gifts created by local artists.  This fabulous market will run from 11/26- 12/24, Tues-Sat 11-6 and Sun 12-5.

Don't forget about WINTERFEST!  The same Sat 11/26 (I told you to rest up for this day!) there will be holiday caroling, shopping, family activities and Santa in Peter Kirk Park from 3-6:30.  Watch the tree-lighting at 5pm. Then on Sunday you can rest again.....

......Until Google does their holiday lighting on 12/2 from 4:30-6 (lights on at 5:30). Arrive early to check out the life-sized people snow globe.


Clap   Kudos Korner--

Congrats to Barbie Collins Young! She was recently promoted to Executive Director of the Kirkland Downtown Association, which 'magically' puts together many of these amazing local events in partnership with our businesses and citizens/volunteers.  We appreciate you Barbie! 

Kirkland's Oktoberfest Planning Committee just announced they are donating $17K in proceeds to local charities.  Not only is this a super fun event but it also gives back to the community in which it lives.  Here are the charities doing a happy dance right now: American Cancer Society, Eastside Timebank, Imagine Housing, Kirkland Downtown Association, MEOW Cat Rescue, Rotary Club of Kirkland Downtown, and Sibling House.

Fun fun and more fun

Get your calendar out, it's time for my cut and paste extravaganza......


Vintimate at the Heathman Hotel- Thurs 9/15 

Kirkland, Washington --- Vintimate at Kirkland’s Heathman Hotel will skillfully combine original works of art by local artisans Michael Ferguson, Toni Lagoria Almerico and Mike “Piano Man” Mansour; freshly hand-picked farm ingredients from Brian Scheehser’s 18-acre plot; and wine from Pondera Winery on Thursday, September 15, 2016, from 5-8 p.m. in the San Juan Ballroom. The expressive event will feature exclusive pours from the family-run boutique winery located in the Warehouse Winery District of Woodinville.

Winemaker Shane Howard has been making wine since 2003 and the winery officially launched as the Pondera brand in 2005. Pondera specializes in the production of premium red blends and varietals using grapes sourced from several outstanding Washington state vineyards. Every wine is hand-crafted in limited lots with the entire production totaling around 3,000 cases annually. Pondera is owned by the Howard family, who also owns and operates the Howard/Mandville Gallery - a fine art establishment located in downtown Kirkland. The owners regularly feature a rotating exhibit of original paintings from their gallery's artists at their Woodinville tasting room, many of whom have graced some of the winery’s artist series wine labels.

Mike Mansour is a highly accomplished solo and concert pianist, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and has proudly spent the last 33 years in the United States. Mansour studied at Eubank Conservatory of Music and Art in Los Angeles and earned a Master’s Degree in Music. He has maintained a keen interest in contemporary music and consistently adds new content to his extensive repertoire. Mansour has traveled to several countries, playing for all types of audiences. He produced his first studio album, “Midnight Moods.” Recently Mansour gained significant media attention with features on both KING 5 and KOMO 4 news showcasing several romantic favorites and a sampling of his own compositions. 

"My painting approach is fundamentally representational. The reality of the scene is readily apparent, followed by a fracturing of shape and color upon closer inspection. I enjoy using the oil medium for field painting during assorted road trips and hikes,” Ferguson shares. "Outdoor painting encourages a more impressionistic and suggestive quality due to the ever-changing conditions."

Almerico's artistic composition spans the extraordinary. "The work is primarily an exploration of and obsession with symmetry and geometry, specifically the play of flat patterns against three dimensional content," she says. "The compositions are about high contrast, bisecting lines and jarring color combinations. There is a consistent interest in the depiction of movement through the grouping together of similar shapes juxtaposed with larger more hard edged static images. Some of the smaller clustered shapes are seen to break free and travel."

Ferguson and Almerico's artwork will be on display at the Hotel through September 2016.

Vintimate is a 21 and over event. Tickets are $35 per person in advance and $40 per person at the door. Both price options are inclusive of tax, gratuity, and commemorative glass. To purchase, call(425) 284-5858 or email events@heathmankirkland.com.


Papertranslations Sande Wascher-James, Equal Pay Day, folded Italian paper

"Paper Translations" Opening Reception at Kirkland Arts Center- Fri 9/16

Join us for the Opening Reception

Friday, September 16th from 6:00-8:30 pm 

The artists featured in Paper Translations transform the seemingly mundane material of paper by reinterpreting it into complex works of contemporary art through folding, staining, painting, cutting, casting, felting, tearing, sewing, and weaving.

Featured artists Dona Anderson, Mary M Ashton, Danielle Bodine, Zia Gipson, Lois James, Dorothy McGuinness, Jean-Marie Tarascio, and Sande Wascher-James demonstrate the incredible poetic transformations paper can undergo in the hands of an artist.

