Natalie - Patient and Artist

Natalie painting in her home studio Quiet. Artistic. Humble. Natalie Simpson is a local artist from Ajax, Ontario who knows first-hand the benefit art therapy has in managing her mental illness.  She feels that through all of her struggles, art has always been there for her.

Natalie, while often soft spoken and reserved, lights up when she talks about art and the role it has had in her life. She reflects fondly of when she was a young girl and her mom read stories to her but she recalls not being very interested in the words, she was mesmerized by the artwork in the books and knew she wanted to make art.

Natalie has been painting since her mid-twenties and attended various art schools to learn more about media and technique, including a year at OCAD University.

Over the years as she struggled with trauma and mental health issues, she would return to art to bring healing. Natalie’s paintings have been showcased in bookstores, galleries and she has hosted her own solo art show of her colourful and abstract acrylic paintings.

Natalie painting in her home studio with Allan O'Marra looking onShe has worked closely with Allan O’Marra, an Ontario Shores volunteer and artist who has had his art featured in many solo and group art shows. Allan has been volunteering at Ontario Shores for almost 10 years. He runs paint nights and art groups for patients and has been a mentor for Natalie.

In addition to the love and support she receives from her daughter and granddaughter, she credits the outpatient services she has received at Ontario Shores, in particular the Artistic Expressions Group, to help her maintain her well-being.

Ontario Shores commissioned Natalie to create four original paintings, each representing one of the organization's Strategic Directions. The paintings were unveiled at the Annual General Meeting in June along with the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, and will be hung with pride at the hospital.