David Dunn — Doing What Comes Naturally - theHumm August 2022
David Dunn — Doing What Comes Naturally - theHumm August 2022
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
Sometimes it’s tempting to think certain people’s lives are preordained. When a kid who loves to draw just happens to luck into marvelously supportive mentors, it’s no wonder he becomes an artist. When Dave Dunn was only six or seven, his public-school art teacher, Grace Murray, encouraged him wholeheartedly by praising his watercolour painting of a sunset in front of the whole class. Then he stumbled into the amazingly good fortune to have Canada’s beloved naturalist and painter, Robert Bateman, as his geography and art teacher throughout high school. It was an early epiphany — Dunn states simply, “It changed my life.”
His paintings, like Bateman’s, pay homage to nature. Many of his works feature birds; flowers are another favourite subject, and other familiar outdoor scenes confirm his affinity with the natural world. His heartwarming portraits of dogs leave no doubt as to his deep affection for and connection with them. Each painting is an invitation to open your eyes to the natural beauty that surrounds us but too often goes unnoticed.
As he explains on his two-minute video at daviddunnart.com/daves-2020-video , Dave strives to create a painting that combines magic realism with a hint of impressionism, while introducing a bit of the abstract through the juxtaposition of foreground and background elements. He refers to it as “a trick of the mind’s eye,” and his works succeed in focusing your attention on the gifts nature offers so abundantly. As any nature photographer will attest, it is infinitely rewarding to learn to really look and see.
Like his inspirational teacher, Dunn now lives a life dedicated to bringing nature into people’s lives. He and his horticulturist partner, Rob Caron, have created an oasis of natural beauty near Merrickville. Their acclaimed garden centre began as their response to the unforgettable ice storm that ravaged their country property in 1998. Faced with a wide swath of destruction from trees felled by the weight of almost 100mm of ice pellets and freezing rain, they conceived and began to create Rideau Woodland Ramble. It has been quite an achievement. Since its inception in 2000, the Ramble has been chosen the Number 1 favourite gardening establishment in all of Eastern Ontario by the readers of the Eastern Ontario Gardeners Tour Guide, and featured in Canadian Gardening Magazine as one of Canada’s top 20 nurseries. In 2015, the Ramble was named Canadian Garden Centre Destination of the Year by the Canadian Garden Council. In 2017 they were named a Canada 150 Garden Experience. And now in 2022, in Canada’s current “Year of the Garden” publication, they are thrilled to appear on page 58! Not bad for two guys’ response to an ice storm.
The gardens are the result of Dave’s and Ron’s long-term dream to share their gardening experiences with other gardeners and collectors, and to continue exploring rare plant material suitable for the Ottawa area. Today the six major garden areas are interconnected by trails and walkways, encompassing a delightful pond that is home to a profusion of wildlife. There is a Totem Trail that rambles into the pure woodland, and a garden centre anchored by a glass-enclosed gazebo. Their eclectic collection of whimsical and superb outdoor art gilds the lilies. As icing on the incredible vegetarian cake, in 2012 they added a Pavilion gateway to one of the gardens that features the Garden and Wildlife Art of Dave Dunn. What a perfect setting.
Learning that Dunn grew up in Lively, ON, on the outskirts of Sudbury, makes me wonder if deprivation can take some credit for his lifelong passion for natural beauty and environmental stewardship. In addition to the barren moonscape devoid of vegetation in his youth (the Sudbury Basin is a roughly elliptical crater about 60km by 30km, once used by NASA to train astronauts to walk on the moon), Dave remembers air raids sending him home from school to stay indoors to avoid the harmful airborne emanations from the INCO mine where his dad worked as a research chemist.
