Monday, 29 August 2011


This is a collection of a number of different sessions at my computer.  I’m better at collecting thoughts when I can write them as I have the time.  I’ve not dated each entry but simply typed the day on which I wrote it…in essence, I’m treating this blog more like a journal.  (Don’t think you have to read this post all at once…it’s not that serious, you can always come back to it…I just want to put  some of my thoughts out there to help myself and possibly inspire you, too…or at the very least make you think about the creative side of yourself as you go through your day.)

THURSDAY:  I’ve just come in from kayaking around the small lake that’s near our house.  My timing is good because there’s something in the air and I feel that rain is coming and the river is waiting.  There’s been a change in the wind and the clouds are turning the water a steely blue and the beautiful Canadian Flag in the backyard is becoming agitated.  It’s lovely out there and in spite of the fact the lake is surrounded by the city my time on the water is always pleasant and quiet.  I’m lucky to live in a wonderful city where I can spend my time near the water and watch the ducks, geese, muskrats, beaver and all other forms of nature or I can take advantage of the city and shop, go to outdoor concerts, enjoy art galleries or just walk along beautiful paths with my dog.  There are boundless things I can do in this area…and as you can tell I love it here.

This is the best time of the year…mid-August…the nights are cooler and the mornings require a light sweater while we read the paper on the verandah.  But, the mid-day sun is warm and we  can still swim in the river, ride our bikes or do any outdoor activity we want to without being too hot.  And the Fall flowers are at there best and look cheerily out from the garden beds in the many parks and walkways that wind through the city.  Sure, it marks the end of summer but it’s a bonus time of the year!  There are beautiful colours in an ever changing landscape, and local fruits and vegetables are at their best.

I enjoy looking at natural things…it makes me feel balanced.  I see art in almost everything I look at.  Small compositions that catch the eye.  Everything has a balance to it…think about that next time you look at something…anything.  Right now I’m looking at my neighbour’s Feather Grass.  It’s tall and it’s very delicate looking.  The wind is blowing it but for as much as it blows one way when the wind stops the Feather Grass moves back into the opposite direction…like the pendulum on a metronome…until it stops and the next gust of wind comes along and causes it to sway again.  There’s balance in the movement.  The tops of the grass are a soft camel colour while the stems are green except at the bottom where they are the same colour as the ‘feathers’…again, balance.

Well, the rain I was so sure was coming turned out to be short-lived and it looks like it’s going to be a calm and lovely evening.

SUNDAY:  The last few days have been spectacular weather-wise so I’ve spent much of my time outside…kayaking, swimming and I actually got in a game of golf.  But today it is cool and overcast…more like the late August days we’ve ‘normally’ had over the past several years.  Part of the reason there’s been a drastic change in the weather from yesterday is because Hurricane Irene has been tormenting the Eastern Coastline of the U.S. and Canada and has blown some of it’s furious wind inland.  I do feel badly for all those people that have had to batten down hatches and then watch much of their belongings cast away in the storm…some of the videos on the news have been shocking.  It makes one realize how small we are in the scheme of things when it comes to the natural elements…we are so small and powerless at times.

Today I’ve been milling some ideas around in my head for some jewellery designs and while nothing has taken total form for me yet I’ve got some good ideas and ones that I will probably take further.  One of the things I am considering is a medallion of a Canadian Lynx.  I’d base my design on a piece of sculpture I started last year but was unable to finish because of a crack in it that was deeper than I had originally thought.  My disappointment in not completing it was great; however, I think a silver pendent of the beautiful animal could be quite stunning.

ALREADY BEAUTIFUL carved in Chinese Soapstone
Another idea I want to run with is that of a Phoenix.  I have done a sculpture of a Phoenix in Chinese Green Soapstone and it was a wonderful thing to carve so I thought a similar design or a completely different design could be done in silver as well.  I took a couple of ‘casting in silver’ workshops last winter and fully intend on taking more this winter and also plan on working more fully with silver in the future.  The reason being  that I can work small and work in wax which is totally along the line in which I like to work because it’s three dimensional and there’s really no limit as to how much you can carve to make a piece interesting.



