Artist Jolene Mackie

If you’re a collector of Canadian art, a Jolene Mackie piece is essential. Known for her robots, ships and moons in surreal and whimsical landscapes, you will see her work all over the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia’s interior.

Based in Kelowna, BC, Jolene graduated from the Emily Carr University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. As a professional oil painter who exhibits across BC, her work is in private collections worldwide.

Jolene has always acknowledged the artist within. “I was raised with two very creative parents who instilled in me a love of making things. Some of my fondest memories are times when I would be alone in my bedroom, or spread out in the backyard with art materials, just playing and making art.”

Lucid, 2021, oil on panel, 10″ x 10″ (sold)

When she began making art professionally, Jolene struggled with imposter syndrome and often referred to herself as a ‘painter’ instead of an ‘artist’. “It has taken me time, but the title of artist works much better to encapsulate the many facets of making art full-time. I’m not just a painter these days as my practice has expanded to printmaking, drawing, and collage.”

Proximity, 2020, oil on canvas, 12″ x 24″ (sold)

In Jolene’s world, the purpose of art has many layers. “For myself as an artist, creativity is a tool I use to try to understand myself and my place in the world. I have always found the act of creating to be meditative. When my hands and head are busy making decisions in the moment, I am pulled out of my worries about the past and future. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and I find my creative practice is something that helps me mitigate the side effects.”

Our own rainbow garden in the clouds, 2020, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ (sold)

The connectivity and relationships that Jolene builds through her art are very valuable to her. “By making honest work that speaks to me and my own interests and curiosities, I am finding my like-minded tribe in the world. I think art has so much power to remind us of our humanity, and to connect with each other.”

Day’s end, 2019, oil on canvas, 24″ x 48″

Jolene takes inspiration from the world around her, translating those moments and feelings into paint. “I am always inspired by the smallest things — shifting shadows, the shape of leaves, the colours in the clouds — and I try to bring how those moments feel into my work.”

Rouge, 2019, oil on canvas, 10″ x 20″ (sold)

Many of Jolene’s paintings depict a surreal dreamscape universe guided by a robot character. “I often get asked what the name of the character is, and his origin story. This character has been showing up in my sketchbooks for over a decade, and I decided to follow his adventures in paint! I personally love the ambiguity of the character. I love that viewers can bring their own narrative to each piece. I see this character as my muse. I think he is guiding me through these increasingly surreal other-worlds with a sense of curiosity and wonder.”

Daisy field, 2021, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″

Jolene can’t picture a life without creativity. “I keep a pretty consistent studio schedule for myself. I work 5 days a week in the studio developing my own work, or working on commission paintings for clients. I always have many projects on the go at different stages of completion. This way of working allows me to tap into whatever energy level I have each day: either a focused attention span to sit with one piece for many hours, or a more flighty attention span that loves to jump from piece to piece. I typically like to start my days with work that is easier to just dive into, like the prep work, or the varnish work that needs to be done. Once I have started, I find the momentum really helps me move into the more tedious and meticulous aspects of my work. I will most often tune into a podcast while I work, especially when I need to be still and focused. I find my music is great for more of the looser prep work!”

A lifetime of adventure, 2021, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ (sold)

When Jolene is away from the studio, she still finds herself working with her hands. “I love playing in my sketchbooks with watercolour paints and drawing materials. I also like gardening and roller-skating, which feels creative in a whole different way!”

Lost in this moment, 2020, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″ (sold)

Teaching used to take up a good chunk of Jolene’s time and energy before March 2020. She was in the middle of an oil painting workshop which she had to postpone indefinitely. “I really miss teaching. It’s something that gets me out of the studio and sharing my passion with other people. I have found so much joy though this creative practice, and oil painting specifically, that I love sharing these tools with anyone who is interested. I love to host group workshops, but also work privately in my studio with individual artists on a weekly basis.”

Simple and quiet, 2018, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ (sold)

It has been over a year since Jolene has taught group classes. “I have considered transitioning to virtual classes, but paint is so tactile. I haven’t been able to figure out an online course that works for me yet. I love the ability to connect with a wider audience online, I just need to make sure I approach it in a way that is still wrapped up with my passion and love for the medium. I also think we learn so much from each other in a group setting, so at the moment I’m just waiting for a time that it is safe to continue with my teaching.”

