Creative Aging Awareness Day

Creative Aging Awareness Day was held at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA) in Kelowna, BC on Friday June 20, 2014. Its mission was “A day-long celebration of your creative life to examine the role that creative expression can play in promoting engagement, healing and wellness for all ages.”

On the approach, I saw HeART Fit painters. HeART Fit is a free drop-in session of Spontaneous Process Painting every Tuesday at the RCA.

It was very busy inside with musical entertainment and creative arts filling the main floor.

The exhibits continued through to the back hall.

There was a weaving demonstration by the Ponderosa Spinners, Weavers & Fibre Artists.

Glass and metal artist Fay Wolfenden had a display of hand-made glass beads, jewellery and mosaics.

Lucie Parent demonstrated her Funky Fabric Sculptures made using Paverpol. She is a Certified Paverpol Instructor.

The Okanagan Quilter’s Guild seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Their display of Fibre Art Journals were especially intriguing.

Jill promoted Learning in Retirement programs.

There was information about the Sing for Your Life Foundation.

It was a busy and well-attended event with many inspiring creative organizations to follow up on!

Eileen Murray’s Mixed Media

Eileen Murray

On Friday June 6, 2014, Eileen Murray gave 2 workshops on “The Exploration of Incorporating Fabric, Yarn, Papers and Pouring Medium with Your Acrylic Paintings” at the Opus Art Supplies store in Kelowna. I was lucky enough to attend!

Eileen told us about a childhood experience that caused her to shut down creatively. She says we all have a similar story. In Grade 1, Eileen was ‘slammed’ by a teacher because she drew herself with blue hair. She was punished and this taught her that her art wasn’t good enough.

As an adult, she felt disconnected from her artistic side; yet she encouraged creativity in others and bought art supplies for her own children. Children are authentic when they play. “It’s like their soul is projected out into their art,” says Eileen.

Eileen studied Jungian psychology and dream imagery. It wasn’t until she took The Painting Experience course developed by Stewart Cubly that things changed. When she dismissed something that inspired her, she was told: “You are betraying yourself.” Eileen learned that one must dive into creative inspiration rather than run away from it.

Eileen showed us some of her artworks and what she did to achieve results, such as incorporating fabric and thread.

She showed us products that she used, such as glitter, and pouring medium with a resin-like effect.

She showed us the effect of applying bees wax.

And the tools to use with bees wax.

There was a draw for an opportunity to try this technique. Keith Routley won.

In just a few minutes Keith created this masterpiece.

Others were invited to try out the mixed media techniques.

A few people collaborated.

This resulted in a vibrant piece of artwork.

A whimsical piece was also created.

The workshop was very inspiring! I purchased a few products from Opus and have been experimenting with them at home ever since!

To find out more about Eileen Murray and her artwork, visit her website at .

Kelowna MapleFest 2014

The Centre culturel francophone de l’Okanagan (CCFO) is a non-profit organization that promotes French language and culture appreciation in the Okanagan. It celebrated the 35th annual MapleFest in front of the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna on Saturday March 29, 2014.

There were elaborate chalk drawings on the sidewalks.

While maple flavours dominated, poutine was ever-popular.

Walking trees and other characters fascinated spectators of all ages.

All kinds of costumed characters pranced the grounds.

The Trips played some toe-tapping bluegrass tunes.

Ziggy created the most elaborate and artistic balloon animals.

A drumming group formed with djembes and hand percussion instruments.

Three times world champion hoop dancer, Alex Wells (Lil’Wat Nation) performed with students.

Chloé Gravel and Danielle sang well known songs in both French and English.

There was exercise-dancing and a couple of Mounties that joined in on the fun!

In the evening, Jann Arden performs at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Sunday brunch at the Laurel Packing House completes the festival activities.


Holistic Chamber of Commerce: Kelowna Grand Opening

Author Jo Dibblee speaks at the Holistic Chamber of Commerce Grand Opening

The Holistic Chamber of Commerce (HCC) – Kelowna branch celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday March 18, 2014 in downtown Kelowna. The 100% full-to-capacity venue, The Bohemian Café, was positively buzzing. President of the first branch in British Columbia, Andréa Dykstra, gave an introduction to the organization while holistic practitioners and business people mingled over a sumptuous spread of food and drinks.

Recognizing a need to unite ‘pockets’ of local holistic groups, Andréa brought the chapter to Kelowna to bring together people who can work towards a healthier community and planet. She believes that this organization can shift not just the lives of individuals and businesses, but also an entire community. Andréa’s vision is that through collaboration we can truly be the voice of change to lead to a more ‘whole-istic’ society.

