“It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet

It was a moment of fight or flight, as Paula and I stood on the doorstep of NSCAD University in the spring of 2004. We stood motionless with a “you go first” look in our eyes, until Paula assertively huffed “Come on!  We only need a B to get our money back.”

That was the moment that Paula made the decision to fight this thing that not only intrigued but terrified us. We walked, hand in hand, into one of the most prestigious art colleges in North America with nothing but guts and friendship on our side.

We were the same two middle aged women who spent all morning trying to choose outfits that looked NSCAD-ish, trying to pull anything mismatched, and Bohemian looking out of our closets, wringing it in our nervous hands to get the subtle ‘indifferent’ look of a real artist. Needless to say, this was extremely challenging for two Gap girls, who didn’t own a pair of jeans that weren’t made in some sweatshop within the last two seasons.

Having felt the need to get into the Teacher certificate program, before they really knew what they were in for, Paula and I thought we would just slide in, get our required B’s, to ensure financial reimbursement, all the while wowing our Type A friends with our newfound level of ‘deep’. Little did we know that this voyage would turn out to be the most gruelling, emotionally draining, life altering journey we would be fortunate enough to experience.

Paula successfully completed a number of theory and studio courses. She pushed herself as a conceptual artist, explored a variety of mediums, and refined her techniques. From dabbling with paint in the old art room at BLT, under Andrea Malone’s tutelage, to creating 30 hour sculptural pieces that would be shown amongst her peers at NSCAD, Paula made the leap from being a ‘teacher of art” to an “artist who teaches’.

Paula’s commitment to family and her personal history proved to be an underlying theme in all that she created. Reflecting upon and documenting life experiences through her art, was a driving force behind Paula’s work. Her work was always done with her daughter Anna in mind, communicating her love and legacy to her. Longevity was forever at the forefront of Paula’s mind. As much pleasure as it gave Paula in its creation; how grateful we are that she discovered such means to communicate her story.

Richelle

Paula's NSCAD Diploma

Paula's Artwork

Letter of Appreciation from Richard Mueller, NSCAD Professor