* * * Canadian Craft Federation / Citizens of Craft.ca Podcast Series! : ) I'm in Episode #4... but you should listen to them all. : ) LISTEN

Monday, 5 September 2022

Floral Summer Art

I just can't get enough of the garden, the plants, and the flowers. They've been my source of happiness all summer long. I sketch some. I photograph always. I have ongoing fresh bouquets of perennials with greenery from the carrots or back alley weeds. The more I snip, the more they bloom. Every morning and every afternoon when I step out into the yard, there is something different to notice.

This year, I've enjoyed sun printing on fabric. I have stacks and stacks of panels pieces created that I plan to put together as quilt blocks. I want to make myself a large botanical bed quilt for the studio loft. Now, the studio will be likely a couple years away, but maybe the quilt will be too.

Cucumber, Parsnips, Coral Bells, Geranium.

Blue and white always remind me of my mom. She loved her blue and white china and have collected quite a bit during her life. I think that's why, when I'm done this quilt, it needs to be at the cabin.

Isn't that pretty!? Some don't end up the way I love. I'll make bottons or postcards out of them. Most turned out FANTASTIC. They remind me of a night time moon garden. The prints that really look stunning will be made into larger, archival prints on art paper. 

Later this week, I'm going to do some Hapa Zone / plant pounding onto fabric. That is a good project for a cloudy day. There's still Sunflowers, Brown Eyed Susans, Tickseed, 4 leaf Clovers, Cucumber blooms, Yarrow, loads of Sweet Peas and some red Echinacea petals too.

I can't wait to share the results!
Take good care,

Saturday, 27 August 2022

When Life Hands You Lemons, Drink it Up, Plant the Seeds, Tend to Your Beautiful Garden

Hello Friends,

You may or may not know that my Mother, (immigrant, prairie landscape artist, hippie, single mom to me, the woman I share a birth day with, and whome through much of my life was my best advocate) passed away 2 summers ago after a year of general health decline. It has been a difficult few years for all of us who cared for her. People lovingly describe her as, 'quite the character!' 

Here's the story as I know it. I want to share with you, because I carry on her story. I hope you will read to the end.

In the early 1950's, her mother snuck her and her older and younger sisters with my grandfather to Canada when mom was 7. They came emptyhanded, with hundreds of people on a ship that was on it's last journey. Once landed, they travelled across Canada and fell in love with the Prairie: the open land, the river valleys, the unobstructed skies, the grasslands and lake life. This is where they unpacked their bags and settled. Settlers. Uninvited. Grateful. I was born here, a first generation Canadian on Treaty 6 Territory.

My eldest Aunt and carpenter Uncle bought a double lake lot in Saskatchewan in 1958. They had three children and built a cabin there by 1961. In 1964 they moved on west to the coast, and so my Grandmother (Oma, Marianne Kinner) bought that property with cash. The tell me SHE was, 'quite the character!' She apparently did this transaction on her own while my grandpa was at work, and told him about later that day. Wow.

My Grandmother passed away when my mother was pregnant with me, in 1970, so I never met her. People reassure me, however, I too am, 'quite the character!' Gotta love outstanding women, right?

When I was 11 or 12, we found ourselves homeless. That was when my grandfather gifted the lake property to my mother. She always loved it more than he did and we had already lived out there every summer since I was in diapers. I'm told he had a German phrase for it that meant, "shit lake". That's how much he didn't love it. And so this became Mom's. Eventually she added an old winterized building to the property about 25 years ago, and that's where she lived for the rest of her life.

The original cabin... decades later.

This is an important part of my story. My 20+ yr marriage came to an end in 2018. I happily stayed single for a year as I resettled into a rental with my children near their highschool. (Yes, highschool! When I started my career, they were 3, 6, and 9 years old.) As we lost the house, I lost my newly built studio. For those that followed me, you might remember? That loss took a big bite out of my career and my spirit.

Then my Mom passed away 2 summers ago during covid, and the lake lots were handed down to us, her 3 kids. I now share this land where I grew up with my brothers. My portion includes the original cabin my Uncle built.

When one door closes... you know what they say? One of my brothers suggested, 'You know, the last few years, Mom used the old cabin as her summer studio. That's all she used it for, was to make her art.' Hint, hint. My new love, a carpenter & bushman, took one look at the place when we were out there after Mom's burial and said, 'I can restore this.'

MY HEART AND MY EYES AND MY SMILE grew three sizes that day!

The planning began. A year later, we started. I've been the funder/designer and he's been the muscle/contactor. I dreamed it up and he made it viable. I did some fundraising through I Fund Women which helped a buy shingles and second hand windows, as well as pay for dump and hauling fees and he removed rotting siding, a sunken roof, and walls full of mice nests.

Last year, the original structure was leveled, siding removed, rotting floor joists replaced, new windows reframed. This year, the roof is redone. The walls are reframed. The outhouse is useable and we stay in tents when we're out there. When I grew up here, we had electricity and hauled drinking water. That's the level I'd like to bring it back to.  There's 2 wood stoves back to back - one for cooking and one for heat. This place will getting winterized so I can go make art any time of the year. Without water, there's no pipes to freeze.

I'M SO GRATEFUL. I'm so grateful that this is happening. Designing it so every window and space feels creative and good and right has been just amazing. (My childhood dream was to become an Architect.) Paul, my Carpenter is outstanding in muscle and perfection. He likes things done right and above code. He's been amazing and really has his heart in the place as well.

