Rural living is gaining popularity. Benefits include more accessible nature spaces, peacefulness and lower cost of living. “We had one request a week to move out of the city last year. Now, it’s several a day,” a realtor said.
Health is on people’s minds, another reason folk turn to the country. Nourishment is a huge appeal, of body, mind and spirit.
When you can walk to the orchard or farm down the road for produce, farm to table becomes reality. Freedom of congested areas offers not just the physical, but also emotional and psychological positivity of having space.
Friends who run a farm b&b said people are flocking from the city, looking for nature, peace and quiet. Arriving with plans to tour the area, they find themselves in such a state of relaxation, they stay put. Enjoying fresh local fare made by their host and beautiful countryside becomes the draw.
Country living has another unique feature, the sense of community rural life brings. City dwellers are becoming more engaged with local farmers, venturing to the farm markets rather than choosing the fare at their local grocer. Desire for connection and community togetherness is perhaps stronger now than ever.
If you grew up watching the Waltons, or enjoy Home Reno shows like Fixer Upper, country living is represented with strong familial bonds.
Growing up in Saskatchewan, I have found this often true. In “Farm” I have purposely painted the farm buildings connected to one another to express this. The farm cocooned in light, exhibits the light of family love.
Farmhouse one of the most requested design styles.
One idea being, if you wish for the feel of country living, create it.
Spending so much time at home in recent months, it is important for dwellings to boost quality of life, and function for your family. A recent comment stuck with me, “think of who you are when walk into a room, and who you are when you leave it. A room must fill you up, restore and energize you. How you create that space is critical to well being.”
~ Art is an intersection of many human needs. Carl Andre.
Art touches the soul… art is communication… it reaches out from the canvas and passes through the eyes of the viewer right into his heart where it can leave an imprint of beauty that can make the spirit sing. Nina Baldwin.
~ Mountainside wildflowers 8×8 oil on canvas $450.oo
~Harvest 16×20 oil on canvas $1,030.oo
~ Field 16×20 oil on canvas $1,030.oo
~ Farm 18×36 oil on board $2000.oo
~ Morning Sun ( boreal) 8×10 oil on canvas $500.oo
~ the Leamington Exhibit closes this weekend! Hope you make it to the beautiful venue and show!
There is a joyful emergence of people rediscovering their own backyard.
Local parks and trails have seen an influx of wilderness wanderers.
Budgets for travel or events are re-invested in home dwellings. Back yards are enhanced for enjoyment and nature immersion. Gardens are infused with colour and texture. Privacy and lounge areas are established. Decks are refreshed with fire pits and outdoor lighting.
These outdoor living spaces have dual purpose, both in extending living areas for families, and social distance visits.
It is encouraging to see attention to nature at the forefront, inside and outside the home.
Art clients who are purchasing lately, say they yearn to be ‘surrounded by the beauty of nature’ while working from home. Others say they feel in need of a good dose of happy. Some are inspired to declutter in what doesn’t spark joy, and invest in what does. For them, this includes original art.
The desire for homemade is significant, whether it be soup, or paintings.
Physical distancing can emphasize yearning for handmade art & craft, which offers an intimate personal connection with the maker. It’s a wonderfully engaging way to support and be involved in the local economy & businesses.
Witnessing the decline of some stores brings forth a neighbourly rallying. Diversity of product is emerging in shops, like fresh local farm flowers available at restaurants , and B&B’s purchasing and promoting local produce.
Let’s celebrate this wonderful spirit of community camaraderie around the globe. Here’s to the people and the places we hold dear as we move forward into this new chapter.
Here’s to backyard evenings under starry skies, anticipating the light of a new day.
The Leamington Art Centre Exhibit on until Sept 27th, where three of my originals available for purchase. Many thanks to the WFCU for sponsoring the show! See their website for opening times and protocols.
January 1st may encourage resolutions, yet for some, September shines for annual reflection and new adventures.
In conjunction with fall harvest and a new school year, goals are created, rituals are celebrated.
“Routine is part of it.” A friend said, who likes to explore online courses, or start a winter project each Sept 1.
Establishing an autumn routine can be comforting. It’s a beautiful season for both introducing the new and reacquainting with the familiar.
In the gentle hush of autumn, light softens as daylight shortens. Crickets chirp as the busy hum of summer fades to the quiet rhythm of fall.
