Sunday, December 27, 2015

Year End in Review

The year is just about at it's close and 2015 has been incredible for me.  It marks the end of my third year as an exhibiting artist.  This year I had two solo exhibitions, numerous commissions, lots of teaching and the usual yearly shows/sales including Gardenscape, Artisan and Sundog. I have never been busier in my life. Looking back through my calendar for the year, I realized that I haven't taken any amount of time off since February, so it's time for a bit of a break. Well......maybe not exactly a work break....maybe more of a playtime break.  It's time to try some new techniques and new materials. 

I also need lots more photos for inspiration, especially winter photos. This winter has been a mix of very mild and lately, rather cold. But the mild weather produced fog and hoar frost and the opportunity to take my camera to two of my favourite haunts for some photos.  

This first photo is of my favourite and much stitched tree at Beaver Creek.  I can actually see this tree from my living room window.  I think I've stitched this tree in more pieces than anything else over the last few years.  It's formed the basis for about 10 pieces and has been dressed up to be an apple tree,  a moonlit tree to name just a few. It's no longer alive, but I really hope the Conservation Area people never cut it down as to me, it's the perfect shape. 

This is a group of branches from a thick grove of trees along the roadway just north of where I live.  The snow has stuck to the branches and accentuates their shape. I interpreted this photo in black and white and am considering stitching it that way.

  This is a field down the same road as above. I love the lines and the starkness of this photo. I'm pretty sure this will get stitched as well.

Again, across the same road. There was just enough snow to accentuate the lines.

A shrub thick with frost in our yard.

There's something very appealing about the monochromatic color scheme of winter.

This past year I stitched several pet portraits, one of which follows.

This is Colbourg. I stitched his "sister" last year. Colbourg was a very sweet, mushy, but serious dog.

 A Cranberry Flats lily.

Dandelion Fluff!

 A Cranberry Flats shrub.A scene at Blackstrap.

And finally, a view across the river at Borden.

These are some of the pieces I completed over the past year.  These have all sold except the lily and the dandelion.

I'd like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the people who bought my artwork this year.  Without your patronage, my walls would be very full!  Thank you to "J" who bought Late September, to Jody (Lichen Study on a Maple Tree),  to Joyce (Bird's Eye), to Betty (A Field Near Borden), to Judy (First Snow), to Jane (Flaming Chokecherry), to Colleen (Jogging Path), to Roger (River's Edge) (incidentally, happy anniversary), to Bernice (Lakeside); and to Marigold who purchased A Painted Field for her daughter, to Cathy (the Wagon Wheel), to all the people who purchased my work at my two exhibitions and through the SK Craft Council Boutique and the Handwave Gallery (sorry, I don't have your names), not to mention the numerous mini pieces and cards, etc.  Thank you all so very much.

I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to June of Handwave Gallery for your support, to Donna at the Craft Council for answering to my numerous questions and last, but never least, to my wonderful husband Adrian for the cooking, cleaning, and constant support that you supply without question.  Today marks our 30th anniversary and I'm looking forward to the next 30!  You people have made my year!!

I'm looking forward to 2016 very much and the chance to try some new work.  I hope you all have a great holiday season and a very Happy New Year.  Until then.......remember.......

(yes it will!!!)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Closing in on the End of the Year

Show season is now over for me.  This past weekend marked the 41st Sundog show and sale and my third time in attendance.  I had the usual thread paintings and Christmas cards but this year took along a couple of artist books, mostly to see what the reaction to them might be.  Generally speaking, people liked them, so I'll be working on more of them to add to my line of stitched goodies.  I had also managed to stitch up a few new larger pieces after the Artisan Show and took them along as well.  So, as well as many others, the following is a brief example of what I had at Sundog this year:

These are a few of the postcards, which were primarily Christmas-type cards.

 This is one of my newer pieces.  It's titled "Moss" and shows a fallen log covered in moss.

This is titled Lichen Study II and is one of several trees that I photographed out at Blackstrap.  For some reason, these trees were covered with lichen, moss and fungi and were all in a group together. There was very little of the actual bark showing through.  I seem to have a preference for lichen, fungi and moss. 

