Midland, ON, Canada
Alexandra McLaughlin is a self-taught Canadian artist. She was inspired from a young age being surrounded by the unique and stunning landscapes of Georgian Bay, home to the largest freshwater archipelago in the world.
Her childhood can be best characterized by exploration, swimming, boating, and many artistic endeavours such as competitive dance and classical guitar. Alex’s love for expression through painting began when she took an introductory art class at the University of Western Ontario while completing her psychology degree. She moved on to graduate from the Humber College Paramedic program in Toronto and worked for Toronto Paramedic Services until 2018.
She recently retired from this first career to focus solely on her art and has set up a home studio in Midland, Ontario. This allows her to maximize precious painting time and be the present mother she has always wanted to be. Since this exciting transition, she has developed her first ever painting series – Georgian Bay Reflections, a deep exploration of nostalgia and introspection.
Alex’s work was recently accepted into the 40th Annual Juried Art Show by the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts in Collingwood. She was also a finalist for their prestigious Clerkson award in 2019. She has sold to many private collectors over the years and had the honour of being the cover artist for the Honey Harbour Hoots 2019, her first-ever publication.
My current work is reflective of my connection with Georgian Bay, the place in which I was raised, and have recently moved back to with my own family. It is a study of nostalgia and introspection. Sitting on a dock, staring at the mesmerizing water, has always been my favourite place to think, feel or dream. Now I get to watch my young children navigate their worlds in this same environment so ingrained in me, this is endlessly fulfilling. The Georgian Bay Reflections series emerged when I referred to my personal photos from years ago, to help me paint water in a recognizable way- something I had always wanted to try. Using vibrant colour and layered brush strokes, I feel my way through each piece until its depth and composition are reminiscent of this special place that was, is and always will be home.
"I was always searching for happiness in life, trying to find a balance between following my heart, and what seemed smart and responsible. This has taken me on what could be viewed as a roundabout journey, but I truly feel that all my experiences have led me where I am today, and given me the time to know myself enough, to be honest in what I create.
Through lots of hard work, perceived failures, love and heartbreak, adventures travelling and in another life as a Toronto paramedic, nothing has compared to becoming a parent. Motherhood (and wifehood)
has been transformational. It is the most challenging and beautiful journey I have ever been on. And despite being faced with decisions that felt like heavy sacrifices for me personally, doing what is best for our family as a whole has actually led my husband and me to a more beautiful life then we could have ever imagined.
Of course, there continue to be bumps in the road, such as the first global pandemic in generations… but these seem to just be reminders that we made the best decisions for us. Among these big moves, was the one where I decided to really give my art a fighting chance. I finally realized that in order to be truly happy, I need to be creating.
I officially quit my career as a paramedic and launched my art business within the same week! It must be highlighted that I could not have done this without the incredible emotional and financial support from my husband. It has been an exhausting few years balancing our busy home life with two young boys and Newfoundland dog, my husband’s shift work schedule (with a two-hour commute to work) and my part-time art business, but all of our hard work is really starting to pay off. Many days I am exhausted, but I am also head over heels in love with all things art. I’m also so grateful to be able to be at home, present for every fleeting moment with my boys. They are truly inspiring and keep me focused on the things that matter the most. I can’t wait to see what challenges and adventures lie ahead, and then create from those experiences in the most honest way I know how."