Following your dreams takes courage, but it also takes lots of heart. The results are breathtaking
It takes a special kind of person to be dedicated and confident enough to leave a full-time position in order to pursue a dream job, which is exactly what artist and painter Janice Cooper-Hardy did.
A Child Prodigy
Creator and operator of A Little Piece of my Art paintings, Cooper-Hardy began painting at the young age of thirteen after realizing she’s always had a love for just simply creating things.
“I grew up with my mom, and my aunts, and my grandmother who all knit and crochet, typical Newfoundland stuff. If we ever wanted something, we made it. Growing up, that’s just kind of what I knew,” Cooper-Hardy shared.
“Then I started painting. I got introduced to it when I started junior high by my art teacher, and he saw that I really enjoyed it. He’s the one that kind of encouraged me to start doing classes in the evenings and stuff like that. Basically, I just went from there and never stopped. I paint every day. I paint seven days a week, unless I’m away or something. I do some of what we call a paint night, but I would rather be in my studio creating my own artwork and kind of marketing myself that way.”
After graduating high school, Cooper-Hardy went on to graduate from a two year art program, but began questioning herself and if she was good enough to pursue a career in art. So, she decided to take a position working in an office for twelve years as an office manager at a physiotherapy clinic.
“One day I went into work and I thought to myself, I just can’t work here anymore. So, I quit on the spot. I just quit because I wasn’t fulfilled. It was so scary too because my husband works away, so he’s home back and fourth and he was away at the time and I phoned him and I’m like ah… I just quit my job,” she confessed with a laugh.
“I had been there for twelve years and I just went in there on a Friday morning and I was like I just can’t work at these filing cabinets for another day. I did work a couple of weeks of course until they got someone to replace me. I had been painting and selling some artwork in my spare time anyway, and I thought, I’m never gonna know if I can really do it unless I just do it. That was four years ago, and I’ve been painting ever since. I never get bored with painting.”
Cooper-Hardy began making a name for herself in animal and pet portraiture painting, and after burning herself out with that, she decided to take up abstract painting.
“I just needed the change because I started feeling almost like I wasn’t really able to express what I wanted to. I do a few (pet portraits) still, but I don’t take on as many as I use to.”
With a longterm goal of painting abstract art in involvement with interior design for rooms, offices and buildings, Cooper-Hardy currently sells most of her artwork online. Her and her husband live in the small town of Cormack, with a population barely above 600, so the majority of her clientele find her online via her social media profiles for A Little Piece of my Art.
“It’s hard in rural Newfoundland. I’m not in St. John’s where you have more opportunities and you can get out there face to face with people. For me, I do better online. Facebook, Instagram. Instagram is a great new platform for artists. I’m kind of secluded, so it’s difficult,” she explained.
“It’s not the same opportunity, but I guess that’s just the sacrifice we paid. We moved here about five years ago from Corner Brook because we wanted a more rural, secluded living area. We wanted a bit of land. They had horses here, so we bought a 20-acre property and I was able to make my own home studio and kind of get started that way.”
The devoted painter has had a few exhibits in Corner Brook, including a floral exhibition last summer at Picture it in a Frame, where she sold 22 out of 28 pieces.
For more visit Facebook page: A Little Piece of my Art or Instagram @alittlepieceofmyart