Ride of a Lifetime

2015-09-23 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Most people set out on extreme adventures such as biking across the country for specific reasons. Some do it in support of a charity; others, in memory of a loved one.   Seventy-five-year-old Bob Mountz, a resident of Vi at Silverstone, in Scottsdale decided to test his endurance and ability for the primary reason of checking a line item off his bucket list. Yes, he may have had stents put in his leg after an aneurysm in 2003 and again in March of this year. He also may have undergone a total hip replacement a little less than 15 months ago. Despite all of that, Mountz was not about to let anything get in the way of achieving one of his lifelong dreams.    Born in Vincennes, Indiana, Mountz made waves early as a three-sport athlete. In addition to biking his whole life, he also played on the varsity football, basketball and baseball teams throughout high school. He scored a football scholarship to the University of Illinois in 1958, where he played all three years of his eligibility... More

Pedaling for Preservation

2015-09-23 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

It’s the stuff desert dreams are made of.   Rolling hills, expansive views. Sunrises framed by untouched purple mountains studded with saguaro centurions that have guarded these pristine lands for hundreds of years.    Those of us who live among its magic know the enchantment of the Sonoran Desert; its subtle changes as seasons pass, its indomitable resilience and its raw beauty. Among its jewels is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve — 57 square miles of preserved desert land criss-crossed with beautiful trails for hiking and biking, and teeming with wildlife.    This magnificent open space comprises a third of the total land area of Scottsdale and is nearly iconic in its allure. Its massive impact is trumped only by its vulnerability, as human progress quickly encroaches its borders. It is only through the diligence of the nonprofit McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and City of Scottsdale — and funds provided by supporters — that it can remain unsullied.   Enter the Tour de... More

Painting with the Earth

2015-09-23 | ImagesAZ | Art

Fountain Hills resident Michael McKee clicks through photographs of his recent travels on the computer, hoping to jog a memory and inspire his next painting. Finding one he likes, he flips off the computer, puts on his dust mask and grabs his soft pastels. Mountains, trees, coastal scenes … all take shape as he moves the soft pastels quickly over the paper, using his fingers to blend the colors as he works.   McKee is this year’s featured artist at Thunderbird Artists’ 22nd Annual Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival. Known as one of the premier juried shows to kick off art season, the popular event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, November 6-8, along Ho Hum and Easy Streets in downtown Carefree.    “Michael’s vibrant landscapes and abstract pieces are phenomenal,” says Denise Dale, Thunderbird Artists’ vice president. “Of course, you need to see them in person to really appreciate his intuitive use of color and expression.”    While... More

Racing Around te World

2015-09-23 | ImagesAZ | Community

Photo Credit: Jamie Harper
It was several days before Thanksgiving 2014 when Christian Shappee’s life path took a sharp right turn.    The Arizona State University industrial design student was working in the studio when he saw a fellow student and friend designing a set of posters with exotic pictures of different countries. Intrigued, he asked her about it. His friend started to explain that it was for a trip one of her friends was going on, but then she stopped and said, “Here, just watch this.”   She directed him to an online video. What Christian saw changed his life.    A Goal-Driven Path Christian was always a highly motivated person. At Pinnacle High School, he was an honor student and president of the student body. He studied hard to attend ASU’s Barrett Honors College on a full ride. At ASU, he was a member of a fraternity, juggled two majors (a Bachelor of Science in industrial design and a Bachelor of Arts in design management), minored in sustainability and was on track to graduate with... More

Filling bowls to help those in need

2015-09-23 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Artists dedicated to supporting a local hunger-fighting organization are working together with the community and local businesses to raise money and awareness at the 15th Annual Foothills Empty Bowls Project Lunch.   On October 16, the Sonoran Arts League again invites the entire community to lunch at the Carefree Town Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.    In the beautiful Carefree setting, each guest selects an artist-made bowl into which they are served a delicious lunch donated by Harold’s Cave Creek Corral. Guests then take the bowls home with them, all for a suggested donation of $15. Artwork offered by members of the Sonoran Arts League is available for bid in a stunning silent auction. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the Desert Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center. Donations have ranged between $15,000 and 20,000 each year.   Original Sonoran Arts League member Carole Perry of Laughing Glass Studio and her husband, Don Carroll, have been chairing the Foothills... More

The Art of Carving

2015-09-23 | ImagesAZ | Community

Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
It starts with an idea.    The artist considers his canvas, studying it and churning ideas behind a focused gaze until a vision unfolds in his mind’s eye. He raises his hand and begins to work, quickly and nearly trance-like, as form and shape are conceived.    Each stroke of his tool is like a word in a song, and verses and choruses unfold as an image emerges. His is an art of shadows and shape, and he is a master of both. And, like the finest of music, paint and other artful expressions, Ray Villafane’s work elicits a sincere appreciation for the creativity of the human mind, as well as a visceral feeling of joy.   His favorite materials to work with, pumpkins and sand, are as unique as he is, and what he does with them is nothing short of genius.   “I only do what I love,” he says pragmatically. Browsing through his work, it is not difficult to feel — much less see — the passion. Villafane’s portfolio includes some of the most realistic and enormous likenesses of... More

Swinging Fore Kids Cancer

2015-09-13 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by stories about illness or disease, particularly when children are involved. Beyond the fact that no one wants to face the possibility that they, too, could find themselves in a fight for their own lives, or for the lives of their children, many people simply feel powerless when a neighbor, friend, co-worker or family member is living with a life-threatening condition.   What do we say? What do we do? Do we talk about the illness? What if our own emotions betray our fear or sadness? What if we say or do the wrong thing?   For one local family, not only have they walked the horrible path that began with a diagnosis of childhood cancer, but they’ve also faced the desperate fight for treatment and, ultimately, the indescribable pain of losing a child to cancer.   Chrisie and Nick Funari became part of a club they never asked to join — the community of “cancer families” whose journeys have far too many similarities and far too much... More
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