Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Painting for Mother Earth

Painting, like any creative endeavour, is a voyage of self-discovery. What and how we paint differs for every artist. And the answers to those questions continue to evolve and change as we learn and grow.

From the start, I’ve been inspired by the natural environment. My favourite work includes trees, lakes, skies, clouds, flowers, Dragonflies, water and more recently the inclusion of larger animals. And, because I’m also a writer, I hope each painting tells a story – one that may be obvious or one left to the viewer’s imagination.

Late last summer, the tragic shooting of a mother black bear, here in Bracebridge, orphaned her three cubs. Bears With Us attempted to rescue the young bears and take them to a sanctuary but they eluded capture. The fate of the cubs is unknown but because of their age it is unlikely they survived the winter without their mother.  My anger and concern for those young bears inspired me to paint four small canvases for a charity art auction.

I always feel something visceral when a painting is complete. It’s my signal that it’s finished. But, this time was different – the gut feeling more powerful, bringing me close to tears.

The moment I saw those bear-faces looking back at me, I sensed a more specific direction for my work. I wasn’t sure what my next piece would look like but it would be about our planet, our need to work together to preserve what we have for us and for future generations.

Over the next few months other events further conspired to reinforce this sense of purpose for my art. Something new stirred in the core of my being. This feeling lead me to self-publish a book, This Little Rock We Call Earth, created to share my concern for our environment.

Book Cover   Pages

Then, more recently, I submitted a painting for a juried art show scheduled during the 4th Muskoka Summit on the Environment here in Bracebridge. MSE is a biennial event that promotes the use of research to ensure healthy ecosystems in Muskoka and beyond. Summit participants advocate for open dialogue between science and policy so that environmental understanding can be applied to improve management actions. The MSE Organizing Committee believes that presentation and debate of science-based environmental research will constructively lead to strengthened government environmental policy. This year the theme for the Summit is Solutions for a Warming World.

The opportunity to paint for this event brought a complete image to mind. I focussed on the plight of our polar bears and the ultimate impact of the melting ice cap on all life. I thought about how I could include solutions in this painting and imagined lifebuoys, labeled with actions we can all take, floating on the ocean towards a lone polar bear standing on a sheet of ice. The final painting (acrylic on canvas, 12 x 36 inches, unframed) image is titled, On Thin Ice – What are You Doing? The name conveys two messages. Not only are polar bears on thin ice, so are we.  And as the polar bear looks out at us, he asks, ‘What are you doing to add to, or solve the global warming crisis?’

3714 - On Thin Ice - What are you doing, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 36 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

On Thin Ice – What are You Doing?, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 36 inches, Copyright Wendie Donabie

I have other objectives to support this direction for my work including association with a wild animal sanctuary. Watch for future blogs about these plans.

For now, I’m feeling charged up and inspired with several ideas for new work you’d be proud to own and display that delivers a message about our corporate responsibility to care for Mother Earth and her abundant life.


For more about my art, please visit:



  1. Wonderful capture of the bears – they look so alive.

  2. Good read Wendie. And a strong image! (On thin Ice)
    In the big picture sense my studio donates monthly to With the protection of our forests protection of our atmosphere, climate, & wildlife becomes inclusive. Creating jobs which pay people to manage and preserve these forests and/or create other income paths…well it all ripples out. Check them out.

    • Thanks Col.. I will look into them… I also made contact with the Aspen Valley during the Cottage Life Show and will follow up with him shortly about donating to them in some way.

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