Explore the Ninth Annual Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival: Feb. 7–9 in Scottsdale

Thunderbird Artists will bring its 9th Annual Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival to Scottsdale Feb. 7–9. The event features mixed media sculptor Gary Moser and more than 125 world class artists from across the globe. This event also features live musical entertainment, optional wine and micro-brew tasting, spirit sampling, giveaways, delectable food, sweet treats and so much more.

Patrons can stroll throughout spectacular paintings, bronzes, glass, stone, copper, clay sculptures, photography and jewelry, while listening to live musical entertainment and sipping fine wines. The Scottsdale Waterfront is a superb backdrop, which adds romance to the event with reflections across the waters.

Gary Moser doesn’t follow the typical formula for a metal artist. He had never welded previously; he was a husband, a dad and a masonry contractor. Outside of enjoying Western art, a popular genre in the Southwest, it never really occurred to him to take up welding until he took his family on a trip to Sedona. While exploring local shops, Moser recalled his kids randomly pointed out piece after piece, none of which looked particularly difficult to make. He said to them, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ Well, one Christmas they bought him some clay and said, ‘Here you go, make one.’ So, over the weekend he made a horse lying down with a cowboy lying on his back with his feet up on the horse. His kids were like, ‘Oh my gosh, dad!’

Gary Moser sculpture

Moser’s first metal art creation was a life-size donkey made from discarded barbed wire. His first sale was a tree sculpture, giving him his first taste of gratification that comes from seeing someone connect with his work. His work transitioned into tables and eventually he developed his lady sculptures, or “his ladies” as Moser refers to them. He uses 10- or 12-gauge sheet steel that he cuts into strips, welds them, grinds the welds down until they are smooth, and, if necessary, adds texture in places. He also inlays turquoise or coral to make the steel pop. He makes bronze versions of his ladies too but enjoys the steel work most.

The 9th Annual Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival takes place at 7135 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, just south of Nordstrom’s on the South Bridge pedestrian walkway, and is handicap accessible with free parking. The hours are 10am–5pm daily. Admission is $3 for adults; wine tasting ticket with souvenir glass is $10. For additional information, visit https://thunderbirdartists.com.

Fine Art & Wine Festival Returns for 27th Annual Winter Event

“Blowhard” by bronze sculptor Jason Napier

More than 5,000 original works of art from 155 juried fine artists will be showcased Jan. 17–19 at the Thunderbird Artists’ 27th Annual Winter Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival. The fine art festival will run along Ho Hum and Easy Streets in Downtown Carefree.

A popular event for locals and tourists alike, Thunderbird Artists’ Winter Carefree show was recently ranked No. 45 among the “Premier 100 Fine Art Events” throughout the nation by Greg Lawler’s Art Fair SourceBook.

“It’s an honor to receive such a prestigious industry accolade, and a true testament to the quality of our show,” said Denise Colter, president of Thunderbird Artists. “We love being a part of the Carefree community — people love strolling through the streets, meeting the artists, tasting wine and listening to live music. It’s a beautiful, serene setting, and our artists provide plenty of inspiration!”

In addition to a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, bronzes, sparkling hand-blown glass, wood, clay, metal, stone, gourds, batiks, scratchboard, one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry and exceptional photography, attendees are expected to be especially taken with the oil paintings of the event’s featured artist, Brent Flory.

“Hudson Bay Comfort” 24”x48” oil painting by Brent Flory

Oil painter Brent Flory enjoys learning about and painting the Wild West. Raised in Parker, Flory was always intrigued by the illustrations in picture books. His favorites depicted cowboys, farmers, ranchers, Native Americans and wildlife from the American West.

Flory finds subject matter for his life-like paintings all around him, especially in journal entries or historical books.

“Every life has a story, and some are just amazing,” says Flory. “People did what they had to do to survive. I try to capture that human experience.”

“Aspen Slope” by Nadine Booth

Each of Flory’s pieces are given a well thought out title to help people think about the paintings in a different way.

“Most artists hope that people will appreciate the beauty of their work,” says Flory. “I hope that my work makes people think, and that it makes them appreciate what we often take for granted.”

In addition to meeting award-winning artists and enjoying live musical performances, festival attendees can participate in a world-class wine tasting program. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 each.

Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival runs Fri. through Sun., Jan. 17–19, 10am–5pm daily. Admission is $3 for adults, and free for all Carefree residents and children 17 years or younger. Parking is free all weekend. For more information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

Thunderbird Artists Gallery Opens in Carefree

Glass and metal chandelier by Carefree artist David Bennett.

