Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures


The JUNE ISSUE of our bi-monthly newsletter, NEWS FROM THE NEST, will be emailed to subscribers this coming weekend. If you are interested in seeing and reading it, please click on on this link. Like what you see? You can subscribe on the same page! And it’s FREE!

NEWS FROM THE NEST keeps you updated on what’s happening at Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery and with Wendie’s art projects and shows!


In the June issue you receive a coupon for a FREE Art Greeting Card with the image of one of Wendie’s original paintings. Drop by during the month of June to choose your card from the large selection available. No purchase required. Just bring the coupon or show it to us on your cell phone.

News from the Nest! – first edition

News from Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery

Hello from Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery! Last June we opened the Gallery, located steps from downtown Bracebridge. Working in a variety of mediums, my paintings reflect my love of nature and my concern for the environment. The intimate studio gallery also features work by other Muskoka artists who draw their inspiration from the natural world.
When our gardens are in bloom, you can stroll the property to enjoy the view and you could encounter some of our backyard wildlife. If you’re lucky you may meet the deer who frequently visit us in the summer or, Gustav the Great, our giant neighbourhood groundhog.

Spring has finally arrived!


A few days ago, I saw my first robin so spring must be here – mustn’t it? It’s been quite the winter in Muskoka with Environment Canada reporting we received a whopping 14 feet of the white stuff. Our heron sculpture survived the winter and the walkway to the front door has finally cleared.

News from My Studio
Last year, I participated in several group shows throughout Muskoka and beyond. Two of them were held at the Algonquin Park Visitor’s Centre Gallery. Then three of my paintings were part of the Bracebridge Brown Baggers’ painting group exhibit at the Visitors Centre that closed on April 24.

Another one of my acrylics, was included in the Muskoka YWCA show held at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge during Women’s History month and in recognition of International Women’s Day. Opening on the same day, at the Orillia Museum of Art and History, my painting Genesis (cow and calf Humpback Whales), was part of the Connections show. This was OMAH’s 42nd Annual International Women’s Art Exhibit. This show finishes April 13.

I’m thrilled to announce Muskoka Life Magazine will be featuring my work in the upcoming June edition. You’ll be able to pick up a copy throughout Muskoka.

For the month of July, I’ll have work at the Muskoka Tourism office on Hwy 11 northbound, and south of Gravenhurst. Then in August, my paintings will be on display at the Baysville Public Library.

Local businesses are generous in their support of our artist community. Oliver’s Coffee and Unique Muskoka, both located on Manitoba Street in Bracebridge provide opportunities for me to display a few paintings for sale. As well, Tea Infusion and Momma Bear’s Ice Cream carry a selection of my blank greeting cards. And when you’re driving north on Hwy 11, you can pick up my cards at Muskoka Tourism.

What’s on the Easel?
I’m currently working on an acrylic painting for a small local show being held in June. The inspiration is Bracebridge’s Wilson Falls.

After that I’m planning a series using more sculptural effects on canvas. One of the paintings from the East Central Ontario Art Association show in Algonquin Park featured a central tree created from tissue paper and acrylic medium. I enjoyed the process of building up layers to make the tree and want to experiment more with this technique.

Hardwood Outook Trail, Algonquin Park,
Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas, 24 x 24 inches (SOLD)

What’s Happening in the Gallery?


Returning Artists:
Soon the sun porch will be filled with the lustrous, stained glass creations of artist, Maureen Haines. In addition to traditional styles, Maureen incorporates found objects in her designs – snowshoes, plates, perfume bottles, family heirloom objects. Her glass-work presents a bright and inviting entry to Heron’s Nest.

Inside, you’ll discover the inspired, hand-crafted furniture by artisan, Conel O’Regan. The wood used in his pieces are collected from dead-fall on his Bracebridge property. He allows the wood to speak to him and keeps the natural aspects of the forest alive in each design.

In 2018, Pat J. Whittle displayed a couple of her luscious encaustic paintings but this year we’ll have more of her free form, colourful work. Nothing holds Pat back from expressing her vision. She’s always prepared to try something new and bravely approaches every painting with an open mind and enthusiasm. Pat works in encaustic, oil, acrylic and mixed media.

I’ve added a selection of Limited Edition, Giclee Prints on Fine Art Watercolour Paper to my paintings in Acrylic, Oil, Watercolour and Chinese Ink. Heron’s Nest always has a good supply of my paintings on blank greeting cards as well.

New Artists
We’re excited to welcome two new artists to Heron’s Nest this year.

Blacksmith Artisan Deb Harkness brings her expressive metal work to the gallery. More than eleven years ago, Deb traded in her nine to five job for an anvil and hammer and moved to Muskoka. “I finally found the medium where I can express myself to the fullest,” she says.

Years ago, Henrike Clement learned the craft of porcupine quillwork from an aboriginal artist. Since then, she’s developed her own designs inspired by the natural world. Most of the materials used in her boxes and other products are found in the woods around her home.

We will also be carrying the one-of-a-kind beaded necklaces by artist, Bev McMullen. Each one is a conversation starter! There’ll be a photo in the next newsletter.

We plan to hold many special events throughout the summer and fall including artist demonstrations. Watch for those in the next newsletter.

Something New for Art Lovers!

Last fall local artist, Bonnie Bews, came to me with an idea of promoting more Muskoka artists to the public. A small group of us gathered to discuss a way to make this happen. We borrowed a concept from artists on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia and ARTrail Muskoka PURPLE BANNER was born.

We’ve drawn together 67 regional artists to create a year-round, self-guided art tour for the public with the publication of a full-colour brochure listing the participating art studios and artist run galleries. The brochure is arranged by areas with a map that provides each business location. Our pamphlets can be picked up throughout Muskoka.
Each Art Studio / Artist-run gallery will display a Purple Banner placed in front of their location when they are open.

When the PURPLE BANNER is out, the artist is in! 

For more information visit www.ARTrailMuskoka.caFacebook pageInstagram or or call 705-205-0119.

That’s all for now everyone! We’ll look forward to seeing you in 2019!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are planning a visit at 705-646-3663. I expect to be open most weekends throughout the summer and into the fall but suggest you call ahead to confirm.

When Heron’s Nest is open, the PURPLE BANNER will be flying outside the gallery.

News from the Nest is published bi-monthly, so you won’t be bombarded with posts. ~ Wendie

Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery
Where art and nature meet!

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!




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