Tag Archives: Burlington

Official Launch of Arts and Culture Council of Burlington

ACCOB Launch
Official Launch of Arts & Culture Council of Burlington.

So much to tell, so little time before the official launch.

About last weekend …

I’d barely caught up on my sleep from the double event last Sat – temp Public Art installation at the Burlington Public Library, and live painting/art market/tea sampling at Be Yoga & Wellness – when I had to jump back into my volunteer work for ACCOB. And while I was preparing for all of that, I was also helping co-ordinate a show of my work at Buzz Restaurant in St. Lucia., AND have a family life.

So, right now, I’m trying to do follow up (more in a later blog post), as well as try to take some time for self-care. My eyes have been fuzzy lately, so I need to make a point of getting more sleep and spending less time on computer, then hopefully when I retake the eye tests in 2 weeks there will be better results.

Of course, I still have to do my taxes, and write an article – an athlete profile of a National Tumbler – for the Oakville Gymnastics Club Fast Track Newsletter. And there is the big family trip to St. Lucia to plan.

Meanwhile, there is a lovely hibiscus painting on the easel calling my name …

What was I writing about anyway?

ACCOB Launch

Ah yes, if you are in the Burlington area, we would love to see you at the official opening launch of the Arts & Culture Council of Burlington on April 18th.

I have been going to meetings that have led to this outcome, for almost 5 years! There have been many ups and downs, and I’m happy to have met so many great people in the local Arts Community throughout this process. I am proud to be on the board of directors, having served first on the External Body Sub-Committee of the Cultural Action Plan Implementation Committee. 

And I am also Membership Chair, so I’ve been setting up the system to receive new members, and have been reaching out to local businesses who will be offering discounts to ACCOB members. It’s just a start, but it has taken a lot of work to get here.

I look forward to being part of ACCOB as it continues to grow into its potential.











Art installation, art market and tea sampling

Be Yoga art opening
Live painting, art market & tea sampling  

I have 2 events happening in Burlington this Sat. So it’s going to be a busy day. First I’ll be setting up an art installation at Burlington Central Library on New Street, then I’ll be heading to Be Yoga and Wellness at Fairview & Walkers.

There I will be setting up a table with small paintings (some never been shown before) & greeting cards, and fellow artist Heather Horton will be painting live. Both of us have art on display on the walls of Be Yoga as part of an on-going display (we switch out the paintings now and then).

Also, looking forward to the tea sampling, and meeting Katie from The Monarch Tea Co.

Art Installation

Then at 1pm I’ll pack up and head back to the library. I hope to be there from 1:30-4pm for the rest of the Lost in Books event. Then it’ll be time to pack up.

art installation
Lost in Books, art installation event.

I hope you will get a chance to see my installation, called Night Garden … you’ll have to use a flashlight, to see my paintings on the stage. It’s quite an interesting effect, best experienced in person.




Ontario apples, live painting at Culture Days

Ontario apples
Ontario apples, 20″x16″, acrylic on canvas, © 2016 Donna Grandin. $600.

Ontario Apples

Recently I went to Frootogo Farm in Waterdown to pick fresh Ontario apples. It has become a family tradition ever since we had kids, to visit a nearby farm in the fall. There is just something so cute about photographing toddlers surrounded by bright orange pumpkins bigger than they are! And it is a great way to visually mark time, as the kids in the photos get bigger each year.

Springridge and Frootogo are the two local farms that we have been to most often, but for apple picking we have to go to the latter. And that is where I got the reference photos for this painting.

live painting
Donna Grandin painting live at Culture Days 2016 in Civic Square, in front of Burlington City Hall.

Culture Days

I participated in Culture Days Burlington on Oct 1st, 2016, in Civic Square which is just in front of the Burlington City Hall. This year I was one of the artists selected to perform for an honorarium. I was not part of the Art Market, in that I did not have items for sale, but instead I painted live.

This photo shows the painting in progress, near the end of the event. I painted for 3 hours, my hope was that I would have it finished in time to do a silent auction, and that I would donate the proceeds to the Arts and Culture Council of Burlington, but I was still painting when some of the artists were packing away their booths.

I am happy with how much I got done in that short time, but instead of leaving it as a study, I decided to refine and complete it in my studio over the next week.

