Kerry Wood Nature Centre – Bluebells

bluebellsToday’s images are again from our walk along the paths in the sanctuary behind Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, Alberta. During our walk the bluebells were everywhere, providing splashes of blue along the edges of the path. My “Alberta Wayside Wildflowers” book by Linda Kershaw is proving to be very valuable in identifying the wildflowers I have been photographing recently.


Kerry Wood Nature Centre – Ladyslipper

ladyslipperA few weeks ago we decided to go on a family outing to Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, Alberta. Behind the main building lies a nature sanctuary that contains a small lake, a bird blind, a short 1 km trail and a longer 4 km trail. On this particular day we set out to do the longer trail, it was a nice day for a walk, plus I had a mission in mind to photograph as many flowers as possible. For a while I have been painting larger canvases based on macro images of flowers, or more accurately “garden variety flowers”…. literally. Delphinium, Daisies, Allium, Nasturtium………you get the picture. Feeling that it was time to switch things up a bit, and having no desire to paint marigolds, I decided that perhaps wild flowers and plants might be a nice direction to pursue as a subject matter. I had already dabbled in this direction with a painting I had done of yarrow based on an image I had taken on the west coast, so it seemed natural to try out the same theme with some local Alberta plants.

I will admit I took a lot of images on this walk, 100+ images per km, so I thought I would break down the outing into a few posts. I thought I would start with the Ladyslipper as they are quite rare to come across when walking, so it was a treat to find a few different patches of the flower. This is also the first flower to be tackled as a painting from the outing, the canvas is 10 inches by 10 inches and the painting is a third to a half-finished. I’ll share the painting on the blog once it is finished.


A Finished Canvas

Yarrow at Hamilton Beach, Pender Island (2013) 24x36 web

“Yarrow at Hamilton Beach, Pender Island”

I have finally finished the canvas that has been on my easel for months. It is a painting inspired by the yarrow that grows wildly along the banks of Hamilton Beach on Pender Island. The painting measures 24 inches by 36 inches, and is acrylic on canvas.

Hamilton Beach will lead you along to the marina and pub at Port Browning. The marina is a great place to check out all the boats while the pub has fabulous fish and chips. Trust me, there is nothing better than eating fish and chips on a beach after an afternoon of kayaking.

The inspiration behind the painting.

The inspiration behind the painting.

The above photograph is what inspired the painting. Of course the painting is far from a photographic representation with my love of pattern and bold color. I am looking forward to finally hanging the painting on the dining room wall in our place on Pender; it will add a lot of color to a very beige wall.

I am also sharing finished art and photography pieces on my other blog Debra Hunter – Photography & Art

Island Home is where I share my images and experiences of Pender Island, British Columbia.

Springtime at the Cabin

Amazingly spring has finally arrived after many, many, many months of winter and snow. It’s fabulous to be out and about shooting in the sunshine. ( Of course I don’t have a lot of choice thanks to a “little” water damage and the following insurance claim, but rumour has it I’ll hopefully be back to some studio shooting in about 2 weeks, but be prepared for a lot of location posts in the meantime….anyways, moan over and back to the post!) Our cabin, and its surrounding area, gives us the opportunity to experience rural life and all its joys and quirks.

view from the club house

Springtime at the cabin is wet….very wet. The image above is taken from our children’s club house at the back of the property. Our lot sits two to three feet higher than the adjacent land, and in the spring we joke about having a lakefront property (without “lakefront” taxes!) as the lot behind us fills with water, right to the fenceline. With the springtime “water feature” we also are treated to a lot of wildlife including birds, deer and frogs….lots of very, very loud frogs. The frogs are so loud this time of year that you can hear them croaking away while inside the cabin with all the doors and windows shut, and this goes on all day and night. We often go out at night just to listen to the show of frogs croaking, birds tweeting and coyotes howling in the distance; it is quite the experience.

spring sunset

While the wildlife is an upside to the wet conditions, the downside is also that there is a lot of ground water and groundwater fills up our septic holding tank overly fast. We are on a septic holding tank, rather than a field, as we are about 100 meters from the lake, so it is a pump-out system (fascinating dinner time conversation! LOL!) This time of year it can mean pump out after pump out. We suspect a crack in the tank, we also suspect if we dig down to repair it we will be opening an ugly “can of worms”, so we’ve decided to take the sensible approach and ignore the situation and pump it out more often.

