Tag Archives: exhibition

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.



Art in the Workplace

Flyer for Art in the Workplace, McMaster Innovation Park

If you live in Hamilton & surrounding area, then come join me at the wine & cheese art opening tomorrow night at McMaster Innovation Park!

This is the 17th juried exhibition put on by MIP, and several of the artists I know have participated before, and they’ve encouraged me to enter. So, I did, and I’m excited to see the following 2 paintings on display tomorrow, along with a great selection of art by a variety of local artists.

lily pads
Pond Life, 30″x40″, acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2013. $1800.


lily pads, water lilies
Water lily daydream, 16″x20″, acrylic on canvas, © Donna Grandin, 2013. SOLD

If you’d like some fresh art to enliven your home, or workplace for Spring … come take a look at the selection available!

I also have another painting done at the same time (see below), but it is in my studio, so if you’re interested, e-mail donna@bluerootsartstudio.com.

water lilies & lily pads
Water lily drama, 16″x20″, acrylic on canvas, © 2013 Donna Grandin. $700.

Other Exhibitions:

St. Lucia – the National Arts Festival Visual Arts Exhibition at Blue Coral Mall continues till April 4th

Hamilton – 8 Square, 337 Sketch Gallery, 337 Ottawa St. N, Opens April 10th 7-9pm, continues till May 2. Group exhibition, all works 8″x8″ and $300.

Burlington, ON –  SpringPop, a pop-up art market organized by No Vacency. That will be April 17-19.


Art in Action – Burlington studio tour

Donna Grandin with her paintings during Art in Action Burlington studio tour 2014
Donna Grandin with her paintings during Art in Action Burlington studio tour 2014

This year my studio was on the Art in Action Burlington Studio Tour for the 3rd time. It was nice to see both new and familiar faces, and to have some great art conversations.

Thanks to those of you who came from near and far – especially my supporters from Toronto,  Whitby, Hamilton & Caledonia!

Saturday morning was grey and windy … with the first snowfall of the season! So, we had fewer visitors than last year, which was a pity.

However, the first reports coming in are that sales were about the same as last year, so I guess a little snow and rain didn’t deter those who really enjoy visiting local artists in their studios and shopping for unique, hand-made items.

Some of Donna’s newest paintings

The blue peacock-inspired painting on the top right was painted to live music during the Culture Days event in front of Burlington City Hall.

It was very difficult to photograph (shiny), so I had a professional photographer do it. Then I had technical issues with my laptop and had to go without it for a few weeks, but I still plan on doing a blog post about the Culture Days event later this month.

Some art from the “30 paintings in 30 days Challenge” that Donna did in Jan and Sept this year.

A few of these little daily paintings sold during the tour, others are going to a new store opening later this month in St. Lucia. More details to come.

Catching up with fellow artists


Lois Shaw and her still-life oil paintings

Lois Shaw’s realistic still-lifes were very popular on the tour, as were her necklaces with slumped glass pendents. Unfortunately, Louise Young, the jeweller who was supposed to be the other guest artist in my studio, had to cancel. However Lois and I had more than enough paintings to fill the space.

The rose painting above the doors was on my easel during last year’s tour. It’s 48″ x 48″, and so far it’s only been out of my studio for the Culture Days event.




Thanks to Teresa Seaton & all the other Art in Action members who each contribute to making this event go smoothly each year.

Some people came alone, some in pairs & others by the carload – or in this case a convoy of 3 cars!


My cousin Patrice and her daughters came to show their support. And pick up some more of my blank art cards.


Ursuline & her friends came in from Toronto. Here she is putting her Christmas contest entry into the box.

I decided I’m going to do a draw for a dragonfly painting (“Watching”), on Christmas day.

There were entry forms available on the studio tour, for those who subscribed to my Blue Roots Art Studio Mailing List.

Look out for other opportunities for you to enter the Christmas contest, through social media.

There are refreshments at each of the studios, usually I make hot apple cider.

There is still time to pick up something special for under the tree, just take a look at the paintings still available, and send me an e-mail to arrange pick-up/delivery.