Dunn describes himself as always needing a challenge. His first major one was dealing with his parents’ horrified response to his announcement that he was going to use his generous Grade 13 scholarship from INCO to go to art college. A practical compromise was eventually worked out, and Dave became President of Student Government, managed the swimming pool and was a lifeguard while earning his degree in Architecture at Carleton University. After a few positions as a junior architect, he was hired at Bell Northern Research as an environmental designer. Thirty-three years later, as global head of real estate for all of Nortel, he led the company’s real estate divestiture process during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Officially retired in 2011, Dave is working harder than ever on his art, and on his amazing gardens. He confides that although he finds painting hard work that requires constant practice to keep his skills honed, the thrill of achieving an image is always great. Joining the MAG (Merrickville Artists Guild) seven years ago provides the additional push of deadlines and expectations.
Back in the ’60s Robert Bateman inspired him to be concerned about the fragility of the planet. Dunn tells me he would have loved to have been a politician, “because I wanted to make the world a better place.” He has succeeded — he offers his paintings and his gardens to raise awareness and motivation in others to care for the natural world.
Until August 21, a selection of Dave Dunn’s paintings will be on display at Gallery 55 in the Ottawa Byward Market in an exhibition featuring members of the Merrickville Artists Guild. His art gallery in the Pavilion at Rideau Woodland Ramble is an extra inducement to experience one of the premier garden centres of Canada — drop in any time the Ramble is open, or by appointment with Dave. Coordinates are on the back of his Artist’s Trading Card in the corner above.
ARTIST TRADING CARD
WHO David Dunn
WHAT Wildlife and Garden Acrylic Art, Co-founder/Owner of Rideau Woodland Ramble
WHEN Until August 21, at Gallery 55 in the Ottawa Byward Market, 55 ByWard Market Square;Drop in any time the Ramble is open, or byappointment with Dave
WHY “To express my experience of nature and all it has to offer when we truly see.”
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
Sometimes it’s tempting to think certain people’s lives are preordained. When a kid who loves to draw just happens to luck into marvelously supportive mentors, it’s no wonder he becomes an artist. When Dave Dunn was only six or seven, his public-school art teacher, Grace Murray, encouraged him wholeheartedly by praising his watercolour painting of a sunset in front of the whole class. Then he stumbled into the amazingly good fortune to have Canada’s beloved nat......
Richard Gill’s Annual Show Burnstown Sculptor Sheds Light on 50-Year Career with Milestone Show - theHumm August 2022
Half a century has passed since artist/sculptor Richard Gill, his wife Jacqui and infant daughter Erin rolled through the hamlet of Burnstown driving a 1968 Volkswagon camper, and stopped to change his daughter’s diaper. They noticed an old log house for sale. A phone call later, a deal was made, and the family moved lock stock and barrel from their city home in Toronto. Richard never looked back.
Little did he know the boarded-up former tavern/stoppin’ place without plumbing or......
By — Submitted The Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Much has been said, wondered and theorized about Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the Alice in Wonderland musical (based on Mr. Carroll’s famous story, by Sally Netzel with music composed by Beatrice Wolf), Alice says: “I wish people would be foolish sometimes. That they’d believe silly things, impossible things.” Now, doesn’t that sum things up nicely?
Young Alice, who will be played by multiple actors, doesn’t want to study, isn’t interested in “books without pictu......
By Bruce Deachman
It began as something else — as two discrete projects, actually — that unexpectedly merged into one. And maybe it all began more than a half-century ago, with my Grade 2 teacher, Miss Mills, among whose class exercises included this favourite of mine: she would draw three squiggly lines on a piece of paper, and ask each student to make a drawing that incorporated those lines. The assignment had a vague structure, but relied almost entirely on our imaginations. I......
After missing two years, the Ottawa Valley’s grooviest community festival is back!
On August 5 to 7, everyone is welcome to the Killaloe Craft and Community Fair. Established in 1976 by back-to-the-land hippies and draft-dodgers, the Fair is a volunteer-run non-profit outdoor festival featuring music, workshops, vendors, kids’ activities, camping, fabulous food and much more. With something for everyone, the Fair is a truly intergenerational event that takes pride in being an inclusive gather......
The exclusive gallery event of the year, A Midsummer Night in Perth returns to beautiful downtown heritage Perth. On Saturday, August 13 you can immerse yourself in the inspiring world of art meeting fashion and food!
