As an admirer of nature, I have always been inspired by artists who have the ability to put down on canvas what they see – the natural image.
Not all artist can depict this beauty and make their visions in an ever-lasting painting for everyone to enjoy. As they say, Mother Nature’s paint brush is what you see with the naked eye. No flaws. No embellishments.
Last Saturday was a special day for me. Robert Bateman, Canada’s wildlife artist, was scheduled to make an appearance at GS & Company in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre.
I was quite excited. This time, Bateman’s appearance was especially close to my heart.
For many years I had missed Bateman’s appearances. Last year, 2014, was the first time I had the opportunity to actually meet the artist himself. I had lined up early. My spot was about eighth or so. I had my treasures with me.
Bateman arrived. Loud claps of happiness greeted him. Finally I got my chance. I had two items for autographs. Bateman was all too pleased to do so.
I also had a few of my small stitchery projects to show him. One was a wolf. Bateman admired the petit-point stitchery with a keen interest. He knew all about needlepoint. I wasn’t surprised. After all, he is an artist.
I told Bateman I had a dream of stitching one of his painting. I made the request. I asked Bateman if I had his permission to take one of his images and petit point the image on a fabric canvas. He said yes.
So, I went to work. Spent hours upon hours searching the web for images. Whittled them down to a few. I chose ‘Salmon Watch, Spirit Bear’. Next, I had to work on the pattern. I realized size didn’t really matter, especially when you want the detail. This took a while. I made 29 different patterns, making slight changes. I saved them and finally viewed them individually. Settled on one. Printed it, and began stitching.
Finally, after 786 hours – 97,536 stitches later – the project was complete.
Time went by quickly. My friend, Audra, told me of Bateman’s next appearance. I panic. I still hadn’t had my work framed. It’s Black Friday. I marched myself to GS & Company. Gary Patterson spent his time with me to finalize the details for framing and assured me that it would be ready in time – it was back three days later.
OK, so now it is Dec. 12, My sister, Tonii, and myself marched down to the mall. Audra was already in line.
An hour later, Bateman arrives. He acknowledges us with a friendly wave. The excitement intense.
It’s my turn. Bateman’s face lights up. His first question: “How many hours did you spend?”
I requested a photo-op. He was more than happy to oblige. I had my 15 minutes of fame. I left on cloud 99.
Next project… still to be determined. I have several choices in my folder. I should decide by the end of 2015. After all, I will need time to complete the project for Bateman’s next appearance.
Laurie Kizlyk, White Rock