Glitz & glam at the Gala –

My display in the front foyer of The Brighton in Toronto on Mar 1, 2014

Last year I attended SLTA’s annual St. Lucia Anniversary Independence Gala with my family, and enjoyed the food, the speeches, the St. Lucian arts showcased, the dancing and the socializing. This year, I was invited to display my paintings in the foyer, so it was a very different experience as I spent most of the evening next to my work. However, it was still a great night & I’d like to share some of my highlights with you.

flyer for the Gala
flyer for the Gala


Ursuline & Ross with my acrylic painting “In the shade”

I first met Ursuline at the Gala in 2000, it’s one of those “it’s a small world after all” experiences.

It all started when I received a call from Laura at the St. Lucia consulate in Toronto, she had seen my work somewhere and invited me to her office in Toronto to show her my portfolio. She ended up buying 2 paintings, commissioning 3 more, and introduced me to Heather, at the St. Lucia Tourist Board in Toronto who then invited me to have a week-long exhibit in the rotunda at Toronto City Hall.

I mention Laura, because I met her at the Gala on Saturday – I haven’t seen her in over a decade as we both traveled and raised kids etc. I think it’s interesting though that both ladies have been on my mailing list since I started putting one together.

Laura was only a couple years older than me, but her investment in me & my art was significant because it showed me that I had something of value to share with the world. Of course any income made was re-invested in my business, and a big chunk of it went towards my Best easel. I’d read somewhere that an easel like that is an everyday reminder to yourself and the world that you are a professional artist and you take your career seriously. I still take great pleasure in knowing that I earned it with my art.

Anyway, one day when I was in City Hall sitting the exhibition, I found out I was invited to a Gala that night. So at the end of the day, I walked over to the mall & bought some slightly fancier clothes – funnily enough it was a white top and black pants, so I guess my dress-sense or lack of it hasn’t changed. Then Laura, Heather, the Consulate General of St. Lucia in Toronto at the time (who was driving) and his wife, picked me up & took me to the Gala. It was a whirlwind, but I do remember being asked to say a few words, and standing up in front the crowd and winging it. Those are the best speeches though, the adrenaline rushing, you speak with passion and you’re a breath of fresh air in between all the dry political speeches (no offense to any politician who may be reading this).

Afterwards, I met a lot of people, but Ursuline stands out in my memory for two reasons. One was she introduced herself as a friend of my Mom’s – either she or one of her sisters was my mother’s classmate in St. Lucia. And the other was that she commissioned a painting. I was experimenting with madras fabric patterns in my work and the painting I did for her was of a banana tree framed with the madras fabric pattern.

Normally I don’t talk about collectors, because I figure they’d prefer their privacy, but in this case I’m writing about these women because I know they won’t mind, and because I want to acknowledge their support. Ursuline is now the proud owner of the first painting by a St. Lucian artist exhibited in the annual international exhibition of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts at the Louvre in Paris, France in 152 years.

Foyer of The Brighton, where the St. Lucia 35th Anniversary Independence Gala was held

I was too busy to take photos during the cocktail hour when this foyer was jam packed with people in their formal wear, but it was never completely dead, and it was during one of those quieter moments when I was able to have a conversation with Gerald Paul from the Caribbean Camera. I don’t know if anything will come of the interview, but I did really appreciate the opportunity to talk about art in a deeper way than I would have been able to  otherwise.

Meanwhile outside, the snow kept falling!
Meanwhile outside, the snow kept falling!

As if to remind us that we’re not in the land of hibiscus and tropical sea breezes, the snow did not let up, making the packing up and the drive home a little tricky.

Rocking St. Lucia’s National Costume
Consulate General of St. Lucia in Toronto, Michael Willius with St. Lucia’s Minister of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, Hon. Alvina Reynolds

I see Michael Pinball Clemons now on the left of this photo, but I didn’t notice him when I was there. I heard his speech was good. The funny thing about hanging out in the foyer was that during the quieter moments, I had a chance to meet a few people one-on-one & it wasn’t until I got a look at the program later that I realized they were giving speeches and receiving awards that night eg. Che Emmanuel with his knapsack project.

