Opus Daily Practice – day 6

Opus Daily Practice day 6. The prompt to create work was “repetition”. This is my comfort zone. Repetitive patterns and repetitive shapes in the drawing (still in progress). Repetitive movement in the re-spinning of scrap yarn (eternally in progress!). #opusdailypractice http://www.debra-hunter.com http://www.handmade-canada.com . . . . Ads belong to WordPress.

via Opus Daily Practice – day 6 — Debra Hunter – Canadian photography, art and handmade

Keeping Busy

(Please click on the above images to view full size.)

I thought I would share a quick little update of what I am working on this week.

The computer has me busy retouching portrait orders including the lovely little newborn pictured above. Some of you may also read my other blog, www.debrahunter.wordpress.com and have already seen a post showing off this little one.

I also shared on that blog the story behind the painting “Orville’s Barn”. This is another of my quick paintings, this time on a very small scale with it being only 6 inches by 6 inches. Painting was a pleasant way to spend Saturday evening.

Crocheting has taken an amusing turn. First it was a miniature snowy owl, now it is a rather crazed looking beaver………with a hat and scarf ( of course!). The little guy is made out of locally milled yarn and naturally dyed in cutch and lac. The next crazy critter on the hook is a bear. One wonders when the crochet critter madness will end!

There are also three new items on the knitting needles, two for the home and one to wear, I will share the finished products soon. I love the patterns that can be created with stranded knitting. The possibilities are endless.

It is also time to start working on another fibre art piece……or finish a half started one.

There are a lot of creative things happening this week.

Photography, art and handmades by Debra Hunter


The Start of a New Piece

I figure it is time to get back to blogging the fun stuff so today I am sharing the beginning of a new art piece. This piece is inspired by a fence post we came across on a rural back road near our cabin. Well to be honest there isn’t much but rural back roads near our cabin (and lakes)….but that is what makes it fantastic.

The piece is based on the image featured in the post titled “The Skull”.

The gallery below will walk you through the beginnings of the process.

(Please click on the images to view full size.)

The piece will be a lino cut on fabric. Both the base fabric and the printing of the linocut will be done with handcrafted natural dyes. The plan is after printing the linocut the piece will then be embellished with beads and hand stitching.

I have to admit I am pretty excited about working on this one. It’s going to be fun!



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“River” Update – April 25, 2014

Time for another update on the “river” piece. I really thought I would have a lot more done on it by now. My original goal was one month for dyeing and stitching and one month for beading, I am not so sure one month was a realistic expectation for stitching a piece that is almost 3 feet in height. I did take the piece out to the coast to work on over Easter, but things like planting an apple tree, walking on beaches and finishing a fireplace took priority. (Word of advise, if you ever buy a house that has left a project unfinished for 20 years it is probably going to be a pain to complete……….as was the case with the fireplace……..but back to the topic!) I did manage to stitch from Vancouver to Kamloops on the drive home. Here is what the piece looks like at the moment:

"river" - WIP - april 25 2014There is still a very long way to go. To give an idea of scale, the largest dead tree trunk on the right is just about 10 inches long, there is a lot of area to cover with tiny stitches.

The detailed shots below will show why this is taking so long. I can hardly wait until I am up to the beading.

The weekend looks like it will be chilly and wet (so no trip to the cabin) which will give me a chance to stitch a lot.


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The start of ANOTHER painting. – (slideshow)

I thought it was time I got back to why I really blog. For those looking for the education related posts you can find them here and here.

My posting was static over this last week only because hundreds and hundreds of people were reading about the education crisis in Alberta and I felt for the sake of ease it made sense to leave that post at the top of the page.

While blogging seemed a bit lifeless last week, truth was a lot of painting (I “think” the painting mentioned in the previous post is done), fibre art, and a bit of photo restoration was accomplished (and I cleaned the little’s bedroom too!). So brace yourselves, this week might be all about “works in progress” (better known as W.I.P.’s!).

This is another piece from the nature sanctuary series I am working on. It’s a pretty comfortable and enjoyable theme to be working on. This piece is definitely more ambitious than the last, especially dealing with the perspective of the leaves on the forest’s floor.

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For some reason I started shooting this new painting as I worked. I really have no idea why. Maybe it is because I am back to painting large,  this canvas is 4 feet by 3 feet, and I can’t actually stand back very far to view it without removing it from the wall easel and taking the canvas to another room. No matter the reason, it is certainly interesting to watch the progression. Please remember this painting is FAR from finished and the day-glo kindergarten green is soon to disappear. Enjoy the work in progress…there is more to come….soon.

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The other work in progress…….

The last few days have been focused on painting and stitching. Whether I am happy about it or not (because it is an immense amount of hand stitching) the answer to this piece was to start stitching in the foliage in the ditch in front of the grain elevators.

stitching - grain elevatorThis is the piece a few weeks ago. As much as I like minimal with most things, this was simply “not done”.

stitchingSo I decided to start stitching in what would be the ditch in the piece. The brown is actually  cotton embroidery thread naturally hand dyed in cutch and dipped in iron for the dark color. The greens are wool hand dyed in marigold again with an iron dip.

stitchingThis is really time consuming work. Thankfully my husband has found a TV series for us to stream (House of Cards) so that we have something to watch during the hours and hours of stitching.

In the above detail the light brown is cutch on cotton and the yellow is marigold on cotton.

grainelevator in progress feb 23 2014Here is the piece as of today. The foreground is filling in nicely. I think it has finally turned the corner.


