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On the farm and in the studio with Peggy McDonald

photograph. You create a moment.” “One of the other things he made me realize is that you have to paint what you love,” saidMcDonald. “Just get outside and into nature. Paint what interests you. The fact that I live in a remote area on 25 acres of land is incredible. I walk with the dogs every Saturday and Sunday. I am really beginning to appreciate how beautiful it is here in Eastern Ontario.” McDonald believes to get inspired is as simple as stepping outside with a sketchbook and a pencil. “You notice things you haven’t noticed before,” she smiled. “You can paint whatever you want and do it for yourself, not for anyone else. You’re painting because it makes your heart sing.” McDonald said she used to feel guilty for buying all the supplies she needed and always tried to turn it into a business. She had a hard time spendingmoney on herself. However, now, she has learned to enjoy what she does and realizes that turning a hobby into a job becomes just another job. “I don’t have to make everything a business,” she said. “I can do it just because I enjoy doing it. I had amoment. It was ok to have a hobby and not turn it into a business. It’s ok to paint for me. ” McDonald said it is important to her to teach these values to her children. “One of the best things we can do for our kids is to take them outside with a sketchbook,” said McDonald. “Go out and slow down. Show them to appreciate what is around them.” McDonald’s 14-year-old daughter Rebecca is very intrigued by the agricultural community. She is very involved in sports

including volleyball, and track and does very well academically. She is currently in a Bach program in Hawkesbury and wants to be a lawyer. McDonald also has a grown son, Byron, who lives in Ottawa. She said the trick to a peaceful mind is to have a good balance. “I have a very good work-life balance,” she explained. “I go to work, and work hard. Then I come home, I slow down and I enjoy being outside, working on a painting, and working in the garden.” McDonald built a studio behind her farm house where she can go and just be quiet for a while. “I can come out here at five in the morning or at midnight if I can’t sleep. It’s very peaceful.” In her studio, McDonald has a few paintings, a few photos, and a new painting she is working on. It is a collection of different photos to make one moment in time. “I learned from Robert Bateman to paint with an iPad. You can expand a certain part of the photo to get really good details. It has made painting a real joy.” McDonald said she wants her paintings to feel like you are stepping into a moment in time. “I don’t want it to look like a photograph but I do want to show expression. It’s to create that memory. When you look at it, it feels like you are stepping into it.” Painting for McDonald is a big part of her life. She enjoys every minute of it and sometimes sells what she creates. “I don’t paint to sell them. It’s a hobby that I really enjoy doing. I can be creative and I do it for me because I enjoy it. It captivates me.”

Peggy McDonald in her studio on the farm. -


an off button. I just never stopped, and I was so tired all the time.” McDonald picked up her camera, and started taking photos when she was on her walks. “I was taking photos of birds, horses, and heritage photos,” said McDonald. “I started a greeting card line a couple of years ago. I had so many photos. People were interested in them. So now, Jade Garden sells them, and Legault Gardens sells them too.” McDonald had the opportunity to do a painting workshop with renowned painter Robert Bateman in Cortes, British Columbia. “I had to bring a painting for him to critique,” she exclaimed. “I chose a bird because I was enjoying bird watching at the time, which really suited what Robert Bateman was all about. I came out of that experience with a completely different approach to painting. His approach was that you don’t copy a

VankleekHill resident PeggyMcDonald has learned to slow down and not only smell the flowers, but paint them too. As a busy sales executive, McDonald finds it imperative to have time for herself, her family, and the things she loves such as nature, photography, and painting. About five years ago, McDonald and her daughter moved into a farm with her parents. “We just had our fifth Christmas here,” smiled McDonald. “When I moved to the farm, I spent a lot of time walking the trails and in the bush. It’s just so peaceful. I have a big garden now.” McDonald learned to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. “I used to work all the time,” she explained. “There was never

A cozy concert at the Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre

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Parents’ Lifelines You never need to feel alone

The Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre will be hosting its next House Concert, Monday, February 15 at 7:15 pm. The duo known as 10 String Symphony with Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer will be playing their 5-string fiddles, as well as some banjos, in the intimate comfort of Arbor Gallery. Surrounded by the new Eros show artwork, listeners will be treated to a variety of musical styles that include old time Nashville fiddle music and newer, more experimental pieces. The Arbor Gallery is located at 36 Home Avenue in Vankleek Hill. The cost of the event goes to the musicians. However, organizers ask that guests bring a “little something” (food or drink) that will be served at intermission. The concert runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. —supplied photo •

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