“Paddle Your Own Canoe,” by Patricia F. Baker.
Artist Statement & Bio
Art and the many disciplines within this designation are enjoyed by people the world over. Art is medicinal, thought provoking, serene, volatile, healing, abstract, real, joyful and sad and any other emotion humans may experience.
Human beings are creative and artistic by nature, their attractions to art, whatever they may be, are inherent within the spirit of survival we all possess. Our emotions can be medicated with art and through brushstroke medicine they can be healed.
Art has been an integral part of my life since early childhood and the genetic connection I have, has always been strengthened by my longstanding beliefs that art of any discipline is medicinal for our overall health. I am self taught, winning my first award in grade 4 for a water colour entitled the Teddy Bear’s Picnic. I remember it to be awful, just terrible, but I think my teacher wanted me to feel better because I had such a hard time with reading.
This has made a huge impact on my life ever since and has in so many ways lead to my success as a woman, wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, teacher and friend. Even though I had a tough difficult time learning how to read and write and continue to this day to struggle with spelling and grammar, I have earned my nursing diploma and continue to work and teach as a Registered Nurse at Sault Area Hospital and clinical teacher with the Faculty of Nursing at Sault College, in a career spanning forty-six years and still going.
I am also a long time freelance writer for the Sault Star, which is an ongoing accomplishment considering I still “wear a dictionary around my neck” in order the spell and use grammar properly. I publish features and columns on all sorts of issues affecting us, especially now with a year in to the Covid-19 global pandemic which has changed our lives in such difficult circumstances enveloped in isolation. Through my writing and art, I can continue to live life within art’s healing properties. It is good medicine. As a health care provider and cancer survivor I can attest to this on a personal level.
It is important that I convey my respect and concern for the Indigenous people of Canada and a good portion of my writing is dedicated to them in some way or another. I may not have been a party to colonialism, residential schools and reservations but I can be part of the solution now. As well as Indigenous reconciliation with Canada, I am a champion for gender equality, LGBTQ2 rights and elimination of systemic racism. Canada is multicultural and the envy of the world in many respects. Built on immigration, think how great we could be if everyone, newcomers, Indigenous alike worked together for the betterment of all. Art of all disciplines can bring us together to make our world a better place for all of us.
~Patricia F. Baker