Come to the Katherine Muir Miller Gallery, where they will be rolling out the red carpet for a one-night-only exclusive event. Tickets are on sale now for admission to an elegant evening filled with art, hats, music, fashion and a delicious selection of wines, beers and sw......
MMLT Presents The Festival of the Wild Child Outdoor Family-Friendly Event is Better than Ever! - theHumm August 2022
The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) invites you and your family to High Lonesome Nature Reserve for their annual Festival of the Wild Child on Saturday, August 27. This popular nature-themed family event is a fantastic opportunity to experience outdoor fun along the wooded trails, beaver ponds and butterfly meadows.
To make the event safer amid the pandemic, the last two years featured special scavenger hunt editions of the Festival of the Wild Child. These hunts were s......
Perth Garlic Festival - theHumm August 2022
The Perth Lions Garlic Festival is thrilled to announce that the 23rd annual Garlic Festival is a go! After having to cancel the festival for the last two years due to Covid, the Committee is putting together what they feel will be one of their best events yet. They will be highlighting vendors (many are returning), birds of prey, music, food, fun, and of course, lots of garlic! Check them out at perthgarlicfestival.c......
3 Galleries; 3 Shows - theHumm August 2022
Almonte’s Sivarulrasa Gallery has three shows planned for August — one in each of their three distinct gallery spaces.
From July 20 to August 26, they are pleased to present Catherine Gutsche: Improv, an installation in Gallery II by Ottawa-based artist Catherine Gutsche that explores themes of improvisation in nature and in her practice as an artist. The show features seven new paintings in acrylic and mixed media, from the exuberant Scarlet Bergamot to the ......
August has been described as “the kindest month” — soft days, sunshine and a time for slowing down after the frantic rush of a typical Canadian summer and before the inevitable arrival of cooler weather. August is a perfect month for day trips to charming destinations, such as beautiful Westport, Ontario, with its thriving art community, unique shops, restaurants and accessible waterfront on Upper Rideau Lake.
Speaking of Westport, after two long years, one of eastern Ontario’s premier art......
Calypso at The Cove - theHumm August 2022
By — Rob Riendeau
On Friday, August 19, The Cove Inn in Westport will be transformed into a Caribbean dance hall as Kobo Town comes to share their “intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass,” (The Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism,”(Exclaim!).
Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves and based in Toronto, this JUNO-nominated band has introduced their distinct calypso-inspired sound to......
Let’s Celebrate Our Community! Perth & District Community Foundation Hosts a Free Community Celebration - theHumm August 2022
The Perth & District Community Foundation (PDCF) is turning twenty. To celebrate this special anniversary, the PDCF will be hosting a free Let’s Celebrate Our Community event with special guests Juno award-winning singer-songwriter James Keelaghan and acclaimed fiddler Jess Wedden. This celebration will take place on Sunday, September 11 at the Crystal Palace in Perth. We contacted President Ron Heesen to find out more about the organization and their plans for the future.
Colleen Gray at S.M.art Gallery! Local Artist Offering Lessons and More at Carleton Place Gallery - theHumm August 2022
Colleen Gray is of Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Irish descent who practices her culture daily. She is also a fulltime artist and volunteer running Art for Aid — an organization that has worked to put art supplies into remote Indigenous schools in Canada for over ten years. Colleen works with various media on synthetic paper and is excited to help others explore this diverse and unique art form. The materials can be an expensive investment, so lessons will allow someone to see how they feel about......
Tarts and Artsin Arnprior! - theHumm August 2022
Butter tarts are up for the tasting as bakers vie for awards in “Traditional” and “Wild” categories in this first annual butter tart competition. In other words, anything goes for this iconic Canadian dessert, which first appeared as a recipe in 1900 in Barrie, Ontario. Judging will take place from noon to 1pm during the day-long Tarts and Arts Festival, taking place from 9:30am to 4pm on Saturday, August 27 and featuring something for everyone in beautiful Robert Simpson Park in Arnprior.
The Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum, located at 11 Old Slys Road, will be hosting a “Rideau Artist of the Year” event on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7.