And given the fact that the only other women in pants there were the servers, it’s not surprising that the guy who I thought was a Canadian investor and turned out to be a Toronto Mayoral candidate (John Tory), thought I worked there! Note to self for next year – lose 50lbs, buy fancy dress, hire someone to sit with my paintings so I can go inside & party!

Presenting "In good company" to Pres. of SLTA, Ross Cadastre-Cadasse, on behalf of Lisa Banks
Presenting “In good company” to Pres. of SLTA, Ross Cadastre-Cadasse, on behalf of Lisa Banks

I donated a painting as a prize for the raffle to raise funds for disaster relief efforts in St. Lucia. I was moved by the images circulating on Facebook after the 2013 Christmas Eve flooding in St. Lucia, people stranded in town overnight, property damaged and lives lost … so when SLTA president, Ross asked if I would donate a painting, I thought it would be a good idea. The winner, Lisa Banks, was not present, and so Ross accepted on her behalf since they work together. I’m not sure how much was raised yet, but hopefully it was significant.

Thank you to the St. Lucia Toronto Association for inviting me to display my art at the Gala. Thank you to chef Victoria Alexander of Ti Kay La Foods and guest performer Felix “Tricky” Fontenelle for making sure I had dinner. A big thank you to Ursuline and Ross for investing in my art and making my night! And of course, thanks to my family for putting up with the quirks of my artistic life … like coming in at 4am from an event in Toronto.













The Art in Action Burlington studio tour through my eyes!

This weekend will be two weeks since the studio tour, and I’m surprised to say that life is just as busy as it was before. I was looking forward to taking a breather after, but if it’s not one project it’s another, and the trip to Paris is coming up FAST!

My studio set up for Art in Action Studio Tour

Here is a short (41 sec) Video of my art on display for the tour. If you want more details on individual paintings, you can find them on my website.

I had a wide selection of paintings this year, now I have to decide which paintings to send where…. some to the galleries in the Caribbean, some to local group exhibitions – like the Burlington Art Center’s Annual Art Auction in February.

Here is a behind the scenes photo taken when much of the studio debris was already cleared out. I simplify so that the attention is on the artwork, but if you want to know what it’s like during the rest of the year, just make an appointment … I’ll need time to clean the floors, because that’s the first thing I let go to make time for painting AND family life.

Preparing for the studio tour

The last couple weeks before the tour involves lots of preparation – ideally I’ve completed all painting for the show by then, so any artwork I do in that time is not done under pressure.

This photo indicates a fraction of that prep – varnishing paintings, framing small works, placing greeting cards in clear envelopes, and spending endless time on the computer doing paperwork (eg. labels), as well as getting the word out through social media etc.

Art in Action as an organization does a lot of publicity for the tour, but I wanted to invite everyone I knew in driving distance because it’s the only time of year so much of my work is shown together locally.

And as with any event that you plan a long time for, there are the inevitable last minute crises …

The boys carving pumpkins ... on my packaging material!

Like when I realized my husband had used my roll of plastic (for packaging), to lay under the boys while they carved their pumpkins for Halloween. Two nights before the tour!

Or when he realized something was burning in the kitchen and filling the room up with smoke (an hour before visitors were to come through). My bad. We had to open up all the windows  & let the brisk November air in.

The first few people who arrived, complimented us on the cinnamon candle we’d lit to cover up the burnt smell. And later on there were a couple comments about something baking … & I could see visitors looking around for home-made cookies! I smiled and nodded. But I had to wonder about their baking skills … just saying.

Donna Fratesi with her work at Art in Action 2013

Donna Fratesi set up her watercolour paintings the day before. It was a good thing we had a lot of paintings because Louise Young, who was going to be exhibiting her jewellery with us, had to back out due to health issues.

I’d seen Donna do a watercolour demo a few years before when she was a guest speaker at the Burlington Fine Arts Association monthly general meeting at the Burlington Art Center. FYI, there is a guest speaker or artist demo at each of these meetings, and they’re free to the public.

She worked casually and loose, making it look easy, but we knew we were watching a master at work. Recently she has been painting in acrylics though, so it’s interesting to see her make the transition after working for more than 25 years in watercolour.

