If you don’t want to read my full story…here it is in a nutshell:
I have always loved art. I have a fine arts degree from York University and a Bachelor of Education. I have worked in the arts all my life: as an artist, illustrator, magazine production manager, event planner, and teacher. Woven into that web is my sports life which includes running, swimming, triathlons, cross country skiing and rowing, which I compete at internationally. After a long and winding journey I now call Collingwood home and I am diving into a life as a re-emerging artist. Currently I am exploring a zoomed in narrative of Georgian Bay as I see it: my Georgian Bay.
My art speaks my truth and reflects the world through my eyes. I see the colours I paint. I don’t make those up! And my message for now is to stop, reflect, look around, Look up, look down, look in and look out. Your world is my world. Look again, it’s all there.
The full detailed story for those who can handle a little read!!
In grade four, my teacher gave us finger paint, and I fell in love with the mixture of colours and textures. It was the first time I remember being lost, consumed and excited about art. It was not just the joy of a child, but I think it was the inherent and instrinsic passion I have for art.
I have been many things in my life so far, but have always tried to keep art in my life. I studied Visual Art at York University and got my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts there. I often think I should have gone to OCAD or taken a path into Design, but there was very little guidance or direction back in the day, and I chose to continue on what seemed like a path to “artist” “painter” and a prolific art career. I do remember one of my professors asking me in my final and fourth year of university, what I intended to do after graduation. I looked at him as if he had five eyes: “be a painter of course. Like DUH”. He hesitated, and replied with, “well you will likely have to work in arts admin to pay for that painting career. Work in a gallery to support yourself.” I thought he was on crack. Seriously.
After graduation I opened the newspaper and looked in the classified ads under “PAINTER”. Yes. True story; embarrassing story in this day and age, but one that I retell to young adults as a reminder to not go into their life with naïve idealism. Dreams are necessary, but relevant and realistic information and preparation is key to success.
SO, I worked in an art gallery! I made art for a year with some kind and generous financial family aid, did a couple of shows, a catalogue, sold some art. From there I became an intern at Professional Art Dealers Association and then on into the crazy deadline world of magazine publishing as a production manager. Still, in all of these jobs I was touching the arts and relying on my keen eye and perfectionist qualities.
I spent almost ten years working for Canadian Art magazine, where I was immersed in the world of art. The art dealers, gallery owners, directors of major galleries around the world, artists, photographers, art directors, writers, collectors and educators. It was a fantastic education, and I learned so much about art and the making and quality of art in every genre and medium. I appreciate that education more than the one I paid for. To this day, I carry with me the lessons in life and art and voice and expression.
I was raising a child by then and finding it increasingly more difficult to juggle motherhood and work. I did some illustration work for a couple of art directors I knew during that time but making art had become a hobby rarely touched. I eventually left the magazine world to be a full-time mommy: a move I will never regret! I had also taken up rowing competitively and training became part of the equation as well (something that is still a huge part of my life!). I decided that I could maybe make some art during nap times, but it would have to be work that I could easily walk away from and squeeze into my life This transitioned into functional and accessible art: home décor, hand-painted mirrors and furniture. The craft show circuit was a new territory! I participated in juried shows that focused on quality but that made the entry fee more expensive as well. Some shows were successful and some I traded more than was purchased. If the weather was nice people didn’t come to the indoor shows and if it rained they didn’t come to the outdoor shows! It was not a money-making venture, and so the unsold items got packed away along with some hopes and dreams.
After that I did invitation illustrations here and there. I got into event planning, event décor, and floral arrangements. Dabbling not diving. My home life changed, my baby became a teenager and my interests turned into a full-time event planning job at the Canadian Chiropractic College, planning everything at the College including trade fairs, cocktail parties, homecoming and 5k run fundraiser in Toronto. It was a whirlwind and another deadline-oriented job!
A year into the job I found myself day-dreaming and re-evaluating what I was doing with my life as a working mom. My home-life had improved and changed again and it was now time to re-set the career path. What had I always wanted to do? Be an art teacher. I had gone to York University to do a concurrent education with my Bachelor of Education, but time and money got in the way and I couldn’t fund that dream as a twenty year old, so I put it on the back burner. Back to school I went. In the span of two years I got married, got my Bachelor of Education, lost a parent, had another child and got my first high school teaching job.
I taught art for almost ten years. I LOVED it. I poured my energy into my students’ art journeys, the school teams and my children at home with their opposite and diverse worlds! One was learning to walk while the other was learning to drive. My world was full: exciting and life-changing events at every turn but a hamster –wheel nonetheless. Suddenly within months of each other, we lost two significant members of our circle. It would force us to re-evaluate the importance of life, work, home and purpose.
That exploration of the heart brought us to Collingwood. Another move I will never regret! Part of this new path was to return to the roots of my heart and passions; that seven year old with the finger paint needed to come out and play again! I needed to be mommy again too and find mindfulness and peace.
So here we are, and if you have read through this story you now know what lies behind the art that I have made and am making. My gallery is a collection of work that is current but I have been making art for over 30 years ,with three different last names (LOL), illustrations for magazines, catalogues, invitations, commissioned portraits, craft shows and my current Georgian Bay inspired work.
Art is a journey. It is a journey for anyone willing to pursue it and explore it. The more I paint and create, the more I want to create and the more ideas that germinate in my head!! I am so very grateful now to have love in my life, the beauty of the town I call home, the accessibility to the great outdoors that I appreciate whole-heartedly and the support of family and friends to pursue this dream once and for all.
I see beauty in the mundane and the tiny details we overlook in nature and life. I like to zoom in on our landscape and focus on the intricate treasures nature has left us: foaming water on the beach, the intense colours of wave-painted rocks on the Georgian Bay shoreline, the path of little feet in the sand, and water rippling around cold swimmer in early summer water. I have also been very blessed to take on some incredible commissions creating special paintings for clients: portraits of family members, children, and furry friends too as well as unique, custom designed illustrations for special occasions. Last year I was selected to create a public art interactive mural for Collingwood's Art Alley. This was a super proud moment for me and a challenge!! The 12 ft x 12ft mural entitled JUMP plays homage to the town's historic pier and visitors are invited to jump with the subject of the painting! This was FUN! And I'm so honoured to have my work shared with the community like this.
Follow me on my journey. I will blog about the ups and downs and imbetweens: my quest for balance and success as a living, breathing artist! My art speaks my truth and reflects the world through my eyes. I see the colours I paint. I don’t make those up! And my message for now is to stop, reflect, look around, Look up, look down, look in and look out. Your world is my world. Look again, it’s all there.