Naramata Centre mural, 2021, inspired by their resident peacock, Kevin

Jolene loves the variety of opportunities that come her way through commissioned work. “The easiest and most fun projects for me are open-ended projects. I love when clients will peruse my website, tell me which pieces they love, what colour scheme and size they want, and leave most of the creation to me. I love working with people to make their vision come to life. For me, part of that is sharing the process of creation. I love taking process photos and videos that give clients a behind-the-scenes look at how their painting is built! However, I also love projects that challenge and push me outside of my comfort zone — that is where the growth happens. I’m lucky enough that I have the option to say no to any project that doesn’t feel right. What I love to do is to refer my artist friends. It’s awesome being part of such a diverse community of creatives in the Okanagan, because if someone comes to me seeking work that I don’t make, I have a wonderful roster of referrals for a variety of styles of work!”

Drift on, 2021, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″ (sold)

The pandemic has affected the way most people work, and it has definitely shifted Jolene’s work, too. “I have put more energy into my online platforms, and have been really enjoying the community on TikTok! I share my art videos, and have had the opportunity to ship originals and prints all across the continent. One element that has sprung up for me over the last year has been playing with holographic and colour-shifting pigment powders in my work. I have loved working with gold and silver leaf accents over the years, but have just this year learned how to incorporate a wide variety of pigment powders into my oil paintings. There is something about these shiny and eye-catching elements in an original work that really make it special when you see it in real life. I love when the work feels different depending on how the light catches it; there is something magical about it. When paired with my increasingly surreal imagery, I feel like these little details really make the work transcend reality.”

A moment just for you, 2021, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″

While life has been unpredictable and no one can plan a direction with complete certainty, Jolene has goals and ideas that keep her going. “I have been renovating my studio in my home to work more efficiently, including an art storage area. I worked on a private mural this summer, and hope to create more public art going forward! In 2020, I installed a mural for the Vernon Public Art Gallery in their neighbouring parkade, and worked on a ‘Mini Mural’ exhibit at Cannery Brewing which was coordinated by the Penticton Art Gallery. I would also love to travel more with my work. 2019 took me to Chicago for my first international exhibit, and to Toronto for a painting competition. I miss those opportunities to explore the world and share my art. Fingers crossed that is in our near future!”

Jolene Mackie’s artwork at Karmyc Bazaar in Kelowna, BC

A rotating selection of Jolene Mackie’s artwork can be seen and purchased at Karmyc Bazaar in Kelowna, BC. Her work is also featured at the Tumbleweed Gallery in Penticton, at the Lovecraft Gallery in Tofino, and at Cannery Brewing in Penticton (mini mural project). You can also find Jolene’s original paintings, prints, calendars, necklaces and apparel in her online shop.

See more of Jolene Mackie’s art on her website at jolenemackie.com.
Follow her on Facebook at Jolene Mackie Art or on Instagram at jolene.mackie.art.


The banner image at the top of this page is a commissioned (sold) oil painting titled Wonderland, 2021, 48″ x 18″ by Jolene Mackie.

Contest: Buddy Canuck Suggests We Give Away a Prize!

The Canadian Only team loves using their cinch bags! On a recent outing, Buddy Canuck suggested we share the love and give one of our beautiful Canadian Only cinch bags away as a prize in a contest!

The team finds the cinch bags ever-so-useful. Annie carries the chocolate, Leslie carries the masks, and Buddy just collects rocks in his cinch bag*.

Annie, Buddy and Leslie on a walk in Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park, Kelowna, BC

Now’s your chance to be the first member of the public to have their own Canadian Only cinch bag!

Buddy Canuck relaxes next to his cinch bag after a long walk in the park (it also works as a pillow!)

It’s easy to enter the contest. All you have to do is ‘Like’ our Canadian Only Facebook page, and enter a comment on our Contest post (pinned to the top of our newsfeed) so we can see your name! The winner will be announced on our Facebook page and contacted via Facebook message.

That’s basically it! (But please read the contest rules below, and make sure you agree to them before you enter!)

Contest Rules

  1. Any resident of Canada is eligible.
  2. No purchase is necessary.
  3. To enter the contest, you must:
  4. One winner will receive one brand new Canadian Only cinch bag.
  5. The winner will be selected and announced on the Canadian Only Facebook page by end of day, April 26, 2021. The winner will be contacted via Facebook message at which point we will ask for a Canadian postal address that we can mail the cinch bag to, via Canada Post.
  6. If you’re wondering what to put in the comments, well, it can be anything! But we’d love to hear what you love about Canada, or about our website, or anything Canadiana-related! (Please note, all comments are public and may be quoted or shared.)
  7. This contest is run by Canadian Only.
  8. This contest is not endorsed, sponsored or administered by Facebook, nor is Facebook associated with our contest. Facebook is released from any responsibility to entrants or participants.

We look forward to your participation in our first contest!

Buddy Canuck looks very cool with a Canadian Only cinch bag on his shoulder!