After 37 years of producing award-winning, juried fine art and wine festivals, Thunderbird Artists is expanding to open its first fine

art gallery, Thunderbird Artists Gallery, in Carefree Thursday, Dec. 6. The new gallery, located at 99 Easy Street, Suite 235, will showcase and sell the works of renowned artists, including David BennettGuilloume, Jacinthe Dugal-Lacroix, Sandy and Dave Daniel, Valentine, Dan Hale and others.

“We’ve been partnering with the Town of Carefree and the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce on our Carefree festivals for 26 years. It only makes sense that we would consider Carefree as our home base for an art gallery,” said Thunderbird Artists president Denise Colter.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at noon Dec, 6 with key Town and Chamber officials present. Guests to gallery will also enjoy refreshments throughout the afternoon.

One of the highlights of the new gallery will be a stunning, LED-illuminated, glass and metal chandelier that depicts figures in motion. The captivating piece was created by glass artist David Bennett, of Carefree.

Bennett spent 25 years working as a trial lawyer before finding his passion for sculpting glass. A native of Oregon, he was vacationing in Florida celebrating his 50th birthday when he met a glass blower who inspired him to learn more. Within two weeks, he was making paperweights and within the next year, he began studying with Robert Carlson and Petr Novotny at the Pilchuck Glass School.

Bennett is best known for his metal and glass animal and human figures in motion. Each piece includes 10 or more glass and metal pieces welded together. Bennett uses a proprietary method that protects the glass during the welding process.

While artisans have been blowing glass into metal forms for 2,000 years, Bennett said he and others are pushing the technique.

“We can make complex forms in glass and bronze that we could not do in either medium alone. As we’ve stretched the technical processes of blowing glass into metal, I’ve had more and more artistic freedom. Our figures can be lighter and wilder in their motions, and we’ve become able to manipulate the glass around its armatures in increasingly playful ways,” Bennett said, adding that the LED lights inside his glass sculptures often glow like embers in a fireplace, resulting in a warm, comforting feeling.

Located near the intersection of Ho Hum and East Streets in downtown Carefree, Thunderbird Artists Gallery will be open from 10am–5pm, Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call 480.688.4960 or visit www.thunderbirdartistsgallery.com.


Kick Off the ‘Arizona Art Season’ With Thunderbird Artists — Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival


Thunderbird Artists are gearing up for its first event of the 2018–19 season: the 25th Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival, Nov. 2–4. The event marks the organizations 73rd fine art event on Easy Street in downtown Carefree. Attendees will immerse themselves in juried fine art, wine tasting, microbrews, festival food and live music during the three-day event.

Spend the day strolling throughout juried fine artworks, courtesy of more than 150 artists from throughout the United States and abroad, displaying paintings in all mediums and subjects. In addition to a wide variety of paintings, drawings, charcoals and pastels, patrons will find impressive small, medium and life-sized sculptures, bronzes, sparkling hand-blown glass, wood, clay, metal, stone, gourds, one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, exceptional photography and much more.

Sculptor and painter Gilles Charest is the featured artist for this event. Charest’s technique, called “scumble,” and his search for unconventional textures find expression in his personal vision of still life. His mastery of color enables him to create brilliant, fundamentally sensual paintings where harmony transcends.

The Ganga Jala Band will be the featured musician, performing all three days in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. The band encompasses vocals, guitar, percussion and bass to create a unique sound all their own. The band motto is “Taking Music to a Higher Level with ‘Mantra Rock.’” Ganga Jala Band has performed at the Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival several times and are especially looking forward to performing at the Town of Carefree’s fall signature event.

Also performing at the festival will be guitarist Chuck Hall, Indian flutist Vibhas Kendzia, trumpeter Roy Breiling of the Yavapai College Brass Quintet and duo Shinin’ The Law.

The Town of Carefree is the ideal backdrop for this annual event, attracting locals and visitors alike to the iconic sundial, indigenous cactus gardens, specialty shops, exclusive boutiques, restaurants and outdoor cafes. The views are intoxicating, and the unique desert-mountain setting sets the tone for one of the rarest beauties in the world. The relaxed, laid back quality of life in Carefree is, for some, a respite away from the crowded and busy housing developments of other outlying areas.

In addition to the art and entertainment, a vast array of domestic and imported wines will be available for tasting from local Arizona wineries, as well as distributors with wines from throughout the world. There is a fee of $10, which includes an engraved souvenir glass and six tasting tickets. Additional tickets may be purchased for $1.

The festival will take place on Easy Street and Ho Hum Roads, 10am–5pm each day. Admission is $3 (children under 18 are free), and parking is free. For additional information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

Three-Day Feast For The Senses: Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival

Photos: Dan & Joi LaChaussee, glass artists, are featured artists at the 22nd Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival.

