Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Celebrating The Mother of Us All – Earth Day

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


Earth Day 2015!

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 - Our Shared Roots

Mother Earth – Our Shared Roots. 24 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright Wendie Donabie – SOLD

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.

Breath of Life

Breath of Life, 48 x 36 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright Wendie Donabie – SOLD


Do you have plans for Earth Day? I’d love to share your ideas here on my blog.


Inspiration from the Forest

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.

2015-1 Puppy Love - The Only Love That Comes Between Us, 12 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright Wendie Donabie

Puppy Love – The Only Love That Comes Between Us, 12 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright Wendie Donabie

2015-2 The Red Canoe, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

The Red Canoe, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

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.

DSCN1707Here 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.DSCN1464






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!

Forest in Transition, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 30 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

Forest in Transition, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 30 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

 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
Free parking

Bracebridge Sportsplex
110 Clearbrook Trail, off Douglas Drive
Bracebridge, Ontario

Please visit to view more of my art!


May You Be Blessed Movie

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.” This is a quote from Albert Schweitzer, but it captures the essence of what “May You Be Blessed” is all about.

via May You Be Blessed Movie.

How Do You Find the Story in a Painting?

Girl With A Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

The Girl With A Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

In my Artist’s Statement,  I use the quote, A picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve always believed this to be true. A photograph, drawing or painting can convey so many meanings depending on the interpretation of the viewer. For me, I paint to draw the viewer in, to tell my stories and share my experiences. I know why I created a particular painting, what my message or story is, so I’m intrigued by what others see in my work. After all, each of us views the world through our own life encounters which influence how we interpret what we see.

Author, Tracey Chevalier, talks about this in her TEDX presentation on finding the story in a painting. She reminds us about our pre-disposition to story-telling as a way to make sense of our crazy world. Tracy found herself doing this while visiting art galleries. When attracted to certain work, her imagination would create a story to explain the image. Her lifelong fascination with Johannes Vermeer’s, The Girl With A Pearl Earring, resulted in her best selling novel of the same name.

So, what’s the story behind my painting, The Red Canoe? I leave that to your imagination and invite your comments.

2015-2 The Red Canoe, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

The Red Canoe, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

If you would like to view Tracy’s fascinating TEDX presentation (14 minutes), please click on this link, How Do You Find the Story in a Painting.

About Tracy Chevalier

Novelist Tracy Chevalier is the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring. Chevalier pulls stories from paintings and historical episodes, finding the human thread behind opaque images. Her other books include The Lady and the Unicorn and Burning Bright, about two children who become neighbors of William Blake.

Please visit to view more of my paintings.

New Paintings – Getting It Done

Here’s what I’ve been up to since my post, The Creative Struggle, in which I explained my recent difficulty taking my art and writing ideas from inspiration to application. In writing that post I actually did experience a breakthrough in my art. For a few weeks, several painting ideas for a themed show, Betwixt & Between, competed for my attention.  This annual  Muskoka Arts & Crafts Members’ Show allows artists to interpret the theme in whatever way they choose.

Prompted by my spouse, I finally settled on one with a humorous feel. I couldn’t think of any better image than a fluffy puppy asleep between the feet of his two ‘peeps’. The idea made me chuckle. Here’s Puppy Love – The Only Love That Comes Between Us for your enjoyment.

2015-1 Puppy Love - The Only Love That Comes Between Us, 12 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright Wendie Donabie

2015-1 Puppy Love – The Only Love That Comes Between Us, 12 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright Wendie Donabie

With Puppy Love complete, I pulled out an unfinished landscape painting I’d had sitting in my studio for a couple of months. The Red Canoe is finally ready for sale and will be one of my entries in the Muskoka Arts & Crafts Spring Members’ Show.

2015-2 The Red Canoe, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

2015-2 The Red Canoe, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

With these two paintings under my belt, I’m feeling on track again. My next step – creating a realistic schedule to complete the paintings and writing needed for upcoming shows and events. Comments and any tips are welcome!

To View more of my paintings, please visit

Simple Strategies to Increase Writing Productivity

Wendie Donabie:

As someone who is constantly struggling to get back in touch with my writing Muse, I found this blog post refreshing and thought it might offer some ideas to other wordsmiths….