Both artists and the public are invited to the picturesque grounds of the museum, Old Slys Rapids and Lock Station to create an original work of art that captures the beauty of the Rideau Canal in Smiths Falls. This location showcases a beautiful stone train bridge, rapids, natural wildlife, built heritage and of course the Rideau Canal — a UNESCO World Heritage Site where transportation heritage meets the natural landscap......
As the summer continues on, so do the incredible events to experience in Perth!
On August 13 and 14, the annual Perth Lions Garlic Festival returns for its 23rd year. Taking place at the Perth Fairgrounds, the event brings together “garlic heads” and producers to promote Ontario-grown garlic and share ideas on how to grow, harvest, market, cook and enjoy garlic. In addition to vendors, you’ll find gourmet cooking demos, wine, beer & liquor tastings, birds of prey and li......
Families giving birth at the Almonte General Hospital are now benefiting from three new fetal heart monitors — thanks in part to funding from the annual Run/Walk event held each fall. The three state-of-the-art units combine the abilities to monitor and trace the heart rates of both baby and mother, record the information which can then be shared with the delivery team, and offer several other options for gathering real time information when necessary. The monitors cost $48,000.
“These new machines ar......
Come out to the friendly town of Almonte on September 10 and 11 for the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum’s 27th annual Fibrefest. This year’s festival is taking place at two locations — the Almonte Community Centre and the Textile Museum. Admission to Fibrefest is $7 per day, which gets you access to both sites. Local guilds will demonstrate spinning, knitting, weaving, rug hooking, lacemaking, smocking and quilting. Vendors include finished fibre goods and textil......
August: Outdoor Fun in the Sun Naismith 3 on 3, Puppets Up!, Pakenham Fair and Highland Games Return - theHumm August 2022
Hello! Miss Mills here — your friendly puppet reporter in the Friendly Town of Mississippi Mills. And I am so happy to be here! Because it is AUGUST!
August used to be my favourite month of the year. Sure, mainly because all my puppet friends, old and new, came to town, but also due to it being full of fun in the sun! But then we stopped hosting puppets, and then Covid stopped everything else. And now, after years of what I shall call “The Dark Times”, the sun is finally shining ......
Celebrating its 16th year, the Sundance Artisan Show invites you to spend time in a beautiful riverfront setting with local artists in Maberly, Ontario over the Labour Day weekend.
Peppered across two acres of forest, field and riverfront will be a large and diverse group of artisans specializing in various art forms: pottery, wood, sheet metal, stained glass, artisanal soaps, fibre art, jewellery, clothing and blown glass, to name a few. The artists have been working hard over the year and are rea......
By Barbara Carroll, Grief Counsellor
A garden shed, 100 small floral paintings, and a solitary viewing experience.. these are the elements that will play off each other in an art installation titled Mother. Conceived as a contemplative space to reflect on the theme of loss, the paintings make specific reference to one important woman in artist Jennifer Zeitz’s life — her mother who died during Covid.
Why a garden shed? “My mother’s garden was her refuge. Like many women of her generation, she found time to nurture plants and cult......
By Sally Smith
“I truly am a girl from the Valley. I don’t complain… I just do it. I never look back.”
Dorothy Goubault’s determination, she says, comes from her parents who brought her up with “phenomenal values. My father used to say if a man can do it, you can do it. Don’t ever take a back seat.”
And so she hasn’t.
About seven months ago she embarked on her latest project — to make a CD. This one, her first, is a tribute to and in memory of Gerald Arthur McBride, her true companion for many ......
Edible Greens - theHumm August 2022
By Judy Wall,Lanark County Master Gardener
Just when you think you know the vegetables you grow and how to harvest them, your dog teaches you something new. This week I am weeding in my veggie garden, with my dog laying on the grass near me, as she likes to do. When I look up, I see her munching on a large leaf.
I panic, go to see what she is eating, and learn that she went to the turnips and bit off the entire large leaf. There she sits eating the whole leaf, and enjoying it. I go to check with Dr. Google to see if turnip leaves a......
