When Poetry Meets Music: A Review of the Collaboration Between Musician Diane Barbarash and Poet Allison Grayhurst

I am a big fan of artist collaborations: when done well, they can bring a whole new perspective to an original work of art. I especially like it when poets and musicians get together, because I feel the mediums naturally flow well with one another and the results are often epic. And even when they’re not, I dig the idea of artists collectively creating. Maybe it’s the romantic in me or the fact that I always have so much fun when I do it myself, but a couple of artists sitting around, inspiring each other, and throwing out ideas makes me very happy indeed.

In the case of Diane Barbarash’s new album, River, a collaboration between the musician and poet Allison Grayhurst, the results are excellent. According to Barbarash’s website, the singer was inspired to write the songs after reading the poet’s work: “Last New Year’s Eve I found myself engaged in one of Allison’s poetry books and in a moment of pure inspiration I reached for my guitar, and the first song fell out.”

While the poet and musician have known one another for years, this is their first attempt at a collaboration, which they apparently did through a series of MP3 and Word doc files while living 3,000 miles apart. The results are impressive and I truly hope the two artists try this again in the future: I, for one, just can’t get enough of Barbarash’s beautiful, haunting voice adding a new take on Grayhurst’s powerful poetry.

This is the perfect album for a slow winter’s day: make yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine, kick back on your sofa in front of a warm fireplace, and enjoy the evocative ride.

Listen here: https://dianebarbarash.bandcamp.com/album/river-songs-from-the-poetry-of-allison-grayhurst


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2015, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has over 1125 poems published in more than 450 international journals and anthologies.

Diane Barbarash was writing songs long before learning how to play guitar at thirteen. She was an active singer-songwriter in Toronto’s folk club circuit before moving to Vancouver where she perused her love of recording. She has released three albums prior to River, however she considers River her true debut.

Affordable Editing Services for Artists and Entrepreneurs

I am excited to announce that I recently started my own side company offering editing and proofreading services.

If you’ve recently written a book and want someone to look it over before you submit it to publishers or self-publish, I can help. Or even if you need an extra set of eyes on your latest blog post before you go live with it. I am also able to provide help for entrepreneurs with website copy, courses, e-books, and articles.

I offer all basic editing needs, including punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and spelling, along with any advanced editing you may require, such as sentence structure and copy suggestions. I have over 19 years of experience in the editing industry and have worked with numerous clients on their manuscripts, blog posts, courses, articles, e-books, resumes, websites, papers, and more.

My prices are quoted upon request and vary based on the type of service you need and the length of your work. I provide free, no-obligation quotes at artstreehouse@gmail.com. Feel free to pass this information along to anyone you know who is looking for an affordable, experienced editor. Thanks and I look forward to working with you!

Why I’ll Absolutely Be Attending More Art Auctions in the Future

A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to be her plus-one at a VIP event hosted by Park West Gallery. The weekend-long event took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey, California and included a free Ritz stay, excellent food and drinks, art auctions, raffles, exclusive previews of works from Peter Max, Autumn de Forest, and Godard, and artist introductions with de Forest and Godard. All of which translated into a posh, sea-side weekend filled with art, food, and wine.

Despite the fact that I run an online art magazine and have been involved with the arts in one way or another most of my life, prior to this trip I had never attended an art auction. A cattle auction, yes (what can I say, I’m originally a small town gal), but an art auction, no. I’m happy to report art auctions are way more exciting than I would have guessed: it’s kind of amusing to watch two people attempt to outbid one another while pretending they aren’t annoyed the other person hasn’t given up yet. And seeing someone spend tens of thousands of dollars in mere seconds is rather thrilling. It was hard not to get in on the action myself, but at this point I am about out of wall space until I get a larger place.

While the auctions were good fun and browsing art is always a brilliant time for me, I think my favorite part of the entire weekend (besides discovering that there is a drink called the gingerberry mojito and it’s about the best thing ever) was meeting the artists. Godard was hilarious and definitely knows how to work a crowd. He could have been a stand-up comedian just as easily as a painter. And listening to the young de Forest explain her creative journey with testing out various mixed media was intriguing.

