Christmas 2019 was extra special for me as I received the most thoughtful gift - a box of art supplies with a heartfelt message.
Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, and for the last few years I had been creating elaborate Halloween displays. I loved the challenge of taking paper mâché, paint and duct tape to create amazing vignettes that could be enjoyed by all. It was a labor of love to see it all come together! My wife recognized the joy these creative exercises gave me, and she wanted me to have a way to express that passion throughout the year. I remember her saying “no pressure, this is just for fun”.
I had a vacation coming up and nothing planned, it was January after all. So, I went to the dollar store and bought a stack of canvases. It was an amazing week. I played, experimented, learned and even had a few good pieces come out of that week.
Very shortly after that vacation the world started to change. So, while the rest of the world stocked up on toilet paper and paper towel, I stocked up on canvases. When that first lockdown came, I lost myself in art. I took online courses and most importantly I spent hours at the easel painting. There is no substitute for practice. I started to improve my skill and learn.
I also started to crave better quality materials and soon the deliveries were coming regularly to my door. Professional canvases, watercolour pencils, markers and my big find…… Kroma Artist Acrylics. It’s amazing what a difference the quality of your paints make. Kroma Artist Acrylics are a small batch manufacture of amazing paint. Formulated, ground, processed and packaged all at their workshop on Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada.
As the weather started to warm up, I decided to take my work outside and set up my studio on my front porch. The light was beautiful, and it gave me a chance to feel connected to my neighbours in a safe way. I was also able to get some much-needed fresh air and sunshine.
After the first lockdown, I had experienced a new routine and was able to explore my passions and dreams in a way that felt more fulfilling. When it was finally time to go back to my full-time job, the vision I had for my life had shifted dramatically.
The next big leap happened that summer. Everything in Toronto was still locked down, but I gathered my bravery and had a showing of my work. That showing took place right in my neighbourhood on the street in front of my house. We have a neighbourhood Facebook group and I invited everyone, along with friends and family. I had an amazing turn out.
People were so ready to have something to do in a safe environment and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a significant number of the pieces going to new homes. That was the moment when I was ready to call myself an artist.
There has been so much to learn on this amazing journey and I’m so excited for what lays ahead in the future. I will never forget that this remarkable journey started with someone really seeing me and a gift given with love.