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

First self-portrait

First self-portrait

I have always been a creative - 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.’

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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 how to share my work in a professional manner, while retaining a genuine relatability, because we need more authentic connections, more healing, more honesty.

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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.

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On Self-Study, Being a Creative Maker, 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, come hang out on Instagram or 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.


Measuring 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 aim to capture the stories anyway, through paint. 

Find out what Ben does for my art practice here.