“MacKenzie Ponds” – enplein air painting


Thanksgiving weekend has given me the chance to take a few minutes break from knitwear.  This evening I had the chance to go out for a quick en plein air painting session. It was definitely quick, as the sun was sinking, and the temperature was 3C.  Still, it was nice to get out to capture a fall landscape .

This painting, “MacKenzie Ponds”, is 8”x10”. Watercolour on paper.

“Freedom 5: Grey Flood” – Canadian Art

“Freedom 5: Grey Flood”, ink on paper, 5″x7″, 2018, by Debra Hunter


The Freedom series continues. Small works on paper, approached with experimentation. A way to loosen up painting and art.This piece is one of the wettest pieces I have made in recent weeks. Layers of diluted ink veiling one over the other. Hard lines for contrast.

This piece is based on recent spring floods, and the spreading flowing waters. There is inspiration everywhere.


And so the paint meanders…..


And so the paint meanders…….

A new work in progress. An idea that has shifted a dozen times in the last few days. In the last couple of hours it has found its path. I think we have navigated past twee and into stronger territory.

A smaller canvas at 16″x20″. I wanted to test out playing both vertical and horizontal lines on something smaller, testing to make sure it didn’t get too landscapey, but was still reminiscent.

Hopefully I will be up to the strong color portion tomorrow, that is when we will see if it all comes together.


Wet Monday

It’s a Monday with a lot of wait times.

I’m working very wet on paper. I mean VERY wet. This is day two of small pieces with layers and bleeds of color. One west coast piece and one more for the “freedom” series. It seems it is a couple of minutes of painting followed by a couple of hours of waiting.

I’m also reclaiming a canvas I decided I didn’t love. I know some people burn canvases, I’m re-gessoing. So it is roll and wait, roll and wait. I am actually going to attack the same canvas, with the same theme, but employing some things I have learned along the way.

It is also scouring and mordanting day. It is so important to stay on top of having a dyed wool stock, as dyeing takes me a day or two per skein.

I imagine the next few days will be prep work and organizing, and then off to the coast for a work week.


Canadian Inspired Knitting

o canada collection 4x6_0974

As some of you may know, I have a new site up called Handmade in Canada. It is a site of handmade and art pieces, influenced and inspired by Canada, and often made with natural, eco-friendly and Canadian sourced materials.

Over the next few weeks we will be adding shops and galleries to our various collections on Handmade in Canada. Today we launched the O’ Canada Collection.

Our O’Canada Collection celebrates the colors of our flag. The iconic red and white, are accompanied by grays, dark browns and blacks. This is classic Canadian. Our collection will remind you of ….well……everything Canadian (and maybe old school work socks too!).

The O’ Canada Collection is made of natural sheep wool, produced here in Canada and milled in a heritage mill. We believe in using natural products and using Canadian produced raw materials when possible. The yarn for this collection is hand dyed in natural dyes in micro batches with the red color being obtained through dyeing with lac. All items are hand knit and are one of a kind. Each item posted is available for purchase and ready to be shipped. Items can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Items start at $15.00 including tax and shipping within Canada. The pieces make great gifts for friends and family  as they are Canadian made, unbreakable, and ship well.

I hope you will pop over to the new site and check it out. More collections are to come. Also if you have any special requests send us an email, we are always up for creating something new.

For more information please feel free to email us at handmade-canada@outlook.com .


by Debra Hunter

Red Deer, Alberta and Pender Island, BC, Canada

leaf red 3x3 square 350dpi stylized 2







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“Remnants” (2015) – a new fibre art piece

"Remnants" (2015) 10" x 14" ntutally dyed and eco dyed cotton, naturally dyed cotton, silk and wool threads, hand stitching

10″ x 14″
naturally dyed and eco dyed cotton, naturally dyed cotton, silk and wool threads, hand stitching, lino cut bull skull

“Remnants” is finally finished. This fibre art piece, started in late October or early November has been a journey. Originally it was to be a small lino cut skull printed on naturally dyed fabric and then embellished by beads. As I worked on the piece the idea grew to a larger piece that incorporated eco printed fabric ( the leaf imprints), took on a landscape concept, and relied on hand stitching to create the image. The idea of beading was completely abandoned; too fancy for this piece.

This piece has a roughness about it. Raw edges. Rough fabric. Lopi tacked down. Fabrics dyed with marigold and tansy; dyes from the earth. It is a rugged piece, rugged like the prairies. Inspired by farms down dirt roads with skulls tacked on fences and adorning sheds, the bits left behind, and remnants of the past.