Artist Michael Godard
Artist Autumn de Forest








Part of the reason I interview artists for my TreeHouse Arts site is because learning the process of how their work is created – whether that art form be painting, photography, music, writing, or anything else – makes a huge difference as far as appreciation and understanding are concerned. Learning about the artist behind the art gives people a vested interest in the work. Getting to know Godard and de Forest, even on a superficial level, had that effect on me.

To see some of the work shown at the event, take a look through the slideshow below. And if you get the chance to attend an art auction in the future, I highly recommend it.

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Supporting Art in Education through Orange County’s Junior Art Exhibit

St Basils in Color by Nora DeVente, Grade 8

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters events in Southern California for the TreeHouse Arts site. What I didn’t mention then was the Junior Art Exhibit that is also a part of their summer show.

Since 1947, the Junior Art Exhibit has included select art from over 300 Orange County students between the ages of Kindergarten to grade 12. The exhibit is impressive not only in the budding artistic abilities it portrays, but also because it calls attention to one of my passions: the importance of continuing art education in our school systems.

Take a look over some of the below works from California’s upcoming artistic major-leaguers and tell me if you’re as impressed and excited as I am about all of the talent coming from our future generations.

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What I Learned at My First Art Show as an Artist

I recently attended my first art show – not in one of my usual roles as press and/or buyer – but as an actual artist whose work was on display. I submitted my photography to the 53rd Annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition almost on a whim: my brother, who’s an artist, sent the submission link to me thinking I’d like to go in order to meet artists and interview them for my art blog, TreeHouse Arts, which is something I do fairly often. He said he would be submitting some of his own work and for some reason this time I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll do the same.”

When my work was accepted I was surprised, delighted, and a bit confused on what I needed to do. The committee sent plenty of pre-show emails that answered most of my questions about the process, but here are a few things I had to figure out on my own:

1. Whatever amount you think you should price your work at, double if not triple it. Consider the cost of printing, framing, materials, and labor. That goes for selling your art in general: I get that it can be difficult to come up with a figure that seems fair, but whatever you do don’t haggle your prices with buyers or give away insane discounts to your friends. Doing so devalues not only your own work, but art as a whole. If you never seem to sell anything and constantly hear your work is too expensive, then lower your prices, but if not: slam a number on it and stick with it.

2. If your work is being judged, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that aspect of the show. Art is subjective and most of the time you’ll never agree with who won what prize or how and you know what? It doesn’t matter. You’re there to meet fellow art lovers, get your name out there, and maybe sell a piece or two in the bargain – focus on that.

3. Spend as much time as possible chatting up the other artists because most of them have been working the circuit for decades and have all of the info you’ll ever need about the entire scene. And they also know some really good art gossip, if you’re into that.

4. Study the other works: snap pictures and scribble down notes. It’s amazing what you can learn about your own art just by studying someone else’s creations.

5. Your frame matters: I would never have guessed what a good frame can do to a piece of art. Some of the most mundane pieces I’ve ever seen spring to life with the right frame surrounding them. I guess that’s the reason custom frame work is so expensive.

6. Bring plenty of business cards and make sure they look super awesome. In the creative arts industry, even the business cards are mini Picassos.

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SoCal Heatwave Relief: Cool Off This Weekend with Local Artists at the Newport Beach Art Exhibition

If you’re in the SoCal area and looking for something to do, be sure to stop by the 53rd Annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition on Saturday, June 17th from 1-6 pm. A few of my photography pieces will be on display (and on sale, if you’re so inclined), along with work from artist Wade Ganes, aka my super talented brother (I’m biased, but his work really does rock).

The juried art show gives you the chance to view and purchase art, meet local artists, and get your groove on with live jazz, beer/wine, and food. There will also be a silent auction and book sale, with a percentage of all sales from the event going towards funding community art programs. I hope to see you there!