Live Painting

Painting with a live audience is not as scary as you might expect it to be, because quite frankly the nature of painting on a deadline is that you have to be in the moment as you focus on the immediate painting decisions. When people come up and talk to you, or there is live music and hustle and bustle around you,  it all adds to the vibe – the energy that you absorb unconsciously,  and then reflect in the art.

When you paint intuitively, you slip into a creative zone, and that crowds out any self-doubt about whether you will be able to pull off a good painting. Or worries that people will be seeing your painting as it goes through the inevitable ugly stages. In fact, people generally come up to you with positive things to say.

Every time I am hired to paint live, it is a memorable event for me, and for the audience who gets to see my painting process in person. So far, the feedback has been very positive, so I look forward to doing it again!

This painting will be on display in studio #7 during the Art in Action Burlington Studio Tour Nov 5 &6, 10-5pm, unless you e-mail me at donna@bluerootsartstudio.com beforehand to reserve it.



Group art exhibition – Be Yoga, Burlington

group art exhibition
Be Yoga & Wellness, Burlington, ON. 4031 Fairview St.

Group Art Exhibition

Recently I was invited by Oakville artist Derik Hawley to display some of my paintings in a group art exhibition at Be Yoga & Wellness in Burlington. I thought it was a great idea, especially when I realized it was at Fairview & Walker’s Line, only a 4min drive from my house!

The nature of the space & format of the show, gave me the opportunity to exhibit a wide variety of subjects – florals, peacock feather-inspired abstracts, and some never-before exhibited experimental abstracts.

abstract art
Abstract painting by Donna Grandin, Be Yoga & Wellness, Burlington, ON

Abstract Art

The painting above – Enduring, 30″x60″ –  was the first thing I painted for 2016, an experiment in abstraction. It sat in a corner of my studio (waiting for me to figure out what to do with it) until I jumped on this chance to show it. As it turns out, I’ve been told by the manager that it is the piece that gets the most comments & compliments!

There is also another abstract painting of mine in the same room, but I’ll leave it for you to discover on your own. It has been hanging in my house since I painted it in 2012, the result of a long, cathartic painting session. Again, although it is an interesting painting, it did not fit into my regular body of work, so I kept it to myself. However, I could not get over the co-incidence that the only text in the painting is “Be” (the title of the painting is “Just be”), and the name of the yoga studio is Be Yoga! So I brought it along on a whim, and it turned out to be a good call.


group art exhibition
Acrylic paintings by Donna Grandin, now available at Be Yoga & Wellness in Burlington

The other Artists

Derik is showing some of his lovely digital images in a variety of sizes.  I think they mostly start out as photographs he has taken, but then he manipulates them through computer programs, and the resulting abstract images are mesmerizing. They remind me of stained glass, and kaleidoscopes.

There are also some beautiful black & white images from Oakville photographer Bill Smith. And I saw a wonderful painting of a swimmer in a pool – with an emphasis on light creating patterns on the water- that artist Heather Horton dropped off, it’s probably hanging by now.


I’d like to thank Be Yoga & Wellness for showing local art, and manager Kelly Foster and artist Derik Hawley for inviting me to be a part of this ongoing group art exhibition.

If you’re in the area, please drop in during regular open hours and take a look! The address is 4031 Fairview St.,  Unit 103.

All art is available – see labels for details, and purchases may be made through the front desk.


Rose Mallow Hibiscus – new painting

rose mallow
Rose Mallow Hibiscus, 20″x16″, acrylic on canvas, © 2016 Donna Grandin. $600.

Rose Mallow Hibiscus is another Spring Flower painting. It is nice to paint local Ontario flowers in season, even though my main interest is in Tropical foliage & flowers.

Before the Grand Opening, I made a couple trips to the new Rock Garden at the RBG in Burlington, to gather inspiration for the main event, where I painted live.

The first day I went, I paid for the guided tour, and then went around with my camera, trying to zero in on a subject for my painting. One plant I thought was interesting, was the Rose Mallow Hibiscus – mainly because from a distance (before reading the name) I thought the flowers looked like pink marshmallows on skewers!

