Tag Archives: bee

Fresh new painting for Spring!

Fast food workers, 8"x8", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold
Fast food workers, 8″x8″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Commission.

On the calender at least, it is Spring … outside, not so much (piles of snow & leaf-less trees). Still, I realize now I have been preparing for the change, when we shake off the snow & salt and make a fresh start, unencumbered by heavy winter coats and boots.

Truly, I have been going full steam ahead for so long that no sooner do I get through one deadline, do I set another because the feeling of racing even an impossible deadline is so much more comfortable than the overwhelm that envelopes me when there isn’t something taking obvious precedence over everything else.

In our digitally connected world, and with the “supermom” expectations  of our culture – not to mention my own perfectionist tendencies – I am often driven by the need to always be doing something productive. Do not get me wrong … I am not above occasionally spending the entire Saturday watching Netflicks in my PJ’s and only getting up to feed our family of plugged in Zombies every couple of hours. However, this is usually the day after a big event, when I’m completely wiped out.

When the guilt has built up to a breaking point – usually it’s my youngest jumping into our bed to ask for food AGAIN, or showing us some great craft or experiment he did (often inspired by a youtube video) – I finally drag myself out. Typically I make a meal for all of us, clean the kitchen, throw some laundry in, delegate a few chores, and try to tame the growing pile of paperwork that has hitched a ride in by way of the kids’ schoolbags. After this whirlwind of domestic bliss, we sometimes fall back into our beds, and plug ourselves into the grid again.

The next morning though, I wake up with resolve, I make plans, pull focus, go out to do errands, get stuff done, maybe start a painting. It’s business as usual.

And that’s what Spring is like.

March break was perfect this year. I needed it desperately, I was burning the candle at both ends. So I announced on Facebook that I was taking a week-long hiatus from social media, and for the most part I pulled it off. I did not stop working, but I took off entire days to go on day trips with my family. I lived in the moment. And I found out that “quality time” 24-7 is exhausting for kids too, so while they did their own thing, I got some work in. Of course I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do that week, but I did gain some valuable insight.

In fact, none of it is completely new, but I had lost sight of some of these truths – like how much we can learn looking through the eyes of a child, or how much positive energy can come from having a great conversation, spending the day with a friend, or an outing in a new environment. Trying something new.

I had forgotten that BUZZ of inspiration, which is not always there even when you engaged in creative work. And I had not realized how that feeling, that high of happiness and possibility can open you up to a flood of creative ideas. AND it translates into all parts of your life. Wow.

I have already been having a great year, since I shook off an old mindset and accompanying beliefs that were holding me back. But now, I feel energized – not every minute of the day – but in general, my optimism has returned.

So as I look forward, I see a handful of paths I can take, and instead of worrying that I might take the wrong one, I realize I have the desire and the energy to do them all.

I will try not to give you whiplash, but this is fair warning, as we move forward into a new season – I am going to be a busy bee.  My path may seem a little erratic – but hopefully it will result in a great big pot of honey!

Then again, first I have to do my taxes …!!!


Oh, and I don’t know how long this link will be active, but Thanks to the St. Lucia Consulate in Toronto for re-posting my last blog post!












Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 26

red sunflower
Always wanting more, 8″x8″, acrylic on canvas, © 2013 Donna Grandin. Framed. SOLD

These red sunflowers and the metallic green bee (agapostemon) exemplify the beautiful colour variations in Nature. We’re so used to seeing yellow sunflowers and yellow and black bees, it feels like we’re witnessing something special when we come across less common colours.

I photographed these at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, near the tea house in the Hendrie gardens. Come to think of it, I’ve also painted lily pads in the pond a few steps away, roses that surround the pond, and tulips and magnolias from the Rock garden.

The first time I saw green bees was a few summers ago in my own garden. I had been painting all morning, stopped to make lunch, saw how beautiful the weather was & decided to eat outside. I walked over to where we were trying to start a flower bed and sat on the edge of the retaining wall, right next to the dahlias so that I could study them. All of a sudden I saw something that looked like a bee, but it was metallic green! I wondered what sort of insect it could be, so I took some photos and looked it up on the internet. Apparently Agapostemon bees are sweat bees, and they burrow in the ground.