*Contents not included! But we’re sure you’ll find plenty of your own ideas of what to carry in your cinch bag!


Buddy Canuck and the Canadian Only Team at Willow Beach

The Canadian Only team, influenced by silly ol’ Buddy Canuck‘s brilliant ideas, went along to Willow Beach in West Kelowna, BC, donning bunny ears and a duck hat for an Easter photo shoot.

“Those two ol’ stick-in-the-mud gals need a bit of fun in their lives,” says Buddy. “They’ll spend all day and night on their computers, growing the Canadian Only website, spreading the word about businesses left, right and centre. They need to get out for fresh air once in a while!”

The Canadian Only team: Annie, Buddy and Leslie

Founder and CEO, Leslie, is particularly camera shy.

“It’s like pulling teeth to get her in a photo,” continues Buddy. “Then, she still wants to cover her face completely. It’s not ’cause of the pandemic, either. No. She’d be hiding her facing no matter what,” Buddy continues to mutter under his breath: “I dunno what her problem is. I love showing up and shining for a photo op.”

Buddy Canuck is highly photogenic

Annie, the website and communications person on the team, is a bit more adventurous on a photo shoot, as evidenced by her choice of duck hat.

“If I can do something to make someone laugh, I’m all in,” says Annie.

And laugh they did. Passers-by chuckled and chortled as they walked past the photo shoot site and saw the three in a kerfuffle to produce some decent photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera on a self-timer.

“One day, we’ll be famous, and everyone’s gonna wanna take selfies with us!” says Buddy. Rest assured that his endearing trademark, his cheeky grin, is ever-present underneath his mask.

“That would be awesome,” Annie chimes in.

Leslie quietly hurries things along so she can get everyone back to the office, but Buddy lags behind and dawdles for a bit, seeing if he can balance on some rocks along the beach.

“Have a Happy Easter, everyone! Remember to have fun, make time for play, and eat at least one chocolate bunny!” is Buddy’s wise advice.

The Arts and Treasures at Karmyc Bazaar

In the heart of trendy Pandosy Village in Kelowna, BC, there’s a curious little shop that presents unique pieces sure to charm the eclectic taste! The owner of Karmyc Bazaar, Jennelle McGuire, invites you to “explore a visionary dreamscape” of artwork from well over 100 Canadian artists.

Jennelle McGuire, owner of Karmyc Bazaar
Jennelle McGuire, owner of Karmyc Bazaar

The shop’s name, Karmyc Bazaar, comes from a combination of Jennelle’s middle name (Karmin) and last name (McGuire), along with the concept of an open-air market or ‘bazaar’.

Karmyc Bazaar

Treasures include a plethora of original paintings, prints, jewellery, clothing, mixed media work, pottery, sculptures, artisan soaps and bath products, candles and more!

For a long time, Jennelle knew she wanted to be self-employed, but wasn’t sure exactly what that looked like.

“When I visited larger cities, I fell in love with the quirky, more ‘underground’ art displayed in these alternative galleries,” Jennelle recalls. “I’d get all inspired.”

Karmyc Bazaar

Coming home to the Okanagan, she noticed a few pockets of this kind of artwork, but “there wasn’t a space dedicated to showing it. I felt this was a niche that needed to be filled, so that was the start of Karmyc Bazaar.” The shop’s mission is to “encourage our community to reconnect with their inner selves through artwork and be inspired in their daily lives”.

Karmyc Bazaar

Being in the retail sector has had its challenges for everyone, everywhere, this past year.

“The pandemic has made the world of retail even more unpredictable, that’s for sure!” says Jennelle. “We moved locations in July 2020 and the reception of the community in Pandosy Village has been outstanding! We’re blessed to have a very supportive group of people cheering us on, whether through visiting us in-store, shopping online, or connecting with us via Instagram and Facebook. I am grateful for the support each and every day!”

Karmyc Bazaar at 2995 Pandosy Street in Kelowna, BC
Karmyc Bazaar at 2995 Pandosy Street in Kelowna, BC

It’s tough to say what the top selling items are, as the stock continuously shifts and changes.

“I’ll think I’ve just figured out what customers are drawn to, and then it changes,” laughs Jennelle. “Currently, I’ve noticed that we’re selling a lot of candles, bath products, and pottery. I think this is because a lot of us are spending more time at home and we want our spaces to feel nourishing and cozy.”

Karmyc Bazaar

Karmyc Bazaar currently works with 133 Artists from Vancouver all the way to New Brunswick!

“I’m always on the hunt for more talent to bring in,” says Jennelle. “Artists reach out to us, and I like to search for artists online. Word-of-mouth is always wonderful, too.”