Join us for the opening reception this Friday from 6:00 to 8:30. Drinks ($3) and light snacks will be served, and free parking is available. Artists will be in attendance.



Kirkland Home Tour: Kirkland Now and Then - Sat 9/17

The much anticipated Kirkland Home Tour, “Now and Then” will premiere on Saturday, September 17th, 2016,  from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Patrons will have the opportunity to view four historic homes and three LEED certified built green properties.

The historic Marsh Mansion, two 1930’s log houses, and the original 1889 home built by Peter Kirk’s Kirkland Land & Improvement Company, make up the “Then” part of the tour.

The “Now” part will feature three new Farmhouses at Juanita; Areté Artist Studios - a LEED Platinum certified property (on the site of the former Crab Cracker restaurant); and a John Buchan home which is a five star built green property.

The Kirkland Performance Center and Kirkland Heritage Society are beneficiaries of the tour. To learn more and see photos please visit www.kirklandhometour.com. Tickets are $25 www.brownpapertickets.com $30.00 day of the show

Contact: Sue Contreras for more information.  425-827-6870 Scon1965@hotmail.com


All Porsche Grand Display at Carillon Point- 9/18

Sunday 9:00am-3:30pm| September 18, 2016 | Kirkland, WA

Join us for our fifth annual All Porsche Grand Display at Carillon Point in Kirkland.  This is a fabulous day in the sun at a beautiful venue with All Things Porsche – sports cars, sedans, SUVs, tractors as well as Porsche design, clothing, models, and publications.  Classes will be offered on “Preparing for and Presenting on the Concours Field. This will include various classes to enter and etiquette. Admission: $10 for all attendees, 12 and under is free.  All proceeds benefit Evergreen Health.  To sign-up or for more information please contact Dennis Rood at concours@pnwr.org



Kirkland's Oktoberfest in Marina Park- 9/23-25

Annual waterfront festival celebrates beer, oompah pah music, and fun Kirkland, WA - September 23-25, 2016 –

Hang on to your lederhosen, as Downtown Kirkland will soon transform into an authentic German “biergarten” for the 4th Annual Kirkland Oktoberfest Friday, September 23rd through Sunday, September 25th in Marina Park on Kirkland’s picturesque waterfront. This three-day beer festival benefiting local nonprofit charitable organizations attracts roughly 10,000 enthusiasts each year.

Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold will do the honors of tapping the firkin when doors open Friday night, and rumor has it that he will be dressed in the traditional Oktoberfest fashion. Dirndl and lederhosen are the highly encouraged attire to enjoy German food and beer, local Northwest brews, and games like beer pong and human foosball. Sizzling oompah pah bands will add to the authentic atmosphere on two different stages.

We know how much Kirkland loves pooches! Dog Day is Sunday, September 25th, when our furry companions are permitted inside the Biergarten. The 4th Annual Wiener Dog Race begins at 1pm outside the Biergarten, and spectators of all ages are welcome to cheer on the dogs as they compete for the gold.

Hours for Kirkland Oktoberfest are Friday, September 23rd from 4pm-11pm (last call at 10:15pm), Saturday, September 24th from 11am-11pm (last call at 10:15pm), and Sunday, September 25th from 11am-6pm (last call at 5:30pm). Please note the City of Kirkland will not allow people under the age of 21 inside the Biergarten, so all attendees must be 21 or older.

Volunteers are at the heart and core of this event and make it so much fun for everyone. We need you—sign up at http://www.oktoberfestkirkland.com/volunteer/ for more information about how to get involved. About Kirkland Oktoberfest Kirkland Oktoberfest is produced by Kirkland Events and sponsors.

Kirkland Oktoberfest benefits these 501(c)3 nonprofits in our community: American Cancer Society, MEOW (Mercer Island Eastside Orphans and Waifs), Imagine Housing, Sibling House, Eastside Timebank and the Kirkland Downtown Association.

For more information, visit http://www.oktoberfestkirkland.com/ or follow @KirklandOktober on Twitter. For Additional Information: Rob Butcher 425-456-1111


We're off to see the Wizard......

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Need a break from the sun?

Studio East’s 19th Annual Summer Musical is bringing together the Kirkland community for the production of The Wizard of Oz. The 49 person cast includes performers ages 9 – 19 in ensemble and principle roles while featuring Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen as the Mayor of Munchkin Land, and other Kirkland officials and luminaries as her loyal subjects. Playing at the Kirkland Performance Center from July 30 – August 7, this production is a community event for the whole family.

Ford Hyundai of Kirkland presents
The Wizard of Oz

  • Saturday, July 30, 20162:30PM, 7:30PM
  • Sunday, July 31, 20162:30PM
  • Friday, August 5, 20167:30PM
  • Saturday, August 6, 20162:30PM, 7:30PM
  • Sunday, August 7, 20162:30PM

Directed by Lani Brockman
Musically Directed by Susan Bardsley
Choreographed by Kristin Burch

Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for the entire family.
Studio East’s 19th Annual Summer Musical features Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen as the Mayor of Munchkin Land, and other Kirkland officials and luminaries as her loyal subjects.  Recommended for ages 5+.

