How is your inspiration and purpose found and nurtured in the natural world?
I am a 33 year old, triple water sign, so emotionally stable is not my middle name – it’s Denise actually. I’m originally from Montreal, QC. I studied fine arts at Langara College and Emily Carr University in Vancouver. I lived there for about 9 years, then relocated to the Okanagan about 4 years ago. The natural world informs about every single creative endeavour I involve myself in, whether it was the old trees of Montreal, the mountains, moss and waters of Vancouver, or the semi-arid desert and buttery lakes of the Okanagan. Nature is something I’ve never been able to, nor have I wanted to ignore. The natural world is what we’ve got.
What kind of growth and healing do you get from expressing yourself?
I often take on commissions, which is my main source of income. The commissions are a collaboration between my client(s) and myself. Time and time again I am challenged, and experience some form of growth; whether it’s learning to communicate with people better or honing my painting and drawing techniques, or learning more about finances and budgeting, or managing the admin side of my biz. I do feel year in and year out that I am growing personally and professionally, it’s good to give yourself props sometimes.
As for healing, I feel like a great deal of it comes through connection: connection with people, connection with the natural world and connection with yourself. I spend a lot of time alone in the studio, alone with my animals, I guess, and that’s taken a long time to get used to, but there is healing in that solitude. Connecting with fellow artists and people that want to chat about art is medicinal as well. It’s always nice to be reminded that you’re not alone.
Do you believe that finding your life’s purpose is in your work?
All I know is that I’m never going to retire, that must say something about something.
How do you measure success and have there been any road bumps along the way?
I feel successful because I get to do what I love and get paid for it. For the most part I feel very happy doing what I do for a living and that to me feels like success. In the past 11 years there have been plenty of times that I have wanted to quit, however, something always brought me back to my art. Rejection is an inevitable byproduct of putting yourself out there. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been rejected in this business (sooo many times) but I can tell you it gets easier. It will always sting but we move on with our lives because that’s what we’ve got to do.