Familiar Paths

4 new commissions/ SOLD

Are familiar trails truly familiar, or only habitual? 

Do you recognize when the earth dips a little beneath your feet, or rises to meet them? When the trail tilts a little to the left?

Do you feel the undulations, however so slight?

What times of day does the light change, and how so? How do the seasons affect the light and landscape?

Being present in a space can require a depth of attention we don’t often allow ourselves.

Observing in a new way may bring new perspectives. Boredom doesn’t exist when we truly observe with focused curiosity. 

Deer have their pathways through these hills, but could I map them when I am far away from here? Exactly, where they wind and loop in the valley?

Could I replicate exactly where wild sage meets the poplars, and the interesting granite stones that dot the hillside?

I know where chickadees populate the bush, but could I walk blindfolded and recognize the moment which I would pass by the flock? 

What are you conscious of when you wander familiar pathways? 

PS

All new commissions are places near and dear to the client’s heart. It’s a wonder to work from these amazing photos of their special places. Successful commissions are dependent on great research photos, stories of these places, and complete trust in the artist. Giving me free rein in artistic vision makes these paintings sing.

~ NEW~ Lupines 1 & 2, Wild Rose~ Path to the Sea ~ commissions, original oil on canvas~ SOLD

~ NEW~ Work in progress below..

Instrument of Peace

How do I create when there is so much suffering in the world?” an artist wrote in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. He continued, “it feels pointless and trivial to be creating and selling my art right now. It feels wrong.”

Recently artists are expressing similar feelings. 

These can be natural responses, and at times accompanied with misplaced guilt. Addressing  mental & emotional health are key to coping. It’s so important to have support systems, speak with professionals, and take self care.

Interestingly, these very artists who wrote have donated art and financial aid to humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine. They supported health care causes during the pandemic and gave price breaks on their work during tough economic times.

The arts and humanities contribute immensely and immeasurably to medical education. As different ways of knowing, sharing, and meaning-making, the arts and humanities strengthen our understanding, inspire compassion and creativity, and stimulate our cognitive capacities.… Enriching our experience, the arts and humanities connect us with the lives and perspectives of others, proffering fundamental insights into illness and suffering, health and healing.” 

It isn’t trivial to create and share art that instills calm and healing to whoever is in it’s midst. It isn’t trivial to provide for yourself and your family doing what you love, with integrity and passion.

Artists and the arts have long been great champions of goodwill. They often play a huge part in fundraising for worthy causes. 

The arts can be great instruments of peace.

Whatever you do, do not undervalue what you bring to the world.

Positive contributions on all levels make a difference. Like, raising global thinking humanitarian children, for instance.

Every daily gesture of kindness brings peace to the world. 

Every conscious act of protecting the earth contributes to the health of humanity and all living things.

Even small moments of gratitude and joy help to relieve sorrow.

Peace and love to you all, dear friends. 

P.S One morning while visiting my parents, I struggled whether to go for my morning run. Mom’s health had declined. Confined to a wheelchair, she could no longer walk or run. I felt guilty about running when she couldn’t. She said “how exactly would that help me? I’d feel worse, knowing you have healthy legs, and yet decide not use, enjoy, or keep them strong? Do not neglect your gift, nurture and savour it.” Years later, nearing the end of her time, while I was lifting Mom from her bed, she looked down and said, “look at those beautiful strong legs of yours.” In that moment I realized, they weren’t just serving me, they were now also serving her. 

We never really know how we may be called or required to serve. It helps to have a healthy foundation and take self care, so we can. 

~

First painting shown~ SUN- 11×14 original oil- all proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to the Red Cross for Ukraine, and the United Nations High Commission for refugees Ukraine. 800.oo$

~

NEW- Private commission- ‘Sanctuary’ SOLD- 20×24 original oil

~

Mother and Baby- new- see video for story on this painting on Instagram. @Dawnartworks

Showing Up

Do you ever give yourself a break for showing up? For being present, in whatever that is or may be for you right  now?