Paintings from local artist, Jolene Mackie (at Karmyc Bazaar)
Paintings from local artist, Jolene Mackie

You can find the address and opening hours on the Karmyc Bazaar website, as well as their COVID-19 policy for in-store shopping and their online shop. (We actually prefer the online display via their Facebook shop, which will direct you to the website for your final purchase.) You can also find Karmyc Bazaar on Instagram.


Note from the author (Annie Zed): I’ve personally purchased many items from Karmyc Bazaar, for myself and as gifts for others (below are just a few)! My favourite purchases have been paintings by Jolene Mackie; plaques and ornaments by The Poppy Tree; cups and mugs by Tiny Cat Pottery; and paintings and quirky pieces by Rare Bird Art Studio.

Some pieces purchased from Karmyc Bazaar by Annie Zed

Golf Season!

With the weather warming up in British Columbia, Brian has been keeping a close eye on opening dates for nearby golf courses. As an avid golfer for a few decades now, he can hardly wait to be back on the green.

“I love the game because it gets me out in the fresh air,” says Brian. “There’s always an opportunity to challenge myself to get better, and at the same time, I can socialize with others who appreciate golf as much as I do.”

Brian at Predator Ridge Golf Course, March 15, 2021

There are a few key things that Brian looks for when choosing a golf course to play.

  • A walkable course (so a cart isn’t necessary).
  • A diverse layout (so it’s fun, fresh and interesting to play).
  • A challenging layout, but also one that makes the game fair to all players.

One of Brian’s most memorable courses played in Canada was Granite Hills Golf Club by Pine Hills, situated 20 minutes from the town of Lac Du Bonnet in Manitoba.

“I’ve only played there once, but I have fond memories of it,” Brian recalls. “It has rolling hills and a large rock bluff. There are lots of trees and scenic views along the Lake – Lac Du Bonnet.”

Granite Hills Golf Club, Lac Du Bonnet, MB
Granite Hills Golf Club, Lac Du Bonnet, MB

Throughout the golf season, Brian can be found golfing on average three or four times a week. Below are his top favourite picks for golf courses in BC.

Predator Ridge, Vernon

Predator Ridge features two 18-hole championship courses, a world-class practice facility, and an award-winning golf academy. It’s all part of a resort and year-round community.

Predator Ridge, Vernon, BC
Predator Ridge, Vernon, BC

Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club, Kelowna

Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club is a par 72, 18-hole championship golf course with challenging fairways, beautiful vistas and tall groves of ponderosa pine.

Gallagher's Canyon Golf Club, Kelowna, BC
Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club, Kelowna, BC

Fairview Mountain Golf Club, Oliver

Fairview Mountain has beautiful scenery with vineyards in the distance. Fairways plunge down valleys and smooth greens offer an exceptional golfing experience.

Fairview Mountain Golf Club, Oliver, BC
Fairview Mountain Golf Club, Oliver, BC

Peace Portal Golf Club, Surrey

Peace Portal Golf Course is just south of Vancouver. Established in 1928, it is a par 72, 18-hole four-star golf course with practice facilities (putting green, chipping green and grass practice area).

Peace Portal Golf Club, Surrey, BC
Peace Portal Golf Club, Surrey, BC

Salmon Arm Golf Club, Salmon Arm

The Salmon Arm Golf Club was originally founded in 1928 as a 6-hole course. Today, the club has an 18-hole championship course and a 9-hole heritage course. There’s also a golf shop and a restaurant.

Salmon Arm Golf Club, Salmon Arm, BC
Salmon Arm Golf Club, Salmon Arm, BC

What are some of your favourite golf courses?

Are you an avid Canadian golfer? What are your favourite golf courses to play? Please let us know in the comments below!


Artist Reilly Fitzgerald

Reilly Fitzgerald

Newfoundland artist, Reilly Fitzgerald, paints for therapeutic reasons.

“I’ve always been very active,” says Reilly. “Between 2007 and 2010, I went from being an over-active volunteer, writer, high school educator, father and husband, to no longer being able to perform these things effectively. But I could still paint.”

Reilly has a congenital defect known as an AV fistula malformation, which affects the use of his right hand and arm. After eleven surgeries by age fourteen, Reilly became ambidextrous and left hand dominant.

Rare Breed by Reilly Fitzgerald
Rare Breed

“Painting helps me deal with my chronic pain and gives my life purpose.”

Cape Bonavista by Reilly Fitzgerald
Cape Bonavista

Reilly likes the challenge of painting a variety of subjects in different ways to express his creativity.