In Canada, focus shifts from outdoor to indoor pursuits. Garage sales pop up as houses are purged. Nature’s influence is ever present when homes are refreshed. This time of year, dwellings often undergo home improvements in preparation for winter.
My Auntie Beth lovingly called it “nesting”
Fall is also the season when artist’s studio phones ring with high frequency.
Client’s in the midst of building, reno’s, or looking to renew their space, actively seek art and advice.
A few tips in preparing your space & adding to your collection.
Fresh wall paint will renew the space and enhance the art. For great palette options for your art collection, click here. (Keep floor colour, lighting and room size in mind when choosing wall paint.)
iArtView makes it possible to peruse and exhibit art digitally on your own walls. Click here to read about this remarkable app.
Define your spaces. What experience do you want to emulate? Ex: relax, entertain, dine, etc.
.Cut paper to size of your canvas options, (adjust size if adding a frame) tack to the area on the wall and interchange to get a feel for the size.
Consider what else is in the room.Ie: fancy fixtures, mouldings, patterned rugs, ornate furniture.The more competition for our attention and senses, art experience is less restful or engaging.
~ My Auntie Beth was a full participant in the idea of nesting. After harvest she retreated from her garden to bake bread and can produce in her cozy kitchen amid busy farm life. She made amazing rice pudding, and understood desire to purge the old to begin anew. When I once sold all my apartment furniture before traveling, she exclaimed “Great idea!” “Everyone needs to unburden sometimes and have a clean slate.”
“Mist” ( tundra) 30×40 oil on canvas $2,970.oo
“Tree” 24×30 oil on canvas $1,980.oo
( top two photos detail of recent work sold).
~ a portion of this new post was written in 2018. ~ Remembering Auntie.
“The power of the heart is enormous and transformative. Each of us has our own gifts that come from the flowering of the heart. It may be to plant a garden, run an ethical business, be a teacher or healer, and artist or parent.”
“For some the journey to the heart’s generosity is long and hard:” “but even those can ‘grow out of difficult circumstances to be beautiful adults in our community.”
“The strength of the heart is its ability to nurture all that is beautiful in human life. It requires from us a great mercy and forgiveness- not judgement but the tenderness that weeps at the sorrow of another as it if were our own, and that is willing to offer quick forgiveness. So the work of the heart is simply the work of mercy for ourselves and others.”
“The work of the heart comes from..” intention to listen, to take time to feel your breath, to sense your heart beating in your body, to look at the movement of the clouds and the change of season. Ask your heart, “If my life were only a little bit longer, what is most important, what do I value, how do I want to live?”
“For it is the heart force that brings all life, that creates all life, that moves through us. It is never too late to touch this fountain. So take time to listen, to allow that wellspring to be known in your own life.”
~ Jack Kornfield “Handbook for the Heart”
“Morning by the Sea” 16×20 $1,030.oo ~photo credit Ron James~ Thank you Ron!
“Summer Retreat” 18×24 $1,210.oo ~ Photo credit Verna M. Thank you Verna!
“Northern Camp” 9×12 ~NFS ~ photo credit to Steve F.~ Thank you Steve!
Collection of three paintings on exhibit at the Leamington Art CentreLandscape Painting competition Sept 2-27! All available for purchase. See their website for details.
Sales of this item skyrocketed early this spring and has been in demand ever since.
Inspiringly, humanity reaches for nature, indoor and out in times of global crisis. Among a few surprising things, plant sales have soared.
Hearing this news set me on a path researching consumer habits in challenging times. It seems we have a few universal patterns, including how we incorporate colour, seek nature, and connect with community. Many of these behaviours are surprisingly positive.
Obvious sought after items this spring include home exercise & office equipment, electronic devices and leisure wear. Surprisingly, puzzles, board games became popular, with families taking a break from technology for old fashioned fun.
Some companies offered employees aid for office supplies, and special financial assistance for art, recognizing the need for a positive healthy working environment.
Bike stores cannot keep up with demand. Our local running shop says they have more consumers ‘new to running’ than ever before. Anticipating a quiet sales season, has been anything but. “It’s so encouraging to see people turn to healthy outlets, learning something new and being kind to themselves.”