As I look around the house at some of the art I’ve done over the past years, in search of inspiration for silver work I’ve come upon some of my favourite subjects.  Many years ago while I was at the cottage and the Kawartha Lakes area was in the grip of a rainy session I was unable to work on my stone carving outdoors so rather than waste the days I turned to the age old art of papier maché.  Using coat hangers as armatures and strips of newspaper saturated in flour and water I worked over a period of two days on a group of characters that have great appeal to me…the beautiful Red-tailed Hawk, the wily Red Fox and the smart and whimsical Chipmunk.  I sculpted them with personalities and ended up with a vignette that’s kind of fun.  The hawk hangs from the ceiling close to the fox and the chipmunk and while one might say that these three creatures could be unfriendly toward each other in nature I have made them appear as friends.  It was a fun thing to do and with the use of some acrylic paint I was able to make these life-sized figures look quite convincing!

The cooler Fall air will start to dictate my clothing decisions soon.  It’s time for pulling on favourite sweaters, comfy jeans, warm socks and leather boots…my favourite way to dress.  Cozy clothing and crisp sunny days to enjoy the outdoors…that combination can’t be beat!  It makes such a difference when the air is cooler…everything looks and feels sharper…colours and tastes!  It’s great to be able to spend time driving around the countryside and stopping to take pictures of all the beautiful sights Ontario has to offer.  I’m not a great photographer and I only use a small digital camera but I get a great deal of inspiration from the photos I take.  By working on my computer, of which I couldn’t live without, I am able to get some interesting compositions by combining different photos.  I love working this way…using ‘artistic license’ or ‘borrowing from Peter to pay Paul’…in order to create just the right background or mood I want for a painting.  This pre-painting workup of ideas just adds to the overall enjoyment of doing the actual painting.

MONDAY:  I’ve read over this post and decided it’s time to actually ‘post’ it.  At some point within the next day or two I will start another session of ‘run-on’ entries but for now I have things to do that don’t involve my computer or the chair in which I sit…there’s the mundane (laundry, housework, gardening) and the fun (a golf lesson…fun, maybe?!) yet to fill my day. 

Hope you’re having a good day no matter what you are doing, where you are doing it or who you are doing it with.  Smile through the day and don’t forget to share your smile…if you do you’re guaranteed to have a REALLY GREAT DAY! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Today it's a rainy overcast sort of day...but it's a good day and for a change I'm actually getting some 'housework' done, work I've been putting off until such a day as this.  I've enjoyed the last few weeks because the weather has been so perfect and it was only a week ago that I was in the 'wilderness' enjoying nature to it's fullest so I'm still feeling relaxed.  However, I really must  get back to reality, I can't be like a Heron and simply flap my wings and go to another beautiful place...I've got to be where I am...the place I call home.

So far I've only accomplished the upstairs and have managed to dust, vacuum and straighten up things so at least I now feel comfortable using these rooms...after all this house is where we live and I like it to feel like a warm, cozy place with the various things within reach that define us...books or magazines in the process of being read, bits of unfinished creative pieces in my studio, a soft cushion or pillow in 'just the right position' for comfort, etc.  Generally I like my husband's and my spaces to look 'lived in' and 'welcoming...soft edged and casual...and relatively tidy and dust free!!!!


During the course of my cleaning binge I've also been thinking about the late Jack Layton.  I didn't know the man personally, nor did I think the way he did about a lot of things; however, I was, like many Canadians, duly impressed with him in the last election and what he was able to accomplish.  What has really left a mark on me though, is the letter he wrote to all Canadians.  He wrote if from the heart and soul of his very being as a human and as a Canadian that truly loved ALL Canadians.  In spite of what must have been for him a great deal of suffering over the past few months he still managed to look at his life as...a glass half full.  His goal seemed to be to try to fill that glass...and with the words he gave to Canadians before his death his glass WILL continue to fill because he will always be remembered, not just as a strong political figure but because he's given ALL Canadians the courage to live their lives to the fullest by suggesting they be 'loving, hopeful and optimistic".  What a great thing to leave us to think about.  Jack Layton was only a man, BUT he understood what so many forget to consider when they are feeling down and having a bad go of it!  

