This year my step-daughter and her husband asked me to create a painting for them. They wanted an image of poppies blowing in the wind. Perfect I thought. They had just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary – it would be a gift from my spouse and I.
The space where it will hang requires a large canvas, larger than anything I’ve painted. So, I decided to approach this project with baby steps. I started with a 5 x 7 inch canvas and progressed to 12 x 24 inches. I dubbed these my preparatory poppy paintings. (I love alliteration). Being painted close to Remembrance Day I named the larger of the two, Field of Remembrance.
Just as I finished these two paintings, a local business, Martin Fine Framing, announced a fundraiser for the Children’s Foundation of Muskoka. The store provided 6 x 6 inch canvases to artists in our community. They could be painted in any medium and style. Tomorrow, Saturday, December at 10 am they will be available for sale at the store for $25 each with all proceeds going to the charity. I picked up two canvases and with my mind still filled with poppies they became the subject for both pieces.
After all of this preparation, I think I’m finally ready to tackle the 24 x 60 inch canvas sitting in my hallway…Don’t worry Alicia and Kevin, you will have your painting before your next anniversary!
© Wendie Donabie 2013 www.wendiedonabie.com
In today’s marketplace, artists must self promote. We can no longer rely solely on agents and galleries to sell our work. Here are what I consider some of the necessities for today’s professional artist: a website, a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Etsy accounts, writing articles for your local newspaper, applications to juried shows that fit your style, and talking about your work at every opportunity. Always have business cards on you and hand them out. You never know where that one little card might lead. Promote, promote, promote.
Location is also critical to our business. Many of us start with sales in our local community and if we are fortunate to have a gallery in town, our work may gain a close-to-home retail outlet. Over this past summer I was blessed to work for a great couple here in Bracebridge, Jodi and Jake Good, the current owners of Silver Bridge Gallery. The Gallery has also handled sales of some of my work hanging at The Diesel House Cafe here in town. Unfortunately Silver Bridge will be closing at the end of this year unless a buyer comes forward. If you have interest or know of anyone who might be interested in purchasing the business, please have them contact Jodi. Contact information is on the website. Jodi is a strong supporter of my work and currently offers several of my paintings for sale at Silver Bridge.
While a local market is wonderful, most of us need to get out-of-town (particularly if you live in a small community) to grow our client base. If you live in an active and vibrant arts community, like I do, you may find the market saturated with great talent. Muskoka is a stimulating environment in which to create but to expand sales I need to look for places to carry my work beyond our borders – even 60-100 miles away can make a huge difference to our potential sales. When you get the chance to exhibit your artistry in place where you are a stranger, you can attract a whole new audience to your work.
I’ve learned this summer that self-promotion definitely draws the public to shows. Now I am working on getting out-of-town. Along with a few fellow artists, we’ve searched out and submitted work to galleries in Barrie and Toronto. Early next year we will be showing in North Bay as well.
Here is what I have scheduled until the end of the year with images of my paintings in each gallery/show.
‘Square Foot Show’ - The Edge Gallery, 32 Dunlop St .W., Barrie, Ontario.
November 1-December 31, 2013.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 10:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.
All work on 12 x 12 inch canvases with a variety of subject matter.
‘Twisted Art Exhibit’ – Project Gallery Toronto, 1109 Queen St E., Toronto,
Opening November 7, Reception 7-11 pm. Show runs to November 21.
Hours: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12-6 PM
NBMG Wine Tasting: Thursday Nov 14th (7-11 pm)
Interactive Live Painting: Friday Nov 15th (7-11 pm)
The exhibition features works that address the limitations and nuisances of perception by displaying works that can intrigue, guide and trick the eye.
Muskoka Arts & Crafts at the Canada Summit Centre – 20 Park Drive, Huntsville.
November 14, 2013 – February 10, 2014. Opening reception: November 14, 5-7 pm.
Showcasing the talent of Muskoka Arts & Crafts members. A wide range of work, mediums and levels of experience.
Christmas Art & Craft Show – Luc Sculpture School and Studios, 663 Greenwood Ave., Toronto.
November 26 – January 5, 2014
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 10 am – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday 12 – 5 pm
Uniquely crafted, original artworks and handmade crafts: painting, pottery, photography, sculpture and more!
© Wendie Donabie 2013
A painting by Italian master, Sebastiano Ricci, long presumed to be lost, has turned up in Texas after a 300-year journey from the hands of a European nobleman playboy to a fur trader and finally through generations of one family.
Italian art has influenced several major movements throughout the centuries and has produced numerous great artists. Today, Italy has an important place in the international art scene, with several major art galleries and museums.
Another show over. The attendance and feed back on all of our work – excellent.
