Peninsula Gallery in Sidney BC will be exhibiting a special show for the holiday season. All of the art pieces will be 20X20 inches. I have 3 new works, each measuring 20X20, as well as many of my other limited edition pieces available in the Gallery. Please come by to see the show. Covid-19 protocols are in place.
Please check out the magazine to view the accompanying images!
To mention “evolution” in the presence of my parents would have earned you a forceful “Go to your room!” I learned the truth in school. It is not only the planet and everything on it that has evolved over millennia, but we also change. Our beliefs, food preferences, hobbies, interests, friends, just about everything evolves and changes as we experience life.
I have always loved animals and felt comfortable with them, more so than people. As a child, the family dog was my best friend and confidante. My Dad had a Brownie and thankfully, I still have photos of all of my four-legged pals. My first camera was an inexpensive plastic model and when it was fatally damaged, I bought disposable ones, capturing moments here and there until, after a few U-turns, ups and downs, and career changes, a move to Victoria refocused my interests. That life change awakened something in me that was lying dormant as the challenges of life swept by.
Although I had travelled throughout Canada and the northern USA, I became passionate about worldwide adventures after owning a B&B. Meeting people from around the globe peaked my curiosity. I became intent on visiting the places that they told me about over long lingering breakfasts. Extensive travel through the British Isles, Scandinavia, The Baltics, Europe, Turkey, Egypt and the Mediterranean began with my Canon Power Shot T3i and within a year or two, a T4i and more lenses. There’s something extraordinary about visiting a place you’ve only dreamed of, read about or seen on TV. As it unfolds in front of you, it’s more beautiful than you’d imagined. The history, architecture, food and natural visions became my focus. I began to show and sell my work in Galleries and Fine Art Shows winning recognition and prizes for my efforts.
I had often heard the phrase “when one door closes, another opens” but I had no idea how much it would impact my life. As a former nurse, many of my elderly clients said “Don’t wait ‘until’ because it never comes.” When an opportunity comes along, take it and don’t look back. One year, money was tight and I was afraid that future travel would not be possible. My husband found a cruise in Europe that was affordable, but I said “No, something else was coming.” I thought of re-starting at the beginning of the alphabet as there were three places beginning with “A” that I wanted to visit. One morning before going to work, I checked my emails and to my astonishment and extreme delight, there was one from National Geographic asking if I would like to go to the Galapagos with Lindblad Expeditions. I had my husband call them immediately to say YES! (I would have been late for work otherwise!) I bounced off the walls for days. I don’t know how I was chosen, but Galapagos has 3 A’s in it, so I took it as an answer to a prayer. Now I leave all of the windows and doors open in my wishes and dreams house.
At the place where Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ was born, I had my “Road to Damascus” moment. My main focus for photography completely shifted from man-made history to nature and wildlife on my first day in that wondrous place of Endangered Species and Endangered Spaces. I had never imagined a world where wild creatures existed without fear of humans. Raw, powerful, shockingly beautiful scenery and wildlife brought mystery, magic and exceptional moments to my own personal discovery. The guides/naturalists were a wealth of information, passionate about the Galapagos, its protection and preservation. One guide led a few of us to the top of a mountain near the end of the day. We closed our eyes, felt the breeze, smelled the air, heard the sounds and became one with the place. The wild beauty and serenity of that experience will stay with me forever. We descended from the rocky summit in twilight to a zodiac waiting to take us back to the expedition ship. Because we were so late, we said that we had been kidnapped by pirates, but our guide negotiated our release.
We visited a plantation for the most wonderful feast. The owner greeted us with his husky by his side. He said that some Canadians left Galapagos but couldn’t take the dog with them, so he stayed. He noticed the Canadian flag on my camera strap. When I said lived in Victoria, he smiled broadly saying that years earlier he had worked at Butchart Gardens and that it’s his apple pie recipe that’s used in the Blue Poppy Restaurant. I then told him that I was Mrs. Ross’s private nurse until she passed. A connection was made. I knew that I had to return to that magical place, so I planned a fundraising tour to benefit the Bateman Foundation the following year. I revisited his plantation with 76 participants, including the Batemans. Galapagos was just as magical the second time. It was here that I began capturing statement and conservation images. I always include some in gallery shows and exhibits.