Fascinatingly, post recession, people are drawn to specific types of clothing and colours ( Pink) in attire. People want less patterned clothing, instead, select a ‘clean aesthetic as a backlash against maximalism” ( Forbes. April 2020)
“Awareness of offshore manufacturing impacting a crisis.. and a need to feel connected and part of a community ” has consumers investing in local business and locally made.
This is interesting to hear at a time when we are restricted from usual social activities. Supporting local business, food, furnishings, and art to establish these connections is remarkable and inspiring.
Data experts say there is an increase in veganism and sustainability consumerism. Less disposable purchases, more meaningful.
Farm markets this year are booming with local fare & produce sales.
Art Dealers announce art sales are trickling in. People recognize living with art has a direct positive influence on how they feel in their dwellings. After months at home, some see their surroundings with new perspective, choices for interior and exterior environments have a tremendous impact on health, how we work and live. Plants and art are a big part of this.
Recently new collectors and established ones, are choosing the work, “because I need it in my life”, or to celebrate new beginnings, anniversaries marriages and collecting “ what matters.” New Commissions commemorate nature landscapes meaningful to the collectors.
It is reassuring to know in times of great crisis, we instinctively reach for ways to connect and support each other and within community.
We turn to nature and colour to inspire and heal.
You might reach for a blush T-shirt, collect pansies for your patio, succulents for your kitchen, or select nature for your view in art, in vivid life affirming colour.
Optimistic choices in health and surroundings creative a positive force individually and collectively toward beautiful new beginnings.
New Work and Photos above:
Begonia and FyreGlas, see www.fyreglas.com
New: “Summer Retreat” 18×24 ~ oil on canvas $1,210.oo
New : “Vineyard” commission 16×20 ~ SOLD
New: “ Family of 5 Cougars” 4ft x 3ft Commission ~ email me to see if available ~ $4,345.00
“Beach” 8×10 oil on board ~ $500.oo
Marc photo~ Our Homes Magazine summer issue~ Congrats to Marc for this great feature!
( Market photo & nature trail photo ~ Dawn Banning)
Drawing animals and people in my early youth, I applied a method introduced by my fourth grade teacher.
Using chalk to make a grid pattern, we reproduced her holiday poster image, that had been drawn with corresponding chalk grid overlay.
Ever since, while working in realism, I see a grid pattern of the image in my mind, drawing within one grid square at a time, detaching mentally from what the image is in order to see it.
Methodically Illustrating using form, line, shadow, the realistic image comes to life upon completion, when the “grids” connect to make a whole.
When I started painting, applying the same approach produced work that felt disconnected and lacked the depth of substance I hope to achieve.
After years of exploring I realized, what I needed to achieve in painting wasn’t about mimicking detail, but creating experience. Not illustrative, but immersive.
I stopped dissecting sections of imagery, and started focusing on the experience of being in the scene, feeling it. The work began to evolve.
( View new Studio Tour video, click link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kftJpejnjQk
Unlike applying the grid compartmentalized approach, this process requires unique awareness of what is happening on the canvas at all times, and yet, concentration on each brushstroke.
I focused on emotional content, how shape, colour, light play, impression of imagery could reproduce the feeling of being present in the landscape.
Surrendering to that, letting go of desire to “make it photo like” .. changed everything in the work, and how I felt about the work. The art felt less about creating, more about channeling a subject’s energy.
It’s rather like drawing a kite while it lay flat on the ground before you, or grasping the kite mid-flight, feeling it’s soaring momentum and the strength of wind’s power.
As a self taught painter, focus wasn’t technique, but emotion. I imagine how feels to be in the landscape, not just what is in front of me, but what surrounds me. I feel ‘immersed in the subject’ before my brush touches the canvas.
In my drawing, subjects would come to life upon completion. In painting, “life” is immediate from the beginning. It’s energetic, raw, dynamic, vulnerable. I work on the canvas like a bee in a garden, darting, tasting, savouring, everywhere at once.
Drawing people and animals, subjects are captured in moments of stillness, in time, a moment in the story.
Wilderness painting is pure motion. It’s an ongoing event. It’s cyclical, the birth of blooms, and aging forests. Wilderness is homecoming experience with the strength of humanity’s bonds.
Landscape art is beautifully universal.
