How do I, as an artist, capture Nature’s brilliant palette of colours when the evening sky fills with a fast-changing rainbow of hues? For me the only way is using reference photos. The next problem is matching colours. Well, forget that! No matter how many paint colours exist and how much mixing I do, it seems impossible to duplicate those amazing, natural colours.
Still, I want to paint them, to in some small way share the beauty of our Muskoka sunsets.
I hope you enjoy these 4 acrylic on canvas creations, all 5 x7 inches, unframed. They are part of a collection offered at $75 each during upcoming summer art shows.
To view more of my paintings, please visit www.wendiedonabie.com
With a couple of outdoor art shows coming up, I decided creating small paintings would be a good idea. There’s always room for a small piece of art to brighten up your home, workplace or cottage. These canvases are all Acrylic on Canvas, 6 x 6 inches, $50 each.
Brilliant colours, faces open to the sun, passion, the very essence of flowers reminding me of the love I have for my life partner and of a poem written as we drew closer to a life commitment to each other.
Step by cautious step
we draw closer.
We do not know.
Two fiery signs
igniting passion and desire.
When we met again I remembered
you – the teenage boy –
always quick with a joke and a dimpled smile.
What has happened in these few short weeks?
My life no longer a straight and predictable line.
Yes, I handed God a list
but never expected a response.
And now, here you are,
the answer to my prayer.
My best friend, lover, confidante.
Step by Cautious Step – Copyright Wendie Donabie 2010
Please visit my website to view more of my paintings. www.wendiedonabie.com
I’ve been asked by several readers to share some of my creative writing so today, here is the first…
I wrote this poem in 2006 as a writing exercise for an online course. And then in 2010 I lived the poem when I met my life partner.
I’d love your feedback.
A Place As Seen By A Woman In Love
Fluid as mercury, yet hard as steel
Powerful as the birth of a new star – deep in the heavens
Thunderous as a herd of stampeding horses.
Dazzling as it played dodge ball with rays of sun.
Mesmerizing, drawing her into its welcoming embrace.
Pure as liquid crystal, and cool as a mountain spring.
With each breath, she leaned closer, wishing to fall into its wonder.
What had changed for her in the place so often visited?
Was this not simply a waterfall?
No, not this day.
For love had invaded her being – body, heart, mind and soul.
No longer could she view the world in concrete terms.
Life now reeled with poetry.
Metaphor flung itself over the precipice and dove into the gorge below.
Simile cascaded over the rocks and dripped from foliage along the water’s path.
Copyright Wendie Donabie
I’ve never written about Father’s Day…I don’t exactly know why that is. My father died on a business trip to India when I was 15 – at that age when so many of us, (me included), think our parents know nothing. I talked back to both of them. It seemed I had no control over my tongue.
When he was leaving, I tried to be nice and not snippy by saying, “Don’t get sick while you’re away.” My mother scolded me. “That’s an awful thing to suggest Wendie!” And here I thought my words were considerate! Dad had a sensitive stomach and usually experienced some kind of physical upset when he travelled.
This time, rather than get sick, he died . . . and I blamed myself. Although Dad did suffer from high blood pressure, I deduced my attitude towards him had increased his BP resulting in the massive stroke that took his life. After many years of guilt, I came to accept the medical opinion that a weakness in the myelin sheath on the brain had caused the bleed and his death. The doctor explained to my mother it could have happened at any time.
I always had the feeling Dad wanted a boy but he got me instead. My parents married older than most in those days and decided not to have a family. A short time after making that decision, Mom learned she was pregnant. As a result, I’m an only child.
Dad never said or did anything to make me feel unloved. On the contrary he included me in all his projects. We gardened together in the colourful rock garden he created. When undertaking a household repair, I’d be by his side picking up skills. And even in those difficult teen years, we still had fun times playing ping pong and enjoying family trips.
It’s been 50 years since I last looked in my father’s eyes and saw mine reflected back. I inherited his hazel greens and as I’ve aged, his laugh lines.
I wish Dad could have been there for my high school graduation, my personal and work milestones and to counsel me through so many tough decisions in my life. I always thought of him as a practical man who made sensible choices.
Then I learned from my two aunts, Dad was more like me – driven at most times by his heart. Having a business early in life and then a family, forced him to dig into his less familiar practical nature. That knowledge helped me to feel more confident in my life. Rather than feel guilty for heart-lead choices, I now know it’s who I am – part Dad, part Mom (the more practical one). I’m a melting pot of their personalities and natural abilities/skills. I do miss them both and hope someday we meet again.
I still don’t know why I haven’t written about my Dad before on this blog. On Remembrance Day last year I did post a short remembrance of him about his service during WWII but it wasn’t so much about Dad and me. In part the motivation today came from a fellow blogger’s post about his father. His words touched me and made me realize I wanted more than anything to tell my Dad, “I haven’t forgotten you, your love or the impact you had on my life. I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day to you and to all those special fathers out there including my wonderful partner in life!”
View Wendie’s Paintings at www.wendiedonabie.com
In 2012 I wrote the following for a special event celebrating Mothers. My mother-in-law, Muriel Nichols, is now 92 and still as vibrant and beautiful as ever. Today I share this writing again to honour her, the memory of my own mother, Beatrice Amelia (Livie) Donabie, and all the wonderful women in my life who are mothers whether in body or spirit. Happy Mother’s Day!
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On the evening of May 12, I will be reading at an annual event called, “Walking In My Mother`s Shoes”. http://www.walkinginmymothersshoes.com/ This evening on Mother’s Day weekend honours mothers through the arts (the written word, music and visual arts).