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New painting almost there……

On Sunday I shared a post showing a new painting on the easel. Yesterday I decided to escape from “real world events” and spent several hours painting away at the easel with the music turned loud and a steady flow of cups of tea.

On Sunday the 16 inch by 20 inch painting looked like this.

beginning of a new paintingIt was pretty quick to rough in as I have been snowshoeing past this spot all winter.

By the end of yesterday it was looking like this:

work in progress - kerry woodAlmost there.

Just a little more detailing in the trees and I think we are good.

wall easelI also wanted to share a shot including the easel. This is a wall mounted easel that I ordered in from Blick in the States a few years ago and I love it. The easel means I can always have work up without fear of a husband or one of the five kids knocking it over. If you have either space constraints or a really busy home (or both in our case!) it is an awesome piece of equipment to make painting easy. So far the largest canvas I have painted on it is a 3 foot by 5 foot, but I think it will take a little larger.

I also love how the center column is magnetic as it is great for reference images and a safe place to hold your lottery tickets.

It’s been one of those weeks. One of those weeks when you say “Let’s buy a lotto ticket, win,  and escape this mess!”.

On the topic of lotto tickets, last night my husband and I were discussing how large a section of land is. Followed by looking on MLS. We figured that might be just about large enough to escape the hassles of real life……if we put the house right in the middle of the section of land. My children weighed in their opinion…….“Can we have a moat?!”. Seems like they are “done” too.

Off to paint more. I’ll share the finished results soon at www.debrahunter.wordpress.com and on my website www.thehuntergroup.ca .

New Painting On The Easel

beginning of a new paintingThe beginning of a new painting is  currently sitting on the easel. I rarely paint landscapes of Alberta. To be honest I only have a handful of British Columbia seascapes that I have painted just to bring the ocean home with me.

The last last 5 years or so I have mostly painted big canvases of small flowers ( and the odd tree trunk ). For some reason I had the “Doesn’t everyone paint landscapes?” attitude in my head and because of it had steered pretty clear of the subject matter. I actually sketch landscapes all the time in my sketch book when we are on the road, and I also used to paint a lot of watercolor landscapes (before I had a lot of kids!), but the interest never transferred to the canvas.

For the last couple of years I have found myself stopping and taking photographs at the very same spot at a local nature sanctuary ( Kerry Wood Nature Centre). It is just a spot I like. On a recent snowshoe outing I again took a few pictures. The huge amount of snow we have had created a simplified version of the scene, and because of the simplicity I thought that maybe I should paint it.

So here is the canvas about three hours in. It is 16 inches by 20 inches and acrylic on canvas. Guess what, I kind of like it. Maybe painting landscapes is okay. The painting still has hours to go, and I’m looking forward to getting into the details on the tree trunks, but I am pretty glad I gave painting landscapes on canvas a chance.


Artwork by Debra Hunter
paintings, fibre art, photography, eco dyed bracelets & coffee sweaters
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada


knitting, dyeing, painting, stitching ….lots of “works in progress”

We have been having very cold weather. This morning when I woke up it was -42 C with windchill, I’d love to say this was abnormal, but this year we have seen a lot of -30 and -40 temperatures.The one good thing about brutally cold weather is you tend to spend a lot of time inside and this means time to work on projects.

This morning I decided to take inventory of the works in progress, and there are a lot.

start of a new painting

A new painting is up on the easel and just beginning to be roughed in. Another 16×20 canvas. It seems I went on a 16×20 buying spree so there will be a few paintings of this size in the near future before I get to work on larger ones again.

finished canvas - cabin trees #1

I did manage to finish a canvas last week. The prettier version of it can be viewed here.

fulling swatchesI am still experimenting with fulling swatches and seeing just how far they will shrink. Finally a good reason to do laundry!

dyed then knit - before

dyed then knit – before

dyed then knit - after

dyed then knit – after

The ones dyed first and then knit still have a way to go.

dyed then knit on a larger scaleI am also trying dyed and then knit on a larger scale. This piece is about 15.5 inches across. Kind of a wild color combination but the yarn was dyed with another project in mind. Who would have thought natural dyes could be so bold.  We’ll see what it is like when all is said and done. It is definitely not “conventional”. (Feel free to laugh!)

wool dyed in pomegranateOf course I ended up being short 50 feet of wool for the above test piece. At 1:30 this morning another 60 feet of yarn was popped into the dye pot and dyed in pomegranate. It is almost dry now so that I can finish the knitting today.

naturally dyed hand knit coffee sweatersMore coffee sweaters on the go. These are becoming a lot of fun to make.

dyed hand made buttonsI also have been experimenting with dyeing the hand-made buttons.

fish stitchingI am working on another fish piece. Again the fish are hand printed with natural dyes from a lino cut I made. I want to try a few different things that I didn’t try on the previous fish piece. Composition is a little different from the last one. I am planning for the beading and stitching to be quite different. I see continuing with the fish theme as a long-term possibility.

stitching - grain elevator

The final “work in progress” is the grain elevator. Another naturally dyed piece with beading and stitching. The tansy leaves in the piece are keeping me busy.

The next week or so should be mostly stitching and painting as I am almost flat out of the locally produced wool yarn which is now my go to for the knitted projects. Hopefully I will get an order put in today or tomorrow so that by the end of next week I will be back to the dye pots and knitting.

I also have a beaded project in mind, but I need to find my teeny tiny embroidery hoop first………it’s “somewhere”.


Photography, art, illustration, and fibre wearables & useables
by Debra Hunter

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