meet grace


Ten Favourite Things

A Glimpse into the Path - (or getting lost in the forest):

I have always been a creative child - my earliest memories involve visiting a family friend’s gallery on Sunday afternoons and walking up and down the aisles, getting lost in the ‘worlds’ of each painting while my parents caught up with friends. I was always drawing, sewing, designing, crafting, reading, dreaming of growing up and becoming an artist, storybook illustrator, fashion designer, costume designer.

But like so many others, the familiar storyline of a teenager and young adult overflowing with insecurities and self-doubt, brought a halt to my creativity for many years, coming back in starts and spurts, but always with a hard, condemning voice of, ‘You should be better than this by now.’

While battling out this creative block, I got my teaching degree, taught ESL, freelanced several projects, managed art stores and worked as a brand manager. These passions gave me purpose for awhile but I always felt something was missing. During this time, I often browsed art school programs and read art books here and there, but never with any real direction.

It wasn’t until a concussion brought my world to a grinding halt that I decided to take the plunge and try creating art again in 2015. Since then, I sort of took a backroad into my art journey, learning first the skills of entrepreneurship and then sharing my work in building a brand.

What I’m Doing Right Now:

One afternoon on a whim, I went to see an abstract art show. While there the following questions swirled through my head:

1. Why do I like this? Why don’t I like
this?

2. What is wonderful about this particular piece of art and why do I think this one over here is so much better than that one?

In that moment, I thought, ‘Wow, I can’t fully answer the WHYs in these questions.’ One thing led to another and I realized I needed to learn how to critique art properly, and to do that, I had to study art history, going way back to the beginning. I was tired of my haphazard self-education in art, tired of avoiding subjects that I loved simply because I didn’t feel confident enough in my skills. So in an ‘aha’ moment, I decided to formulate an art school like program of self-study… based on the local university’s program. If universities have a clear path laid out already, that mean’s it has been tested, tried and true, so this was something I can tweak and be happy with.

On Self-Study, Being a Creative Entrepreneur, Being Inspired by the Natural Landscape and Emotional Wellness:

This journey of growth is an ongoing process. When I started, I thought I would at some point feel creatively and financially secure, but frankly, it has been an exhilarating ride, full of ups and downs, where you just have to pick yourself up again when you fall. I’ve never had to reflect so much, be more mentally disciplined, and learn/unlearn lessons, try new projects, realize they aren’t for me, stop, then keep going.

Part of this experience comes with making peace with my anxiety, recognizing my mental health needs and taking steps to be physically and emotionally healthy so I can create my best work (maybe this resonates with you too). Oftentimes this takes the form of walks on the beach when it’s warm. This centres me, calms my overly chatty brain and rejuvenates my soul. Being in tune with nature has been the springboard for many a painting.

Taking care of my mental health is an ongoing process that directly affects my work, as I’ve found that pursuing honestly created art comes from the heart. The joy this gives a person who sees my work online or the thrill this gives a client receiving a painting is so rewarding.

If you would like to join me in my working artist process and self-study program, visit me on the blog as I share this journey. I’d love to dialogue with you too if there is something there that piques your interest!

Xo Grace.

 

Artist Statement

My paintings are a journal that document an active chase in creating memories. To do this, I have learned to value living fully alive in the moment. Growing up, my dad always had a camera - he was the guy who carried giant camcorders around on his shoulder wherever he went and taught me to take as many pictures as possible, ‘For the memories,’ and, ‘You never know when you may need references for your art someday.’ When I met my husband, he taught me to live in the moment and that the little things are as, if not more, important than the big things. 

I am motivated by love stories and adventuring with my loved ones. Oftentimes this takes the form of exploring the outdoors to ‘reset’ my mind and feel human again after being indoors all day. The magic happens when I share the experience with another person. The rush of feeling fully alive comes from knowing I am a small speck in the universe, but sharing it with my favourite person in the world is exhilarating. Trying to capture these emotions in words and being pushed to creative expression is but a shadow of how I feel. I let go to fully feel and draw from the depths of my emotions to add saturation to muted colours found in nature when making colour choices.

I am deeply thankful that my collectors enjoy my work and that I can work from home. As a person of habit, I am at my creative best with some routine and environmental cues. It is both a need and desire for a warm, inviting space that motivates me to paint and design new work in a very personal signature style.  

Couldn’t wait for this piece to arrive! ‘Lone Kayak’ caught my eye immediately. Highly recommend checking out @gracelanesmithart and her work. 3 pieces in my collection now and counting... Thanks of the piece, Grace!
— Benson D., @halfish1
Photo by Leslie Estelle Photography

Photo by Leslie Estelle Photography

The two paintings I bought bring me so much joy, as I look at them daily!!!
— Anne Aberdeen
grace20.jpg

Artist Bio

Grace’s paintings and prints can be found in private collections across Canada and the US including Toronto, Ottawa, California and Texas. Her work has been shown in online features and in solo and group exhibitions in Nova Scotia.

Grace’s art is described as romantic and freeing while being simultaneously soulful and calming. She has her A-Levels in Art & Design and Textiles Design, along with a BA (Hons) in Theatre, which set the foundation for her to approach her work from multiple creative lenses. When she is in the zone, Grace is fully immersed in her explorations and will binge one podcast after another or turn the music way up as she builds translucent layers of colour or fashions bold marks. She works primarily in acrylic on canvas. Most of these canvases are built using stretcher bars her family cuts from sustainably sourced Ontario wood. 

Grace has found the place that inspires her most and has made her home in Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband. When she is not in the studio, she can be found promoting emotional health for women during pregnancy as a digital communications specialist for the University of Calgary or teaching English to children in China. She goes nuts for a good bowl of pho and will rate every bowl she tries. 

 
 

I measure my life in time spent laughing together, living in the moment and making memories. My dad taught me to always have a camera on hand (yes, he was the guy who carried a giant videocamera on his shoulder) to make memories, while Ben, my husband, taught me to measure life in the little things, to love the moments. And while a camera doesn’t quite capture these emotions, I want to capture the stories anyway, through paint. 

Read about what Ben does for my art practice here.

Photo by Leslie Estelle Photography

Photo by Leslie Estelle Photography

There are these eruptions of emotion in [Grace’s] work… so even when it shows something soothing or calm, you can actually FEEL the storm around it. You can FEEL the emotions circling it and you realize this is a fleeting moment of quiet in a sea of passion.’

‘[Grace’s] art is like a storm that whips your face with rain and wind, ferocious with emotions. It has all this huge emotion stored, but it is restrained, held back,expressed through a brush instead of a bucket. I feel like [Grace’s] art is just waiting to explode on the canvas.
— Shauna Bennis, Artist, Austria