All tickets $18. Sold though KPC box office only. Reserved Seating


Rockory Music School Opens in Totem Lake

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Daniel Miller has teamed up with Stage 7 Pianos to open his own instructional music school in Totem Lake called Rockory Music School. It is tucked discreetly behind Dania at 11831 124th Ave NE. Daniel is a local guy who attended Sandburg Elementary, Finn Hill and UW (and then Berklee College of Music),and has since traveled the world making music.  He performs in 3 bands and has been teaching locally for the past five years and amassed a loyal following.  So hurry to book your spot! Daniel teaches ages 5 through adult in the following instruments: guitar, bass, drums, violin, piano and ukelele.  This gives you the flexibility to change or choose multiple instruments.  Private lessons are $35 for 30 minutes and he is open Mon-Sat.  

Danielhairup   Danielhairdown  <--Daniel with his "Ngoni."  I made him do a 'dreads up' and 'dreads down' shot. Which do you prefer?

Students are always exposed to different musical styles and have an opportunity for group  playing.  There are also summer camps for 9-15 year olds M-F 12-5pm.  All levels are welcome and each week is a different style.  Kids practice songs in the beginning of the week and then they perform outdoors in Kirkland at the end of the week (complete with tip jar).  He also offers recording classes.  When I asked Riley (13) why she likes taking violin with Daniel, she said "He's fun. He's not always so serious and he makes sure that I like the songs.  And his dreadlocks are cool." So there you have it.  Daniel's passion is "providing access to music and encouraging  participation for those who haven't ever experienced it." And not that this should be a selling point, but it is noteworthy that there are a couple of wineries a few doors down where you could theoretically burn a half hour while your kid is in a lesson.  Not that I would ever do that.  Just in case you would. info@Rockory.com 206-992-0999

Kirkland Artist Studio Tour: Mother's Day Weekend

All a mom really wants for Mother's Day is some quality time with her children, right?  Well....sort of....she also wants to be treated like the Queen that she is. Give your mom the gift of your time, attention and creative inspiration this year by taking her to the (FREE!) 13th Annual Kirkland Artist Studio Tour .  It's May 7th and 8th from 10-6pm, and there's a May 6th Friday night preview party from 5-9pm.  This is a self-guided tour through various Kirkland neighborhoods where you can capture a glimpse of the where these artists make their magic happen.  Be prepared for a great lineup of local artists- far too many to visit in one day! Much of what you see will also be fore sale, whether it's jewelry, glass art, paintings, photography, garden art, sculpture, furniture, or fiber arts.  So you'll have the option of surprising mom with a unique gift as well. Be spontaneous, and kind and listen ...she'll be impressed.  It's just confirmation that she raised you well.  

All You Need to Know Right Now

  Dog <---- he says  "thank you, Kirkland!"
The Kirkland Parks Foundation has successfully raised $3850 from the community to fund the purchase of a pet-friendly drinking fountain at David E. Brink Park on Lake Washington Blvd. Way to go! Expect to see the install this spring. This is the 5th successful local crowd-funding project the Kirkland Parks Foundation has worked on since its inception in April 2015.  Do you have an idea for a Kirkland Parks Project? Send them in here

Google appears to have a new search engine for kids called "Kiddle" that strives to present safe web sites that are kid-friendly and Kiddle-editor tested.  They also boast big thumbnails, a large arial font and do not collect any personally identifiable information. Brilliant! But they may have taken this to the extreme.  I asked one of my thirteen year olds what she would like to do an internet search on.  So when we asked Kiddle for the "fastest runner" it gave us the error message above: "It looks like your query contained some bad words!  Please try again."  Hmmmm.  Good thing I didn't ask Brady (10) or that search engine would have been really offended by some verbage of a Macklemore song he might ask for.  I tried the word "flowers" and "cupcakes"- same response. I even tried "Google self-driving car crash" and it didn't like that either.  Love the concept though.  Hope they work the bugs out.


Kirkland Art Walk- Second Fri of each month which means March 11th.  Downtown Kirkland from 5-8pm, go meander, listen to music and support the artists and make new friends.  Why wouldn't you?


Shamrock run knot
Don't drink too much at the Art Walk b/c the Kirkland Shamrock Run (5K) is the next day on 3/12 at 9am in downtown Kirkland. Register here ($40). Please wear a lot of ridiculous green stuff as I am easily entertained.

Rumor Alert:  Will we have some Frog Legs in Kirkland soon?  

Exciting: Little Brother is getting closer.  Like in the next 30-60 days closer. Oh yeah.