Tag Archives: Life

Flock of birds now in my studio

Flock of Birds October 2016 ©Paige Mortensen

Flock of Birds October 2016 ©Paige Mortensen

My fireplace gallery now has a flock of birds – part of the work I am doing for the  Artisans’ Fine Craft Market coming up on November 4 & 5, 2016. The white papers behind them have been hanging empty for a few days so it feels good to have some colour there again.

It was our grandson’s 7th birthday at the end of September so we went to help celebrate.  They live on an acreage with a beautiful view of the lake and the birds were plentiful.  The weather was great and our grandchildren were happily jumping on the trampoline. I took some time with my camera to capture some reference images. I am thankful for every one of these special days spent with family.

Things to do:

Over the last week I have been keeping the memories of the day alive by working on some small watercolour batik pieces.  This batik process I use uses wax as a resist so I always work on wax paper (or in this case the liners out of cereal boxes).  These waxy papers stop the wax from sticking to whatever else might be underneath.  Here are some of the flock, finished and waiting for the wax to be ironed off. I did that this morning.


Flock of birds ready to iron

The next steps are to:

  • sign them
  • photograph them
  • mount them onto canvas
  • attach hangers
  • add labels to the back

Enjoy the birds you see today!


ArtsQuest.ca Visits my Studio

ArtsQuest.ca comes for a Studio Visit

In August, Corinne and Gary of ArtsQuest came for a studio visit. As it says on their website they are “traveling Canada, building the premier online Canadian arts marketplace.”  I am honoured that they chose to visit me. The were obviously curious about my watercolour batik process and interested in my life as an artist. I look forward to connecting with Corinne and Gary again soon. Here they are with their trusted van “Arty”.


For now they are posting interviews of artists they meet on their travels. I am not fond of looking at video of me – or of listening to myself talk.  Corinne & Gary did a great job putting this together though so I do hope you will have a look.  Here is a link to mine: http://artsquest.ca/2016/09/21/batik-watercolour-artist-paige-mortensen-irons-out-the-past/ While you are there check out some of the other interesting people they have met along the way!


ArtsQuest Interview about my watercolour batik process


Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Look what I found in the paper! Elevator Stop is one of my pieces featured on the guest artist wall at Handmade House until the end of September 2016.


Handmade House can be found at 702 Broadway Avenue Saskatoon, SK.

Humboldt & District Museum and Gallery is hosting a members’ show. Several artists from Saskatoon, including myself are participating in it.  I haven’t been yet but I from the pictures it looks like a great show!  You can check it out until November 5, 2016.

Thanks for reading!



Summer Reflections and Sharing Gratitudes

By the time you read this it will be September and a good time for summer reflections.
I have so many things to be thankful for!

Art Related:

By The Sandbar ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 16x16" SOLD

By The Sandbar ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 16×16″ SOLD

Time for art.  Well, maybe not quite as much over the summer as the rest of the year but everything that follows is important too.

Black Spruce Gallery and Handmade House for showing my work.

Collectors who have purchased my work.

Upcoming opportunities – more news coming soon!



Family News



Exciting family news #1 – our son is engaged so we have a soon to be daughter-in-law!



Exciting family news #2 – our daughter and son-in-law are expecting their 3rd child!  We sure enjoyed the time with these two this summer!



My niece and her husband had a baby girl!





A 65th Wedding Anniversary!




A 95th Birthday Party!





Interesting leaves.



My cousin gave me a dresser that once belonged to our grandparents. I painted it white and am distressing it before putting it all back together.


Small Flower Collection Aug 2016

Small Flower Collection Aug 2016 ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik




A collection of small  (4×6″) canvases that were calling.  These flowers are the tiniest pieces I have done and it was fun!




I hope your summer reflections bring a smile to your day!