As I thought about what I would write, I found myself contemplating the recent blessings in my life. What great good fortune to meet and fall in love with a wonderful, loving man who brought me to live in God’s country. Here surrounded by walls of pink granite, guarded by tall pines I found a safe haven to explore and develop my creative gifts. This would have been enough for me but more came with this new relationship.
I quickly connected with artists and writers who shared my passions and interests. Heaven – this had to be heaven. And this was enough.
But there was still more to come.
In 1982, I lost my mother to cancer. I hadn’t realized how connected we were until she was gone. Over the years our relationship experienced ups and downs from teenage rebellion, through divorce and loss of a son-in-law she loved, my second marriage to a man she struggled to accept and finally loved, and culminated in our deep and abiding friendship as she battled the disease ravaging her body.
I missed her terribly. I felt lost without her. When my father passed away, I was 15 and my mother took on the role of both parents. I learned to depend on her as I entered adulthood and now she was gone. I went on with my life, yet, an emptiness remained.
This emptiness only worsened when my husband died in 2006. During his illness, I had constructed a steel-reinforced concrete wall around my heart. However, during that time I also developed several close women friends. I discovered a sisterhood I had not known before and I trusted them with my deepest feelings. In a way, they replaced my mother. Yet, I still missed her, especially on Mother’s Day when we take time to celebrate those who gave us life, who raised us, put up with our antics, kissed our booboos, hugged us when we cried, encouraged us when we struggled and cheered on our victories.
I never expected to have another mother in my life. My mother-in-law died in the 1980s and after my husband`s death I determined I would live a single life unless the right man dropped right in front of me.
Then two years ago, it happened. There he was right in front of me and my wall of protection came crumbling down. When my spouse and I began dating, he arranged for us to have breakfast with his mother, Muriel, and her special man, Doug. I approached that day with trepidation having no idea how I would be received. Would she like me or hate me? I needn’t have feared. The moment we met, I felt embraced and loved. That’s what mothers do. They desire the best for their children and when they see happiness reflected in the eyes of their sons and daughters, they rejoice.
We don’t live close enough to see one another often but the times we spend together are precious to me. They are comfortable times, as though we’ve been doing this for years and years. Whether we simply sit and talk, enjoy one of Doug’s incredible dinner creations, walk through the garden or down a country road, we find lots to laugh about and share. Muriel and I particularly enjoy taking on the guys to a game or two of euchre. Occasionally we let them win.
Mom will be attending the event on May 12 so I will be able to share my thoughts with her.
These will be my closing words, “Mom, you are an extra special and unexpected blessing in my life. Tonight I have this perfect opportunity to let you know how much I appreciate you and to tell you publicly, I love you. You have effectively filled that empty corner of my heart created especially for a mother
s love. Thank you and Happy Mothers Day!”
© Wendie Donabie 2012
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Are you headed up to Muskoka during the month of May? If you are, please take a few minutes to drop into the Muskoka Tourism Information Centre on Hwy 11, 2 km north of Severn Bridge, just south of Gravenhurst.
I’m the Featured Artist from May 1-31! You’ll find a selection of acrylic, oil and watercolour paintings as well as blank note art cards to view and perhaps take home with you!
The Tourism Centre is the best place to obtain information about places to stay and eat, events and things to do during your stay in Muskoka. In addition to brochures, maps and souvenirs, the knowledgeable and friendly staff will respond to all of your questions or concerns. It’s worth your while to stop by.
To view more of my paintings, please visit www.WendieDonabie.com…… Thank you!
Today in honour of Earth Day, I am reposting a short piece I wrote 2 years ago.
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.
Please visit this link to view a short video, We are All One, that reflects my heart and concern for our planet. Thank you.
Copyright Wendie Donabie 2015
To view Wendie’s Paintings, please visit www.wendiedonabie.com
April 22 marks Earth Day 2015.
In honour of Mother Earth, here are two paintings I’ve done in the past couple of years to reflect her beauty and remind us of our shared roots as human beings and our dependence on the planet for our very existence.
Mother Earth lies nestled in the arms of a tree – without trees we would not have the oxygen needed to sustain life on our planet.
Do you have plans for Earth Day? I’d love to share your ideas here on my blog.
MORE ART at www.wendiedonabie.com
The Muskoka Arts & Crafts 38th Annual Spring Members’ Show takes place March 27-29. 2015 at the Bracebridge Sportsplex. Each member can enter 3 pieces of art. I’ve chosen, Puppy Love – The Only Love That Come Between Us and The Red Canoe as two of them.
My third is a creation painted for the Muskoka Conservancy’s theme – Muskoka Woodlands. Having hiked and photographed the beautiful paths around Bracebridge, I decided to paint a subject many never notice.
Here in Muskoka, Cedars grow in abundance. When they age-out and fall to the ground, the remaining stumps continue to decay as they provide nutrients to feed tree saplings that shoot up around them.
But before this transition occurs, they create magical structures that stir my imagination. I visualize a kingdom of elfin creatures living within these moss-covered towers of greying wood. Here are photos of just three of them. Each architectural wonder is unique which adds to their mystery.
With these images serving as my inspiration, I painted, Forest in Transition – my third entry into the spring art show. Feedback is always welcome!
If you are looking for a great place to spend a few hours next weekend, please stop by the show.. Here are the details.
Muskoka Arts & Crafts 38th Annual Spring Members’ Show
Opening Reception & Awards Presentation
Friday, March 27, 2015, 7pm-10pm
Demonstrations of art & craft techniques
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 10am-5pm
Sunday, March 29, 2015, 11am-4pm
Admission by donation
110 Clearbrook Trail, off Douglas Drive
Please visit www.wendiedonabie.com to view more of my art!