Archive for the 'Muskoka' Category

Michelle Basic Hendry in Muskoka

in Muskoka, Ontario, Painter, Photography, Scholar and visual arts

Artscapes blog logo, Michelle Basic Hendry

Michelle Basic Hendry is an artist, painter and writer living in Central Ontario. She blogs her thoughts about her art and her life, and especially about the timeless beauty preserved in old buildings all over Muskoka. She shares stories of the structures and elements of her own life in many different ways. She writes articles and takes great digital pictures and even paints her stories in acrylic on canvas, and so of course her blog is fantastic.

Michelle Basic Hendry, a painter in Muskoka OntarioArtscapes Blog is a beautiful scrapbook of architectural art paintings and Canadian heritage information where Michelle Basic Hendry serves society by sharing her knowledge and ‘visions’ of Canadian artscapes. In this portal Michelle writes about the beauty of old buildings found around her central Ontario home.  The girl admits she has always been a doodler, and she loves a good story.  Years ago she got a degree in history and stayed passionate about old rural buildings and their stories. She writes that ‘buildings are characters of the landscape; they are a reflection of their builders and their times.’

While at university, Michelle spent a couple of summers wandering the landscape in search of old buildings for a local heritage group inventory and research project. It was a dream job. She could hardly believe she was being paid to do something she loved so much anyway.  She was hired as an artist and researcher and she had a sketchbook/notebook in the car and would quickly draw the houses and their locations for future research. The recession of the early nineties sapped a lot of government jobs and Michelle followed her skill and abilities as an artist into graphic design.

Michelle has been blogging for three years. Her website and blog are always evolving as she improves her skills using these new communication tools. Right now she’s moving her whole website to WordPress to lose the static HTML pages that comprise most of what isn’t the blog. Her website is always evolving, but this upgrade is the biggest technical innovation and style alteration in three years.

With a background in graphic design, Michelle is conscious of her personal brand. She knows the new site will be altering her brand slightly, and she writes ‘I’m hoping the new look will allow the real brand – the art – to show better, to be front and center, and the theme design to be very secondary.‘.

Yellow Door by Michelle Basic Hendry“With my background in history, I was compelled to find the families, the stories from the past and merge them with the present in my art.  The blog became the vehicle for putting the art with the stories. All this has led to an upcoming book sharing the paintings, the stories and the history of the places in my work  over the last three years – the culmination of my passions for art, writing, and history.” – Michelle Basic Hendry

Blogging has helped Michelle rediscover her love for writing and it has kept her more accountable to her paintings and photography. It has helped her track how she works, where she has been and what she has been focusing on. And so it acts as a life journal of sorts, allowing her to share the stories behind her works of art with her readers and collectors. The blog has been a key driver in traffic to her website and she has garnered a fair bit of media attention over the years because she makes it so easy for researchers and other writers and media makers to find her.

Selling her paintings online was not part of Michelle’s original plan, but in the last three years she has made several sales and met great buyers and through her website and other online contacts she has met all manner of art patrons. She plans on increasing the online store portion of her website in the near future.

Lavendar by Michelle Basic Hendry in Muskoka

Readers that would like to explore the works of Michelle Basic Hendry, should investigate some of the following outstanding posts. Marvel at her photos and paintings of the Vanomi Hotel, now called the Sparrow Beach Lodge, a privately owned 100 year old resort that has only recently closed its doors.

She wrote about her time spent visting Uffington Muskoka and strikes a great balance of hero driven story mixed with art and history. Its wonderful writing that details Pete Marchildon and Judy Veitch, the new owners of the Fleger House and their historic property.

a painting by Michelle Basic Hednry called Waiting - Red ChairA natural storyteller, her piece waiting – red chair plants ideas about an old woman who spent her last days waiting…

Blogging isn’t for every artist. The most important thing you can do is create. But if you do enjoy writing or want to keep a relatively consistent public journal of what inspires you, a blog can be an invaluable tool. Plus it helps others get to know who you are as an artist, and learn about your work. It can be a powerful connection to your collectors, and help you in find your own voice. – Michelle Basic Hendry

Michelle’s blog is already very popular, and some of her posts garner over twenty comments from readers, which is the true mark of a popular and valuable blog. In sitting perfectly still in a canoe she’s discovering landscapes and her text gets mystical as she writes the inspiration, “An excellent photographer or an artist, or a writer or a musician occupies a state of complete presence when they are working on their art. Great art is more than an experience – it is a feeling that engages another sense apart from the one for which it seems designed to communicate.”