Originally posted on Conversations With Self:

Simple Strategies to Increase Writing Productivity
Everyone has tricks that help to keep their writing moving in a forward direction. I consider this to be an ongoing process of finding out what does and doesn’t work for me. So, here are just a few of the tools that are proving to be effective in my writing process right now:

View original 1,073 more words

The Creative Struggle

Joseph Chilton Pearce quoteIt’s really a lack of confidence and some basic insecurity on my part…I’m still a little afraid of being wrong in my technique or unoriginal in my thinking. This is my creative struggle . . .

Can I write something the engages a reader or paint a picture that captures the viewer’s eye and imagination? I’ve done that but can I do it again? Is there a limit to my creativity?

These are the things that fill my mind and plague me, that stifle me and cause me to procrastinate, rather than getting down and doing the work.

I’ve ideas for both writing and painting projects yet I’m having trouble moving to the next stage….the outpouring on computer, paper and canvas……I need a kick in the posterior!

We have a members’ art show coming up very quickly in February and I’ve yet to start the two paintings floating around in mind….and our writing group meets this week . . . and I’ve nothing new to read . . . YIKES!

Ideas do crowd my mind

  • a landscape
  • a poem
  • a short story
  • a character wanders from my mind into my living room, stretches his lanky, tall form and settles into the wicker chair across from me . . .

“Who are you?” I ask.

“John Franklin,” he replies.

OMG . . .  this is great . . . the creative juices begin to flow. This is fun.

I’ve got something here.  

I don’t know where John and I are heading but I’m going to enjoy the journey!

I’m off and running. Now, I only need to get back to the easel . . . With the muse awake, I feel confident I can move on.

* * * * * * * *

It’s really so simple, you know. When I’m struggling creatively, I only need to start anywhere with anything at all and I’ll end up somewhere
surprising with something special every time . . . Why is it that I forget how it all works? Maybe this time I’ll remember. Maybe!

©Wendie Donabie 2014

Painting Poppies – the Process

In December 2013, I wrote about the process of creating a painting for my step-daughter and her husband for their 25th Wedding Anniversary. They wanted picture of poppies blowing in the wind. To fit the space in their home, the work needed to 24 x 60 inches…at the time it would have been the largest canvas I had painted which made me very nervous. So I started with baby steps and created a number of smaller pieces first!

2013-38 Remember, Acrylic on Canvas, 6x6 ins, Copyright Wendie Donabie

2013-38 Remember, Acrylic on Canvas, 6×6 ins, Copyright Wendie Donabie

2013-37 Field of Poppies #1, Acrylic on Canvas, 5 x7, Copyright Wendie Donabie 2013

2013-37 Field of Poppies #1, Acrylic on Canvas, 5 x7, Copyright Wendie Donabie 2013

2013-39 Singular Poppy, 6x6 ins, Copyright Wendie Donabie 2013

2013-39 Singular Poppy, Acrylic paint & gel mediums on canvas, 6×6 ins, Copyright Wendie Donabie 2013

Finally I painted one I refer to as my Preparatory Poppy Painting (12 x 24 inches) as the composition for the larger work.  It was completed close to Remembrance Day (November 11, 2013) so I called it, Field of Remembrance.

2013-36 Field of Remembrance, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 Copyright Wendie Donabie

Field of Remembrance, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 24 inches, Framed ($450 Cdn). Copyright Wendie Donabie, 2013

It took me months to finally get around to starting and, at last, finishing Alicia’s Poppy Field in early December 2014. Due to the size of the canvas, I couldn’t use the easel in my studio space. So, our dining room table became my work space for the duration of the painting’s creation.

Here are a few shots of the steps along the way. I emailed Alicia as I made progress each day.


Setting up the dining room table to begin. Pencilled in the horizon line. Reference photos above the canvas on the left.


I started with the sky….


Next I painted the clouds….


Added the distant background, middle ground and foreground.


The canvas is ready for the addition of the poppies and poppy buds…

When I painted Field of Remembrance, I used Cadium Yellow over the Cadmium Red to add some glow to the poppies but I wasn’t happy with the result. An artist friend suggested putting the Cad Yellow under the Cad Red instead. I followed her advice.

Here is the final painting with the glow I was looking for.

Alicia's Poppy Field, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 60 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie 2014

Alicia’s Poppy Field, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 60 inches,         Copyright Wendie Donabie 2014

I’d love your feedback! – Wendie

Copyright Wendie Donabie 2014

To view my portfolio, please visit

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. It’s clear I fell off the wagon the last 3 months. My plan is have fewer projects in 2015 and to dedicate more focussed time on those.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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