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 well......country 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

Monday, May 4, 2015


Life has been insanely busy lately and this isn't about to change until...I hate to say it.....until the snow falls.  So what have I been up to? Well to start with, I taught a large class in Davidson on April 15th.

A shot of the room we were in and several of the participants. The workshop was held in the church basement and there was lots and lots of space for everyone to spread out.

Two more

Two more stitchers having a lively discussion about technique.....or possibly that we're overdue for a break?!
...and speaking of which ........

I have to say the food was incredible.  And there was SO MUCH OF IT!  All in all though, it was a great day and it was terrific to meet such an enthusiastic crowd.  Every time I go to one of the towns in the province I'm reminded of how wonderful it really is to belong to such a community. These ladies, although I'm sure from time to time they have their differences, demonstrate all the good things about living in rural Saskatchewan. Most of all, they care for each other. What could be better than that!  Thanks to Kathy Palmer for setting up this workshop.

This was part of that incredible few weeks of northern lights that we experienced in April. This was taken by my husband in our front yard. It went on for hours and hours and the colors were remarkable.  Another of the great things about living where we do!!

This past week/weekend marked the opening of Dimensions, the SK Craft Council biennial, open and juried touring exhibition. Entries were dropped off in Saskatoon at Market Mall on April 28. On April 30 and May 1 these entries were reviewed by jurors June Jacobs of the Handwave Gallery in Meacham and Tom McFall, Executive Director of the Alberta Craft Council. On Saturday, May 2nd, the unveiling of the Dimensions Touring Exhibition was held and anyone who wished could attend the Jurors' Critique.  This was a real eye-opener for me. Both of the jurors are extremely well informed individuals who replied to questions from the audience on how they chose the finalists. Personally, my mind boggles at the task of judging around 200 entries from every area imaginable. 

Then on Saturday night, these same jurors held a special critique session at the Affinity Gallery. This wasn't actually connected to Dimensions, but was held as part of the SCC Gallery Representation Program. I managed to get into this as well, where each person in attendance sent, in advance, 5 or so photos of their work, as well as bringing along a piece of their work. We all had an individual critique session where we learned how to best present our work, approach galleries and a host of other things that I would have never learned otherwise.  I was quite impressed with the depth of knowledge of June and Tom and am very grateful for the opportunity to have attended this session. Thank you Vivian Orr and the SCC for sending out that email and putting on such a super event!!

...... Oh yes ...... one more thing ..... my big news is that one of my pieces did make the cut for Dimensions and has been included in the 2015 Dimensions Touring Exhibition. 

This is Blackstrap Revisited (ok - ok - when I was naming it, all I could think of was how many times I had taken photos of this hillside, so it seemed appropriate at the time.  Apologies to Evelyn Waugh).  This is a fairly large piece measuring, in it's frame, at roughly 24" x 20".  I had done a smaller version a couple of years previously but had always wanted to do a larger version, so last November I stitched up two fairly large pieces.  This is possibly my favourite piece of everything that I've ever done. At the time I took the photo, the hillside was lit with beautiful autumn colours under a striking blue sky.  Some of my best photos came from this photo shoot. 

Well that's it for this entry. Next time I'll have photos of new work. I expect that from now until August I'll be lucky to get away from my studio and hope to be churning out pieces regularly, so will post them as they roll off the sewing machine.......donna