Media says it’s been a great time to be creative. When the world ‘stopped’ the creatives got busy. With a love of isolation and without distraction, this would be the perfect storm for them. Musicians, actors, writers, painters, creatives of all genres would be busy bees in their studios while the storm passed overhead. 

The thing is, no one avoided the storm.

I have spoken to creatives that haven’t worked in over two years. Some are under so much pressure, when a project doesn’t pan out,  a normal part of process, it is felt as much more.  There is so much riding on what work is available. The struggle is real, and it’s felt. 

It’s my belief, that sometimes you need to give yourself credit for showing up. Maybe today’s work ended in the trash and the client didn’t call back, but you were present, and open. You showed up. Growth can require struggle, failure and fear. Showing up is courageous. 

Years ago a client pointed to a stack of canvas in the corner of my studio. “What ones are those?” He asked. ‘Duds” I said. “ Duds? I thought you were a professional. You should know what you are doing by now.”

I responded. “That’s how I know they are duds.”

In an art business course, artists were encouraged to create a daily mantra to help stay grounded and focused on their intention.

It’s been a very long time since I wrote this, but I still find it’s relevant. I wanted to make it simple, fun, and inclusive of daily joys.

Whatever you do, and where-ever you are, perhaps you feel like composing your own.

It’s my hope you also discover a way to thank yourself for showing up. 

Meditation is the foundation

Go for a run and get things done

Work with intention for ascension

Declutter make hearts happily aflutter

Organize to conceptualize 

Find some play for today

Be kind and be aligned 

Bike for life

Nutrition for fruition

Nature is nurture

Restore to do more

Love first, last, always.

PS. Not long out of school, while attending a friend’s wedding shower, I was introduced to an interesting diverse couple, long married with a lovely family. They had unique challenging careers and had lived on several continents. I asked them what their secret was for such a happy marriage. I never forgot the gentleman’s response. “Show up. Show up every day, no matter what the day brings. Just show up.” 

~

NEW work- Though One very large painting is off to the trash this week, I am very pleased with these two new paintings!!

Winter Whisper 11×14 $770.oo

Summer Forest Trail 16×20 $1,330.oo

Winter Love

The Canadian prairies are known for long cold winters.

It wasn’t a matter of liking or not liking winter, because it would come regardless. 

Living, working and surviving on the prairies is a part of living compatibly with the seasons.

Considering the extended months of winter, it may seem odd to think of February as ‘nearly spring’. 

Spring snow storms would arrive as late as May, but it wouldn’t hamper our outlook that spring was around the corner. 

As I watch the winter storm outside blowing beautiful patterns in the snow, I am reminded, spring is ‘nearly here.’

Studio view

When I lived on Vancouver Island, by this time, crocus, daffodils and hyacinth would be blooming in abundance. Cherry trees lining the waterfront would be glorious pink decadence. Colour would emerge in permanently lush green forest, and fresh scents of blossoms would intermingle with the salty sea air. 

If winter is feeling long, it can be challenging to not wish it away. It’s natural to have moments pining for days of warmth, gardens, and hearing birds at sunrise.

Anticipating the change of season can be a reprieve among perceived ‘sameness’. 

I am reluctant to leap ahead and wish time away. Spring will be beautiful, refreshing and busy. It will bring delightful change and fruition of projects. It will also bring longer work days and tasks filling lists and mind. Without the snow noise buffer, sound can be heard more clearly. The calming silence of winter becomes noisier sounds of summer activity.

Winter holds it’s own kind of sanctuary, in it’s cocooning, muffled peaceful quiet only winter snow can bring. Light reflecting periwinkle blue in early winter morning is one of my all time favourite colours. It’s the only season we see it, and it’s awe inspiring.

When I visit my home province in winter, I relish long solitary quiet forested walks. Witnessing frost clinging to branches and prairie grass in magical wonder always causes me to just absorb it all at an easy life pace. 

