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Red Deer artists launch online auction to support The Mustard Seed

Two Red Deerians have teamed up to launch an online art auction for charity while isolating at home.
Erin Boake has been painting bread baked by Marnie Blair while practising social distancing at home. The paintings are being auctioned to raise money for The Mustard Seed. Contributed photos

Two Red Deerians have teamed up to launch an online art auction for charity while isolating at home.

Artist Marnie Blair has been baking bread every day for two weeks while social distancing. After the bread is done, she takes a picture and sends it to fellow artist and friend Erin Boake, who turns that picture into a painting.

The artists are auctioning off the paintings in support of The Mustard Seed and its lunch program.

“It started off as something fun just to do for ourselves, and now, there are lots of people noticing it and enjoying it. It’s been really fun to watch it grow,” said Boake, owner of Attribute Art School.

“I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do with all these paintings of bread?’ That’s when I thought maybe if I auction them off, people might be interested in buying them as a donation.”

Search “Our Daily Bread - Online Art Auction Fundraiser” on Facebook to find the auction page. The auction ends Saturday at 9 p.m.

“I usually work more in portraiture. It’s still the same in a way, as I like realism and representing something realistically, but the subject matter is a little bit different,” said Boake.

“It’s been fun to have Marnie send a picture every day – I never know what I’m going to be painting. They’ve gotten more elaborate and difficult. It’s been a really fun challenge. I think I’ve learned a lot as a painter.”

Blair, who teaches visual art at Red Deer College, had never made bread before this project and faced some challenges early on.

“On Day 2, I made Swiss Zorf. It was raw on the inside and almost burnt on the outside. I also realized my yeast was expired. I went to the bulk store to stock up on supplies for the first and last time.

“I didn’t want any part of this challenge to include going to the store,” said Blair, who is the mother of a four-year-old boy.

As the days passed, Blair said she “found solace” in the kitchen.

“I looked forward to choosing a recipe for Our Daily Bread. My son enjoyed mixing the ingredients and kneading the bread. I was excited to create still life for Erin to paint. Some days were easier than others,” said Blair.

“By the end of the day, I send her a photo of the bread, and when I wake up in the morning, I am greeted by a text with a photo of her latest painting.”

Boake, the mother of two-year-old and four-year-old girls, said the project has been a blast.

“It’s been kind of the highlight of my day, every day. It’s great to have something to focus on, and I do it at night after the girls are in bed. I look forward to it every day. I’m kind of sad it’s over now,” she said.

The two are seeking a new 14-day challenge, which could lead to another online auction in the future.

“As long as I’m not not baking,” Blair added.

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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