Painting details: Forest in Transition, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 30 inches, framed, Copyright Wendie Donabie
In Muskoka, Cedar trees 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. 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. The photos I took of these natural architectural wonder sserved as my inspiration.
The Earth Day movement, that was started in the 1970′s by John McConnell, has since seen billions take part in planting trees, cleaning up local neighborhoods and pushing government officials to enact more progressive environmental laws. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was instrumental in raising awareness about protecting the environment. On April 22, 1970, rallies were […]
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.
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?’
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: www.wendiedonabie.com
It’s ready! This Little Rock We Call Earth is printed and available for purchase.
On February 2, I posted about the creation of a book of my art and words that documents my painting journey from 2011 to 2015 using a selection of images with supportive text. The underlying message of this first book is one of care and concern for this fragile planet.
As an artist and writer, I hope to communicate my experience of the world, share the beauty I see all around me and encourage readers to take an active role in protecting this heavenly, blue jewel we call our home.
This Little Rock We Call Earth is a 20-page, glossy, hard-cover, 8.5 x 11 inch book. Due to high production costs, it is available in limited quantities at $30 Canadian.
If you do not live locally in Muskoka, I can ship to you. The packaging and mailing costs will be added to your order. I can accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discovery Cards, and of course, Cash!
Please email me at email@example.com to provide your phone number so I can contact you to complete the order.
Thank you! – Wendie
To view my artwork please visit www.wendiedonabie.com
I’ve noticed that readers of my posts want to understand the creative process that takes me from idea to finished painting. When I recently, posted about a mixed media painting I created for a local art show, I didn’t include those details so here is how Rock, Paper, Scissors: Collaboration – It’s A Draw, came into being.
Our local art association, Muskoka Arts and Crafts, runs an annual themed show in February every year. For 2016 we were challenged to create works that incorporated the children’s game, Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Ideas bounced around in my head for days until I finally settled on the idea of creating a landscape using real rocks, paper and scissors in the composition. I don’t like competition so I wanted a way to use the theme to reflect cooperation or collaboration – showing how working together is a better way. Searching through my hundreds of photos, I found one that fit my idea of a rock-lined stream with trees in the background where the elements of the composition worked together – one thing didn’t compete against another.
A quick shopping trip to the dollar store provided the scissors, stones and tissue paper I would use. Then I created a VERY rough sketch of the composition – I didn’t need detail – just an outline of where to place things.
Next I affixed the scissors and stones to a gessoed canvas using an acrylic gel medium. At this point I was ready to throw out the project and start again. I didn’t even take a photo. The canvas looked like something I might have done in kindergarten class!
But I prevailed and grabbed white tissue paper that I applied over the entire canvas, scissors and stones using the same acrylic gel medium. I could see something happening now although I wasn’t quite sure where I would go from here. No photos of this stage either.
Then I got an idea. How about I cover it all with a fresh coat of gesso! I got to it and soon I had an interesting relief on canvas.
I could have left it there but I love colour so at the suggestion of a friend I lightly brushed paint on the raised edges of the scissors, stones and paper.
I liked it. It was interesting and a very different piece for me. Yet, it felt unfinished. So, the next day I laid on the colour. The name came easily with the tongue-in-cheek addition of It’s a Draw.
The process of creating this painting took me to new places and stretched my creative muscles. I stuck with it when at certain points I wanted to throw the project in the garbage and walk away.
Who knows what I’ll come up with next!
To view my portfolio of work, please visit ://www.wendiedonabie.com
As a proud member of Muskoka Arts & Crafts I’m excited to be able to attend the opening reception tonight of our 39th Annual Spring Members’ Show. Athough I’ve entered the show for the last few years, we have always been away or working for the opening night.
Here are the three pieces I have in the exhibition show and sale.
If you are in the area, I hope you’ll take time to drop by the show. We are blessed to have a wealth of creative talent here in Muskoka.
“The Spring Members’ Show displays the strength, vitality, creativity, and wealth of talent found within Muskoka Arts & Crafts.
The diverse and outstanding work by our members creates an exciting three day exhibition. Over one hundred members have their work in the show.” excerpt from Muskoka Arts & Crafts website
Opening Reception & Awards Presentation
Friday, March 11, 2016, 7pm-10pm
Demonstrations of art & craft techniques
Saturday, March 12, 2016, 10am-5pm
Sunday, March 213 2016, 11am-4pm
Admission by donation
110 Clearbrook Trail, off Douglas Drive
For the February Members art show at Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge, Muskoka Arts and Crafts challenged artists with the theme, Rock, Paper, Scissors. Do you believe, I’ve never played the game?
Once I learned the concept, lots of ideas popped into my head but one kept returning. Somehow I wanted to incorporate real objects in my painting that could reflect collaboration rather then conflict.
After a couple of false starts, here is what I came up with . . . Rock Paper, Scissors: Collaboration – It’s a Draw!
I applied children’s paper scissors, tissue paper and stones to create the texture on the canvas. Then I gessoed over the entire piece before painting.
At points, I thought I would pull out my hair but I’m really pleased with the final result.
Please let me know what you think!
Artwork at: www.wendiedonabie.com
Our eyes meet, time stops
Creatures from different worlds
A divine moment…
Close Encounter was just accepted into the Huntsville Art Society, Spring Vitality Show, running at the Summit Centre from February 17-May 17, 2016.
I’m coming to realize one of my greatest artistic motivations is to increase our sensitivity to the environment, to the fragility of the earth and our mutual interdependence.
Since 2011, I’ve drawn most of my painting inspirations from our natural environs. In 2013, I wrote a short essay entitled, Mother Earth – the Mother of Us All that received first prize in the August edition of Art Ascent magazine. This piece addresses my love of the planet and my concern for her long-term viability.
As a result of the artistic collision, both accidental and intentional, of my writing and painting, I created a book, This Little Rock We Call Earth. The book documents my painting journey from 2011 to 2015 with a selection of images and supportive text. This is just the beginning!
Recently, I started a more intense exploration of our relationship with Mother Earth amd began digging deeper into the effects of climate change on our planet. As my research develops and I allow my creative tools fuller expression, you can expect more posts about what I’m learning and need to share.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about where I’m headed and your questions or curiosities about our shared home. You can post comments here or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Little Rock We Call Earth (MyPictureBook) is a 20 page, glossy, full-colour, hardcover, 8.5 x 11 inch book. I’ll post details about availability in the near future. Stay Tuned!
Thank you for hanging in here with me!
Please visit www.wendiedonabie.com to view more of my artwork.
Where did 2015 go! I can’t believe another year has flown by. With the administrative responsibilities in my life I didn’t get much time for creative expression, but some wonderful volunteers have stepped forward to take over a couple of jobs from me so now I’m gearing up for a productive year ahead with more words and images….and more posts.
Already I’ve begun working on illustrations for my children’s book, Pete’s Feet. The three main characters are roughly sketched out and I have images in my mind for scenes in the story. To offer you a taste of what is to come, here is my first concept of the hero, Sam.
Illustration brings new challenges but I’m excited about the journey ahead.
I wish you all a healthy, happy, abundant and creative New Year!
Please visit www.wendiedonabie.com to see my artwork!