These are two of the artist books.  The covers are silk paper and they're held together with ribbon or decorative cord to make them easy to refill.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who purchased my art at both the Artisan show and Sundog.  Your very positive feedback keeps me working and striving to get better.  Your wonderful compliments and encouragements are music to my ears. 

This marks the end of my third year of showing and selling. I have one or two commissions still to complete and after that, I'm excited to get back to some playtime and experimentation.  I've been doing animal portraits in the past year or two and the coming year will see me stitching "people" portraits too.  Also I've been working on 3-dimensional pieces and hope to be able to have this technique perfected to the point where I can produce vessels, boxes and other things of this nature. 

With that in mind, I'm looking forward to the coming year very much.  I'll likely do one more blog post this year with a look back at some of the work I've produced, but that won't happen for a couple of weeks yet.   

This coming Friday, December 11th will be the Reception for the Dimensions Show which will be held in Saskatoon at the SK Craft Council's Affinity Gallery from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.  Come out and have a look at some wonderful Saskatchewan artwork. 

Until then, enjoy our mild winter and drive safely.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What's at the Galleries

Several visitors at Artisan a couple of weeks ago asked me if I had work for sale anywhere else.  So, to that end, I've decided to list a few of the pieces that I have for sale at both the SCC Boutique and at Handwave Gallery.  There's more for sale than what you see here so if you're looking for something in particular, please just ask.

At Handwave Gallery in Meecham, I have the following, among others:


Uncertainty. This made me think of the plight of the prairie farmer. We see a good crop of canola, but in the middle is a barren tree. To me, this says that even in the midst of plenty, one event can eliminate it all. 

Reflections of Spring. I loved the soft colors of this scene

At the SCC Boutique in Saskatoon, you can see, also among others, the following pieces:

Gaillardia.  5" x 7"

A Summer Meadow 


The Fairy's Foxtails

SUNDOG is coming up fast - December 4, 5 & 6 at the Sasktel Centre.  This show and sale will feature over 200 artisans and specialty food booths, so there's bound to be something for everyone.  Check out the website at

I'll be there once again.  Look for me upstairs in booth #116.  I'll have lots of thread painting, a few Christmas postcards and possibly some smaller pieces, if I can get it all together by then.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


It's been a very fast few months.  I feel like I've been working non-stop since about March, but am now in the home stretch with only one more show/sale to go, that being Sundog.

In August/September, I had two solo exhibitions.  One was at the Meewasin Valley Centre - this venue sees a lot of traffic and the people at Meewasin are really great to work with, so any of you artists who wants a place to hang your work for a couple of months, keep it in mind.  I believe they're in the process of lining up next year's gallery, so contact them if you're interested.  Thank you Doug and Amanda for all your help with this.

Also in August I had a solo exhibition at the Handwave Gallery in Meecham.  For this exhibit I stitched up some more unusual pieces, such as:

A very impressive tree with lichen and moss.

Bird's Eye View (or half of a dandelion)

Pffft!!! (Because nothing else seemed quite right!)

Rooted and Bird's Eye View are now sold.  I also had the following two at Handwave and these two are sold also.  I'm especially fond of them and might do up a copy for my own (bare) walls.

On The Last Day was the picture on the postcard announcing my exhibition.  I really love this piece as it's one of the first ones where I stitched in the whole sky.  People have asked me about the "last day" - the last day of what?  Well, it could be the last day of anything you want it to be-the last day of summer, the last day of your holiday - it means different things to different people.

This piece is A Painted Field.  The inspirational photo was taken on one of the side roads out near Pike Lake.  I loved the big bales and this one turned out reasonably well.

This past weekend was the Artisan Show and Sale and was held at the German Club.  As usual, it was a terrific show.  A few of the pieces I had exhibited at this show are:'

 Pouff.  Again, nothing else seemed quite right. I think there must be lots of dandelion lovers out there.  This piece is available.

This is Flaming Chokecherry.  This has a lot of depth and appears quite 3-dimensional.  This is also available.

This is Pike Lake Lilies and is 8x8 (size of artwork). After driving to Pike Lake a great many times this summer trying to get good photos of the water lilies, we were finally rewarded with hundreds of them. Available.