Usually there's light at the end of the tunnel, so what seems problematic at the moment is not necessarily 'the end' but rather 'the beginning' to the next phase of your life.  If you have to make a change, don't think of it as leaving something behind but rather as moving forward to something  ahead that's new and challenging. Don't look behind; look forward and step into the light with a positive attitude.  Do that and you'll be half way to gaining something worthwhile for your efforts.

"Is your glass half full or is it half empty?" is an old and often neglected phrase.  Everyone of us has been given a life to live and we much choose to look at the things that are thrown at us out of the blue as a challenge and as character building tools.  There are many things that will come our way that seem to be unsurmountable and certainly are if we look at them with a negative light...but think of the positive things (people, places, happenings, etc.) that have come your way and then push negative thinking to the back of your mind as you work through the bad and they will surely help you get back into believing that you can fill your glass a little bit more.

I'll end today by wishing you all well and hope that at the end of this day you will enjoy some calm and be able think of all the positive things that have helped fill your glass to the level it is right now.  You might want to pinch yourself, too...because we are all blessed with many good things, just take a few moments to remember what they are, then smile and be happy.


Sunday, 21 August 2011


Well, it’s been more than a week since I promised to make an entry to this blog.  Possibly I’ll be making a more realistic promise of making an entry at least once a month and occasionally bi-monthly depending on where I’m at with my thoughts and my art.

I apologize for the delay…but I’ve not ignored thoughts of this blog altogether.  I’ve been away at a friends cottage in a beautiful, sparcely inhabited part of Ontario where I was able to while away my time, when the sky was overcast and the rain was soaking the earth, to handwrite (didn’t want my computer with me) some notes and sketches.


During the sunny, clear days I kayaked, took photos and communed with nature and enjoyed my surroundings most thoroughly.  We Ontarians certainly have a lot to be thankful for…such glorious spaces we have if we look for them.  And the plans and animals, insects and birds that we have the privilege to enjoy are such a bonus.

  Now back to the purpose of this blog…to show some of my sculpture and paintings, etc. and give you an idea about my thought processes and reasons for doing the things I do.

Detail from a Double Bed sized quilt called The Flower Garden.
The design is original and each flower is multi-layered to give
the effect of real petals
I could go all the way back to when I first started creating serious art…my first hand appliquéd quilts, my paintings on wood, works in other mediums I've tried and the early stages of my stone carving…but I won’t go into the details.  What I will say is:  ‘I’ve done a lot of creative things over the years and I consider every thing I do to be ‘ a work in progress’.  Experimenting with mediums can be a fascinating journey.
Detail of Double Bed sized Fan Pattern Quilt
As an artist I believe in trial and error and going for the best you can do. 

While I’ve taken the odd course or workshop over the years I am a ‘self-taught” artist.  I’m this way for two reasons.

1)   I’m not a good student since I’m not crazy about being in a room with more than two or three people because I often feel intimidated and can’t work; and

2)   I prefer to tackle a medium in my own way and ‘bend it’ to make it work for me; then produce work that hasn’t been influenced by an instructors technique or subject matter or by trying to emulate what other students are doing or have done.

Obviously everyone needs help at some point, especially if you don’t understand a certain method of working with a medium or you get the dreaded ‘artist’s block’.  Then a workshop or a few hours with an artist that works in the same medium is hugely recommended.  It’s one of the best ways I know of getting ‘unstuck’,

American Goldfinch painted in acrylic on pine board

Another thing to do is gather two or three art friends, chose who’s house to meet in; then get together and ‘do art’ once a week.  I do and the three women I paint with have helped me get ‘unstuck’ a number of times and saved me from ‘shelving’ my paintings.  The four of us have had several shows together and those shows have motivated us to continue our art.  We don’t all use the same medium nor do we use the same subject matter so it’s fun for us to work together.  Also, we critique each others work honestly so we’re always working harder and keeping our work fresh.

We usually take a hiatus from the end of June until sometime in October so the four of us can do whatever we like to do during the course of the summer and fall.  I always look forward to the day that we are together again, surrounded by paint brushes, canvases, paper, etc. The first few weeks back we spend a lot of time catching up, showing photos of places we’ve been or people that have been part of our summer and generally getting inspired to set the mood for the winter months of painting and possibly planning a show.