The HCC is different from a traditional chamber of commerce because it considers being holistic first (members are reference-checked) and commercial second. With a meeting style more like a rotary or toastmasters group, the HCC supports members, extends its reach, and shares ways to make a living helping people.

I was drawn in by the keynote speaker, Jo Dibblee, internationally acclaimed author of Frock Off: Living Undisguised. Her wonderfully dynamic and inspiring talk began with a sharing of tragic detail in her tumultuous childhood. There was point and purpose to this. Jo says:

“No matter what happens to you, it does not define you.”

In her aim to survive the ordeals, she moved a lot and became adept at changing her look and her identity. What finally gave her the courage to step out and go public with her story?

“I learned you could be visible and invisible at the same time.”

Jo explained how we wear costumes, or ‘frocks’ to hide our fear. There are 4 frocks we all wear at one time or another: frocks of conformity, expectation, significance and connection. Engaging the audience, Jo asked us to share with someone next to us what frocks we had the greatest tendency to wear. Then Jo had us all stand in a proper pledge stance, left hand on heart, right hand held high, for the Frocklamation Declaration (three times, no less!):

“Frock off, ill-serving frock! Frock off!”

She ended the talk with the following.

“Let your life be your message
and your voice be strong.
Don frocks of compassion
so that others may not fall.
Don’t let others define you
toss those frocks away.
take the life you’ve been given
and be in service today.”

After the talk, naturally gifted and self-taught musician/song-writer Eden DeBruin beautifully played guitar and sang a few tunes to entertain the crowd. And yes, there was even some dancing! With a desire to share his gift with the world in a bigger way, Eden is available for event bookings and can be contacted through Facebook.

Eden DeBruin

What I took away with me the most from the evening (all its participants and attendees were a great testament to this) was another of Jo Dibblee’s statements:

“Live your legacy today.”

You can apply for membership to the Holistic Chamber of Commerce by visiting the website (

Christian Lipani’s Resin Techniques at Opus

Today, artist Christian Lipani gave his third demonstration this month on resin techniques at Opus in Kelowna. Here, he worked on his painting, Archaeological Discoveries Number 3.

Bordering his painted wood box panel with tape, he mixes a 50/50 solution for a full minute and applies the resin with a foam brush. Ensuring the panel is flat with even coverage, he then hovers a torch over the surface to remove bubbles.

Christian reveals that he paints in series of 50 works. With a concept in mind, he develops each one further, sometimes experimenting with techniques. He also ‘exercises’ daily by sketching for about an hour each day. Often, these sketches develop into the basis for his larger works in acrylic.

While the resin is still malleable, Christian drags strategic lines in acrylic paint to further highlight aspects of the art.

Using his non-dominant (right) hand, Christian explains how he may ‘practice’ a swooping curve hovering above the artwork before actually touching the surface, in order to give the best chance for a perfect landing of what he has in mind. Here, he does just that, with a palette knife.

Moving in for a closer look, we see how Christian ‘engraves’ the resin around certain shapes as it is almost set.

Some of Christian’s other work was displayed in the room, such as Archaeological Discoveries Number 2 in this series, which does not have resin, but has a unique texture created with a palette knife.

In this painting, Christian used high flow acrylics with a needle-like tip.

This is a detail of a painting where Christian has engraved the resin extensively.

Nearer to the finish, Christian was still working on this number 3 in the series as we left the demonstration.

Christian Lipani immigrated to Canada from France in the 1960’s. He works in acrylic and resin on wood panels usually 3×4 feet and larger. He is also a sculptor. (One of his sculptures is pictured in the bottom left hand corner of the first photo at the top of this post.)

Christian has works in the New Moon Gallery and Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna. His work has been shown in Vancouver, Fort Nelson, Fort St John, and Theford Quebec. He has presented workshops in Kelowna, Victoria and Vancouver. Check the Opus website for his upcoming events.

Kelowna Christmas Show 2013

Kelowna Christmas Show 2013 at Prospera Place

The first day of the new annual Kelowna Christmas Show opened at Prospera Place today. Doors opened at 10:30 a.m., so I thought I’d mosey on over shortly after 11. The long line up to get in moved quickly. I got my hand stamped and found my way into the central arena. It was wall-to-wall people. Who knew it would attract such a crowd! Practically unable to move, I decided to come back later on in the afternoon. Good move, because at that time I was able to talk to a few very interesting vendors.

