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Kelowna woman has designs picked up by Royal Canadian Mint

Kendra Dixson has been using sweeping brush strokes to depict Canada's hulking mountain landscapes for years, but recently her art took a turn toward pocket-sized.

This month the Royal Canadian Mint released two coins designed by the Kelowna artist as part of their O' Canada series.

"It's so exciting," said Dixson. "I'm going to have to buy them. So far I've just gone to the post office to see them."

The mint produced 40,000, $10 coins, and 8,500, $25 coins with Dixson's snowy ski scenes on the face.

"It's so amazing to see the snowy trees all shiny and silver," she said.

The end product is creating excitement in the Dixson home today, but the coins are the culmination of work that started a year ago.

"Last May I got a call out of the blue from the Canadian Mint, and I was asked to design some coins for the O' Canada series," said Dixson.

The Mint required that she design two series of art for two collectors' coins, with the snowy mountain landscapes she specializes in as her muse.

"They had asked a few other artists to make submissions, as well," she said, adding that they all were given a two week timeframe to submit some mock-ups.

Working from photos she'd taken herself, Dixson started painting a skier in a snowy landscape.

Given that the Mint has to translate submitted art into something that can be reproduced in 3D on the face of a coin, they asked that she use pencil drawings. Dixson is a watercolour painter, however, so she stuck with what she knew.

Deviating from the set parameters didn't seem to hurt, as she got word two weeks later that her work would be featured.

The $10 silver coin was engraved using a watercolour painting depicting a skier floating through champaign powder.

"The soft snowy slope contrasts with the steep rocky mountains in the backdrop and gives some suspense as to what terrain the skier will find over the ridge," she explained on her website.

The $25 silver collector's coin was engraved from a watercolour painting depicting a skier making first tracks on a gorgeous sunny day in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

"It appears as though the skier is floating on air and indeed that is how it feels to ski on fresh powder."

The coins will never jingle away in someone's pocket, but they will be prized possessions for collectors across the country and that's something that resonates with Dixson.

"I feel really proud of this," she said. "It's a huge honour to be asked to do this.  If my grandpa were still alive he'd be so proud of me."

To learn more about Dixson's art, go to http://kendraart.com.

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