My life as a Canadian painter took a new and exciting direction when my family and I settled in Scotland.
Years before, with a degree in English and Art History, a job I wasn’t crazy about, followed by a trip to Europe, and then a graphic design degree from George Brown College in Toronto, what finally moved me into painting full time was a quiet moment of self reflection.
I had taken night courses in drawing and composition, alongside my “real” life, never thinking of art as a career option. It wasn’t until I had been working as a graphic designer long enough to realize that I didn’t want to do other people’s work that it dawned on me: I wanted to do my own.
I enrolled in the Dundas Valley School of Art, in Ontario Canada where I could take classes with formally trained art instructors while working part time. One influential mentor, who tutored a small handful of us with classical training in drawing and painting, ignited my passion while encouraging me to find my own voice. Out of the five, four of us are full time painters to this day.
After my family and I moved to the Black Isle of Scotland on a teacher’s exchange program, I acquired a painting studio in an 18th century Stable block. With a lively arts scene in the surrounding area, a lot of interesting people, and enough landscape material to keep me inspired for years, we have never looked back.
The surrounding sea, the sky, the hills, the woods and the fields of Scotland–even the changes in the light and wind will change the colours over the course of a few minutes—all of this stimulates and inspire me.
When my father came from Canada to visit, we found an ancestor’s farmhouse, who had once left Scotland for Canada, less than an hour from where I now live. With this discovery, my connection to the Highlands became even deeper.
Uprooting myself to find my roots. I have come full circle.