As if water to the fenceline and groundwater weren’t enough, we also have water hookups to deal with in the spring. We are on a water haul system so springtime means getting our huge tank filled up and then hooking up the pump system. Some years everything goes together well and others…..well it doesn’t. This year there were no fewer than 4 leaks for my husband to solve, but he did it. He may have been soaking wet from head to toe by the end of the experience, and there may have been one significant water explosion, but he did it. Running water a fabulous thing.

first flower of springWith such a long winter it is taking a little while for things to start growing at the cabin. We’ve been raking leaves, planting bulbs and plotting where to build grow boxes and plant more trees. We are always planting trees or building decks it seems. The one little flower in the picture above was the only thing in bloom on our whole property. One tiny little flower. Hopefully this coming weekend we will see a few more signs of growth.

bird on lake isleThe lake has finally thawed a bit in spots. The birds are happily splashing around and making a lot of noise. Our lake is a pretty quiet lake so we tend to get a lot of birds; they nest among the tall grass along the edge plus there are many tiny islands that are perfect for our feathered friends. On years when the lake is high, little channels are created through the tall grass areas where the birds live. The water is usually just deep enough to gently float a canoe or kayak through the channels; here we like to sit quietly and watch the birds from just a few feet away.

birds on lake isle

Springtime at the cabin is filled with days spent outside exploring and doing projects, food cooked on the barbecue, and evenings in front of the fire…… a whole lot of water and mud!

A Little Winter Joy

yellow rose

“While in Victorian times, the yellow rose symbolized jealousy, today it represents friendship, joy and caring. A bouquet of these sun-filled blossoms conveys warmth, gladness and affection.”

(The symbolism of the yellow rose according to the Teleflora website.)

yellow roseThis week my husband brought home this perfect yellow rose. It has been brightening up my week, sitting on my desk while I have spent endless hours working on the computer. It is interesting how one of the yellow rose’s meanings is “joy”as the rose has certainly brought a lot of joy over recent days, brightening our lives during a cold and grim wintry week.



Flower Garden, 2013

flower garden blog” Flower Garden”

dimensions : 16 inches by 20 inches

media: silk hand dyed with hand-crafted natural dyes, embellished with cotton, bamboo and silk thread, and accented with glass beadsflower garden detailWell ” Flower Garden ” is finally finished, and finished before the submission date…some how.

It is a fun piece, a little folk-artsy, a little child-like, and a whole lot of beads. The red beads in the border total just under 2800 beads alone….I didn’t work out how many beads the whole piece contains, I’m not quite that insane. Unfortunately the little pictures in the blog don’t really show the texture, the shimmer, and the detail the piece contains; it is a piece that really needs to be seen (and touched) in person.


February Morning Surprise


As I looked out my kitchen window this morning I was greeted by a pleasant surprise, my orchid had bloomed. This plant clearly survives on neglect as in the past year all I have done for it was the odd watering and a relocation to the kitchen window. Most of the year it has looked quite sad, but this morning it proved otherwise, a beautiful off white bloom brightening up a winter day.


Daisy 2012 16x20 blogThis a rare post where I can actually share a finished canvas. Ever since discovering fibre art  my “paintings in progress” seem to sit a lot longer on the easel. This piece, “Daisy” (2012), measures 16 inches by 20 inches and is acrylic on canvas.

I’ve had a productive weekend and have managed to finish two fibre pieces and I have another fibre piece ready to be mounted. I will be sharing these works in the next few days.

Another weekend project was to set up a Facebook page for Studio H. I am using this page as a virtual gallery and will be updating it with a collection of works shortly. The Facebook page can be seen at!/pages/Studio-H/498844150145941

Come on by and “like” me!