So what’s next? The four of us involved in the autumn art show purchased an insurance policy that will cover us, as a group, for a year. We need another venue and are talking about finding a gallery out-of-town. After Thanksgiving we’ll get together to de-brief about our show and plan for the next one.
In November I’ll participate in a Toronto Gallery Christmas art show and sale. And Janice Feist and I must plan for our 2-woman show to run May 3-31, 2014 at Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge.
The winter ahead will be a time of planning and painting – lots of both!
My other creative love, writing, took a back seat these past few months. As a result, I have unmet goals. I’m frustrated with my inertia and need something to get me back on track.
This week, I find I’m struggling with so many ideas running through my head and not making a decision to act on any of them. I’ve experienced this before – usually following a flurry of activity. Maybe I just need a few days to recover and doing nothing isn’t such a bad idea. But that old ‘work-ethic’ guilt butts in and I struggle again with what decision to make, what action to take.
Time to Review?
I sit in a creative captivity. So much going on inside and nothing manifesting on the outside. I guess the only way to break through this barrier is to do SOMETHING….ANYTHING. Maybe it’s a good time to review my goals, create new objectives and targets for the coming months.
Without a clear sense of direction I’ll dally along until the last possible moment. As I look back at my goals for this year, I realize my list was bold – too bold.
So, here’s my plan.
1) Create more realistic goals.
2) Better monitor my time – NOT over-committing to things outside my list of goals.
3) Allow flexibility in setting targets and objectives to take advantage of whatever opportunities come along that could enhance my goals.
4) Be wary of distractions that don’t add to what I want to accomplish.
This feels better. I can do this.
Let me know. Do you ever find yourself stuck? How do you get going again? I’d love to hear from you and your ideas may help others in the same predicament.
©Wendie Donabie 2013
- Goals…..Goals…Goals…Day 10 (sheplusthree.wordpress.com)
What a glorious two days in Muskoka last weekend! Everywhere the trees proudly displayed their autumn wardrobes and visitors came to experience the natural beauty and the creativity of local artists.
On Friday, the 4 of us set up our art show at Windermere Village Hall. We arrived with a ‘truckload of work’ in a variety of mediums, sizes and prices (taxes included in prices). There’s a perfect painting for every place and every taste.
The organizing and hanging took the better part of the day but we were all happy with the final results.
A Visit to Windermere
Set on the shore of beautiful Lake Rosseau, you can reach the quaint Village of Windermere by car or boat. You’ll find the ’4′ Art Show and Sale in the Windermere Village Hall located behind historic Windermere House resort (since 1870; rebuilt in 1997) and across the street from the tennis courts situated beside the lush fairways and greens of Windermere Golf and Country Club (established in 1919). The resort pub and dining room, and the golf club dining room are open for light refreshments or a full meal while you are visiting the area.
Autumn Colour at Peak
If you live locally and haven’t gone for a fall drive yet, how about this weekend? One more week and the colour will be over.
While you’re out on the road, please stop by Windermere Village Hall to experience our show and select a special painting for your home or office. Saturday, I’ll be there with Lynda Lynn and Pat Whittle. On Sunday, Janice Feist is on the schedule with Lynda and Pat.
Hope to see you there!
Windermere Village Hall
Saturday & Sunday, October 5 & 6
(10 am – 6 pm)
© Wendie Donabie 2013
3 Days To Go
Three days to go until the ‘4′ Art Show and Sale in Windermere, Ontario! All the planning, preparation, advertising done, the last thing to do is set up at Windermere Village Hall. This Friday, along with my friends and fellow artists, Janice Feist, Lynda Lynn and Pat Whittle we’ll hang our work and organize the hall to welcome visitors September 28-29 and October 5-6 from 10 am to 6 pm . www.4paintersartshow.weebly.com
It’s time to take a breath and review my checklist. We each have one in order to bring together all the bits and pieces for a successful show.
For me; Paintings, Note Cards, Business Cards, Biographies, table, CD player, blue sticky stuff, direction signs, large folding table, easels, float ($), snacks, lunch, tea bags, etc. Have I forgotten anything?
I still need to pack up the art I have at home after collecting a few pieces from other locations about town. That will happen Thursday night.
On Sunday my partner and I took a drive up through Algonquin Park. The colour had reached about 50% in that area. Today in Bracebridge, photographers could be seen with cameras around their necks here to capture the first of the fall foliage. By this coming weekend Muskoka will be ablaze with rich reds, vibrant oranges and sparkling yellows. And the temperature forecast promises warm air and sunny skies.
Before the snow flies and you are all digging yourself out of the driveway, why not take some time to enjoy this beautiful autumn season. A drive through Muskoka and stopping by Windermere to meet local artists would be a great way to spend part of your weekend.