Also, I’ve painted many hibiscus flowers before, but never would have guessed this was a hibiscus, though I do see the resemblance to Rose of Sharon flowers, and I know they are also in the hibiscus family.

Anyway, I started this painting some time ago, holding it as a back-up in case my painting for the big event didn’t work out. As it turned out, by the time I went to the Rock Garden for Luna, the flowers had dried up and most of them had faded away or fallen already. Thankfully, it did not matter, as I ended up doing a plein air painting for Luna.

I think this painting probably ended up quite whimsical because I was envisioning an magical evening in an enchanted garden. There is no underestimating the power of suggestion, in art – this is where we get to go beyond photography (or at least my level of photography), and just play with our own interpretations.

If you are interested in “Rose Mallow Hibiscus”, e-mail me, otherwise, I will exhibit it in Art in the Park Oakville, Aug 1st.


An eventful, art-filled Sunday

My neighbour came over Sunday night to bring me a clipping from the Burlington Post. Here is  the online version of the article, the photograph is different, it only shows  2 of the 4 panels I painted.

In the News

Burlington artists’ murals showcased in city-wide project

Burlington Post

The work of six local artists is being installed across the city as Burlington expands its public art inventory.

For more information on the city’s public art initiatives, visit: http://burlingtonpublicart.com/projects/burlington-mural-project/

Read the full article here.

It’s a teaser for the main launch put on by the City of Burlington, which I hear could be on December 1st.  I am looking forward to seeing the 5 other murals.

The theme for mine is “Active Living in Burlington”. Once the murals have been revealed at the launch event, I will post proper photos of each panel. Of course, if you happen to be walking your dog in Ireland Park, you can stand in front of the actual thing because it was installed a few weeks ago.

I am grateful to have been part of this project. This is only my second mural – the other one was for the City of Toronto – and I learn so much with each one. Although I am a fine art painter, I think it is important for an artist to always be learning, and growing.

Also on Sunday …

That is why I went to an Ontario Arts Council Artists in Education Seminar Sunday morning, where we got to be on a mock jury & get insight into how applications are judged.

A bonus was getting to reconnect with a classmate from art school that I hadn’t seen in 18 years! And maybe I will be exhibiting at the  arts organization she is affiliated with, later next year.

Another bonus was that the seminar was held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and we were given free entrance to view the art after the seminar.

So I wandered through the gallery with another artist friend, while we discussed the best strategies for a future visit with our sons. They will love the Bruegel-Bosch Bus by Kim Adams.

“Flowers ‘n Fruit”

And speaking of my sons, last night was the first time I enlisted the help of my 13 year old in hanging a show.

Hanging "Flowers 'n fruit" at Whole Foods Market, Oakville
Hanging “Flowers ‘n fruit” at Whole Foods Market, Oakville

Curator of Allegro Cafe Gallery, at Whole Foods Market in Oakville, Dawn-Angela Seeley, of course played a bigger part.

However, it was great to have my own assistant … who gets paid in brownies!

The Meet the Artist Reception for “Flowers ‘n Fruit” is November 29th, 5-7pm. Whole Foods Market, 301 Cornwall Road, Oakville. The exhibition will be up till January 24th.



Burlington Mural Project

First Dibond panel being prepared for painting of Ireland Park Mural
First Dibond panel being prepared for painting of Ireland Park Mural

Here is a sneak peek into my studio six weeks ago as I began preparing the first of 4 panels that I will be painting for a mural project I have hinted at but not officially announced yet.

About a week ago a friend let me know that the Mayor of Burlington, Rick Goldring, had shared details about the Burlington Mural Project on Facebook.

The original posting was from the Burlington Public Art website:

Burlington Mural Project

The City of Burlington, through its Public Art Program, has announced six local artists who have been selected for the 2015 Burlington Mural Project.

“This new public art program was designed to tell local stories using local artists,” said Angela Paparizo, manager of arts and culture. “The annual program will commission small to medium-scale murals throughout the city.  These commissions are open exclusively to Burlington, Ont., artists. Free professional development opportunities will be offered to assist artists with the application process and project development each year.”

