"When I paint, I get lost in a zone where every brush stroke becomes an exercise in meditation, contemplation, patience and self-development. Whether I'm painting animals or objects, I try to bring out their beauty through light and colour so that each creation is contributing to adding beauty in this world. My goal is to make the world a brighter place, one painting at a time."
How I became a full-time artist . . .
I know it's stereotypical to say that I was an artist from the time I was a child, but I was. I coloured everything in sight. I stole my brother's colouring books, my cousin's colouring books, my friends, and just coloured everything. In school, arts and crafts was the only subject I enjoyed. I spent hours in the classroom doodling and drawing instead of paying attention.
Like most artists, I just never grew out of loving to draw and work with colour, and creating something of beauty out of nothing. My mother always recognized that I had a certain talent that needed to be nurtured. When I was a teen, I had become quite rebellious and was routinely getting into trouble. In order to keep me busy with something that interested me, my mother started bringing me to oil painting classes she took through a community program. Naturally, I instantly fell in love with oil painting. This was back in the early 80's and I was 15 years old.
Throughout adulthood, I kept painting once in a blue moon whenever the mood struck, but later on I became much more serious. I started painting various subjects, from horses, to pets, to still life and landscapes. In 2008, I entered my first art competition and won 2nd place for "Cafe Regular". I've won more competitions since. Needless to say, this just encouraged me to produce more work and devote myself to my art in my spare time. I also started selling paintings, still life, pet portraits, and horse portraits, and was incredulous that people would pay me for my art.
In 2011, my mother suddenly became very ill and we found out a couple of months later that she was in stage four lung cancer. There was nothing that could be done, and she passed a few short months later. As anyone who has lost a close family member knows, you can't prepare for these things. They really jar you at your core and make you re-evaluate everything, everything about life, the things you believed in, as well as yourself. It usually these times that lead to a lot of soul searching. Throughout all of this, art was my refuge and salvation. I kept painting and selling my art, and working a job.
Me doing some plein air painting on Manitoulin Island
A few years later, people started asking me to paint their pets more often. It was just a fluke, but more and more people would ask. It almost felt as though I were being guided somehow. There was something about painting pets that stirred something in me. Staring at loving, innocent animal eyes as I work is enjoyable, but the effect that these paintings had on others was what fuelled me to create more. Each time I'd hear back from clients, I would hear about immense feelings that were felt by so many. People would write about tears of joy, happy memories that were brought back through my art, and how happy they were.
One client sent me a video on her sweet great-grandmother, and I think is was her 90th birthday. She was in a nursing home and relatives had come from all over, even overseas, for her birthday celebration. I watched the video as she opened her gift, an oil painting of her late dog that she had always wanted. She immediately recognized it and began to cry tears of joy. I felt like a fly on the wall, observing these people I did not know, nor had ever spoken to in person, be so moved by what one of my paintings brought to this dear woman. To be part of such an important moment in people's lives was very humbling. At that moment, I realized what an honour it was to be able to do something that meant so much to people. For some, it might just be a painting, but for my clients, this little animal that I paint is a very special family member that brought so much joy and love, and special memories. This is the reason each piece I work on, I give 100% of myself. Every painting is a labour of love.
My very precious pup, Taja. I've painted her many times.
Having grown up in a time before the internet, I had never thought it possible to be able to work as a full-time artist. For a long time I struggled with working a full-time job and trying to slow down on my art commissions, but for some reason, it just wasn't happening. At one point in 2016-2017, I was working a full-time government job, and coming home and painting until 11:00 pm each night to complete pet portraits. I was tired, but it was worth it to hear how much these meant to people. Each time I'd try to cut back on work, more would come in. I had a decision to make: one of my jobs had to go. I couldn't do both, but I knew I couldn't not paint. I wrestled with that decision for a while and finally made the decision to work as a full-time pet portrait artist in February 2017. Strangely, I felt guided into this decision by a series of synchronicities. Also, I kept thinking of my mother, gone so young at 65, and all the things she never got to do and realized that life was just too short to not do what you were meant to do, and I was meant to be an artist.
I was meant to create in order to be of service to others and to bring joy and beauty into their lives. I'm taking life by the horns doing what I love to do, and I hope to be able to do this for as long as possible. I worked thirteen years with the federal government in public service, as well as eight years teaching adult literacy. While I truly loved the work that I did at those jobs, art is in my soul and it is who I am. The soul will not be denied.
Now, my art is collected by people around the world. I have sold art to clients in in Canada and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, The Netherlands, Russia, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. Since 2008, I have sold hundreds of paintings.
I have shown my works at the La Cloche Juried Art Show in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. and have won awards in the Acrylics category in both 2nd (Cafe Regular) and 1st place (Kettle & Cherries), and had also been juried into the Northern Ontario Arts Association annual juried competition and show. My painting "Magpie and Apples" won 1st place in the oil category of the 2014 La Cloche Art Show. As a former member of the Sudbury Art Club, I have also shown my work with their Spring and Fall shows from 2010-2013. In April 2013, I had my first solo gallery exhibit at Artists on Elgin in Sudbury, Ontario. In 2014, I exhibited with well known Canadian artists in The Grand Art Show, held in Sudbury, Ontario. I was honoured to show alongside greats such as Ivan Wheale, world renown for his impressive landscapes.
I am now a juried member of the International Guild of Realism and I could not be more proud to be a member of this very prestigious international organization that features the best in realism around the world. One of my pieces, Lost in Thought, was juried into their first ever Winter Salon Online Exibition, which has been featured on the American Art Collector Magazine's website.
Now, I've decided to take a break from pet portrait commissions to focus on my own art as well as creating tutorials for aspiring artists. I've decided to return to my fine arts, including still life, landscapes, and animals. I will reserve pet portraits for tutorials on my YouTube channel as well as upcoming videos which be for sale from my website. The future will be exciting and I'm looking forward to so many new challenges!
"Organized chaos" is what I like to say about my studio.
January, 2019: I am a very proud juried member of the International Guild of Realism!
2018- In early 2017, I was contacted by two local women who were writing a book about local women artists and told that I was one of the artists they wanted to feature in the book. To say this is an honour is an understatement! The launch for the book will be taking place on March 8, 2018 at Open Studio in Sudbury, Ontario.
What an honour it is to be one of the women artists featured in this book!
Cafe Regular, 2nd place winner in my first competition
I am now an Amazon affiliate, which means that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
RepresentationThe Backstreet Gallery
Noelville, Ontario, Canada - 1-705-618-3056Recent Blog PostsUpcoming ShowPosted on 8/17/2019 7:24:41 PMPainting Black Fur with OilsPosted on 7/31/2019 12:13:56 PMOnline Pastel Wildlife Tutorial - How to...Posted on 7/30/2019 9:02:46 PMWhy Artists Should BlogPosted on 7/29/2019 3:57:45 PMShould you Varnish an Oil Painting, and ...Posted on 7/1/2019 6:24:52 PMHow to Paint Wildlife Art Series - Paint...Posted on 6/18/2019 4:59:39 PMWhich Social Media Platform is Best for ...Posted on 6/20/2019 8:12:36 PMHow to Draw a Horse Eye in Pastels, Step...Posted on 6/5/2019 4:04:58 PMWhy I Stopped Doing CommissionsPosted on 5/19/2019 2:32:23 PMHow to Paint Black Fur in PastelsPosted on 5/6/2019 9:31:47 PM
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