I've shown here a sprinkling of some of the fun things I've done prior to carving in stone.  Some of the sculpture you'll see in the next few blogs dates back as far as the late 90’s when I first started to work with stone.  Painting in oil came later…around 2000.  Silver work is brand new…just started this year and I’m lovin’ it so plan on doing more workshops this winter.



Thursday, 11 August 2011



For some time now I have been thinking that I should have my own website.  

This weekend while I was at the annual Juniper Island Art Festival at Stony Lake, in Ontario, the thought again came to mind because a number of people asked me if I had a website.  My answer was no and unfortunately I didn't know where to take the conversation after that.  It seems that many more people use the internet for shopping and researching art than I truly believed.  Especially if they live in totally different geographical areas than the artist.

In making a decision about a website I asked my son, who is totally up-to-date in this regard and he suggested that I start a blog instead because it's better suited to the type of work I do and it's also appealing because people are curious and they enjoy things that they can see progressing on a regular basis.  Basically what he was saying is that nobody likes a stale website that may not be regularly updated; people would rather see and read things that are up front and current and blogs do that.  Also blogs allow you to receive feedback so you know if you're making an impression or not.  Feedback can be enlightening and it also means that nothing is 'dead-ended' because it means that the art or the subject matter at hand is allowing people to think...and be heard.  

After mulling this idea over in my head, I decided to gather my thoughts, come up with a name, design a header and jump right in.

If you have a bit of time I'd love for you to grab your refreshment of choice, sit back and enjoy (hopefully) reading about and seeing the sort of things that I love to create.   

I am an artist that grew up in Toronto and have been creating art for as long as I can remember.  Today I live in Peterborough and work with a number of mediums, all of which I enjoy for a variety of reasons.

My first love is STONE CARVING and during the course of the last 25 years or so I have been carving compositions in alabaster and soapstone.  I do all my carving outdoors during the warm months, generally from early May to late October if I'm lucky.  Since I live in Ontario and the winters are often long and cold I am unable to work at my stone carving; therefore, a number of years ago I began OIL PAINTING and now spend many winter days in my warm studio.

This past winter I began working in another medium...SILVER CASTING.  This new venture for me is most appealing because it is sculptural and I work the pieces in wax first then send them off to be cast in silver.  Carving, painting and jewellery making are all extremely satisfying and since all demand a different type of patience I am never bored or tired of creating...I always have a painting or carving in progress and I am forever allowing new ideas to float inside my head.  

Another creative outlet for me is WRITING.  Over the course of the past fifteen years I have written at least twelve stories that are suitable for children but can be read by adults to children or by older children to younger siblings.  Most of these stories were inspired by personal things that are meaningful to me and by my love of nature and animals.  Each story has  been illustrated by me.  None of my stories have been published; however, I do print them up for friends and family members and I know that they are cherished by those that have been given copies. 

Today I have taken the first step that I believe will be a fun and motivational walk for me.  I also hope it will be a creative and inspirational tool that will help me to continue to work in the mediums I love.  By sharing my work with you I want to gain your confidence of me as an artist but even more than that I want to inspire those who may be thinking along the same creative lines as I am but haven't taken the necessary steps to broaden their creativity.

I came up with the name KWONESHE CREATIONS simply because of my love of dragonflies.  Kwoneshe means 'dragonfly' in Ojibway.  I also decided on the name Kwoneshe because I have spent most of my life in the area of the Kawartha Lakes, specifically on Stony Lake, an area where the Indians have always believed that this calm and beautiful place has great healing powers, especially from the crystal veins that are found in the beautiful pink granite that is everywhere along the shorelines of the lakes and rivers.  Stony Lake has always been a calming influence for me so it only seemed right that I continue to link myself to it by using a beautiful, natural thing...the my chosen blog name. 

Thank you for allowing me to take some of your time today and please let me know what your thoughts are as I progress on this creative journey.  I will do my best to keep this blog up to date as much as possible...the very fact that I've done this bit today has given me creative incentive to do more in the next few days.  Tomorrow I 
hope to post some information and photographs of some of my work. 

Cheers and may every hour that you are awake be creative and productive and every hour that you sleep be filled with positive dreams and images.  Tomorrow will be another new canvas and the sky's the limit!