Then I wondered “What’s next?” Quark Expeditions got in touch soon after I returned home. Svalbard? Why not! The sheer exhilaration of being above 80 degrees North, just a few hundred miles south of the North Pole, vast expanses of untouched nature, one of the last places on earth where very few people have been before you. We were the first expedition of the year, no footprints anywhere, except polar bears that walked past our gear on a beach as we explored. One particular beach landing left an indelible image on my psyche. Thousands of whale bones and skulls extended the entire length of the water’s edge, rearranged by winter’s arctic ice and powerful storms, near a ramshackled old whaling station. The evidence of the carnage was haunting. Most vistas were black and white, save the stunning blues of the ice. Newly calved icebergs made the sound of rice cereal in milk as we floated silently alongside in a zodiac. The stark beauty of the place was truly breathtaking. My little cameras expired on this adventure, so a Canon 70D was added to the arsenal. New lands being created by volcanoes, geology made more spectacular by relentless erosion of glaciers, feels as close as you’ll ever get to another planet.
A retreat, again just-by-chance, to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyoming reinforced how popular wildlife art and photography are with 26 wildlife art galleries in a small town offering inspiration.
One day at a lunch meeting, I heard about a small tour to Iceland with one space left. Done. I travelled all around the country, seeing vistas that changed around every turn, rode an Icelandic horse, hearing Sagas and fables, tasting traditional foods, purchasing a real down pillow and surveying otherworldly landscapes.
For years, I have studied Robert Bateman’s paintings which reflect wildlife in natural settings. I used to paint but my evolution to photography was easier because he inspired me to look more closely at the natural world. Birgit Bateman is also a photographer and their mentorship has meant the world to me.
One day when working at the Bateman Foundation, a lady walked in. We started to chat and the conversation eventually led to Africa. She had organized a trip to Kenya with Zoo Keepers in the USA, and saw the excitement on my face but,alas, the trip was full. We exchanged cards. Two weeks later, she emailed me that someone dropped out. Would I like to go? I had dreamed of this since watching ‘Born Free” in 1966! I only had a couple of months to get ready but the one thing I had been preparing for, the biggest dream of my life, was about to come true. Instantly upon exiting the small plane on a dirt runway, I found my soul at Lewa Downs, my Garden of Eden, indescribably peaceful, calm, and serene. The source of human evolution, seemingly endless vistas and truly wild animals abound. I had a goal of photographing my connections with wild animals and I was not disappointed. There were spectacular wild encounters that I never thought possible. My cameras, now including a Nikon P900, have given me a way of seeing the world and myself in a new way, appreciating everything around me. Don’t ask me about shutter speed, ISO, lenses…I don’t know. My primary reasons for travel are for the experiences and memories, secondary are the photography and the ability to share my images and stories when I return. My intention is to “Give Back” to animal welfare organizations (BCSPCA, Wild ARC, Lewa Conservancy and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya) through sales of my images.
Nature needs no enhancement, so I don’t use any photo-altering in post-production. It is as it was. I believe the role of the artist is conditioning cultural, social, environmental and conservational consciousness. Capturing wildlife images to preserve their existence is my raison d’etre.
I wish to: soar with eagles, dance with bears, walk with elephants, rest with lions and return to Kenya.
Will You Miss Me? is a life-size image of a magnificent elephant in Samburu, Kenya who found an indelible place in my heart.. We had seen the herd at the Ewaso Ng'iro river having a bath, then they began to walk across the vast landscape. Our driver stopped the jeep a long distance away and we simply watched the matriarch lead her herd through the natural serenity of the space. After a while, it was clear that she was walking in our direction. Luckily, I was in the back seat of the open jeep, the highest vantage point. As she came closer, calm and beautiful, we were eye to eye. This was the final image before I slowly lowered my camera, not knowing what she might do. As she was only a few feet away, she gently shifted her gait and walked past my back. The baby behind her and the remainder of the herd did the same. When they had all safely passed, I slid to the other side of the jeep and took one more image of them walking away. This piece is 31 x 54 inches, is life size, and ideally should be hung on a wall so that her eye is 6 1/2 feet from the ground. Many people have asked me if I have named her, and I reply with "Oh no! She is wild and belongs to no-one." The title of the piece has become poignant for me as I have had to postpone the tour that I was leading until 2021, so the answer to Will You Miss Me? is a resounding "More than you can ever know!"
This is a limited edition of 10 with proceeds from all sales of this piece going to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Lewa Conservancy, both in Kenya.
The Sooke Fine Art Show is OPEN! Please check out the fantastic selection of artists who were selected for this unique edition of the show at sookefinearts.com
As promised, I am posting the two image of my work that were selected with a little story for each.