The streets of Downtown Carefree will close March 17-19, making room for more than 165 artists and an excess of 5,000 original masterpieces of fine art at the 22nd Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival. The three-day festival is widely known as a collector’s show, due to its rigorous jury, which produces a festival unequaled in quality.

Artists’ works include small, medium, life-size and monumental bronze sculptures, metal, clay, wood, stone, glass and mixed media sculptures. There is an array of pottery, photography, hand crafted jewelry, batiks and select fine crafts. There are also spectacular oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, watercolors, pastel, charcoal, etchings and mixed media paintings. Subject matter ranges from Southwest and traditional to contemporary and abstract, including floral, wildlife, European, African and Native American art to name a few. The festival offers a wide variety of mediums, styles, sizes, subject matters and price ranges, to ensure there is something that appeals to everyone.

The Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festivals are enhanced by the beautiful Sonoran Desert backdrop of Carefree. Thunderbird Artists holds the title of Arizona’s largest wine-tasting events, featuring first-class wines from around the world. These festivals touch each of the senses, with fine wines, mouthwatering chocolates, the visual feast of art and the subtle sound of ambient music.  After taking in all the sights and sounds of the festival, make sure and leave yourself time to discover Carefree’s assortment of unique shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and outdoor cafes.

Admission to the event is $3. Wine tasting tickets with a souvenir glass cost $10. The 22nd Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival runs March 17-19, 10am-5pm. For more information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.


Carefree Welcomes Back Sand Sculpting – Adds Stone Exhibit

Rock balancing by Tim Anderson

Rock balancing by Tim Anderson

The Town of Carefree welcomes world renowned artist and sculptor, Ray Villafane, back to create sand art like no other within the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, Carefree Desert Gardens starting March 4. Villafane (www.villafanestudios.com) for the first time has invited professional stone balancer Tim Anderson (www.keystonebalance.com), a Pennsylvania native, to join him the weekend of March 17-19 to transform the Gardens into an artistic stone playground. Visitors can watch demonstrations, participate and ask questions as the artists defy the laws of physics without the use of any adhesives other than gravity and stones provided by Mother Nature to create unusual artistic formations in the Desert Gardens pools and around the scenic landscape. The Thunderbird Artists (www.thunderbirdartists.com) will also be present in the downtown area for their Carefree Fine Art and Wine event that weekend (see page 48), $3 entrance fee for sand, stone and all the fine art you can consume.

Ray Villafane and Elephant Chessie Trunkston

Ray Villafane and Elephant “Chessie Trunkston”

The first life-size signature sculptor created by Villafane and Sue Beatrice in the Carefree Desert Gardens was completed in May of 2016 titled, “Elephant playing chess with a field mouse,” and consisting of 24 tons of sand sourced from the Salt River. The exhibit garnered world attention by the media who had never seen sand sculpting taken to that level. The silt’s fine texture, married with a tamping process and the right amount of water allows for Villafane to achieve greater detail with his sculpting. When finished, he sprayed a solution of water and glue on the entire sculpture to protect it from the elements allowing it to last upwards of six months for thousands of visitors to enjoy.

Villafane has been on the global scene for 10 years carving sand and says, “I love Carefree and am glad to be back again for a second year within the beautiful Desert Gardens. It’s a playground and inspiration and appreciate the Town allowing me to be a part of it.”

The exhibit will be on display through August. Admission is free and open to the public every day of the week, with the exception of March 17-19, when the Thunderbird artists will join Villafane, Anderson and 150 fine artists at the Carefree Fine Art and Wine event, when there is a $3 entrance fee. Carefree residents are free.

For more information, call 480.488.3686 or visit www.carefree.org.

Get “Up Close” With Arabian Horses At Art Expo

claudiaaFebruary at the Arizona Fine Art EXPO begins with a nod to exotic beauty, stamina and spirit as the 10-week fine art show welcomes special guests from the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

The event, “Up Close with Royal Arabian Horses,” takes place Saturday, February 4, from 1-3pm, giving patrons a chance to see two magnificent Royal Arabian horses up close. The two-hour event also will feature a lively Quick Draw, where artists have a brief timed period to draw the horses, and several artists will plein-air paint them.quick-draw-event-arabian-horses-at-expo

“This is a rare chance to see these radiant horses up close, learn about their history, and see how artists recreate their striking beauty,” says Judith Combs, CEO of the award-winning Thunderbird Artists and CEO/partner of Arizona Fine Art EXPO. “Bring your camera to capture their beauty and then spend the afternoon touring through artist studios or relaxing in our sculpture garden.”

bellasoleilgaArizona Fine Art EXPO has come to be known as one of Arizona’s best venues for collecting fine art. The event features 110 patron-friendly working studios within a 44,000 square-foot space, where guests have a rare chance to meet the artists, see them in action, and learn about their inspiration and techniques. Throughout the 10 weeks, artisans will sketch passionately in pencil, charcoal and pastels; sculpt and fire clay; drill, chisel and carve stone; paint in all media; stain and etch gourds; design lost wax casting; solder and weld jewelry; assemble mosaics and more.  Art is for sale and commissions are welcomed.

