“Montreal is the perfect place to study art,” she says. “It’s such an artsy city and it’s small enough that I was exposed to regular life.”
For the first three years of her program, Kingsmill studied only Art History, spending her fourth and final year in the studio.
“I was surprisingly very challenged – both mentally and artistically – by the program at Concordia,” she says. “It made me think of art in a well-rounded way, outside studio classes and made me much more critical of my own work – ultimately making me a better artist.”
Kingsmill particularly remembers Holly King’s drawing class because it was both explorative and enjoyable. It was also where she started to incorporate and revisit watercolour in her work.
“I liked oil and acrylic, but knew watercolour was my strength and what made me happy,” she says. “But I always, somehow, thought using oil and acrylic resulted in more serious, museum-worthy art. I realized, however, that I didn’t have to fight what I loved, and my professors being open to ideas and to exploration helped me understand that.”
An artwork a day
After graduating from Concordia in 2012, Kingsmill couldn’t find work in her field and started working in Toronto’s financial district. After five years in banking, and doing something that didn’t make her heart sing, she started hating herself for not doing anything creative. She realized that if she was going to paint again, she had to do it on her own.
“My New Year’s resolution in 2015 was to hold myself accountable and paint something every single day, without missing a day” she says. “No matter how tired or busy I was, I would paint a watercolour a day. I was that miserable and I needed to force my way out of finance. I called it my ‘An Artwork a Day’ project and by the end of that year, I had 365 paintings, held a show and donated the proceeds to the Aga Khan Foundation.”
Evolving into a full-time artist
At this point, Kingsmill had amassed quite a portfolio, and, having developed as an artist, she started taking the necessary steps to shift into full-time illustrative work.
Art is how she now makes her living. She works in editorial illustration, web and print, custom paintings, and her prints, greeting cards, and wholesale work can be found in more than 60 retailers in the U.S. and Canada.