Friday, June 22, 2012

Painting For the Birds

I have a confession to husband jokingly calls me 'the bird lady'. I have a room in our home dedicated to my feathered friends. I have always had a fascination with birds, from a young age and had a little teal blue budgie name, Tico, when I was around 10 years old. I trained him to sit on my finger and my shoulder and he would 'preen' my hair. He was my little friend.

Fast forward (a few years, ok) and I now have several small parrots and breed the Linniolated Parakeet (there is one baby in the nest right now). I just enjoy their chatter and a couple of my parrots are quite proliferate talkers. I have discovered that birds are actually very smart! They do understand thing...but at a 3 year human level...which can be challenging at times!

Anyways...I do like all birds and owls are near the top of the list.

In the photo below, I am working on a piece of a family of Burrowing Owls, inspired by my visit to the Okanagan Desert and the Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver. Burrowing Owls were re-introduced to the South Okanagan after they disappeared many years ago. I believe they are on the comeback!

When I was in Kelowna, visiting my brother and his family, I was introduced to their resident family of Horned Owl babies just leaving their nest! I managed to capture a few photos and glad that I did because a few days later, they 'flew the nest' and have not been seen since. It was a special opportunity to get a close look at these babies, because their nest was in the top of a tree, which was level with the bank on which their apple orchard and house sits. That made us level with them while they sat in the branches below the nest!

You can see that they still have some of their down baby feathers (fuzz) and they don't have their 'ears' or 'horns' yet. I believe these are Great Horned Owls or Grey Owls.

I don't believe in coincidences, and I noticed that the baby owls I was able to photograph are around the same stage of growth as the owls in my Burrowing Owl painting; I started that painting before I left for the Okanagan! Things that make you go, "hmmm".

I am so thankful for the opportunity to capture these beauties!


3000 years ago the prophet wrote, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Cowboy Equipment -  for information on this Oil Painting, contact Rustico Winery -  now available at Quail's Roost Art Gallery at Rustico Winery in Oliver, BC.

Looking up the Okanagan Valley from Oliver; MacIntyre Bluff (Legend has it that it is an Indian Chief from long ago).
Well, we are back from our holidays in British Columbia (Okanagan) and Alberta (Fort McMurray). I came home feeling so energized and ready to create! The lesson here is to take a break from your usual routine (break out!) and take some time for yourself. It had been far too long since we had gone anywhere.

The other big message (which I already kinda knew) is that being with family and really spending quality time with your family is good for the soul. I had not seen my parents for over 6 months and had not seen my brother, sister and their families for 2 years!

 Family has always been so important to me. When I lived closer to them, I would get home at least every 3 months, so this was a big change for me after 20 years of being pretty close to them.
But still, I was pleasantly surprised at how the visit energized me from within and now I realize just how important it is to connect with them on more of a regular basis.

I was also encouraged and inspired by my first art show in Oliver (the wine capital of Canada). My family really helped make it all happen and it all came together perfectly. We had packed 16 paintings into our luggage and we flew from Toronto to Edmonton, took a bus up to Fort Mac to visit Mike's daughter and son inlaw, got a ride back to Edmonton 2 days later, then flew to Kelowna!

Happy news to add! The Quail's Roost Gallery has asked to keep 7 of my paintings to show and sell over the summer months and through the Wine Festival times this Fall! I am so thankful for this!

We were also able to make several contacts with other artists in the Okanagan who's art careers I have been following over the past 3 years. We stopped by Kindrie Grove's studio on Main Street, Penticton, and we visited Shannon Ford at her home and studio in Willowbrook (near Oliver) and see her beautiful rare horses and studio space up in the mountains.

And while we were in West Kelowna we stopped in to visit New Moon Gallery. I must say that Linda Lovisa has collected together a really nice variety of artwork from some really good artists!

When I first walked in and slowly browsed around the gallery space, it dawned on me that this was just a really nice collection, well put together. From jewellery to pottery to sculpture and paintings; everything fits together and is well done. Just a really special atmosphere there!

Linda has a studio in the back where she works and teaches art classes! My sister has taken one of her classes.

And as a strange twist of fate...Linda actually had submitted a couple of her paintings to the "Paint Ontario" Art Show that I had participated in also this spring! Linda is from Ontario and often paints landscapes from northern Ontario. One of those 'small world' moments!

Oh yes! And we visited several wineries while in Oliver. Wow, the landscape of Oliver has changed over the past 20 years! When I grew up there, it was all about "fruit"! Now there are wineries popping up everywhere! Amazing and beautiful all at once. This area has also been referred to as the "Napa of the North" (in reference to the Napa Valley in California also known for its wineries).