Late September is the title of this piece.  The inspirational photo for this one was taken out at Blackstrap a year or so ago.  It has been sold.

Finally, this is West of Meacham.  On a side road off the highway just west of the town was a field of canola and several old buildings.  It was very picturesque, so was definitely worth stitching. This one is 5x5 and is available.

It's been made clear to me that I really do need a website, so in the next couple of weeks, or at least right after Sundog, I'll be dusting off my notes and getting down to it.  I'll also be posting on this blog more frequently. 

I'd like to sincerely thank all of the people who purchased my work, both at my exhibitions and at Artisan.  I would also like to thank everyone who was so generous with their kind words and hugs at Artisan - a most unexpected and appreciated gesture.  I do this work because I love it and having you invest your hard earned dollars in it is very humbling. You make me want to get better and better.  Cheers.......Donna

.............. and remember..........................................................

Saturday, September 5, 2015 last....

The last few weeks have been pretty crazy so I haven't been doing much of anything except stitching. I have an exhibition at the Handwave Gallery in Meacham until September 24th (thank you June!!), also I have pieces in the Meewasin Centre Gallery for the months of September and October, and I'm also participating again this year in Art at Solar Gardens on September 19th and 20th.  As well, I took pieces down for Join the Thread in Weyburn  and a couple of pieces for the Craft Council's 40th Anniversary show.  This all followed on after Dimensions, so I've basically been chained to my sewing machine!  Both the exhibition at Handwave Gallery and at the Meewasin Gallery consist of totally new work and each one is quite different from the other as far as content of work is concerned.

The above picture was taken by my husband Adrian in our front yard on August 23/15.  I had been staying up pretty late and working well into the night and when standing at a window in the house, I noticed - through the closed blind - what looked to be lightening. When I opened the blind this is what I saw.  I hadn't seen northern lights of this intensity for several years, so woke Adrian up and we stood out in the front of our house for at least an hour and watched the show. It seemed to go on forever and because Adrian had his camera already set up on the tripod, he took dozens and dozens of great shots. This photo incidentally hasn't been photoshopped at all and is exactly how it looked - lots of greens and pinks. The only thing missing was that crackling sound that you can sometimes hear if the lights are intense enough and the surroundings quiet enough. 

Anyway, what else is new......... I had a write-up in a British fibre magazine a few weeks ago.  It was six pages with around eight photos in what used to be called Workbox (now called Be Creative...with Workbox).  This isn't carried in Saskatoon any longer as far as I know, but it's a techniques-driven publication that's been around for a great many years. It was featured in their 150th Anniversary issue under the heading Prairie Portraits.  I have a pdf if anyone is interested in reading it - just email me and I'll send it to you -

Following are three of the pieces in the Handwave Gallery show.  For this exhibit, I created pieces that were a little different - not my usual landscapes or florals.  Two of these are below:

This is First Shoots of Spring - Manitoba Maple. The photo was taken by Adrian in the lovely church yard at Meacham. We just happened to be there at the right time. The shoots were very pink and the leaves very yellow-green.                    

This one is called Lichen Study on a Maple Tree. Original photo by Adrian.  The actual tree was out at Blackstrap and had so much lichen on it that you could barely see the tree trunk.  I did one other version of this for my first Artisan show and it attracted a lot of attention in the form of fingerprints!  The man who bought it also got to keep those! 

Finally, this is The Painted Field.  This one sold at the Opening of the exhibition.  I'd like to extend a great big Thank You to the lady who purchased this for her daughter's birthday.  

Also - thank you to all the people who came to the Opening and a big hug to June Jacobs for all the work involved. 

For the rest of 2015, which has zoomed past so quickly that I can hardly believe it's autumn already, I'll be attending the Artisan show and sale in November and Sundog in December.  

I'm sure I'm missing things, but if so, will include them next time. Until then, (sooner than this time I hope!!), I leave you with this little picture that I saw on the net - can't remember where, but I think I'll make it my personal motto! Cheers......donna

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another Orchid Blooming....