Anyway, I’m posting this painting which I did last year because I’ve been doing some more complicated/time-consuming paintings and have been falling behind with the 30 in 30 challenge. “Always wanting more” was done for a group exhibition of 8″x8″ paintings, and it has a simple, black floater frame on it.




Daily Painting challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 5

Fast food, 8"x8", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold
Fast food, 8″x8″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

Choosing what to paint next is starting to get difficult, but not because I don’t have lots of ideas I’d like to try out. There are sooo many things I could paint – from life or photos, or even just a concept, but it can take a while to find a subject I can connect to at that very moment. The other ideas that come up may eventually get painted, but for now they just don’t have that spark that excites/motivates me, even though they could well make a great painting. I guess I’m more concerned right now with personal development, than painting something I think people might want to buy (shh, don’t tell my husband)! I’m enjoying journalling here even though I don’t have a clue if anyone’s actually reading this.

With this painting I retreated back to my comfort zone … plant life/landscape, but it’s still new territory. I’ve never painted this type of plant before, I’m ashamed to say I don’t even know what it’s called. That surprises some people, they think somehow I should be an encyclopedia on the plants I paint, but really I’m just in it for the eye candy. The shapes & colours & patterns that light creates when it falls on or through the leaves and petals. That, and the connection to Nature, that feeling you get when you’re alone in a wooded area or garden and you can breathe deeper, think clearer.

If you can just be in the moment, push aside thoughts of to do lists and listen … you’ll hear the sound of your own inner voice. And in my life, that’s reason enough to choose to paint Nature, to have to go outside to seek inspiration, to gather reference material. I have to admit, I do wish I wasn’t doing this challenge in the middle of winter, because it would be fun to paint outside. I think I will carry on after the 30 days, and maybe I will devote one day a week to painting something small.

I would never give up my large paintings though, there is something cathartic about throwing your whole body into it, and many of my fans/collectors say it’s the big works they love. However, as an artist it can be useful to try out ideas on a much smaller scale. I’ve never been a doodler, my sketchbooks turn into journals, and  I am more of an alla prima painter, thinking through the paint, so the ritual of daily paintings has always appealed to me. Taking it the next step and putting it out there on the internet – instead of just a censored collection of my best work – takes some courage.

Miniature Show, 337 Sketch Gallery, Hamilton

The following is a post that I’ve brought over from my original blog where I wrote about exhibitions, career highlights etc. in the 3rd person.

Opening night of Miniature Show, 337 Sketch Gallery in Hamilton, Fri Oct 25th, 2011.

Almost 130 miniature paintings are on display in the gallery, located at 337 Ottawa St. N, Hamilton, ON. The show has been extended till Nov 13th, regular gallery hours are 11-6pm Thurs-Sun, but it will be open a little later on Fri Nov 11th because the Art Bus will be making a stop there as part of the Art Crawl.

Fireworks, 4"x5", acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2011. Sold
Fireworks, 4″x5″, acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2011. Sold
Friendship. 4"x5", acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2011. Sold
Friendship. 4″x5″, acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2011. Sold
Frenzy, 4"x5", acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2011. Sold
Frenzy, 4″x5″, acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2011. Sold

The trio of 4″x5″ miniatures I painted for this exhibition were inspired by photos I took of some bees buzzing around a patch of flowers outside a store in Midland Ontario this summer. That night while I sat on the couch at my friend’s cottage, sorting through the pics on my laptop, zooming in and cropping the centers of the flowers where the bees were doing their thing … an amazing and unexpected fireworks display began on the other side of the lake. So “Fireworks” was my way of commemorating that wonderful weekend retreat with my fellow artist. And the other paintings just fell in to place.

For more info on the show, and the gallery, take a look at the FB page: 337 Sketch Gallery.

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