Artists are lifelong learners – researching, experimenting, observing, discovering and growing … that’s why art is so much more than a job, it will take as much time and resources as you can give, and more.

Sam & Amanda, our high school student volunteers on the studio tour

Sam and Amanda were our high school student volunteers, each studio had two students who were earning credits for helping out in their community. We were happy to have some extra hands to take photos, greet and keep tally of visitors, and to explain the draw.

Visitors get their brochures signed at each of the studios and if they’ve been to at least one studio and turn in their ballot, they could win $100. towards product by an artist of their choice, and if they’d been to all eight, it is $200!

Ursuline & Mary took the train in from Toronto & made a day trip of it.

Mary and Ursuline took the train in from Toronto to come see my new work. They made a day trip of it and had a great time. Thanks for coming ladies! Also, thanks to Melissa & Greg who came from Toronto as well. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces, many artist friends showing their support, as well as new, curious faces. I love meeting people.

Ursuline, a long-time collector of mine visited from Toronto

Ursuline is a long-time collector of mine from Toronto. She came up to me at a St. Lucia Toronto Association Gala where I was introduced as the St. Lucian artist currently exhibiting at Toronto City Hall by invitation of the St. Lucia Tourist Board. It turned out she went to school with my Mom in St. Lucia!

Donna Fratesi with some Art in Action visitors

Donna talking with some ladies interested in her work. It was her first time doing the tour and I think she was surprised at how well she did!

Me with Angela Paparizo (City of Burlington, Arts & Culture) and Rosanna Dewey (Burlington Fine Arts Association)

Here I am posing with Angela Paparizo (City of Burlington, Arts & Culture) and Rosanna Dewey (Burlington Fine Arts Association). Rosanna is a wonderful oil painter I know from BFAA, actually we first met at a life drawing evening class at Sheridan College. Angela I met through the process leading up to the Burlington city council’s unanimous passing of the city’s first Cultural Action Plan. Rosanna and Teresa Seaton (Art in Action) were both on the Steering committee.

There were lots of meetings along the way, and it has been awesome to be part of a movement where local artists, musicians, actors, dancers etc. are coming together to form an arts community for the first time in a place where everyone is accustomed to having to do their own thing. I’m excited to see what we can make of this opportunity. For now, if you’re interested in Arts & Culture in Burlington, I encourage you to join this Facebook group.

My son shows up to check out the refreshment table ... hot apple cider, yum!

One of my boys shows up to check out the refreshment table … hot apple cider, yum! The other monkey showed up a couple times to show off his gymnastics moves & grab the spotlight.

Great to chat with so many people during the studio tour

Thank you to everyone who made time for us that weekend, braved the bad weather on the first day, made a purchase, or just came to take a look at what we’ve been up to. Everyone who signed up to our contact lists, who gave us a hand (Sam & Amanda), who helped us get the word out, who sponsored our event, and thanks to all of the other Arts in Action participants this year who did their part to make it such a great event! And of course, thanks to my husband and kids who put up with me and my crazy art life!

Are you on your way? Waiting for more guests to join the party ...

Hope to see you all next year!










2-Person Exhibition, 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.

Views of the exhibition from outside of 337 Sketch Gallery, located at 337 Ottawa St. N, Hamilton, ON.

The acrylic paintings of Donna Grandin, and the glass art of Stephen Zawadowski are currently on exhibition at 337 Sketch Gallery until Sun July 17th.
Donna Grandin, a visual artist whose acrylic paintings, while realistic, explore the abstract rhythms and organic shapes of nature in vibrant colours. Donna received the gold award in visual arts in the M&C Fine Arts Awards in St Lucia in 2000 and has an Hons. B.A. in Art from McMaster University.
Stephen Zawadowski, a glass artist and graduate of Sheridan College has been written up in the Remote Stylist. His work is a fusion of clear crystal glass and copper.
Meet the Artists:
Donna will be painting in the gallery on Sat, and Stephen will be in the gallery on Sun.
337 Sketch Gallery is located near Barton & Ottawa St. N
Hours: Thurs to Sun 11-6 pm
Anne Becker: 337sketch@gmail.com
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