Three of the ’4′ painters will be at Windermere at all times on both weekends. We would love to meet you and share our love of painting with you. I will be at the show Sunday, September 29 and Saturday, October 5. from 10 am – 6 pm. Click here for directions to Windermere Village Hall.
I hope to see you there!
© Wendie Donabie 2013
- Sizzling Art Amidst Blazing Colour (blueheronwrites.com)
AUTUMN IN MUSKOKA
The world is full of beautiful, scenic locations, each one offering it’s own special sensory experience. So why come to Muskoka for a visit?
National Geographic Traveler magazine chose Muskoka as one of The Best of The World – Must-see places for 2012! In 2011, Muskoka was the #1 pick on their Ten Best Trips of Summer, so the 2012 Best of the World designation was amazing. (http://www.discovermuskoka.ca/)
Every season has something unique to offer in Muskoka but the fall is one of my personal favourites. You can hike and explore our richly coloured autumn trails on the warm sunny days and the wind whispering through the pines will lull you to sleep on the cool nights.
In addition to experiencing the autumn foliage and perfect weather, you can visit the studios of Muskoka artists studios. Now in its 35th year, the Autumn Studio Tour provides patrons and visitors the opportunity to meet these creative professionals in their working environment.
Last year, I teamed up with three other local artists to hold a group art show during the tour dates. Our success with the ’4′ event encouraged us to repeat this year. Here’s the info for this year’s show.
’4′ ART SHOW DETAILS
For two weekends, September 28-29 and October 5-6, 2013, you’ll find us at the Windermere Village Hall, 2496 Windermere Road, Windermere, Ontario. The hours of our show are 10:00 am-6:00 pm in line with the studios on the Autumn Tour.
’4″ – WHO WE ARE
Lynda Lynn, Janice Feist, Pat Whittle and I are ’4′ Our distinctive styles include works in acrylic, watercolour, encaustic, soft pastel and mixed media with subjects ranging from realistic and impressionistic landscapes to vibrant abstracts. Reflected in our paintings is the our love of nature and concern for the natural environment
Lynda Lynn works in a variety of media using “colour subjectively, trying to capture the intrinsic spirit of the subject.” She likes, “to play and experiment with the challenge of light playing on colour, to combine all of the elements in a satisfying whole, hoping to stir the imagination of the viewer, in order to communicate to and involve them on a personal level. I like to engage the viewer by leaving something for their imagination to complete.” http://muskokaartist-lyndalynn.com
Janice Feist is drawn to colour and texture in nature; “my goal with each painting is to relay my experience of the moment– to create a record of that beauty or experience that motivated me. Light is the power for each painting. I am captivated by the way light reflects on surfaces, the way a branch curves in dance-like fashion to reach the sun, the way shadows play with colour.” Janice says of her style, “It comes from my emotion during the painting exercise.” http://www.janicefeist.com
Pat Whittle is a multi media painter. Her first love is printmaking, whether watercolour monotypes, hand pulled lithography (stone and plate) or etching, silkscreen printing or chine-collė. Pat describes her painting experience in this way, “I love the feeling of spreading colour across a canvas or on paper. Imagery is secondary, emotion is an overall winner.” Patterns, textures, and smoky images in art and literature have always run through her life like a thread that gathers colour and music along the way. http://patjwhittle.com
My intimate paintings express the spirit and inner light I recognize in both animate and inanimate objects. “Nature is my greatest inspiration. I invite you to enter in and be moved by the mood and spirit of the subject.” I describe my painting process as intimate and visceral. “My paintings communicate with me. Transforming blank paper or canvas into a painting is magical, as if the paint and brush are drawing forth images hidden in the fibres.” http://www.wendiedonabie.com
If you are in Muskoka September 28-29 or October 5-6, please drop by and visit us.
You just might find that special painting
you’ve been looking for.
© Wendie Donabie 2013
It’s already past mid summer; the season is flying by. How is it that winter lasts forever but summer is fleeting? For me it’s connected to the busyness of these warmer months. Living in cottage country, my partner and I anticipate entertaining more guests than in the colder days from November to May. Then add in my art shows, his real estate business and the days become even shorter.
Yet in the midst of this hectic time, I carved out a week of peace. Tucked in behind the Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville, Ontario, stands a building housing the University of Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment.. During the summer, with fewer students in residence, the facility has become one of the offsite locations for the Haliburton School of the Arts. The offerings this year included an Oil Painting course focused on techniques. I knew the teacher from a previous course and enrolled the minute registration opened online.
What a week! Andrea Mossop, the course instructor, is a gentle soul filled with the richness of her artistry and overflowing with knowledge that she shares in creative and memorable ways. She translated the various oil applications into layman’s language, talking about tickling the canvas and likening the application of paint with a palette knife to icing a cake.