The Art of Productive Frittering - theHumm August 2022
By Glenda Jones
We’re into August. We need to relax and regroup for the onslaught of September, so it’s time to take a serious look at frittering. This activity is not to be taken lightly. After a season of busyness, which included getting to the cottage, or getting to the back yard, or getting the garden into some semblance of recognizable plant material, you must now be exhausted and need some respite to call your own. Okay, frittering time it is.
Firstly, frittering occurs on the day when you think you have a l......
Mary Capper is a retired administrator living in Carleton Place. She is a history buff and self-described sleuth, particularly when researching the hidden truths behind her own ancestry and genealogy. While doing that research, a picture emerged of a strong, courageous, and resilient woman who did not resemble the grandmother she knew as a child. Sadly, Capper only remembers the broken version of this incredible woman: a miserable old curmudgeon who was often referred to as “the old battle-......
The Castleton Massacre - theHumm August 2022
By John Pigeau
On the evening of May 2, 1963, in the rural hamlet of Castleton, Ontario, a former United Church minister murdered every woman in his family but one. What led to this femicide, and why were its victims forgotten? Authors Sharon Anne Cook and Margaret Carson (who was one of two survivors of the tragedy) set out to answer those very complex and difficult questions in their important new memoir, The Castleton Massacre: Survivors’ Stories of the Killins Femicide.
The book draws hea......
It Ain’t Over... - theHumm August 2022
By David Hinks
The heat-hating plants such as arugula and spinach have long been in the rear-view mirror, and the heat-lovers such as tomatoes, peppers, corn and squash are coming on gangbusters. Does this mean that hard-core salad lovers are out of luck? Not at all! Mother Nature is happy to give us a second chance.
I have written more than a few times about the possibilities of planting cool weather vegetables for a fall harvest. Mid-August generally signals the end of the heat of summer with cooler ......
A Red-Letter Bird - theHumm August 2022
By Lise Balthazar
I will never forget the day I saw my first scarlet tanager; it was June 2010, during an early morning walk. I heard a bird singing from high up in the canopy of a tree, a hoarse and raspy whistle, best described as a robin singing with a sore throat. As I was carefully scanning the high branches of the tree, I caught a brief flash of fiery red. Several minutes later the bird revealed itself to me in all its glory. The American naturalist Henri David Thoreau said it best: “The tanager......
Random Acts of Kindness - theHumm August 2022
By — Bill Fehlner is a member of the creative writing group at St. Paul’s Anglican Church’s Centre for Creative Living in Almonte
The sky is a deep blue and the fields of soybeans and sunflowers glow in the late afternoon sunlight. My car bounces over a railroad crossing just outside my destination, a small town in the Ottawa Valley. I’m early for my appointment and have some time to kill.
I find some parking along a side street. When I step out of my car, I feel the sting of each gust of wind off the Ottawa River. Strolling back towards Main Street, I notice an old man sitting at the corner, wrapped in a blanket, with a small basket for donations in front of him. I walk by him quickly, not wanting to get involv......
Sep 26 Mellow Lily
Sep 27 Tom Green
Sep 28 Tom Green
Sep 29 Matt Dickson
Sep 30 - Oct 1 MAG Artists Studio Tour
Oct 7 - 8 Crown & Pumpkin Studio Tour
Oct 7 - 8 Expressions of Art
Oct 21 Fleetwood Mac Mania
Nov 4 - 5 Christmas in the Valley Artisan Show
- Diana Jackson — Eclectic Creativity
- Paddle and Parade Partyin Lanark Highlands Free Event with Special Guest Appearance by Sarah Harmer
- It’s Time to Hitthe Back Roads! North Frontenac Back Roads Studio Tour
- Fibrefest: A Festival of the Fibre Arts
- Westporch Festival 2023
- Sundance Artisan Show Free Outdoor Show on Labour Day Weekend
- Spirits of theCounting House Paranormal Investigations at the Museum…
- Friends of MMPLFall Book Sale
- Learn Again in Almonte this Autumn
- Raise Funds for a Good Cause (and Many Paws!) Arnprior Humane Society’s Fall Fundraisers