I observed a wide spectrum of reactions to my animal and portrait art. They either loved them, or couldn’t relate at all. Some were fearful of wildlife subjects, and hunters were attracted to it. Sometimes this felt unsettling.
Portrait work created different divisions. The moment a person is placed in a landscape painting, the story becomes about that person with the Landscape secondary.
Painting landscape without people allows the viewer to be present fully in the landscape, to connect with your own story.
Portraits may unknowingly segregate. The story isn’t always understood or relatable. This also felt true for paintings of villages/ buildings, often desired for decorative appeal, rather than as subjects of substance.
Children didn’t enjoy or relate to subjects of people, elders desired soothing images.
If I were to be a career artist, working on a public scale, intention needed to be positive, relatable for any age, demographic, a positive immersive experience for everyone, not create fear, be symbolically obscure, or unconsciously divide and offend.
Life giving nourishing to body mind & soul, nature has strong human ties. Nature art is non discriminating, requires no written language, and understood without a title.
Science suggests surrounding yourself in nature, indoors and out, delivers powerfully positive benefits.
I thought about how I could create that experience for those not able to be in nature, or those who had forgotten. How could I bridge gaps not only within humanity, and include diverse demographics, but also the gap that seems to be continually widening between humanity and nature.
I didn’t see a need to duplicate in paint what a landscape photo does. I do see a need to create a connection to experience in a powerfully emotional way.
How much do we relate to nature in this time?
Does humanity connect what is happening on a global scale with nature sources necessary to our individual and community survival? Have we forgotten these very real wilderness places not only exist, but are the substance of thriving?
Saturated by imagery, have we become numb to what images may represent? Photography is available at our fingertips, do pictures become just a quick swipe left?
What does it take to capture us, hold us in positive experience, change behaviour, improve health, wellness, a sense of connection…what do we savour and immerse in?
It is my hope, my art offers this kind of experience.
All three new paintings will be available for purchase at the Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna BC. They will be shipped along with another new painting in progress, as soon as they are dry. Thanks again to Joshua and his team at the Hambleton!
Early work here exhibited, most have been previously sold.
I haven’t included this spectrum of previous work before in one collection online. It’s given me time to reflect on the many genres I have explored, and feel good about this incredible journey in art. When people ask ” Have you attempted… buildings, people, animals.. etc” I can happily say, Yes, I have,.. and I have found my home in wilderness.
Wishing everyone joy & wellness, thanks so much for your lovely letters, your questions and for welcoming the art into your spaces.
In the last few months, many of you have been very quiet. I am visualizing this silence with abundant happy sunny days and wellness.
How am I, what am up to, do I still have work? Some suggest, without malice, an art career may be deep jeopardy. “No one is going to be buying art for a long time.”
Except.. they are. Business has been quiet.. yet in the midst, sales have trickled in despite circumstance.
Perhaps even because of it.
A client said yesterday “ “there are so many reason to live with and purchase art… besides..ART, just makes you feel good.”
Two recent purchases are celebrating new beginnings. How amazing is that?
Required to change their wedding celebration plans, a couple said their painting is a wedding gift to each other. Their testament and positivity moved me to happy tears.
“Am I enjoying the last few months, “because creatives love isolation?” “Painting up a storm?”
It’s challenging to create feeling the weight of the world, with worry and grief. To move forward in positivity and strength, it helps to face the hard stuff, the unsettling, the sad, and take gentle self care. Establish boundaries, practice awareness, patience, and forgiveness. Plant new roots. Spend time in the summer sun wandering in nature. Be still.
Yes, I have been painting, while navigating emotions during world upheaval, until I ran out of supplies, surrounded by 70 paintings in need of homes.
Work focus turned to increasing exposure of the work, online presence, reevaluation, check in with dealers, collectors, galleries, and applying creative juice to completing a nearly 2 year writing project.(yay!)
You asked about the recently published NatureVideo,( see my You Tube Link) created two years ago. A video that very nearly never came to be.
Yes, the video is a little.. long.
The goal was for an informative, entertaining, way to connect you to the work, and nature, instead of a self bio art exhibit presentation. The time slot was designated for the presentation.
I also wanted to honour the flow & length of the original songs.
About the soundtrack: Maneli’s “Homespun” offers the emotional impact of coming home. A reuniting with nature can have a powerful impact, and I think Maneli’s amazing music leads us to this feeling.
