Born Laurel Douglas, I spent my early childhood playing on the streets of downtown Toronto, in a neighbourhood now called Parkdale. The love of urban texture was in my bones.
My family moved to the suburbs, but by 16 I was back downtown, making my own way. After a somewhat circuitous path, I eventually became "Dr Shugarman" and spent many years as a family practitioner and emergency room doctor, in both urban and rural settings, including a 10 year sojourn in beautiful Alert Bay, a native community in the Pacific Northwest working for and with the people in Namgis First Nation
Over 20 years ago, during one of my "wanders", in an old Austin Texas mansion called Laguna Gloria, I took my first art classes,...and knew that there was something in me that had never been expressed before.
The call to create had always be an intellectual exercise, and now I had stumbled into the world of visual arts.
I have since completed a Certificate in Drawing and Painting at the Haliburton School for the Arts, and followed that with studies at The Toronto School of Art, the Academy of Realist Art, the studios of wonderful painters Jonathon Williams, Donna and Tom Dickson, Britt Zeist, Jane Dill and Kathy Bailey.
My first mentor and inspiration was a wonderful Canadian painter named Jean Townsend. Jean died in 2006, but had always encouraged me to go to San Miguel de Allende and join the art community there. I finally took her advice and have been going there annually for about 15 years now and many of my oil paintings reflect my Mexican experience.
It was in San Miguel I began to learn Metalsmithing, primarily with Sterling Silver, with Abelardo Gil. I am the daughter of a jeweller, but had no idea how much I would love the medium. In the past year I have branched into using precious metal clay, thanks to Lis-el Crowley.
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