Art by Debra Hunter







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“Roe Islet Arbutus #2” – Canadian Landscape Painting

Roe Islet Arbutus #2 (2014) 11x14

Roe Islet Arbutus #2 (2014) 11×14

“Roe Islet Arbutus #2” is one of those paintings that came together effortlessly. Before the first paint hit the panel I knew exactly how I wanted to approach the arbutus with twists of red and moving lines.

This is one of my favorite paintings completed recently. It is part of the Roe Islet series I have been working on. Roe Islet is a protected area off North Pender Island (British Columbia, Canada). Roe Islet features arbutus and evergreen trees, rocks and amazing sea views.

Roe Islet Arbutus #2
acrylic on panel

Art by Debra Hunter

A Fundraiser and a Painting

blog painting hangingOn Friday November 21st the Harris-Warke gallery is holding their annual fundraiser. This fundraiser auctions off works donated by local artists with the proceeds used for gallery operating costs throughout the year. Our city, Red Deer (Alberta, Canada,) has very few exhibition spaces so it is a cause worth supporting.

My piece is “Roe Islet Arbutus #1″, an 8″x10” painting of acrylic on canvas. It features the very unique arbutus trees that grow on the west coast of Canada.

blog roe islet arbutus #1 8x10 2014 satThis year the gallery asked for small pieces. It is kind of fun walking into a gallery space filled with small pieces instead of the usual huge pieces. It is a different experience standing 2 feet away from a piece of artwork compared to 20 feet away. Every single piece shown would easily fit into someone’s home.

blog galleryThe auction starts tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm, check it out if you are in town!

blog card

Painting by Debra Hunter


“Welcome Bay Arbutus” (2014) – new painting

"Welcome Bay Arbutus" 2014 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas

“Welcome Bay Arbutus”
24″ x 36″
acrylic on canvas

“Welcome Bay Arbutus” is another of my Pender Island paintings. This is a quiet little bay on North Pender Island and depicts a day, one November, that was cold, wet and foggy……what our family refers to as “it’s west-coasting outside”. Wellie weather.

“Welcome Bay Arbutus” is finally finished after two years of working on the canvas sporadically. At three feet wide it is one of my favorite sizes of canvas to paint on.

Working for such a long spread out time on this canvas created some interesting situations. First, I had to keep reminding myself what it was that first attracted me to the subject matter and what I wanted to present. The second thing that was tricky was keeping the style the same over the course of time. Last week I discovered that the painting looked like it had been painted in three different styles in distinct zones. One area I have no idea what I was originally thinking….apparently a sponge was handy and I used it (a lot!). The only way to solve the “three style” painting was to completely attack the areas that did not work, ignore what had been done in the past, and paint as if I was painting by scratch. In the end it all worked out and I am really happy with the piece.

Painting by Debra Hunter



“Autumn Walk, Dr. George Trail, Gaetz Lake Sanctuary” – New Painting of the Canadian Landscape (Red Deer, Alberta)

blog Autumn Walk  Dr George Trail Gaets Lake Sanc 2014 border

“Autumn Walk, Dr. George Trail, Gaetz Lake Sanctuary”
11 inches by 14 inches
acrylic on panel

This painting captures a morning walk through fall leaves along the Dr. George Trail. The Dr. George Trail is a 1 km loop the runs through the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary located just behind Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, AB, Canada. A mix of evergreen and deciduous trees plus wetlands and grasslands makes for an interesting stroll.

I have decided to work on a series of paintings based on this natural area. We frequent the area often and see it throughout the seasons;  the sanctuary has endless possibilities for paintings. So far I have completed three finished paintings and three in progress from this area.

For the last few months I have made the switch from painting on bigger canvases to painting on smaller panels. The switch has also included going from detailed up close subject matter to broader landscape views. I expected the switch to not make much of a difference in the way that I painted, however I was very wrong. The first challenge was paint seemed flatter on the panel, I eventually solved that problem with working in some glazes to build depth. The second challenge was working on a smaller scale. I thought the smaller scale would create stiffer contrived pieces, but strangely the smaller paintings ended up looser (well after the first painting or three that is!). The paintings look more like something out of my sketch books. At first it seemed odd, but after I thought about it, it made complete sense. The smaller size was like working in a sketchbook, as was the smooth surface. I also have sketched “landscapes” for years, but have only painted them on rare occasions. So the big decision now is whether I continue to paint like I sketch or do I tighten it up. The other option is to paint the same painting two different ways. This may seem a bit repetitive, but could also be very interesting in seeing the outcome. I’ll have to see if the right spot inspires me to try the two painting scenario.

Painting by Debra Hunter