The second composition is written and performed by my brother. A surprise gift when I asked his suggestion of music for my boreal videos, not expecting him to compose & record original music performances.
The final song on the video, my nephew Nicolas and bandmate Nate, wrote, composed and recorded while they were in high school, at the ages of 17.
When the video was ready for professional editing and animation ( the tree sequence in particular). Minutes before I clicked “send’, my laptop fried, and it was lost.
The earlier version saved on backup is unalterable. This is this version you see. It is my hope these practices connecting with nature balances the unedited rawness.
~This week, I am unveiling the new “Walnut Grove”, organizing the studio, sorting inventory and prepping canvas for an exciting new collection at the Hambleton gallery.
I have also dusted off my plein air kit, with the goal of dusting off my plein air skills, and ambitiously move forward with the writing project.
For work life balance, reflective time in the garden among dragonflies and goldfinches, and on my bike exploring peaceful nature trails, is a wonderful reprieve.
Marc, I and are both well. Thank you.
We feel fortunate to have our health, work, passions, excursions in nature, and all of you. Thank you for your letters, your stories of resilience and kindness, family, friends, neighbours, community, collectors, brothers & sisters of art.
Wishing you, the world, love, wellness, balmy days and blue skies ahead.
“I haven’t a right to complain, about home schooling my kids, working from home, or that I don’t like wearing a mask, when others are truly suffering.” She said. “You have a right to feel what you are feeling, “I replied, “ to acknowledge, address your anxieties. Loving kindness begins with yourself.”
Beginnings can be daunting. Many artists fear the blank canvas.
New creators fear mistakes in beginnings. “What if I start wrong?”
Chances are you will. We all do. More often than you might think.
So start again, pluck out a new canvas. Or wipe it off. Go in another direction. It’s all very fluid in the beginning. Sometimes you need to make the mistake. To feel it out. To find your bearings.
It’s like buying pants. 6 styles, all desirable for your comfort, figure, style, look great on the rack, but until you try them on, you won’t know the best choice.
I love the beginnings. I step to the easel every time wholeheartedly as though this is the first and last I will ever create. It clarifies, bringing forth human vulnerabilities, and a sense of gratitude.
Beginnings hold realms of possibilities, within freshly squeezed paint and newly stocked supplies. Inventing a new palette, discoveries await. It is a thrill each time I reach for the brush.
For me, fear can show up 50-70% into a painting. Doubt and second guessing drain spontaneous intuitive energy from the brush.
Dayna, creator of handmade dinnerware, articulates this so well. “Of course it’s fearful at that time of the process.. because you are committed. You have eliminated possibilities, and there is no going back.”
Insight transferrable to life choices.
When commitments and investments have been made in relationships, careers, communities, life decisions, there can be reluctance to change, or let go.
With impossibility to retreat in time, confidence may falter along the path.
Regret and unwillingness to admit mistakes, pride can dig in its heels.
It can be a minor or major life dilemma.
You love everything about your awesome new pants, except they scrunch uncomfortably every time you sit down.
It becomes more complicated in major life choices when years, heart and soul are invested. Regrets weigh heavily, prohibiting positive solutions and new perspectives.
As a veteran artist, I know I could test every option before proceeding, create oodles of sketches, palette decisions, and trial canvas sizes. But until the brush moves, until I am FULLY in it, I won’t know if the direction is right. Sometimes, oodles of prep work can deter art from feeling fresh. From becoming. So many variables, planned and spontaneous during process will influence a painting.
The image may change unexpectedly. We grieve expectations which never came to be. In painting, it may be an original concept that never came to fruition, despite full effort.
When this happens, seek to discover and embrace a new vision. Ego has no place here.
Bogged down with regret only saps energy and sight from future possibility.
Waste isn’t in time and commitment spent, it is in the reluctance to let it go, to forgive, unburden from that which wasn’t meant to be.
Letting go is a frequent practice in art.. of limiting beliefs, of tired ideas, and, of art. When original paintings are sold and collected, the artist knows they will never create another just like it, ever, and likely never see it again. The process is beautifully fluid this way..creating, and releasing.
Proceeding whole heartedly at each stage of process allows me to let go and move on if it didn’t work out.
Which is also how I feel about my career.
