➤ My journey as an artist is a little unusual. I’ve always been a creative person, but I never considered myself to be particularly talented visually. My background is in writing and I didn’t pick up a paintbrush for the first time until I was 27. A friend of mine invited some people over to her house one night to have some drinks and casually paint. I immediately loved the way it felt to brush paint onto a canvas and see something take shape.

At the time, I was working for a global trade and logistics publication where I sat alone in a windowless room and spent most of my time summarizing the latest global trade policy news. It was even more boring than you can imagine. I felt very trapped, which started to take a toll on me. Something about that night of painting with my friends felt so freeing, and all my stressful thoughts melted away.

I bought my own art supplies and started “stress painting” as I called it, in the evenings after work. I started to experiment and try new techniques and mediums, eventually graduating from cheap acrylic paints from the Target craft aisle on sheets of printer paper to dropping money on professional paints and actual canvases. The act of painting was a great way to relax and wind down after work, but it also became a way for me to express myself in a new way, a way that my soul-destroying job wouldn't allow me to. It gave me something fun to look forward to and helped get me through the endless days in my windowless workspace.

Eventually, it gave me the confidence I needed to seek out a more creative job and leave that place behind. I spent about a year quietly making art in my house before I felt brave enough to share it with the world. It’s taken me a while to warm up to the idea of calling myself an artist and thinking of my paintings as something more than just a messy way to calm my anxious mind. I have a more interesting day job now and I have more freedom to express myself there, but I can’t fight the deep inner need to keep creating when I get home every night. ※