“Canadians don’t want winter paintings,” an art dealer told me. “They see enough of winter.” 

Yet, when I reached out on social media wondering if there was interest in winter paintings, response was a resounding ‘yes.’ 

Thanks for your encouragement and reaffirmation that I am not the only one who savours this season. 

Happy winter wanderings friends.

~

Work in progress below~ Please email for details on work available for purchase or to inquire about any of these original paintings. dawn@dawnbanning.com Also note there will be no price increase in 2022.

Moving Forward

Have you ever met an inspiring person that’s had an easy life?

People often suggest my inspiration must come from other artists and their work.

In truth, I am most inspired by other people. 

Human stories, not art ones. These human stories are often filled with resilience, persistence, kindness, and grace. They have heroic elements and inspire me to be a better person, not just artist. 

In the manner of building resilience and coping skills, one familiar point keeps coming up.

Attitude is one important key. How we ‘frame’ or ‘reframe’ events matters.

“We have the ability to decide how we’re going to interpret the adversities we face.”

Eric Barker, best selling author writes the first thing to do when “facing difficulty is to recognize it.”

Survivor stories often say they quickly accepted what was happening so they could move forward with solution solving. It’s a lesson to not dally in denial.

Dr. Ginsburg, Psychologist proposes there are 7 elements of resilience “competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping and control.”

work in progress..

Last month it felt like nearing the end of  shovelling the driveway, and the snowplough came by and dumped 3 feet of icy heavy snow all along the entrance.

Some of you are facing all kinds of grief and many are feeling the stress of fatigue.

Some shake their heads in anger at the snowplough.  In reality, he is just doing his job. Thankfully for us, he cleared the road so we can get on with our tasks. 

Last week, I could hear the grater before I saw it. What if I didn’t react, externally or internally, and didn’t break stride? As flying snow covered my pant legs and hampered my foot strike, I didn’t break stride.

Internal delight gave me an unexpected energy boost to carry on.

Here are some of my solutions for daily coping:

  1. Do something ‘normal’ daily, still complying with health protocols. It can feel surprisingly good to wash the car. 

2. Focus on what is within control like, attitude, reactions, being of service, self care, and having purpose.

3. Awareness of internal dialogue and interpretation of language. It can have a huge psychological and emotional effect. We can follow health protocols, and still step outside for a deep breath of fresh air. I am not locked, nor down. I choose not to think in that language.

4. Treat others with kindness, connect with loved ones, laugh and work with purpose.

Mom used to say “Suffering doesn’t matter. But how we cope with it does.” She was incredibly resilient and proactive with a sparkling sense of humour. Of all the inspiring people I have met and heroic stories I know, she is at the top of the list. She didn’t have an easy life, but she made living with grace, kindness.. and doing the right thing look effortless.

~ New work above, in progress & familiar. Please email to inquire for purchase.

Also new, is the studio construction in progress. VERY exciting!!

Cadence

Cadence is a rhythmic sequence. In cycling the focus for quick turnover of the legs, or ‘quick cadence’ results in an efficient effort.

In music it is perceived as a “rhythmic or melodic articulation or a harmonic change.”( google def.)

It’s likely sport and appreciation of musical rhythm influence how I think about cadence in art.  My thoughts are two fold. 

In painting, cultivating a specific internal rhythm with brushstroke can eliminate choppy hesitant movements. The painting will develop and progress in a more pleasing manner. It’s also easier to tap into the kind of ‘flow’ Mihaly  Csikszentmihalyi writes about. 

Secondly, in an art career, a healthy cadence between business and creating helps achieve balance.  It is important to compartmentalize these aspects in some ways, as business activities can be detrimental creative process. The pressure and stress of everyday business, especially these days, can stifle productivity in the studio. Having a creative mindset to business may help bridge the gap between how an artist feels about the different dimensions of a creative business.

In the last two years we have seen a strain like no other in the industry.

With these kind of pressures, it’s not unheard of for artists to be a bit frantic in their creating. 

