*Originally published in Talent North Magazine*
Golden hues from sky to earth cover your line of sight. Around you are birch trees. Not in bloom or covered in deep green leaves. Rather, they have shed many of their coloured leaves and traded them for bare branches in preparation for the winter season. Not only are you surrounded by them but there are more far in the distance. You can become lost easily in this forest...
This image was created by local painter Wendy Fahey. She calls it Birches Ablaze.
"I painted it in metallic paints using different techniques and mediums," Fahey says.
Fahey began sketching, working with oil pastels and painting in oils when she was a teenager. She says she was always inspired by her uncle's paintings (Ray Kaattari). As such an easel and paintbrushes were gifted to her and "away I went."
She says at first she painted for herself, and that while she does still do that, she has the desire to share and teach a new style or technique.
"With the new craze of painting furniture I'm enjoying being able to share my creativity with a whole new group of people," she says.
She began teaching "decorative art" in the early 1980s from her home. However, as it became more popular she couldn't house them so she began teaching a night school course for the Public School Board of Walden (now Catholic School Board).
She officially opened Wendy's Way in 2003 but had begun designing and publishing patterns under that name in 1998. Currently, Fahey has three books and over 500 patterns (of designs) available for sale.
"It's pretty amazing when you look at it," she says.
She originally opened on 6th Avenue in Lively, then moved to Pinehill Plaza (2007) and then moved again to the Walden Plaza (2011). They carry art supplies, chalk paints and mediums for furniture. Fahey still offers classes to people interested.
This art is her full-time job, "if I'm not at the shop teaching classes or workshops I'm on the road travel teaching or doing trade shows."
Fahey says she feels quite content when she is painting, designing or "even just thinking about my artwork. It is very fulfilling for me."
She is unable to limit herself to choosing one thing as her favourite to paint. She enjoys flowers, birch trees, scenes, Santas and all the way to teddy bears.
"I love to add dimension to my pieces with plasters, lace, branches, etcetera," Fahey says.
Wendy's Way offers a few different classes; including full day class for $30; and an occasional evening or afternoon class for $15. She also offers a 12 week session. Participants of this program come to the shop once a week for three hours. These sessions cover pen and ink to scenery, floral pieces, seasonal and more.
Fahey says that during the workshop students learn in a step by step process on their way to completing a project.
Anybody free on Thursday afternoons can hop over for a painter (or crafter) social. During this time you can enjoy a cup of coffee (on the house) and work on your own project; you can also receive some advice. This exclusive offer is not charged.
"We try to fit every budget," Fahey says. "We also offer children's classes every now and then."