The Arizona Fine Art EXPO runs daily through March 26 from 10am-6pm under the “festive white tents” at 26540 North Scottsdale Road, on the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Jomax Roads, next to MacDonald’s Ranch. Season passes cost $10; season passes for seniors and military are $8; and children under 12 are free. Parking is free.

For more details about participating artists or events during the show, call 480.837.7163 or visit www.arizonafineartexpo.com.

Fine Art And Wine Festival Returns To Carefree November 4-6

Artwork by Darrell Thomas

Artwork by Darrell Thomas

Thunderbird Artists kicks off its 35th season with the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 4-6 along Ho Hum and Easy Streets in Downtown Carefree. Now in its 23rd year, the Carefree show features 140 renowned, juried artists who will showcase and sell their original work from 10am-5pm each day.

Denise Dale, vice president of Thunderbird Artists, says this year’s season of shows will include new entertainers, new emerging artists and an expanded selection of wine, microbrews and more.

“The ambiance of our shows can’t be beat, and patrons appreciate the fact that artists are juried into each festival,” Dale says.

The 35th season of festivals includes new entertainers as well. One of the highlights of the Carefree festival will be the steel drum musical stylings of Paul McDermand.

The artisans in the Carefree show will come from all over the country and abroad to display paintings in oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic and ink, impressive small, medium and life-sized sculptures, hand blown glass, baskets, clay, metal, stone, handcrafted jewelry, photography and more. This year’s featured artist is Darrell Thomas of North Phoenix.

“Darrell is well known for his vibrant oil paintings that draw you into the painting and make you feel like you are there,” Dale says.

The festival combines fine art with an extensive collection of domestic and imported wines and micro-brews for tasting. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass with six tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1.

Admission to the Festival is $3 for adults, and free for children 17 years or younger. For more information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

Call For Artists: Thunderbird Artists’ Festivals

Pastel by Barbara Mason: “In the spotlight”

Pastel by Barbara Mason: “In the spotlight”

Thunderbird Artists celebrates 35 years of producing world-class fine art and wine festivals throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area with a Call for Artists for its upcoming season. The ongoing, juried open enrollment enables painters, sculptors, glass and stone artists, fine jewelers and artists working in mixed media to apply for a booth in one or more Thunderbird Artists festivals.

“We’re seeking artists who share our philosophy of quality over quantity,” says Denise Dale, vice president of Thunderbird Artists. “Content, quality and originality are most important to us when we jury a show. And, because this is our 35th year, we’re including some new elements to our festivals, such as new entertainers, wine-infused ice cream and an expanded selection of wine, microbrews and more.”

The 23rd Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival kicks off the new season on November 4-6, in Downtown Carefree at Easy and Ho Hum Streets. A limited amount of booths are still available. To download an application or apply online, visit www.thunderbirdartists.com or call 480.837.5637.

Art & Wine Lover’s Paradise

Pictured: Wearable art by Shows Studios

Pictured: Wearable art by Shows Studios

In 1993, Thunderbird Artists and the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce partnered to produce the first juried fine art event the town had ever seen. Fast forward to today and the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival has officially become a “signature event” for the Town of Carefree, which returns this month.

February 26-28, the festival will feature Shows Studios, a husband and wife team specializing in metalwork. Andrew and Turza Shows have been collaborating to create one-of-kind wearable pieces since 1978. Their combined talents merge to achieve a unique style of colorful inlay and carved-stone jewelry. The application of their jewelry designs involves cutting and carving stones of different images, fabricating the sterling silver or gold settings and arranging them in mosaic patterns.

In addition to the works by Shows Studios, this festival features more than 165 juried, world-class artists displaying over 5,000 original pieces of artwork in a variety of mediums. Wine tasting, as well as rum sampling, is also offered, with a vast array of wines to sample from around the world, while delicious food and delectable chocolates supply the final touches to the unparalleled ambience this festival holds.

Pam Barker and Bruce Rudolph together form Rockin’ Memories, the featured musicians for the event. This fine art event will take place in the heart of Downtown

Carefree, from 10am-5pm each day. Admission is $3 and parking is free. For more information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

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