Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Gallery Open for Business!

EXTERIOR SHOTThere were lots of last minute details but Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery opened on schedule, Saturday, June 2. Friends, visiting for the weekend, helped to make set up the refreshments, greet visitors and clean up afterwards. The weather couldn’t have been better – 21C, sunny with a light breeze all day so folks could mill around outside with a cup of punch and snacks to chat after viewing the gallery space.

Here are a few shots of the interior with Maureen Haines’ stained glass filling the sun porch and paintings in the inside gallery space by Micheal Zarowsky, Pat J. Whittle and me (Wendie Donabie), as well as furniture and food service pieces in wood by Conel O’Regan. We’ve also added some small alcohol ink coaster sets and matted pictures by Sue Tait, as well as blank art cards with imprints of many of my paintings.


We’d love to have you come by when you’re in Muskoka!

Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery
95 Muskoka Road
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1H4

OPEN: Saturdays, 10 am – 4 pm, and at other times by chance or appointment. Please call ahead 705-646-3663





Creating a Gallery Space

Last summer my husband and I purchased an old home in our neighbourhood. Built in the early 1920s, it had the traditional set up of a rectangular living room and dining room running along one side of the main floor with the kitchen and staircase to upstairs on the opposite side. Upstairs there we have one large and two small bedrooms and a bathroom.

At some point in its history, probably in the 90s, a two-story extension was added to the back of the house creating a family room, laundry room and small bathroom on the main floor and another bedroom with ante room above it.

We knew the family room would be our main space for spending time and entertaining and decided the formal living room could be converted into a small gallery with an entry off the sun porch at the front of the house.

Gallery space for paintings and stained glass

Living Room

Porch will display stained glass in windows and small paintings on tables

Sun Porch

The normal entrance into our home is off the family room at the side of the house. With our winters, the main entrance through the sun porch isn’t practical. Too much snow and a resulting slippery stone walkway leading up to the front door. But as an entrance to a gallery and retail space, it’s perfect for the summer tourist season when it would be busiest.

Public Entrance

Entry to Sun porch and main entrance to house.

The sun porch offers a lovely entry that will be filled with the beautiful stained glass creations of fellow artist,  Maureen Haines (Log Cabin Glass Studio). Her colourful work will be a cheerful welcome to visitors.

Native Rainbow, Stained Glass and Lead, 28" x 21", Copyright Maureen Haines

          Native Rainbow, Stained Glass and Lead, 28″ x 21″           Copyright Maureen Haines

Once inside, paintings by Micheal Zarowsky (website) and I (website) will be found in the actual gallery space, along with a selection of artisan designed wood furniture by Conel O’Regan (Happenstance Design Studio)


 Infinity Rings, Autumn, Watercolour &  Acrylic on Birch Panel, 12″ x 12″     Copyright Micheal Zaworksy

3761 - Soaring Over Georgian Bay, Oil on Canvas, 20 x 16 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

Soaring, Oil on Canvas, 20″ x 16″             Copyright Wendie Donabie

Cherry wood table with beech and ironwood legs

Cherry Wood Table with Beech & Ironwood Legs , 81″ L x 17″W x 23″H,     Conel O’Regan

Maureen’s exceptional stained glass designs shimmer with colour and magic. You must see Conel’s one-of-a-kind artisan furniture to truly appreciate the fine workmanship. Micheal’s special technique working with watercolour and acrylic paint on birch panels produces paintings alive with movement and light. Wendie’s paintings reflect her love of nature and concern for the environment.

Collaborative art displays and shops such as this can prove more successful than an artist going it alone. Potential buyers are presented with a variety of work to view and find that special item they must have.

In addition, I’ll be cross promoting with other artists in the area. Do you remember how staff  at Macy’s in the movie, Miracle of 34th Street sent customers to Gimbles Department Store because they didn’t have what the customer was looking for? Well, I see art the same way. All art doesn’t appeal to all people. So, why not help each other out.  If visitors don’t find something at Heron’s Nest, I’ll be providing them with information on several other studios for them to visit.


Art Show Opening Draws Curious Crowd

We got together over a bottle of wine to discuss the possibility of creating a group show with a theme or central idea.

Using ‘4’ as the jumping off point, we brainstormed words with ‘4’ in them until we came to foreskins!

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Dragonflies Take Flight from My Easel

Just completed 7 new Dragonflies and 1 Damselfly for consideration by the Dabbling Duck Gallery in Port Carling, Ontario. Love these magical creatures. Currently, over 5,000 varieties have been identified but there are probably many more out there. There main diet consists of midges and mosquitoes which makes them a great benefit to us in the summer


Images copyright Wendie Donabie.

Ventures into Abstraction

I’ve repeated on more than one occasion that I don’t understand abstract painting and thus would never do it… As they say, Never say never.

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Artistic Evolution

Working on material for a group show with three fellow artists this fall, I’m stretching and trying new things in my paintings. Although I feel I will always be a representational painter, I am working on loosening up my work and evolving into a more impressionistic style of painting.

I continue to use photos as reference but no longer copy them as I have done in the past. Here is an example.