*After The Rain*
The skies became dark very quickly and our driver scrambled to lower the side panels on the jeep to keep us dry. He, however, was soaked to the skin for his effort. After an intense but short downpour, the only uninterrupted view from the jeep was between the top of the windscreen and the bottom of the canopy. Straight ahead on a hilltop was a single Acacia tree, standing in silent simplicity, with two Topi emerging from their temporary shelter. The sky was gray and the silhouettes black, so, as per usual, no photo-editing was done. The image is 24 x 32 inches, printed on a metallic silver paper and dibond to aluminum. The nature of the paper gives the sky a luminescence and a slight appearance of color that changes and moves ever so slightly in ambient light and as the viewer moves past the piece. It is a limited edition on 5.
I am extremely proud to announce that my work is currently being exhibited in the beautiful Peninsula Gallery in Sidney by the Sea. Established in 1986, it has prospered into one of Canada's most acclaimed Art Galleries presenting high quality artworks of artists both local and of national renown. It is an honor to have my work displayed with my mentors and friends, Robert Bateman and Birgit Freybe Bateman. Currently, I have 25 works in the Gallery and will be present daily from Tuesday, July 7-until Saturday, July 18, from 10am to 5pm (closed on Sunday and Monday) so I hope to see you there!
I am thrilled to announce that I have had 2 pieces of my work chosen to be a part of the show. This year will be different though, as is almost everything else on the planet right now. The Sooke Fine Art Show will be taking local art to a world stage. As a result of the pandemic, the Show will be hosted online! Although everyone likes to interact with a piece of art in person, the steadfast and resilient organizers of this wonderful show have gone above and beyond to support local artists and bring art to the worldwide community. People can visit the show online anytime from July 24 to August 3, although it may be possible to buy art from the website until the end of September. This 34th anniversary of the Sooke Fine Art Show will be new, exciting and extraordinary! When the online exhibit opens, I will post my images here on my blog page and tell a story about each of them.
Life has been interesting lately to say the least. Self isolating and physical distancing has led to introspection and evaluating my life and purpose, wondering what the future might look like..Sometimes I get a lot done in a day, and sometimes, not a thing. Reading has become a renewed past time, always too busy before to settle in to a good book, I can now get lost in a story line or travel to a distant land simply by turning a page. Going through the house, cleaning, rearranging and editing things I had forgotten about, reminiscing and contacting people I haven't talked to in years. Covid has forced me to stop, relax, re-evaluate and re-focus on what's important to me. I've been able to educate myself more about wildlife conservation, and even though I'm not travelling this year, unless something changes dramatically, I am still involved in my own way. A portion of all of the sales from my work will be donated to 4 animal and wildlife projects, 2 in BC and 2 in Kenya. The Peninsula Gallery in Sidney BC now have an exhibit of my work and I have had 2 pieces accepted into this year's Sooke Fine Art Show. Even though the Coast Collective's physical gallery has closed for now, I also have work at the Juan De Fuca Rec Centre and at Mitzi Dean's Constituency Offices, both currently closed to viewing due to Covid 19. I'll continue turning the page to see what comes next...
As the coronavirus continues to affect almost every person's life in some way, it is only responsible to postpone the Kenya trip until next year. We are already securing the dates for the same time frame and the itinerary will be unchanged. It is most important to halt the spread and effects of this virus before beginning to travel again. Although my heart is heavy now, I know that next year, this adventure will be even more special and meaningful. The delay has a silver lining in that there is more time to do fundraising for the Conservancies between now and then. If you have any questions, please contact me.
Be safe and stay well.
I will be doing a presentation and slide show for the upcoming Kenya Conservancy Safari on Monday, March 9, 2020 at 2 pm and again at 7 pm. It will be at the Vision Travel Office at 4480 West Saanich Road in the board room. Please contact Jackie Matthews or myself to let us know which presentation time is best for you. I can't wait to show you where we will be going!! Light appies and refreshments will be served.
This winter has been busy, invigorating and relaxing. One thing that visiting Kenya has taught me is that peace, quiet and stillness are incredibly important. The fundraising print that I had at my show raised enough to foster 6 baby elephants and a baby rhino with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. I can't wait to go back to see them all and foster more.
I have met some incredibly wonderful and inspiring people lately, all of them have, in some way, have lead me to aspire to do and be more. The Universe gives you what you need when you need it. Thank you to all who have crossed my path.
I've been preparing for multiple exhibits at the Coast Collective Arts Centre and several others for the year ahead, and an upcoming collaborative show as well. It is called "Tides and Timbers" featuring a painter, three woodworkers, and myself and runs from March 11 to 22, 2020 at the Coast Collective. The reception is on Friday, March 13 from 7-9 pm. I hope to see you there!
I'll be posting blogs when I have exciting new shots to share, or upcoming shows or stories about the photos that I'd like to share with you.