Feeling ‘frantic’ isn’t usually productive for creativity. I’ve been there. 

Being grateful to do what you love for a living, there can be a sense accountability to that gift, and an awareness that life and time are short. That sense of frantic can be passionate, and also overwhelming. External or internal pressure to please everyone, in what we create, or the speed in which we create can be crushing. A frantic pace, or cadence isn’t necessarily healthy, or sustainable.

When the world changed dramatically, I immediately began to problem solve. Seeking new ideas on promoting the work, I researched how venues, dealers and artists were evolving their business practice in a pandemic. I sought out where art collectors were purchasing art, if at all. I thought about size of art, what art budgets might look like, and subject matter. What did people want to see and feel in their spaces. How could I make a difference?

How could I still make a living? 

Always, always painting away, simmering creative ideas. Art like anything else, requires dedicated practice. Stopping can be scary, with fear of losing skill set and the joy.

Recently, I discovered what it feels like to stop.. and let go of the frantic. What’s ironic, is it’s actually increased my enthusiasm for the work, and expanded my creative mindset. 

Time off has been necessary to heal from eye surgery. It’s also practical, I only have so much space for paintings to gather when sales are quiet.

Taking time off hasn’t extinguished my desire to create, or ideas that continue to flow. I have been itching for the brush, not from pressure of clients or galleries monitoring my creative output, or the brain drain of trying to guess what people may want.

This deep pleasurable pull to create is pure and simplified. It’s freeing. 

My artistic cadence is developing into a new delightful rhythm. Proceeding forward with new eyesight, and perspective, it’s exciting to see what will enfold on the easel. 

~

NEW:

Each new painting above are 8×10 oil on canvas board, the last completed mostly with a palette knife.

Hand drawn card below is done in ink and coloured pencil.

Years ago recovering from surgery I said to a friend, “ I can no longer paint 8 hours a day”. She responded, “ What makes you think that was good for you in the first place?”

The New Year

Happy New YEAR!

How are you doing? What’s new? 

Are you speeding headlong into this New Year with plans, projects and a heart full of promise? Or are you easing gently into the year with thoughts of reflection?

Perhaps you’re practicing stillness, which also requires a sense of commitment and courage.

I am all of the above, with exciting creative projects in the works, patience practice, stillness, and gratitude.

Not one to make resolutions, I believe every day holds promise of beginnings and growth.  Yet this month does mark special new beginnings and a return to activities I love, while my eyes continue to heal from eye surgery. It’s incredible to observe the world, with new eyes. It will be baby steps as I go, and I’m pleased to share this new creative journey with you.

Newly completed  “Moonlight” Study an 8×10 in oil, is the first painting I have created without visual aid.

This first piece has personal significance. The vista is the view from my parents home, with the pine trees they planted towering above the lake. I remember the evening so well, standing on the surrounding deck, drinking in the quiet whisper of dusk. 

I have been reading books on mystical fairies, grand forests, and science books about trees. I am fairly certain these have influenced this new painting in progress. It is a large painting I had temporarily set down sideways and discovered something new. It’s exciting to be tackling this vision come to life. 

If this is the year you infuse your home with handmade vibrant, life affirming art, please let me know if I can help. I have a great stock of inventory available for purchase in several sizes. 

Even if you aren’t into collecting original work, or collecting right now, please still drop me a line, let me know you are, and what’s new for you in 2022.

In gratitude, d

Seeing with New Eyes

Six days ago I had double eye surgery. 

With two new lens and cataracts removed, I continue to heal, and attempt to follow the Doctor’s orders to be ‘lazy’. 

The surgeon is actually a fan of my work. Upon my first visit to his office years ago, I saw my art calendar propped on his desk.

Yesterday, I asked him about returning to painting. “You can,” he said. His assistant qualified to be cautious of splashes, and refrain from bending.

It felt wonderful to step into the studio and prep my space for painting. Squeezing paint, organizing tools, cutting cloth rags, always feels meditative.

