I hit a major milestone this week, but before I tell you what it is, let me give you the backstory.
One job and 3 years ago, I worked in a beautiful office in midtown Kitchener-Waterloo. It was a historic building with an indoor waterfall and tropical garden inside. The building had been in use for over 150 years and some of the architecture was still in place from that time. Sometimes, when I was stressed, I would linger around the fountain and just breathe deeply. But sometimes I was SO stressed that I just had to get out of that building, even for half an hour.
Luckily right next door was a pet grooming and small dog day spa. You could look in the window at the tiny dogs lounging on tiny couches, chasing tiny toys and watching big screen TV. It was everything you are hoping it was as you read this!
But even adorable dogs were only a temporary fix. One more building over however was an art gallery so even though I was completely intimidated by the thought of entering an art gallery, one day I ventured in.
As soon as I walked in, I was surrounded by the visions of the artists and transported away from the gnawing feeling in my stomach. I actually felt like I could temporarily forget everything that only moments before was making me lose my mind.
Despite loving art, I had never spent much time in art galleries. I had fond memories of the AGO and a few museums in Britain, but small art galleries I found to be incredibly intimidating. What did I know about art? Many times I felt I didn't understand what I was looking at (surprise! That's totally normal!) and the intimate nature of a small gallery made me uncomfortable. But I kept returning and soon I was visiting the gallery a few times a month just to soak it in.
It wasn't a huge gallery, but it was a beautiful one; every painting selected with care. I started connecting the artist's work I saw on the walls of the gallery with the art I saw in the public spaces around town. I began to appreciate the quality of what I was seeing, and recognizing and following some of my favourite artists.
In that gallery it became so obvious to me that I couldn't be content without art in my life. I was getting so much from just observing, what else could art bring to my life?
I walked into the Paula White Diamond Gallery for stress-relief but I walked out with a passion to make something of my own.
I took my first painting class at Homer Watson Gallery that year and I haven't stopped. My journey is still just beginning and from those days to where I am today has not been a straight line. It has been a path full of doubts and missteps, paved with abandoned canvases. And I am nowhere near meeting my goals but that year of beginning was a milestone for me and this month I hit another one.
Every year the Paula White Diamond Gallery in Waterloo holds a Square Foot show. Many local artists participate and it is rather awe-inspiring to see all of these uniformly sized paintings hung side by side, wall to wall, and to see the beautiful variability and talent that can be captured in one square foot canvas. The gallery accepts submission of 12X12 inch paintings for this special show only once a year and only some are chosen.
This year, for that show, one of my paintings will be hanging on those walls.
My painting depicts Uptown Waterloo, the town I was born in, the town I returned to for school, the region where I have lived most of my life. Kitchener-Waterloo is changing so much, but it's still recognizable to those of us that know it well, it's still home.
If you read this, I hope you can come see my little painting hanging in the gallery starting on November 21 to December 7. The opening is November 21 at 5:30 pm. Come celebrate with me!
Paula White Diamond
Art Gallery and Design Studio
Unit 103-187 King St. South, Waterloo , Ontario