The first products to really catch my eye, were the beautiful dolls made by Yolanda Robinson.

Yolanda Robinson of Boom Boom Kids at the Kelowna Christmas Show, November 23, 2013

Not finding suitable dolls to purchase, she started making them for her own children.

Boom Boom Kids

Her children requested mermaid dolls that had legs, too, and could be played with as “land dolls” when the mermaid “tail” was removed. I thought this was a clever idea!

Boom Boom Kids

Yolanda’s website is under construction, but in the meantime, you can visit and “like” her facebook page, Boom Boom Kids. More cute pictures there, too!

It was a particularly cold day and I was drawn to this display.

Karren Ferreira of Knitz Specialty Yarn at the Kelowna Christmas Show, November 23, 2013

Karren Ferreira is a self-confessed Yarnaholic. She specializes in colourful scarf yarn made of mohair, wool and cotton with textures that are fuzzy, shiny or funky.

In addition to the fuzzy, compact and colourful scarves (above), Karren crochets practical all-in-one hooded scarves (below). Some are made with alpaca wool.

Karren’s selected yarns can be purchased on her Knitz Specialty Yarn website (

After having her own children, Alma Gurgol wanted to use cloth diapers.

Alma Gurgol of Ogobumz at the Kelowna Christmas Show, November 23, 2013

She began making them with a soft removable liner. She sells these and other baby accessories through her online shop, Ogobumz.

Cloth diapers at Ogobumz

Ruthy Penner upcycles fabric into the cutest little shoes and sundresses.

Ruthy Penner, "nooks", at the Kelowna Christmas Show, November 23, 2013

I asked if she had any with a Canadian design. These ones had a maple leaf button on them. Just a bit bigger, and they might have been good for Buddy Canuck! Check out the nooks website for more (

Mother Moon Designs also attracted a lot of attention with fleeces and home decor.

Mother Moon Designs

If any of these items catch your eye, you still have a chance to buy them in person at the Kelowna Christmas Show tomorrow, Sunday November 24, 2013 at Prospera Place, 1223 Water Street, Kelowna between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Odette Nicholson’s Collection of Canadian Art Magazine

Canadian Art Magazine 1948 to 1958

Canadian Art Magazine 1948-58 - Odette Nicholson -

Professional visual artist, design consultant and renovation contractor Odette Nicholson has a vintage collection of Canadian Art Magazines. After she’s finished reading them all cover-to-cover, she plans to find a public access home for them.

Left: Cover of Summer 1953  |  Right: Cover of Christmas/New Year 1951/1952

Covers - Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson

Odette says:

“Serious stuff inside these magazines: art, craft, architecture, industrial and interior design, book illustration, politics, conferences, essays by artists and art historians. There are full colour inserts and reproductions. The magazines cost 35 cents each in 1948. The magazine is living history, full of text and pictures, events and adventures: how art agency began, influence of the commercial and museum gallery systems, corporate sponsorship, marketing, and yes, the good old CBC radio and other broadcasters in early television.”

Odette tells us that the subscription cost for seasonal quartly Canadian Art Magazine in 1955 was $1.50 per year. Below, she shares with us some intriguing photos of the magazine’s contents.

The Winnipeg Ballet in “Visages”

Winnipeg Ballet in Visages, 1949 Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson

Group of Seven artist Arthur Lismer’s painting, Georgian Bay 1947
in the Christmas 1951 centrefold

Arthur Lismer, Georgian Bay 1947, Christmas 1951 centrefold, Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson

Canadian designs  |  Left: 1950  | Right: 1954

Canadian designs - Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson -

Eaton’s ads (remember Eaton’s College Street in Toronto?!)

Eaton's, Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson -

Canada Packers ads designed by Commercial artist Walter Tier, glued onto the page

Canada Packers ads - Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson

1952 in memoriam to Group of Seven artist, Lawren Harris

1952 Lawren Harris - Canadian Art Magazine - Odette Nicholson

If you’d like to see more, visit Odette’s Canadian Art Magazine photo album and like her Facebook pages Odette -> Artist Canada and Odette Nicholson Special Projects (you’ll have to log in to your Facebook account). You can also find out more about Odette Nicholson and her art on her website,

Halloween in Canada

© Ed Dear | Dreamstime Stock Photos

When I was a kid, Halloween was my favourite holiday. As soon as school started after Labour Day, I was planning what my costume would be. I fantasized about creative and complex costumes, like an ice cream cone or a kangaroo, but often wound up being a gypsy (or something that could be easily put together from the family’s closets).