3735 - Sailor's Delight, Acrylic on Canvas, 6 x 12 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

Sailor’s Delight, Acrylic on Canvas, 6 x 12 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

Also, in some of my paintings, I’m working faster, using more limited colour palettes and trusting the brushes and knives to create exciting motion. This small piece demonstrates what I’m referencing.

3736 - Perfect Day for a Sail, Acrylic on Canvas, 5 x 7 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

Perfect Day for a Sail, Acrylic on Canvas, 5 x 7 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

And again, because of this upcoming show, I’m attempting to try my hand at abstraction. Not as easy as it may appear…..This painting is acrylic with mixed media, including broken glass from our car window embedded in acrylic skins (thin pieces of dry acrylic paint). I call this Creation Dancer.


Creation Dancer, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 14 x 11 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

The artist’s journey is never ending. We come to interesting rest stops along the way but just as we change and evolve over time, so our art will continue to reflect our growth and development. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my posts, view my work, comment on what moves you and share my journey.

To view more of my work, please visit

ARTISTS UNITE! – Stop the scammers

Just a few days ago, a close friend called me about a suspicious email. Someone from Toronto had contacted her to purchase one of her paintings. He claimed it was for his office. After providing an address, my friend did a search on Google Maps and located a low income apartment building in Toronto, not an office! The script in the email was similar to ones in received in 2014 and 2015.

This is most recent one I received:

From: Brown White <>
Date: August 28, 2015 at 7:01:01 AM EDT
Subject:Artwork inquiry

Hope this message finds you well,im Brown from North Carolina,was
browsing through the internet and my eyes caught some of your
works,i’m interested in purchasing some of your artworks for some
spaces within my new house to make it unique and beautiful.
Can I have few images of your recent works?I won’t mind having your
main website so as to explore more into your works.kindly reply with
your cell number.Brown

This is definitely a scammer using a script. First clue? If he or she caught sight of my work on line, they would have my website address. So why ask for it?  All of my painting images that appear through an intentional or accidental internet search under my name or a painting subject tag, have the website URL displayed.

Second clue? the English grammar reflects someone whose first language is not English. This might not be a red flag but usually is. These people aren’t too creative. They use the same script over and over to hundreds of artists who are only hoping to sell their work. You’d think they would get an English speaking person to draft them a proper message and have a few variations. Not too bright.

I decided to do an online search of this ‘person’s’ name and email. What I found was article at by artist Lisa Marder. She had received the identical email and provides some useful links.

If you are contacted, send the information to the RCMP Anti-Fraud Dept for their information and perhaps the possibility of tracking down the con artist(s).  The chances of this are slim but at least they will have another report on file. In addition, I filed a report at – the FBI’s Internet Complaint Centre.

So artists, PLEASE BEWARE!!! If it sounds too good, it probably is. Protect yourself and your work.

Do a search on the internet to check out your potential buyer and their address. If something seems fishy, report the incident to the RCMP and FBI.

Check out this artist’s blog as well: ANOTHER ART SCAM – THIS HAS TO STOP!




To Sleep…

Have you ever thought about how to describe the sensation of falling asleep?

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year!

From our home to yours all the best wishes of the season and peace, health, happiness & abundance to you all in 2017!

3668  View from Window #1 , Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 12 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie.JPG

View from Window #1, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 12 inches, copyright Wendie Donabie

How are You Marketing Your Artwork?

One of the hardest parts of any business is defining and reaching the market for your product. It’s the same for your art. People don’t buy artwork every day; the majority consider art a luxury item or at least something purchased only after taking care of the necessities of life. So, how do you find those buyers?

Today, a well developed website and use of social media help us to reach a wider audience with images of our work and interesting posts to engage potential buyers. However, most buyers want to see the real thing before making a purchase. To accomplish that requires a space to exhibit. Many artists work in a studio large enough to have a gallery area that can accommodate visitors. However, if like me, your studio is a small room in your home, your space isn’t conducive to company. So, what do you do?

You book art shows and ask local businesses to display your work. For me, Re/Max North Country in Gravenhurst, Oliver’s Coffee and Tea Infusion in Bracebridge provided those locations. Sales have resulted and my work has gained exposure. So will yours! And your name will get known.

Then what? After you’ve participated in a number of group shows and had public exposure, contact local galleries about representation. It will cost you commission but remember you’re paying them for their expertise to market your work to their clients, leaving you free to produce more art.

As your reputation grows, reach out beyond your community to larger markets in other towns and cities, apply to juried shows, apply for solo gallery shows and gallery representation.

I’ve been painting for just over 5 years and 5 months ago, I was accepted into two local galleries. One is a successful artist co-operative (Arts at the Albion) where I will provide sweat equity as well as a monthly fee but pay no commission on sales. The other is a small private gallery (Dabbling Duck Gallery) open throughout our busy tourist season (mid May – mid October). I’m excited about this next chapter in my career and looking forward to where it will lead.

So, do you have a plan for your art career? I invite you to share what you are doing.

To view my artwork, please visit






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