by Lee Down

I have experienced the joy of success by following my creativity. Art has given me purpose and direction. Are you wondering if you should pursue your passion? Here are a few stories from myself and my friends that should inspire you to follow your creativity.

The Artist Within, Lauren Walker, Visual Artist

Some of you may be unfamiliar with my story so I’d be happy to share it. My story began in late 2020 during one of the hardest times in my life. At the time I was going through a depression and I thought it would never end. One day after taking a walk, I came home and decided to paint the Aurora Borealis. I hadn’t painted a thing in fifteen years but suddenly I was moved.

It was a very anxious time in my life and I didn’t know what to do with all my emotion. I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and I didn’t understand it at the time. I believe my true calling was indeed calling me on the otherwise of the dark tunnel. This is why I consider art to be my saving grace. It called to me when I was lost and it helped me find my way.

In the course of two and a half years, I’ve had multiple successes. My first being that I won the 2021 Kent Farndale Bursary. Talk about life calling out to me! The funny thing is I read about this bursary in the newspaper the day before the application was due. I was overjoyed when I won! I looked at it as a sign that I should keep pursuing my art. The Artist Within was truly emerging!

From there, I rejoined the local Port Perry Artist Association and participated in local art shows. This facilitated a connection with our local Townhall 1873 Theatre. I had my very first solo show in November of 2022. Not bad for having just started my art career a year prior! I had also applied to our local Kent Farndale Gallery and was approved for my own solo show in January of 2023. I have to say it was overwhelming to see how many people came to my opening reception. I remember standing there and I felt like I was watching my dream come true.

I’ve completed multiple commissions. I have developed my own Facebook page, website and Instagram page. I also have my own column called “The Artist Within” in our local newspaper. I have the pleasure of being published on this website as well!

Artistic ability is a blessing and a skill that you should nurture. Your creativity helps make this world a more beautiful place. I believe being an artist is my purpose in life and I’m so grateful to be able to watch it unfold. Live your purpose!

Brenda O’Donoghue, Quilter and Painter

Covid Quilt Brenda O Donohue
Covid Quilt Brenda O Donohue

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a creative outlet in my life. At this point I am pursuing my two passions which are quilting and painting. Although the two are not intertwined, I approach them with the same philosophy.

Way back in my twenties, I got my BA by attending night and summer classes at York University. In order to keep myself motivated, I would also sign up for a creative course. It was like my little reward for studying. At that time my loves were pottery and macrame. There’s nothing like the feeling of that wet clay spinning on the potters wheel! I still use those creations today.

I am never bored! When I am not creating, I am planning what to paint next or which quilting project to start. I actually look forward to rainy days when I can stay inside and sew.

Being creative is a great way to connect with people. There is always an artist or two in any crowd. Most of my friends are ‘creators’. I am proud to say that I got more than a few of them started on their own creative journeys. Creating makes me happy!!

I love being able to take the raw materials and follow through to create a successful piece of art. I allow the subconscious to lead and see what emerges. When it all comes together, it is ecstasy!

Heartwork by Jasmine, Pastel Artist

Lola By Heartwork By Jasmine
Lola By Heartwork By Jasmine

I am a self taught artist and I loved to draw as a young girl. I think it was my quiet way of expressing my deep admiration and respect for the natural world and all the amazing creatures within it. The heaviness of life and personal challenges took a hold of my spirit through my teens and early twenties. Unfortunately, my art came to a halt. I always felt that it was missing in my life through those dark years. It was hard to believe in the value or potential of what creating could be for me.

After having my second baby during the pandemic, I began to set aside time to sit down and draw. Despite all the other things on my to-do list, I chose to follow my inner voice and pay attention to the subtle nudges it was giving me. It kept asking, “What if?”

I continued to draw when I could find the time and energy. I primarily work with pastel. The feedback I received when I shared what I made was so incredibly encouraging. I’m beyond grateful for this sense of homecoming to who I was long ago. I have the ability to share what I love with people. What I create for others is so meaningful and personal for them.

Katie Hunter, Photographer

Black Eyed Susan BY  Katie Hunter
Black Eyed Susan BY Katie Hunter

Photography is my passion! I didn’t think I could do it. I am. I have been doing photography off and on for 8+ years. I love to be creative in my work and really make it stand out. Through the years I have learned so much but there is always more to learn.

I am self taught and I have a mentor that helps if I have questions. We work together on a few ideas and it’s really beneficial for me. I try and put different angles in aspect and be creative with every shot. I love to “think outside the box” for the most part.

Photography is not easy by any means. If you’re a beginner and serious about it, put yourself out there and really enjoy every part of learning. I have a lot of amazing support from friends and family but meeting other photographers is a perfect way to learn hands on.

My artwork was at the Kent Farndale Gallery back in February 2023. I’ve had publications in magazines around the world and have won awards as well. The sky is the limit, I don’t let anything stop me.

Billie Von Roeder, Visual Artist

Bright Cosmos By Bille  Von Roeder
Bright Cosmos By Bille Von Roeder

My story is short and sweet. I had painted realistic pet portraits for a long time. My life changed when my husband got diagnosed with dementia as we entered the pandemic. All of a sudden, I felt the weight of caretaking and staying home on me. I could not paint reality any longer.

I found a course online that taught me how to work with collage. I started making patterned paper and all of a sudden joy, colour and creativity entered into my life again! This art form gave me the opportunity to just play and to forget about reality for a while. I find it so beneficial for my mental health.

I love mixed media and am so grateful that the Port Perry Artists Association has opened up to accommodate my art.

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I want to extend my sincere thanks to my amazing friends who contributed to this article. Much like the art they create, their stories are unique and beautiful! I couldn’t have done this without their help. Please check out their amazing work!

It’s clear that pursuing your creativity adds richness to your life. Art can help you find deeper connections with yourself and others. I hope these stories have inspired you! The only path to follow is the one you create.

Thank you and Happy creating!

2 Replies to “The Artist Within: Following Your Creativity is the Best”

  1. About the Writer
    My name is Lauren Walker and I am “The Artist Within”. I am a professional artist and freelance writer in Port Perry, Ontario. I use the love of my small town as inspiration for my work. I believe the only path to follow is the one you create.

    Find my work at

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