Rain Rescue – a random act of kindness

With Gratitude

Out of the Rain

Out of the Rain ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik

My Mom and sister live in the same neighbourhood as we do so the three of us often go for evening walks. I am grateful for these times to visit and check in with them. One day last week as we were walking along there was a sudden downpour. Fortunately there are lots of large trees so we took refuge under one thinking it would pass quickly.  It wasn’t more than a minute later that a woman came running out with an umbrella for us! She invited us inside but we declined, still optimistic that this rain would stop as quickly as it started.

Well, we were wrong! The wind came up sending rivers of water down the street. We gave in and went to the door.  She was so kind and welcoming!  We are grateful for the umbrellas, the towels, the visit and the opportunity to meet her 2 month old baby! Her kindness made the adventure into a happy story!

With gratitude,


P.S. Remember to stop by Handmade House and have to see my show there!


Station Arts Centre Postcard Fundraiser

Postcard Fundraiser

When I first heard about the Station Arts Centre Postcard Fundraiser I thought “What a fun idea”!   I was out to see the exhibition and they have over 180 postcards in their silent auction! The variety is fantastic and they look great on the walls! Show dates are June 21 – August 7, 2016.

PaigeMortensen - Station Arts Centre Postcard Fundraiser - SaskatchewanPostcards1

Saskatchewan Postcards 1 ©Paige Mortensen 6×4″ Watercolour Batik

I wanted my submissions to reflect the town of Rosthern, the people who live there and Saskatchewan. The elevator is one of two still standing along the tracks through Rosthern and feels similar to elevators in many towns around the province.

PaigeMortensen - Station Arts Centre Postcard Fundraiser - SaskatchewanPostcards2

Saskatchewan Postcards 2 ©Paige Mortensen 6×4″ Watercolour Batik

The last time I was out to the Station Arts Centre this bike was sitting outside the building. It has such a wonderful basket on the back!  I don’t know the owner but it was fun for me to hear that she was excited to see her bike in the exhibition!

PaigeMortensen - Station Arts Centre Postcard Fundraiser - SaskatchewanPostcards3

Saskatchewan Postcards 3 ©Paige Mortensen 6×4″ Watercolour Batik

And, for anyone who doesn’t know, the Prairie Lily is Saskatchewan’s flower.

The entire Postcard Fundraiser collection is posted on the Station Arts Facebook page if you are interested in seeing more.  Mine are #127, 142 and 144.

Leah Dorion Exhibition

In addition to the postcards, there is an exhibit of Leah Dorion’s work called Carriers of Creation Her artist’s statement says: “This collection celebrates the energy of life and the great connectedness of all life forms in this vast creation.”

In November 2015 I heard Leah talk about her exhibition (Country Wives & Daughters of the Country: Metis Women of this Land) at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery here in Saskatoon. She is expressing an important message and I was fascinated with the works.
“Until recently the role of Métis women in Canadian history remained generally unacknowledged by our collective society… This art show is a celebration of Métis women and provides contemporary representations of women’s traditional roles in historic Métis society. Recognizing our shared past is an important way to give cultural continuity, identity, and knowledge to forthcoming generations of children.”   ~ Leah Dorion

I hope you can check out the exhibitions – as well as their summer theatre show – “The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven’s Blatz”!





Post Show feels like a Spring Break

New Work

These last two weeks have felt like I’m on a spring break!  The Artists’ Workshop Show & Sale was April 15-17th which meant some focused show preparation time leaving other things undone.  I have enjoyed the change of pace and checking some of those things off of my to-do list.

I have still been working though, and these four ‘spring break’ birds are framed and ready to go!  (Actually since I started this post one has already been sold!)

Spring break Birds

Four ‘Spring Break’ Birds: Listening, Cheerful, Proud and Nesting all 8×8″ Watercolour Batik ©Paige Mortensen


Spring Break Gallery Stop

One day last week I drove out to the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern to see an exhibit called “Hello In There Hello Out There”.  This project was a collaboration of artists and Saskatchewan seniors. They worked together to write out stories from the seniors and then create dioramas to depict the memories.  It was great to see how the Rosthern school engaged with the show with some students creating dioramas of their own and other classes coming to view and reflect on the stories.