Newfoundland Snow by Reilly Fitzgerald
Newfoundland Snow
Canadian Treasure by Reilly Fitzgerald
Canadian Treasure

“I have created large bas-relief pieces made of scrap wood, cut, carved, and painted,” says Reilly. “This includes a large 12 by 8 foot piece titled Canadian Treasure which I created for the Town of Clarenville, NL, as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.”

He also made two smaller iceberg-and-whales pieces: Connected for the pediatric clinic of the James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander, and Cohesion donated to the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St John’s.

T&G Ladders by Reilly Fitzgerald
T&G Ladders

For his “wood grain paintings”, Reilly paints directly on wooden panels, using the natural wood grain to determine the images. He’s also used tongue and groove board reclaimed from demolished houses, and repurposed them as platforms on which to paint.

“But, I have to say my favourite thing to paint is my home: my town, Clarenville, my province, NL, and my country, in that order, whether it’s the house next door, the birds in the town’s protected sanctuary, or historic locations or events. I have a pride in creating my unique vision of these things.”

Cabot Tower by Reilly Fitzgerald
Cabot Tower

One of Reilly’s significant paintings, “Hell Stirs, Heaven Waits” (2020) is a depiction of the Ocean Ranger disaster.

“It’s a painting that pays homage to my province’s historic and often tumultuous relationship with the sea.”

Hell Stirs, Heaven Waits by Reilly Fitzgerald
Hell Stirs, Heaven Waits

Involved in a variety of projects over the years, Reilly has won awards and achieved formal recognition for his art. He illustrated the children’s book, Lucy Grey by Bruce Stagg, as well as the cover of Bruce’s book, Lend Me Your Ears. He has created posters, logos, produced three-dimensional installations, and much more.

Blackbird by Reilly Fitzgerald
Blackbird

The place to see Reilly Fitzgerald’s work in person is in the Clarenville area. A permanent display of about 50 or so pieces have been at the Eastlink Events Centre since 2013.

Other pieces can be found in various locations about town, such as at the Bare Mountain Coffee House, and the Terra Nova Golf Resort.

Reilly gives most of his artwork to his daughter, Kaeleigh, who sells the originals and giclee prints through her business, Eagle Photo Studio. His work is also available printed on backpacks, jewellery, ornaments, calendars and more.

Soft Light (printed on canvas bags) by Reilly Fitzgerald
Soft Light

He has also kindly created a library of over 60 Colouring Sheets* based on his original artworks. “Feel free to download and use these images for personal projects or educational use,” says Reilly. Here’s one of our favourites.

Clothes and Quilt (colouring sheet) by Reilly Fitzgerald
Clothes and Quilt (colouring sheet)

(*Please respect international copyright laws and do not misuse his intellectual property in mass production for financial gain.)

Hauling Nets by Reilly Fitzgerald
Hauling Nets

View more artwork and read biography details on his Facebook page at Reilly Fitzgerald, Artist.

Squid & Cod by Reilly Fitzgerald
Squid & Cod

Pi Day

Pi Day celebrates the mathematical constant π (Pi) on March 14. The date itself represents 3.14 (month.day), the first three digits of Pi.

Coincidentally, Albert Einstein was born on March 14 (1879).

But what is Pi, really? It is defined as “the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter”. (Wikipedia). Read some fun facts from the CBC to learn what you might not know about the number that never ends.

People make Pi Day fun, primarily by eating pie (be it fruit or pizza) and by throwing pies. There are also competitions on who can recite Pi to the highest number of decimal places!

If you’re a bit traditional, here’s a Pi Day Apple Pie recipe from Family Fun Canada.

The Pie Junkie and Bakery, https://www.facebook.com/piejunkieyyc/photos/a.1739472692775604/3899948746727977

If you’re not much of a baker yourself and you happen to live in Calgary, AB, you can celebrate Pi Day with Pi pies! The Pie Junkie and Bakery delivers or you can pick up from one of their 3 locations. See their website for all options: https://piejunkie.ca/

Check your local bakery, they may be creating something Pi-like, too!

Blaze Pizza, https://www.facebook.com/BlazePizza

Participating Blaze Pizza locations in Alberta, BC and Ontario are offering rewards members an 11-inch Simple Pie or 11-inch 1-Top Pepperoni Pizza for $3.14. The reward can be used online or in-restaurant .

If you have a family and want to introduce some Pi concepts to kids, choose one of these 9 Activities to Celebrate Pi Day from Canadian Family.

Got a geeky sense of humour? Here are some Pi Jokes from Reader’s Digest Canada.

And finally, listen to this cute and clever Pi Song which makes it (potentially) easier to remember the 100 digits of Pi!