Artist Selection

A community jury of residents and artists representing each ward reviewed the proposals and selected the following artists:

  • Judy Mayer-Grieve:  King Road Underpass, Ward 1
  • Claire Hall:  Freeman Station, Ward 2
  • Teresa Seaton:  Amherst Park, Ward 3
  • Hannah Sell and Liam Racine:  Port Nelson Park, Ward 4
  • Tamara Kwapich:  Orchard Community Park, Ward 5
  • Donna Grandin:  Ireland Park, Ward 6

Ward 1:  King Road Underpass
Judy Mayer-Grieve
Judy Mayer-Grieve is an honours graduate of OCAD University, Toronto, Ont., and a graduate of The Art Centre, Toronto, Ont.  She has more than 20 years of experience in advertising as a graphic designer and illustrator for National and International clients and is a past instructor in the Art and New Media Department of Fanshawe College.

Ward 2:  Freeman Station
Claire Hall
Claire Hall creates custom art for various clients including hotel lobbies, condo corporations, corporate offices, and private collectors.  Her artwork has been featured on several episodes of Property Brothers and Buying and Selling.  Prints of her artwork can now be purchased at Winners, Home Sense and Marshall’s.

Ward 3:  Amherst Park
Teresa Seaton
Teresa Seaton is one of Canada’s most notable emerging fine art stained glass artists. Teresa holds a degree in Graphic Design from Sheridan College, a BA of Fine Arts from York University and has received specialized training in stained glass.

Ward 4:  Port Nelson
Hannah Sell and Liam Racine
As a collaborative artist team, Hannah Sell and Liam Racine explore art in ways neither would traditionally do as an individual artist.  Sell is a resident of Burlington, Ont., and graduated from Central High School.  She attended Mohawk College for the Art and Design Foundation program and is heading to George Brown College in September for the Fashion Design and Techniques program. Racine is from Chapeau, Que., and is now a resident of Burlington, Ont., since attending Mohawk College’s Art and Design Foundation program.  Racine is attending the Fine Arts program at Centennial College.

Ward 5:  Orchard Community Park
Tamara Kwapich
Tamara Kwapich was born and lives in Burlington, Ont. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a BA in Fine Art and a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Kwapich has been a practising artist in Burlington for many years.  She works primarily in acrylic paint and mediums on large canvases, walls and ceilings.

Ward 6:  Ireland Park
Donna Grandin
Donna Grandin is a professional fine artist from St. Lucia. She graduated with a BA in Art from McMaster University in 1997 and moved to Burlington with her husband the following year. Her art is regularly exhibited in Ontario, St. Lucia and the Barbados.  In 2013, Grandin was invited to exhibit in the 152nd annual Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France. In the last few years, Donna has been involved with the annual Art in Action Burlington Studio Tour, and the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington.

Community Consultation

In February 2015, residents were invited to submit mural locations and story ideas through online surveys and in-person at the Lowville Winter Games. Residents provided a total of 333 location suggestions, with 114 of those being unique locations. Locations that were not selected in year one will be used in later years of the program


I will of course be sharing images etc. with you soon, but for now I have to get back to painting!


Culture Days Burlington 2015

Culture Days, Sept 26-28

This weekend we celebrate the annual Culture Days across Canada, and I will be doing my part in Burlington, ON.

On Saturday I will be setting up my tent to display my art in Civic Square (426 Brant St.)  – in front of Burlington City Hall –  from 11-4pm.

Burlington Student Theatre will be creating a “Burlywood” atmosphere with theatre, music, dance, film and photography. It should be a fun time.

I will also be working on a collaborative painting – inviting any and everyone to express themselves with a few brushstrokes – and at the end of the day I will do a draw, and the lucky winner will get to take home the painting!

As a Culture Days participant I am required to provide an “activity” at each event, not just a display/sale.

“Founded in 2009, Culture Days is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a national network of cultural connections devoted to providing Canadians with opportunities to participate in, and appreciate, all forms of arts and culture. Through an annual three-day national celebration each September, hundreds of thousands of artists and cultural organizations in hundreds of cities and towns come together and invite Canadians to participate in free interactive and “behind the scenes” activities to discover their cultural spirit and passion”.  

So, my activity for Sat is listed on the Culture Days website here.

On Sunday, I will be in the lobby of the Burlington Performing Arts Center (440 Locust St.), from 1-4pm, as part of the Celebrate Burlington: Artist Showcase.