When I was 30, I promised I would take my niece and nephew trick-or-treating. They were so excited. I hadn’t seen them in a long time. Halloween meant a lot to them, too, and to have Auntie Annie accompany them on the night was something we all looked forward to. As they got ready, it became clear they had pictured it all differently. My plan was to chaperone them and stand on the sidewalk as they made their way door-to-door. But no, they insisted my promise was to go trick-or-treating with them – costume and all! Their pleas were difficult to disappoint; we scrambled through closets to find silly, young girl clothes, put my hair in pigtails, painted on freckles, donned a funny nose, and off we went.

At the first door, I was reluctant and held back. My niece was bold. “Can I have candy for my friend?” she gestured back toward me, explaining. “She’s shy.” The woman willingly gave her extra treats. Well, that was easy!

The tactic worked, and as the night progressed, it became nothing for me to join these two cheeky children knocking on doors, shouting “Trick-or-Treat!”. I collected my own bag full of loot.

Trick-or-treating at age thirty. So much fun!

Culture Days in Kelowna

Culture Days is a coast-to-coast-to-coast event which raises awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of arts and culture in communities across Canada. Artists, organizations and community groups host fun and free activities, and all are welcome to attend. On September 28, 2013, I passed by the Kelowna Art Gallery and saw artists of all ages working on an outdoor masterpiece.

As I headed toward the library, I saw some yarn bombing.

And then, some more. It made me smile.

At the library, there was a talk about the Philippine Islands, with entertaining songs and dances followed by delicious Filipino snacks and beverages. There was a flower wreath dance that was particularly pretty.

In the evening, there was a Culture Days Jam held in the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. The first performance was by One Camel Short.

They play World Fusion style music. The band consists of (left to right): Murray MacDonald (guitar), Jim Copeman (frame drum and djembe), Nathaniel Huard (riq and bongos) and Richard Owings (violin).

The Great Way Martial Arts students had some outstanding moves, including leaps so high and too quick for my camera to catch!

The Jin Meng and OCCA Dance Star Program performances included graceful adults…

… and cute children in duck costumes!

The Mission Dance Centre put on quite an elaborate performance.

There was a lot happening on that stage.

Even flamenco dancers with castanets.

Ginger and Rose played guitar and sang a few folk tunes.

Chloé Gravel also played guitar and sang sweetly.

Yet another guitarist, Hammed Gahadd, sang with a wonderful falsetto.

Cherie Hanson recited a few of her own poems.

The evening ended with an energetic performance of Yamabiko Taiko Japanese drumming.

There were over 50 events in Kelowna alone, and I attended just these. It was an amazing array of talent. Look out for Culture Days next year, wherever in Canada you live!

Cherryville Vaudeville

The Canadian Only team attended “a dazzling display of heterogeneous splendour designed to educate, edify, amaze and uplift” – at Cherryville’s Vaudeville show on October 19, 2013 in British Columbia. The photo above is a very entertaining tongue-twisting song sung by Kale acting as King Karacticus with his harem, nose powderer and witches.

Angel Thistle performed a beautiful rendition of the Canadian folk song, “The Log Driver’s Waltz“, which I remember as a Canadian vignette played on television circa 1979 (see the original video).

Angel Thistle singing "The Log Driver's Waltz"

Gary Toma performed on various handmade instruments he used, while Master of Ceremonies, Brad, grew a moustache magically, hair-by-hair, throughout the event.

Gary Toma playing handmade instrument while Master of Ceremonies, Brad, looks on

Barb Crebo sang and read poetry from a cat’s point of view.

Barb Crebo

Many others entertained in hilarious and talented ways. Volunteers cooked up and served a pasta feast, with ingredients donated by local businesses. Valuable door prizes and stunning auction items were donated by artists. We were successful on three items we bid on: a framed picture of an Okanagan scene by Ernest Laviolette, a glass sunflower charm bracelet made by Helen Kovacs, and a piece of Raku pottery created by Jen Moore.

For me, the most memorable performance was Doug Becker’s “Little Ms Piggytails” shadow dancing, which had the audience in hysterics!

Someone had left a pretty mask on our table, so I posed for a photo, too. (You can see some of the auction items in the background on the right-hand side.)

Annie Zed

An awesome time was had by all. It’s great when a small community pulls together like this and comes out to support their neighbours and the arts. To find out more about the Cherryville Artisans Association, visit our article about the Cherryville Artisans Shop.