B. McNairn-Leader staff
MORRISBURG–With the holiday season once again just around the corner, artists and crafters are putting the finishing touches on their work for the annual Morrisburg and District Arts and Crafts Association Show coming up at the Morrisburg Legion, November 16 and 17.
Busy preparing her pieces for the show is artist Sally Munnings of Cardinal, formerly of New Zealand.
Over the years, Munnings has created a huge number of paintings many of them capturing the beauty of her adopted New Zealand where she and her husband Ron lived for 37 years. Her portfolio shows her versatility as an artist and her dramatic use of colour, sometimes bold and vibrant, sometimes soft and subtle.
“I grew up in Brockville,” says Sally recalling how her and husband Ron packed up their family of three youngsters all under the age of 10 years and headed off for life in New Zealand.
“It’s a lovely country,” says Sally. “It is small but you see such a variety of scenery.”
Sally and Ron remained in New Zealand for 37 years until the earthquake of February 2011, which severely damaged Christchurch, the second largest city in New Zealand.
“Christchurch suffered badly with the earthquake,” says Sally. “Our home was okay, but we lost a lot of our belongings. It just felt that it was time to come back home. My daughter (Mary Kate Munnings) had been here for 20 years.”
Sally worked in a hospital occupational therapy department while in New Zealand. Although she always dabbled in her art, it was when she retired that she really took it up.
“I started in oils, but now I work in acrylics. I find the acrylics, very versatile and easy. You can leave it for ages and go back to it.”
“In New Zealand, when I was near retirement, I did a night school course and the instructor asked me if I was interested in enrolling in a school certification course. Because I had never done anything in high school, I had nothing to measure my work by. I did university entrances as well.”
“I also began to cast around for groups to join, and there were groups in Christchurch that worked indoors and outdoors. I met a lot of friends.”
Of her work, Sally says “I like to try different things. If I see something that looks interesting, then I will try it. I probably don’t have any particular style.”
“Most of my work has been done since I retired. Eventually, I joined quite a few groups, and eventually it took over my life.”
“I would often start a piece at home and work at it in a group. One group tudor was a high school art teacher. He was really good at critiquing; pointing out what would make your painting better. He was wonderful.”
Upon her return to Canada, Sally again searched out art groups. She is currently involved with a group in South Grenville. We meet once a week in Prescott. It’s very social and it provides me with incentive. We help one another and learn from each other.”
Sally’s portfolio includes everything, paintings that depict the landscape and buildings in New Zealand to portraits and animals and abstracts. Her fun personality is evident in many of the pieces, for example her painting of a shoe tree made of stylish and colourful shoes. Later she added Christmas gifts under the colourful shoe tree and this became the cover for her Christmas greeting cards. Each of the pieces in her portfolio is marked to indicate those she has sold, those she has given away and those available for sale.
“The grey dots are the ones I destroyed, because I didn’t like them,” she says with a laugh.
Sally says she has found plenty of scenes and landscapes in and around the Cardinal-Prescott area to keep her brushes busy. “I’ve also done a series of old barns between Belleville and Kingston, and behind the Cardinal to Ingleside communities.”
For the upcoming Morrisburg and District Arts and Crafts Association show, Sally will have much of her regular work on display, along with an assortment of miniature paintings. She shares a booth with her daughter, Mary Kate who is a seamstress.
This year’s Arts and Crafts Show has been shortened to two days, Saturday and Sunday from its previous three day event at the Morrisburg Legion. In addition, the Association this year is accepting donations of a loonie or non-perishable food item at the door which will be donated to the local Dundas County Food Bank.
A loonie donation will also enter the donor into a door prize draw.
Association chair, Linda Schenck says it is a full house for this year’s show with over 24 vendors and artists planning to attend. “We have some new faces and some old faces. I am very excited.”
Schenck is also happy to welcome a friend from Nova Scotia who is bringing along her thrummed mittens. For those not in the know, a thrum is a piece of unspun fleece that is knit into the mittens, making their insides soft and fuzzy, and very warm. It is a technique associated with our East Coast Provinces.
The Presbyterian Church women will be offering up their popular luncheon food services and there here will also be baked goods tables. The show will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both days.