 

Preparation gives me a thrill every time. It is a step I never rush. In these methodical movements I feel my entire being readying for creativity. Like sipping a warm cup of tea in the morning, I awaken into the space. 

Mixing paint colour now feels refreshingly new. For a few years I needed to place certain colours in specific palette areas, or I would not know them from each other. Fondness for order and routine has come in very handy.

I yearned to discover what might come up on the canvas before my eyes are completely healed. Even with blurry vision it felt freeing to ‘see’ what unfolded. The purpose in this first attempt was to ease into the posture and relax into creating without expectation. 

I am so grateful for everyone that made it possible for my ‘new eyes’. It’s such a gift!

Already life transforming, I’m excited to ‘see’ what is next in my new phase of work. 

Thanks to you all for your continued interest in the work, it’s such a pleasure to hear from you, have the work find a home with you, and know your stories.

We have paintings available for purchase in many sizes, just email to inquire. 

NEW “Winter~ Tree & Bench” 8×10 original oil on canvas

All My Relations

Indigenous sense of belonging and interconnectedness with nature is apparent in the expression “All my relations,” meaning “all living things.”

Many Indigenous cultures believe nature is “The Great Spirit”, or “God.”

Indigenous Prayer Flags~ photo credit Darin Larson

Within this belief system exists a deep respect of earth and all living things. Individuals actions have an accountability to both community and nature. Decisions and actions are considered in what is good for tribe, nature and all living things. 

Identity is intertwined intimately with nature. 

This belief is a strong contrast to western culture’s belief that land is ‘for extractions* of its resources’ with the perception of humans are separate from and above nature.

It’s an odd sort of hierarchy, when you think about it, because humans depend on nature to survive. 

( Indigenous Canada resource)

 Indigenous cultures understand this dependability, and the delicate balance required in this relationship for future generations to thrive. Decisions often consider 7 generations in the future, a signifiant number in their teachings.

( Please listen to One of my all time favourite songs “7” by William Prince. The first link is William introducing the song, singing live at the Roslyn, second link to William’s site has various videos with higher quality sound. https://www.youtube.com/williamprince)

In the last two years, many have rediscovered their connection to nature, finding it a reprieve and sanctuary during difficult times. This has brought some attention to humanity’s tentative relationship with nature, and a cry for positive change.

Moving slowly into a time of healing offers a unique opportunity to learn from indigenous teachings, to be respectful of all living things and nature.

Scientific discoveries in the last year of how nature bounced back from humans disruptive and destructive ways is remarkable. Check out this  recent educational enlightening documentary “the Year Earth Changed” to see how.

Painting nature’s landscapes is more than creating a lovely vista to me. Growing up surrounded by wilderness directly influenced me and contributes to my sense of “wholeness.”

We all have a connection to nature, but sometimes it is forgotten, neglected or silent.

Yet nature reminds us, we are not alone, or unsupported. It is here to nourish us in every possible way. 

Just like in any relationship renewal, there is an opportunity for positive change, understanding and respect. 

By sharing and illuminating this intimate nature- human relationship in my work, I hope you can feel it’s energy, nourishment, healing capacity,  and wonder. 

~ May you, and all my relations be well. May we be united moving forward into a loving and healthy future. 

P.S

I just completed the University of Alberta’s “Indigenous Canada” online 12 week course, taught from Indigenous perspective. I highly recommend the course, it’s tremendously informative & educational. 

New Work~

“Glow” 20×30 oil  $ 1,800.oo is a wonderful refresh to an earlier piece. I have been working hard developing colour tones, and wanted to include chunkier brushstrokes without the painting feeling heavy. It needed to feel soft and vibrant, with lots of movement. The work I do isn’t about having a template of style, it’s about what the scene calls for. This one needed to have a light feel, the power of it being in the sense of movement. 

“Buoy” new 8×10 oil, has such a story! I will just share that the title, “Buoy” has many meanings, “ to stay afloat” “floating device” “ life preserver” “ to cheer” “to bolster” “to embolden” “ to encourage” and “to strengthen”.

