Watercolour painting can be a soothing, pleasurable activity for all ages. Jennifer has undergone training in art therapy which has enabled her to successfully delivery numerous workshops in seniors’ residences across the Ottawa area. She also developed and delivered a unique, effective art program for the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa, an organization that supports people who have had strokes. One of the activities of which Jennifer is most proud is the flyincolours “Smiling Siblings Watercolour Workshop” which brings together brothers and sisters of children with cancer. In these workshops, she walks the participants through composition to completion with each participant expressing themselves with colour. It is a wonderful, creative escape from the sadness and turmoil they are experiencing. Interval House shelter for abused Women – work with the mothers to provide a creative outlet that gives them a wonderful sense of self and hope for the future as they look forward to hanging their art in their new home.
Catherine Clark – #150GreatPeople
Ottawa is filled with good people from all backgrounds & professions who are actively working to make our city a better place. As a personal project for #Canada150, I wanted to highlight #150GreatPeople whose hard work, creativity, passion and compassion help make Ottawa such a wonderful place to live.
Jennifer Nicol uses the power of art to help improve the lives of others. An accomplished watercolour artist, she shares her love of painting with people of all ages, but has a particular knack for teaching children, especially those going through tough times. Jennifer facilitates the Smiling Siblings Watercolour Workshop for Candlelighters – a local non-profit that supports children living with cancer and their families. Through her gentle guidance, Jennifer helps the siblings of cancer patients learn to paint, giving them a positive, accepting space in which to express the many emotions they feel about their brother or sister’s cancer diagnosis. For the happiness and escape she offers young children through art, Jennifer Nicol is one of #150GreatPeoplein Ottawa. Here, she answers the
What makes Ottawa special to you?
Ottawa is unique in that it is a big city, with a community feel. I will be at the grocery store and see the children I teach, or walking my dog and run into families I’ve worked with. You always know you can be anywhere in Ottawa and still see a familiar face.
What do you love most about living and working in Ottawa?
Having been born and raised in Ottawa, and then raising my own children here, it has a very special place in my heart. My whole life from my own childhood, to my children’s, I have seen nothing but an amazing tight-knit community. It has always felt like it is a safe and friendly place to live. Working in Ottawa has also allowed me to collaborate with multiple charities and organizations that promote positive change.
The work that you do helps to make Ottawa a better place – why is this important to you?
Through my workshops, I have spent years with Candlelighters, a charity that supports families, siblings, and children dealing with childhood cancer. I have dedicated so much time to try and bring happiness to children and families going through difficult times. The art is therapeutic for them, as it is an escape and a chance to create something beautiful. You can just see the joy radiating off of them when they complete their very own artwork.
You give back to the Ottawa community in various ways – is there one Ottawa-related achievement of which you are most proud?
Although I have had many high profile achievements in my career, the most special moment that comes to mind was when I was teaching a workshop at a shelter for abused women and a mother heard me saying my catch phrase “oh la la!” She came into the room to tell me that I had done a workshop with her daughter at her school and her daughter came home saying “oh la la” and just beaming telling her mother how much fun she had had at the workshop. It just goes to show how interconnected Ottawa is as a community and how such small acts can bring a smile to someone’s face.
What do you hope for Ottawa in the future?
I hope that Ottawa can stay grounded and keep its safe community atmosphere. I hope we continue to celebrate the arts and support those who need it most.