In her post Reflections on How We See , I learned something about Eckhart Tolle and something about myself.  Michelle wrote, ‘Buddhists and a number of authors including Eckhart Tolle suggest that peace and happiness are found through living in the moment and the resistance to judgment. We are trained from the moment we leave the womb to pass judgments. We experience the word ‘No’ for excellent reasons and some less valid. This is hot or cold, safe or dangerous, good or bad. When we are so well conditioned, it is no wonder we look to the few who seem to escape its grasp – to whom the world appears less black and white

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Jennifer Jilks writes My Muskoka

in Activism, Blogging, Muskoka, Ontario, Photography and Tourism

banner for My MuskokaJennifer Jilks is an Ottawa school teacher now living in beautiful Bala, Ontario. She’s over 50 and that’s a huge niche right there. She’s also a travel expert, wildlife photographer, hiker, and blogger who posts twice a week about a special little part of Canada called Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks of My Muskoka blogMy Muskoka cottage blog is an inside look at life in five Northern Ontario towns including Bala, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst , Huntsville, and Port Carling. She also chronicles the changing seasons as reflected in the shorelines of the Muskoka lakes.

Jennifer Jilks is fifty two years old. Before living in Bala she taught school for twenty five years in Ottawa while raising three kids – now her children are adults, and they are all remarkably different. They are all professionals. Jennifer’s daughter is a hydrogeologist and married to green party candidate Jean Luc Cooke. Her second child is a gifted actor, and the youngest boy is a government statistician.

Living and Dying with Dignity

About Jennifer Jilks

You can learn a lot about Mrs Jilks by reading the sidebar of her blog. Halfway down the right hand column is a picture and link to her book

Living and Dying with Dignity, a daughter/caregiver’s point of view.  She writes here that ‘My mother’s cancer, dad’s brain tumour and dementia changed my life. The book includes information, research, as well as coping strategies from real life experiences.’ And now suddenly we understand what drove her to start this blogspot. It wasn’t fame, or a marketing assignment, or a creative outlet for her photography, but an expression of true self. This woman hopes to share her healing with readers. Jennifer is a Muskoka Hospice worker and the experience of helping people living and dying with dignity rings like a bell and resonate through her life’s work. Indeed her continued care giving and volunteer work at the hospice gives her existence meaning and adds value to her perspective on life in Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks in WashingtonJennifer Jilks Photography

In addition to chronicling the adventures of her three cats, Jenn’s blog images waterfowl, wildflowers and rodents in high quality photographs.  She submits her pictures to a camera critters blog and to a popular Ontario photo contest website and it was through Lenzr that she first came to my attention. In late November 2009 Jenn_Jilks compiled a beautiful array of breathtaking photos, with multiple entries in all three web challenges.

Jennifer Jilks and Social Justice

Today Mrs Jilks understands the explosive power of blogging. She learned the hard way after posting a series of well researched articles detailing the political, economic and social implications of the Bala Falls hydro electric project.

Muskoka LakesShe generated sixteen comments with a  particularly contentious post on the bala hydro electric project in the fall of 2008  where she was accused of being a puppet for Dalton McGuinty.

Fortunately other bloggers came to her rescue. Jenn’s site is at the center of a local blog ring that doesn’t have a badge yet, but the members appear in an earlier post. Muskoka Bloggers is a list she updates frequently and links to in her sidebar.

Last summer, Jennifer Jilks did her civic duty and published a piece on the 2009 drowning in Bala explaining the water currents better than news media. Jenn lives in the Township of Muskoka Lakes and in one posts she took it upon herself to debunk the The Myths of Muskoka.

My Muskoka blog is already publishing original stories about the 2010 G8 Summit’s impact to ‘locals’ in Hunstville and surrounding towns.

My Muskoka is a very credible citizen journalist, a passionate photographer, and a writer with a soul living inside Ontario’s premier Muskoka cottage country travel destination.

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