“Autumn Forest” or “ The Wise” 8×10 $550.oo is a new painting from a late afternoon wander in the woods last month. The whole forest was aglow and I know I will paint several small and large paintings from this recent joyful wooded walk. 

Active Recovery

People are reaching out with questions on proficiency, coping with challenging times, and fatigue. 

A common assumption is creating art may be a departure from facing reality. There’s this idea one closes themselves off in a studio, consumed by their passion, the world goes on without their knowledge, or engagement with it. 

Art is never therapy for me, nor is it escape. I apply other methods and tools for health and wellness. 

ART, for me, is a form of being present and aware. 

If that’s the case, then “how am I able to create prolificacy.. particularly  in these times?”

  1. Proficiency : It’s a mindset. 

Daily intention when I step to the easel with the perception It is the first painting I have ever done, and my last. 

This attitude invites focus on the present and willingness to learn with the enthusiasm of a beginner. Acting as though this is the last painting I ever create, teaches me to savour the experience.

2. Challenging times:

 Focusing on what is within your control helps. Many artists, including myself,  are faced now with being totally self represented and self supported. They are adapting to online sales, initiating their own promoting, marketing and being their own cheerleader. 

It’s a difficult road carrying on, no matter what you do, or what’s been necessary to do to make a living in the last 20 or so months. 

Building resilience and adaptability will be useful now and in the future. 

Learning to cope healthfully for what is appropriate for the individual, and the circumstance, is key. Reaching out to support networks and professionals for methods can be very useful. I like to think of it as gathering tools.

3. Fatigue : 

Firstly, Maintaining a balanced healthy lifestyle is important.

One way to cope with creative fatigue is a training tool I learned in endurance sport. That is, having a scheduled day of ACTIVE RECOVERY

For runners and triathletes, ACTIVE RECOVERY is a taking day off from regular training and racing. Instead of biking, running and swimming, athletes may participate in yoga or a non strenuous walk. It’s great for recovery, keeping body and mind engaged with activity. 

ACTIVE RECOVERY in the creative field can be playing with clay instead of paint, or taking photos on a hike. Name all the colours you see on your hike that you would squeeze on your palette. 

ACTIVE RECOVERY is a welcome departure from the pressure of creating and reconnecting with the joyful part of art. You might visit a gallery, explore other artists work, make crafts, or listen to music. Write a poem, read a book, start a journal. Years ago, I spent one day a week taking an online art marketing course. It can still be a productive use of your time.

IN endurance training, we incorporated one day a week to active recovery. You may want more than one day a week, adjust to your needs. 

~Similarly, incorporate one COMPLETE REST DAY in your routine. 

REST DAY for endurance sport suggests a day with as much rest as possible. No errands, housework, work, or training. It takes scheduling to attempt a full rest day, but it’s well worth it if you can manage it. 

I remember at the end of a full day at my office job, I would run errands, then spend the evening cleaning, doing laundry and cooking so I could relax the following day. 

REST DAY for creative work suggests just that. No creating, creative thinking, working, work calls, emails, client visits, etc. I even make an effort to refrain from creative conversation.

Working from home can make this all extra challenging, but it is up to you to set those boundaries. 

Healthy boundaries ensure a healthy long creative life.

~

What’s new? 

I have been experimenting with oil on paper, partly inspired due to lack of space in my new spot. IT’s still in the exploring stage, and I am having fun with it!! A extra bonus, these studies should boost my plein air skills.

ART CARDS have nearly sold out. I have two packages of WINTER cards, and two of SUNSET cards. Please email me to purchase. Each pack, including envelopes is $20. Please add 2$ per pack for shipping. 

New work sold this week! Paintings are off to Toronto and Colorado. Very exciting to see these paintings find their homes. 

The new home studio will be starting construction soon. I have been envisioning my studio view onsite. A year from now, I may be writing you from this very spot. I am so grateful!