Last night I got up in the middle of the night and when I came downstairs, all I could smell was vanilla. I assumed that a bottle of vanilla had spilled somewhere, but no - it was this guy:

Meet Encyclia radiata.  One flower stalk filled the entire main floor level of our house with fragrance. I've had that happen with cattleyas, but never a small plant like this one. It was so strongly scented of vanilla, well, what an I say. I can't wait until the other flower stalk opens.

This is a close photo of the flower. 

 Reflections of Spring

This piece is now at Handwave Gallery with the ones from last week and a few others.  Adrian and I have been out a couple of times with our cameras and found some good locations quite close to the city. This is one of those.  The colors were so soft and lovely - difficult to reproduce, but I tried. The computer is showing the leaves to be more yellow than they actually are.  There were also so many different birds that it was hard to keep track.   I'm going to try and photograph this particular slough, along with a couple of others, throughout the seasons. 

Other than working like a crazy woman, I haven't done much in the past week. I have three pieces and two commissions to finish for various shows/sales and then I can continue the work for my two exhibits and the Solar Gardens show, all three of which happen at the same time. It goes without saying that holidays won't be happening any time soon - or any time later for that matter.  

So, that's it for this week.  I should have more to show you next week and will continue to try to get a blog post out at least once a week.  Incidentally, I still haven't figured out how the Flicker got into my house last week. Ah living.........

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

First Spring Flowers

Adrian and I went to Cranberry Flats over the weekend to see what else had appeared since the very successful crocus photo shoot of the weekend before. We were surprised to find that a great many wildflowers had sprung up.

 To name a few, the first photo is Low Townsendia.  Neither of us had ever seen this one before.  We didn't see more than 5 or 6 - they look daisies, but smaller and you have to really hunt to find their leaves.

This one is Showy Locoweed.  There were quite a few of these and they're pretty easy to spot - VERY purple.

This is Yellow Bean.  Lots of these guys too.

These are, I think, Early Blue Violets. They're very easy to miss as they're quite tiny. 

I didn't realize that Kinnikinnick flowers were so sweet.  Large patches of the plant were just covered in flowers.

And finally,  this was one of the last crocuses we saw in flower. It was on a slightly shaded hill along with a few others that were in the last stages of flowering.

There were lots of others as well, and we saw plenty of evidence that within the next week or so the next batch of flowers would appear, so I guess I know where I'll be spending my spare time. 

I've been stitching up a few pieces for one of the galleries that shows my work.  The next couple of pieces will be at Handwave within a week or so, once framing is complete.  There will be more than these, but will show them in a later post.

This piece is called West from Borden and is a part of a flax field that I came across last summer. It was so incredible that I nearly went into the ditch as I turned my head to see what caused the flash of blue that had caught my eye.  I pulled over and must have taken at least 100 photos of this field. Hope it's there again this year!

And finally, this is Uncertainty. I had always wanted to stitch a field, empty except for one tree and a great sky.  This one looks much better "in person".  I've used a few techniques in this one that I haven't used in awhile. I was trying to convey the feeling of uncertainty that farmers feel living on the prairie.  The canola field represents a rich harvest, while the dead tree skeleton reminds us that it might not last for long. The model for the tree was my favourite little tree from Beaver Creek. 

That's it, except to tell you about a strange occurrence that happened last week. I had gone grocery shopping and when I arrived back home, I opened the door just in time to see movement in my dining room area. I had assumed that one of my parrots had escaped, but no, it wasn't a parrot. It was a large, adult Flicker. The poor thing was frightened and confused and desperately trying to escape by crashing first into my kitchen window, then zooming through to the living room. I caught him quite easily and let him go. But the problem is this - I immediately searched through my house for the means by which the bird had gotten in.  After looking everywhere, and I mean everywhere, I could find NO open window, door, loose screen, anything whatsoever that would admit a large bird. Had he flown in over my head when I was initially opening the door, I'm pretty sure I would have noticed.  So, now I'm kind of concerned. How did it get in??? When my husband came home, he did the same search and also could find nothing at all. There's also an unusually large number of these birds in our yard right now.  Normally, we don't see all that many Flickers. So, I'm just a tad creeped out. 

Ok - that's it for this time......donna