Eventually, my dream will include bringing mom's garden back to life, adding perennials in the yard, creating the perfect little kitchenette, adding a covered porch on the North East side where a very fallen addition was finally removed. A wood pile is started.

It's a place that calls you to create. It can feel like a chore to get out there, but once you are there, it's extremely difficult to get in the mindset to want to leave. Being back returns so many childhood memories to me. The sounds in the air, the temperature of the breeze, the steady roll and break of the waves on the rocks below. Fall is my favourite season out there. Most people pack up for the winter but my mom would keep us out there until it got too cold to sleep at night. The whole place would fall silent except for the birds, the mice, and the falling leaves. I can't wait to make art out there.

  ~ Monika

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Good Morning!

Well hello! Yes, I'm here. I miss blogging dearly. I'm turned right off by the IG rat race and diligently working on typing this with one space between sentences. (I momentarily imagine laughter and a roaring applause.)

I'm back to blogging because I love to put my thoughts into words. I find that I can share my ideas with greater flow and ease this way. Filming myself and editing an entertaining video with great showwoman ship, perfecting hair, makeup, sound, lighting, text, background music, blah, blah blah... just for more followers. Excuse me, but, fuck that. Admin and sales is not where I want to pour my energy and the pressure to show and dance is making me miserable. As a women and a housewife and a mother of a few and the sole breadwinner and a creative and a dog owner and a gardner... I just have one head to balance all those hats. 

I take care of a lot of people in my life. I realize that in my business, what's more important is a) my mental health. I need to feel good to make beautiful art. That's just how it works. If you ask for a commission from me, and I'm grieving or completely falling apart, I will not spend time on it. I won't put that energy into your special piece. That might sound flaky to some, but trust me, you want the art made by the woman who creates with joy in her heart. You'll get a much better piece.

The second most important thing I realize is b) quality of relationships, not quantity. I'm talking about you, the customers / the clients. I know this. Everyone should. 10,000 followers doesn't mean much, unless you are mass producing or looking for sponsors and subscriptions I suppose. I could some day. Aside from a few prints, supplies, and greeting cards, I make original art. 50 thousand followers won't impact my work when it only takes one person to fall in love with the piece.

Back to blogging vs IG reels. I could jump around and put the camera up my nose and make you notice me. (Ok, I DO enjoy reels. I watch other people daily. Some of you all are FANTASTIC xo.) Blogging is important because with MY work, I have stories to tell. I love telling the stories. Each piece of art, from inception to completion, has stories that are integral to their creation. The story gives flavour to my work. I love to share that with the written word. It holds identity, like a name. And then you learn the meaning of the name. You know how that opens up a whole new layer to associate with the visual of someone or something? That association settles well into the memory, I find. It often gives more substance and purpose to what you are looking at.

This isn't appropriate for all art. In fact, it's rather taboo for some. However, for my landscapes as with commissioned landscapes, they do start with a place. Placees hold many tales. The original image I work from is a capture of a specific moment in time. Sometimes I have amusing or wonderous stories about just GETTING TO that spot. Sometimes I have stories of wildlife, or meet ups with stray individuals. I might have noticed something in the image after I took the photo, and that makes the story. I remember all of them with great detail, and I feel the need to share them is part of my art.

You end up missing thoughts and little bits of personal connection on IG. I miss the thoughts and personal connection.

So here I am. August 2022. Are you still here?

p.s. if you cannot comment here on the blog for whatever reason, please email me any time to say hi.  Messages can go through the comment page of my website, and if you don't already, you can sign up for announcements at the bottom of any page on my website. My Sweet Prairie

I look forward to telling more stories! 

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Spring Show & Sale

It's really SPRING!  The world froze solid here for months and now it's all warm & rebirthing.  What a difference!  The sun is up before me again.  I've really started creating with vigor again and it feels so good.

I want to make sure I let everyone know that after 8 consecutive years, I WON'T have my work for sale at Gardenscape later this month.  My group's show is only 2 weeks following, so I'm saving it all up for that event.  Here's the show poster:

Through those days, we will have scheduled artist chats on site so you can learn more about the women and their work.  This will be my second year with this group, one of Saskatoon's longest running art groups (since 1990).  The art is such a wonderfully diverse range: textile, watercolour, oil, collage, acrylic, graphite, watercolour batik, mixed media. There's landscape art, still life, portrait, realism, impressionism, and abstract.  It's FANTASTIC. Please check out the website if you would like to learn more about the artists and the range of work.  We've made some great posts as of late.

Here's some pieces I'll have in the show.

Works in progress... 

After adding the weeds in...

That's a smaller version of a scene from Aquadeo near Jackfish Lake SK.  : )
I hope you'll be able to come by the show April 12, 13, 14!

have a great day,

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Vistas Reception

Hello!  Wow, this is all coming so fast. On Thursday December 13th, I would like to invite you to the Ukrainian Museum of Canada's Christmas Open House.  They will be waiving the admission fees all day for the public.  Also, please note that there is free parking in the back.  From 6pm to 8pm as part of the event, I will be in attendance for the Artist's Reception in the gallery there where my solo show is on  exhibition.

If you haven't seen it yet, it's a great time to pop in.  Vistas: Impressions in Thread will be on display at the museum through to February 2, 2019.  It is a collection of 22 prairie threadpaintings (larger in 16" frames) and is my first major threadpainting exhibition in my home city of Saskatoon.

Thanks everyone!
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