Spring break gallery stop - Station Arts Centre - Rosthern

Spring break gallery stop

As well as the visual art they have a wonderful tea room and live theatre in the summer.  See the Station Arts Centre website for more information.

My next project is to create, and mail them some postcard sized art!
From June 21 – August 7th they are having a Postal Art Fundraising Exhibit.  Individuals have been invited to mail them postcard sized art which will be auctioned to help keep the arts alive in Rosthern. If you are interested in participating see Postcards to the Station: a Postal Art Fundraising Exhibit.  It will be fun to see what they receive!

I hope you too are enjoying a spring break!












Memories of Bouquets

Fond Farewell ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12x24"

Fond Farewell ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12×24″

As the saying goes, “Pictures are worth a thousand words”…and they bring back so many memories. Looking at some photos recently I came across some from a farewell party for a friend and co-worker. They brought back many memories of working with this amazing, dedicated person. Another co-worker had put together this small bouquet in an office mug reminding me of the special talents every person has. Working on this piece was a joyful opportunity to remember those connections.


Healing & Protea ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik each 8×24″

These two also have memories. The daisies were a gift from family when I broke my ankle in 2014. I don’t really want to remember the broken ankle but I am always thankful for my awesome family and their support in everything. The orange flower in the second one one is a Protea (or Pin Cushion) and the arrangement includes some Eryngium and Eucalyptus. These I gave to my sister for her birthday. The vase she used was a plastic one that folds flat. Once filled with water it created some very interesting shapes and colours.

Just over a month until the Artists’ Workshop Show & Sale.  Hope to see you there!

2016 aw invite sm



Vancouver Art Gallery – Mashup


Last week I was fortunate to be in Vancouver enjoying a change of pace.  The weather was most cooperative and we enjoyed spring as we wandered around Stanley Park, walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and explored Granville Island.  One slightly rainy day we spent at the Vancouver Art Gallery touring the current exhibit – Mashup.

Mashup” according to the Oxford dictionary is “a mixture or fusion of disparate elements”. Other definitions relate mashup to music or computing.  Within the four floors of the gallery 30 curators have gathered 371 artworks (in a wide range of media) by156 artists, all part of the evolving “mashup” culture.

We had a great guided tour of the early works in this “Birth of Modern Culture”.  Picasso was one of the first when he began to experiment with collage in about 1912. One example was him trying to represent objects such as this musical instrument by showing all sides of it at the same time.

Marcel Duchamp brought ready made objects into the gallery and displayed them as art.  He was also concerned about making art accessible to more people believing that it wasn’t necessarily the original piece that was so important, rather sharing the idea of the piece. He created replica boxes of some of his exhibits so that they could travel around to people who weren’t able to get to the galleries.  This is one of these.

Post World War II the proliferation of mass marketing and advertising were the setting for Andy Warhol and others to bring the replication processes of mass production to their art. These two from Warhol’s Cow series are on display as well as several other pieces of his work.

I found this sculpture (Untitled (Books) 2002) by Rachel Whiteread to be quite interesting.  It feels like the knowledge and enjoyment normally found inside books has been silenced.

Here in Saskatoon I recently heard Eugene Arcand speak as a survivor of residential schools and now part of the Truth & Reconciliation process.  He used the term “blameless shame” as a way to describe a part of the work that needs to be done by individuals and society at large.  There on the wall of the Vancouver Art Gallery in big bold letters were the words Blame and Shame.

And on the floor underneath, a variation of this quote by Aimé Césaire – “Beware, my body and my soul, beware above all of crossing your arms and assuming the sterile attitude of the spectator, for life is not a spectacle, a sea of griefs is not a proscenium, and a man who wails is not a dancing bear.”

Near the end of our tour there was a room with some sort of silver “foil” covering all the walls.  Looking at our reflections they seemed appropriate as we tried to absorb all that we had seen.

“Life is not a spectacle”. It is a participatory activity.  How can we best participate to help make our world a better place?  How have these and other artists opened our minds to help change the world?