“Local artists and artisans will demonstrate skills, showcase their latest work, and offer interactive activities. A celebration of the city’s Mundialization partners, Citizen Committees, artistic guilds, musicians, photographers, fine artists, and new media artists.” Culture Days Burlington brochure

I will have a small display of my available paintings, and paper and pencil crayons for anyone who wants to practice drawing peacock feathers with me.  See my event on the Culture Days website.

Flow, 24″x30″, acrylic on canvas, ©2015 Donna Grandin. $1200. Started live in front of Burlington City Hall at Culture Days kickoff event in Sept 2014.

Last year I had a fantastic time at the Culture Days event in front of Burlington City Hall, where our Mayor Rick Goldring helped kickoff the celebration with a clip of Burlington artists talking about Arts and Culture in Burlington – in which I was happy to have a 2 second cameo. That day I painted to live music, shared my art with the public, and enjoyed a celebration of the local arts scene.

This year, there will be a lot of different arts professionals/organizations etc, but I think it will be equally exciting, so if you’re in the area, please come on out!


Car Free Street Festival on Appleby

Snippit from new postcard
Snippet from new postcard in the works!

Car Free Sunday Street Festival on Appleby Line

Sunday May 31st, 2015


Appleby Line (between Fairview and New St.),  Burlington, ON

“The City of Burlington is working with the community to promote safe, active and healthy lifestyles in Burlington. A Car Free Street Festival brings families and neighbourhoods together, helps streets come alive with activity, and promotes physical activity for people of all abilities.

The Wards 4/5 Car Free Street Festival began with a vision to bring the community together – both residents and area businesses alike – creating an open street for the community to gather, whether to walk, stroll, bicycle and participate in activities, a marketplace, and demonstrations.”


Next weekend, I will be one of 80 local vendors participating in the
Car Free Street Festival.

I’ve generally stayed clear of exhibiting outdoors in the past, in fear of having my art out in bad weather.

However in my volunteer work with the City of Burlington on the implementation of the Cultural Action Plan – with the vision of a vibrant community with a Cultural Department, an Arts Council, a healthy appreciation of the arts and thriving artists -I feel obliged to get involved.

I realized that as an Independent Fine Artist I cannot complain about how hard it is to gain visibility in our city (beyond the Art Gallery of Burlington where I already have art available through Arts Etc. Gallery Shop & Art Rental) – the common complaint being that we live in a sleeper community and potential collectors turn to bigger cities nearby, unaware of quality art available locally – if I don’t take advantage of the opportunities the City is creating.

That is why I painted on location in front of City Hall during Culture Days last September, and why I will be doing another acrylic painting demonstration in the Burlington Performing Art Center on September 27 for Culture Days this year.

And that’s why I’m planning to buy a good WATERPROOF tent!

Oh, and did I mention I was juried into Art in the Park Oakville, Aug 3? So, yes … it looks like the tide is turning, and pretty soon I won’t be be fearful of exhibiting outdoors, I’ll have my very own war stories, I mean experiences to draw upon!

It does seem to be a rite of passage for a Canadian Artist, and although a big part of my art practice is my tropical imagery, and I do have St. Lucian and Barbadian galleries carrying my Caribbean-inspired art, I am finally ready for a soft-launch of my new abstract series of peacock feather inspired acrylic paintings which reflect the part of me that straddles cultures and locations.

So, if you are in the area … come by next Sunday, I look forward to your feedback!


Springpop Collage

Springpop flyer

No Vacancy is putting on a pop up art market at

408 John Street, Burlington Ontario

this weekend, and I’m happy to be included in the line-up of local artists and artisans.

I’ve selected a number of my smaller paintings that go with the Spring theme, as you can see in the collage above (individual images not shown correct to scale).

There will also be a variety of greeting cards – reproductions of my original acrylic paintings.

“Our curated contemporary pop-up art market features work from exciting artists, and makers within a 50KM radius of Burlington. A portion of proceeds go towards funding a large FREE public art event in downtown Burlington on September 18th called Supernova

We are only here for one weekend so you don’t want to miss us:

Friday April 17th: 6PM-9PM
Saturday April 18th: 10AM-6PM
Sunday April 19th: 12PM-5PM”

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