Blue Heron Writes

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News from the Nest – June 2020 – Hot off the virtual press!

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News from Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery – June 2020News from the Nest is a newsletter from resident artist, Wendie Donabie
to keep you informed about what’s happening at Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery.
Please share it with friends and family.

Since my last newsletter, the world has changed. It’s been a difficult time for so many losing family members and jobs, dealing with business and school closures and the added stresses for those working on the frontlines. We’re all experiencing social distancing and isolation from friends and family and taking precautions to safeguard our health.

Opening under these new “normal” conditions took some careful thought and consideration. I still wanted to offer a safe place for a Muskoka outing to local and seasonal residents and vacationers.

As restrictions are beginning to ease, we’ve set up some safety protocols to protect people coming to the gallery. Visitors will be required to bring face masks and only two people from the same household will be permitted access at the same time. We will provide and ask everyone to use hand sanitizer and wear plastic gloves.

 We open on June 6 from 10 am to 3 pm and thereafter will be open on most Fridays and Saturdays during the same hours until October 11At other times thoughout the year, the gallery will be accessible by appointment only. When possible, please call ahead 705-646-3663

Our Artists
We’re pleased to have the following artists returning to Heron’s Nest:
Multimedia Artist, Pat Whittle: encaustic (wax) paintings, pendants and stained glass applique lanterns.
Stained Glass Artist, Maureen Haines: from angel sun-catchers to sophisticated designs and pictoral stories in glass
Artisan Blacksmith, Deb Harkness: antiqued ironwork garden and home decor
Artisan Furniture Designer, Conel O’Regan: furniture and home decor created from deadfall – no trees are cut down for his designs.
Sculptor, Naomi Frohlich: hand sculpted black bears
and me (Visual Artist, Wendie Donabie)- Acrylic, Oil, Chinese Ink, Watercolour paintings. Limited Edition Giclee Prints and blank Art Cards. 

Wendie’s News
The biggest news is the cancellation of all art shows so far this year. This has been a huge hit to working artists, many of whom earn the bulk of their income during the summer months. I still have paintings hanging from shows in two locations that have been closed since the outbreak of COVID-19 and don’t know when I’ll be able to bring them home.

However, the shutdown of galleries and museums has inspired the creation of virtual exhibits like the Brown Baggers Painters Show on currently at Muskoka Place Gallery in Port Carling. My painting, Meditation – Water Lilies on Cache Lake, Algonquin Park, (acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 24 x 24 inches) is part of that exhibit that runs until June 30.
As of today, I’m still scheduled for a solo show from July 6 – August 9 at the Muskoka Tourism offices on Hwy 11, (northbound between Washago and Gravenhurst), however, their offices are still closed so the show may be cancelled.  

Also, I’ve applied to two other shows, one, a gallery exhibit and sale in Ontario, and another virtual exhibition in the USA and I’m awaiting status of these applications. 

Heron’s Nest Online Gallery Store
With the potential for fewer visitors to Muskoka and to artists’ studios and galleries this season, I decided it was time to create an online store. Every product available in the gallery is included in the online inventory. You can browse through and when something catches your interest, I can arrange for you to view it in a safe location. If you want to avoid coming inside the gallery, I’m offering curbside pick up and local delivery (within 50 kms of Bracebridge).  The Online Store is also accessible through Facebook and Instagram.

NOTE: The best display option available for the online store is a 1:1 ratio (square images) so products that are rectangular do not display the full image. If something interests you, email or call and I will email full images to you. For full-sized images of my paintings in their original ratio, visit 

Other Projects
For now, I’m writing short articles on local artists for a new online magazine, Muskoka Style. You’ll find the articles listed under ARTS. The magazine offers a refreshing light and entertaining view of life in Muskoka, dedicated to curating the best of style in Muskoka. ART. FOOD. FASHION. FUN.[The] team’s inspiration is the easy summer style that best reflects the spirit of Muskoka and sunny days at the Lake.[Publisher],Lori Knowles is an editor, writer, author, and lifelong Muskoka resident:    Take a look – subscriptions are free!
What’s Happening on the Easel?
Forest Commune, Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches is finished..As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the inspiration is Mother Trees to illustrate how these trees feed and nurture smaller and weaker trees in the forest with through canopy communiation and an underground network of mycellium. To sculpt the bark and the roots in the foreground, I used tissue paper and acrylic soft gel.  

In April, Patience – Making Strides, Acrylic on Canvas Board, 12 x 16 inches, also left my easel and is off being framed to hang in the gallery. During a photo jaunt to Algonquin Park and area, I captured a number of images of a heron fishing in a misty rain falling on the Madawaska River. I was confident his fierce concentration and patience would pay off with a tasty lunch. The painting name also reflects what I’ve been feeling during this time of social distancing and restrictions on our ‘normal’ lives. We all need to develop patience with ourselves, our family and friends, with the government, with life in general. We are making strides towards a treatment or a vaccine to defeat the virus, and towards better understanding one another and the impact we have on the earth. The changes in the natural world have been profound and my hope is that lessons are being learned by us all.

This month, I completed another painting as a housewarming gift for my granddaughter, Tiffany and her boyfriend. Last year when they purchased their first home I asked them to think about what they would like me to paint. The decision came from Tiffany. She wanted a reminder of her parent’s farm where she spent most of her childhood. The result was Home at Sundown, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 16 inches.  


Free of deadlines for shows and exhibits, I’m taking time to paint something different now. In the past, I’ve completed canoe paddles (an endangered Spotted Turtle and an iconic Muskoka Black Bear) for Muskoka Conservancy’s annual charity auction but I’ve never painted any to sell. So, up next is a canoe paddle that will be adorned with beautiful trilliums…. watch for it in the online store and in my next newsletter. There will be more paddles to come!
Musings from Wendie
Unlike many people, these uncommon weeks have been good for me. I’ve recognized how much pressure I’ve allowed outside influences to put on me and drain away my time. Moving forward, I’m clearer on what I want to focus on and where my priorities lie in my life and my work. I’ve recognized how important my relationships are during this time and I want to nurture those connnections with family and friends.
 Even changes we’ve all had to make to our shopping habits has been good for me. Now, I shop once a week whereas in the past I might drop into the grocery store several times a week for one or two items. This simple change has given me more time to do the things I enjoy. I love to cook but that has changed also. Now, I plan meals in advance, instead of prepping food at the last minute.

I hope that through all these strange and sometimes trying months, each of you has discovered something new and exciting to add to your life, that you’ve paid more attention to nature and wildlife, become more patient with yourself and found joy in the simple things.

ARTrail Muskoka
Due to the pandemic and concern for the health of the public and their own families, several of the artists on ARTrail Muskoka this year, have opted to stay closed for the next several months. However, others are making accommodations to provide a safe environment for visitors or finding other ways to offer access to their work. 

For 2020, our year-round, self-guided tour offers the public access to over 50 artist studios and artist-run galleries. We always recommend calling ahead before planning a visit to any of our artists, especially at this time.

The 2020 Studio/Gallery guide is printed and will be distributed across Muskoka once pandemic restrictions are lifted.  You can also download our brochure/map NOW from our website

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

For more information visit www.ARTrailMuskoka.caFacebook pageInstagram. email or call 705-205-0119.
 Feel free to contact me at 705-646-3663 if you have any questions or are planning a visit to Muskoka. Please call ahead to confirm gallery open days and hours.

When Heron’s Nest is open, the PURPLE BANNER will be flying outside the gallery.
 Thank you for your interest in my work and in Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery. 

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

Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery
Where art and nature meet!95 Muskoka Road, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1H4
Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery Online Store

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