Knowing and Creating

The link between knowing and creating has been a topic that seems to keep recurring in my work and life lately. What do those words mean and how do they relate to each other and the way I experience my art?

Beauty Behind ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 10x14" $225

Beauty Behind ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 10×14″

I know that I chose this subject because it was friendly and familiar.  I was working in a new environment with the Artists’ Workshop painting group and wanted to be working on something comfortable.  Keeping as many variables in the ‘knowing’ category allowed me to put my emotions into the piece creatively.

In the August 2015 Leading Edge newsletter Louise Hall included some painting tips from a workshop with Gerald Brommer.  They included: ” …the four skills or levels in the process of learning to create art – technique, drawing, design and feeling. …  With practise of technique, drawing and design we can do all of this automatically, and then we are free to put our feelings and spirit into our art.”

Then, I came across Laureen Marchand’s Blog post from September 9th.  It was an interview with Lori-Ann Claerhout about Whims and Ideas.  Laureen thinks of whims as being “like good ideas that float by.” She talked about how painting is a series of unconscious whims because, in her words, “I never know where I’m going for sure.”  She goes on to say: “I think that’s how creativity works …[pause]… because you get to the point where you do know, and then you have to change it.  Because, if you just kept doing what you know it would stop being creativity.  It would just become a repeated action.”  Lori-Ann’s interpretation of Laureen’s process was:
“It sounds a lot like you have a knowing…it is your knowing that tells you how to make it work.” 

About the same time my sister asked me if I could create a piece that had been in her mind for a long time.  She did send a line drawing of a tree truck, branch and circles indicating ‘fluffy birds”, mentioned charcoal and said “which somehow remind me of a card Grandma would have sent”.  To most people that wouldn’t have meant anything but we always knew which birthday card came from Grandma.  I pulled out the charcoal and did a quick sketch to see if I was getting her thoughts.


Now to create the watercolour batik version. I didn’t want to loose the rough tree bark created with charcoal so my next ‘whim’ was to try it in on the Ginwashi paper.  I generally work from light to dark but for this piece I started boldly with the charcoal drawing.  I then used the wax to seal the strong, dark areas in but left some of the looser charcoal to blend with the layers of watercolour.


This was a whole new way of working for me.  Having those really dark areas from the beginning gave a totally different frame of reference for the rest of the process. Every step was one of ‘not knowing’ and yet being excited about creating the “card from Grandma” feel.  I really noticed how knowing and creating were linked throughout this process.


Togetherness ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12 x 36″

My sister hasn’t seen it in person yet but her response to the image was: “OH MY  — I don’t know what to say.  I want to see it in person — but I think it is pretty darn amazing!!!!! ”  

How are you letting your knowing guide your creativity in art or in life?



Fall Routine

It is October 2nd already and I think I am finally into my 2015 fall routine! The end of September is birthday time – with 3 family birthdays on the same day! This year was special as we had about 50 people gather to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. On the same weekend we had a smaller party for our grandson who is now a toothless 6 year old. Fall is such a wonderful time of year to celebrate with all the wonderfully coloured leaves decorating our world. As our 2 1/2 year old grand-daughter says “It is leafing!”

There are a couple of new things on my calendar this year.

The Artists Workshop painting group invited me to join them on Mondays. This is turning out to be a wonderful place to connect with other artists, all working very differently but sharing the same passion for art. A new environment with new people brings a challenge to getting down to work and finding the rhythm of the painting.  Sunflowers are blooming beautifully in my yard and are a friendly and familiar subject for me to work on. This one is finished:


Connecting ©Paige Mortensen 10×14″ Watercolour Batik

For an hour on Wednesdays I am painting with a group of seniors in an assisted living facility. This week we were on the leaf theme there too.  It is going to be fun to see what they do as the year progresses!


Showing their personalities

I have had these wooden stamps from Charan Creations for a while and they came out this fall to celebrate the season.  Using them to apply the wax has been fun to experiment with!

Enjoy your own connections to leaves this fall! Are you going on a leaf crunching walk?

Thanks for being here,