Dreams are a living evolution, they can be re- moulded, influenced and shaped, painted over and renewed with fresh strokes.
All stages of life journey life are an accomplishment. A beautiful testament to your individuality, resilience, passions, and discoveries.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Amelia Hoshouser
A few years ago, I was asked to present a gallery “Art talk.”
Rather than deliver a rambling self -bio of sorts, I thought it would be more helpful and interesting to engage the audience to my muse…nature.
Collectors and Gallery visitors often express desire to connect to wilderness on a deeper level and ‘see’ with creative vision.
With research and practices I developed “How to connect with nature in the way of a Landscape Artist” presented in video form.
I am cringing more than a little, film makers and creators reading this that would do much better than I in this medium.
Despite that, the timing may be right to introduce it to you, knowing my work as a full time artist, is also to inspire. I hope this little film does that.
Thank you kindly to contributors, Maneli Jamal, my brother and nephew for their original music scores.
Thank you to my brother Darin, Tina, Kristin and Julia for photos, my cousin Kyle, for drone photography, my cousin Max for checking my research, and the scientists who continue to discover more about humanity’s connection to wilderness.
Thank you to the Nature conservancies who work tireless to educate, protect and conserve our wild spaces, and to those who support these conservancies.
He would pluck us out of the canoe and toss us overboard. “ These life jackets haven’t been tested yet, so.. you better swim.”
I always believed him, and would paddle in the middle of the freshwater lake like my pants were on fire.
His career in Parks gave us a life of wonder, living in and around wilderness.
It was magic, and among it all, we knew we were loved unconditionally, and protected by our parents. Our passions and independence were encouraged, our freedom given.
His career gave us the good parts, and he sheltered us from the rest. The politics and injustice, tirelessly fighting wildfires and looking for the lost. He broke trails in 40 below in bitterly cold Saskatchewan winters. He comforted the weary and stood up for those wronged, in all spectrums.
In his early career, he started youth outdoor programs, teaching wilderness skills to children often forgotten, left out of the circles of society at the time.
During an early post living on a Northern Reserve, he initiated home building projects for the village. He built a community dock, when the Indian Agent said he had no right to do so. “Everyone has a right to a home, a dock, To respect”, he said. In those years he would see the birth of his son, and form lasting friendships. He would witness injustice to those very friends, and come to their defence at great risk. It was the early 60’s, when so few stood against discrimination.
When he and my brother returned 50 years later, one of the houses still stood, and an Elder remembered him on sight. They embraced, recalling good memories.
In one southern Park we lived, a rule for all park cottagers/ residents was to halt at the Park gate and present your Park pass. A cottager with a fighting mean streak would breeze through and never stop. Some were afraid to report his misdoings. When Dad witnessed this, he confronted him, encouraging him to get in his car. He drove him thru the gate, with instructions, “This is how you stop appropriately and how you greet the park staff respectfully. Now do it.” He did, never flying through the gates again. He told other cottagers that my Dad, soft spoken and non- violent, “ a big strong man with steely blue eyes” commanded respect.
Dad has volunteered throughout his career, setting tracks for Winter fest dogsled races, serving on village council, playing music for those in nursing homes and hospitals. He performed 1000 shows between the ages of 70 & 80.
In his retirement, he came back full circle to the Indigenous, volunteering for CESO.
“ Economic reconciliation is at the heart of what we do at CESO. With over 50 years of experience working with Indigenous communities across Canada, we understand the complexity and diversity of their resources and needs. We work in partnership with Indigenous peoples to build human capacity to create environments where members of Indigenous communities can fully participate and benefit from economic growth.” Ceso website.
He has remained quietly steadfast. A man of few words, exhibiting actions often speak louder. He has never wavered in his commitment to humanity and nature, continuing to live a life of generosity, kindness, and gratitude.
At a medical appointment earlier this year, responding to a diagnosis, he took my hands in mine, “ Oh Dawn, I have such a good life, grateful to have lived this long without having any health issues. I never expected to go on forever.”
Well, I sort of did, I said. And we laughed and hugged.
What a wonder to have this amazing role model and great love in my life. What a gift he is.
Happy Father’s Day this Sunday to my dear Papa and all the amazing Dad’s.
All artwork is available for purchase, please email me for details. firstname.lastname@example.org