Andrea so engaged us that we passed up coffee breaks and even shortened our lunches to get back to the easels. By the end of the week, the six of us had produced over 20 paintings (seven of them were mine) employing all of the techniques she taught.
For me this course was my first encounter with oil paint and I have a new love. I found the paints buttery texture and luscious sheen addictive. Plus oils are so workable. If you don’t like something you can remove it and change it. Many people avoid working with oil paints because of the toxicity of the solvents traditionally used but Andrea share a non-toxic method for working with the medium.
My painter’s kit has now grown to include watercolour, acrylic and oil paints plus Chinese and acrylic inks and soft pastels. I am excited about having multiple choices when inspired to create a painting. Each medium offers unique qualities I can use in communicating my emotions and impressions of a subject.
I expect my tool box to grow, as time goes by, but for now I’m diving headlong into Oil!
NOTE: I’ve also added a new painting to the side bar. To see more paintings, please visit www.wendiedonabie.com
© Wendie Donabie 2013
Please join me at
THE ENCHANTED FOREST ART SHOW
Saturday and Sunday, August 10 and 11; from 10 am-5 pm
The 6th Enchanted Forest Art Show will take place August 10-11, 2013, rain or shine. This innovative art show offers its guests a glimpse into the techniques and inspiration that create fine works of art. Over 30 artists will share their enthusiasm for their medium as they explain and demonstrate their craft.
The show is a perfect way to spend a day: and you may even find just the right piece of art for your home or cottage!
Lunch and snacks are available on-site, with tables set in the gardens for ‘al fresco’ dining! The experience is complemented by an unforgettable tour of The Enchanted Forest, where fairytale settings delight young and old.
Admission is by donation to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. VISA and MasterCard are accepted by all artists.
1205 Sparrow Lake Route D, Kilworthy, ON P0E 1G0
Visit WoodsEnd Studio website for more details. http://woodsend.ca/
To access Art Ascent‘s online magazine is a multi-step process and may not be straight forward to you so here is the article as it appears on page 31 of the August 2013 issue.
Mother of Us All
Is our Earth simply a large, chunk of rock to you, or do you think of her as a sentient being – the Mother of us all – with whom you can have a personal relationship? Have you ever taken a moment to connect with her? Long ago, indigenous peoples developed a relationship of respect and interdependence with Mother Earth. They felt her rhythms, recognized her cycles, listened to her voice and learned from her.
The rock taught them faith, wisdom, strength and endurance while the trees illustrated honesty and uprightness. As the sap flowed through them, so must honesty flow through the people. When they trod upon the grass, it bounced back teaching them to be resilient, kind to themselves and others. Animals taught companionship, how to care for and protect one another.
Today, Mother Earth continues to share these lessons; she teaches us to be human. And as her children, our job is simple – listen to her and care for her.
While walking through the forest, I feel her support beneath my feet as she responds to each footfall. Feel me, touch me, embrace me, she says.
Her scent wafts through the air filling my nostrils with the living smells of the earth, water and plant life. Breathe deeply, I hear her say, fill your body, heart and soul with my abundance.
From quiet lakes, gurgling brooks, rushing rivers, roaring waterfalls and mighty oceans, I hear her enduring heartbeat. She tells me, We are one, each a part of one another. What affects one, affects all.
Her voice travels on the wind, through the calls of birds; her messages are seen in the movement of wildlife and heard echoing through her canyons and valleys. Know me, know your brothers and sisters. Care for each other. Everything you need is here for you to use, not abuse.
My experience is a spiritual one. But just as each child relates in a different way to his or her mother, your connection with Mother Earth will be unique. I encourage you to develop a relationship with her. She is a wise advisor and . . . we need her.
Although many cultures still honour parents, in western societies we are less inclined to respect and care for our elders. Perhaps this is why we have begun to so easily take Mother Earth for granted.
Today, while strong voices do exist, working to raise awareness of the desperate plight of our planet, others continue to ignore Mother Earth’s cries, seeing her only as a place filled with abundance to be exploited until there is nothing left. Yet, as we strip her of her wealth without putting anything back, we are most assuredly killing her and eventually all life on the planet. If we would all take the time to acknowledge our mutual interdependence, examine the natural cycles of Mother Earth and learn to live by her rules, we just might have a chance of saving her and saving us.
NOTE: If you do want to see the magazine version you must sign up as a member of Art Ascent (FREE to do). You will be taken to HP Magcloud to do this. The sign up link is at the top of the page.
© Wendie Donabie 2013
- Published! Passion and Persistence Pay Off (blueheronwrites.com)
- Apology to Mother Earth (johannisthinking.com)
- Save Mother Earth by Wilfredo Lumagbas Jr. (500px.com)
- “The Abuse of Mother Earth”-she Will Retaliate Against the Abusers (whitecrow12013.wordpress.com)