Paddy Meade is an artist and a mentor, who chooses to be visible and empowers others to do the same.
I have always been an artist. A high school student selling my painted t-shirts on Yonge street, always carrying an artist’s way of viewing, feeling the world; capturing future paintings in my mind. For many years I wasn’t an artist, following different callings. Only in the last few years able to embrace being an “artist” full time. Between the young me dreaming of being an artist, and now I have had many careers, many titles, and many roles in various parts of Canada including wonderful years in the NWT and Yukon. Outdoor experiential instructor, Executive Director, CEO, Deputy Minister, wife, mom, Nana across fields of child welfare, corrections, youth justice, addictions, Aboriginal affairs, and health and social services – all have provided wonderful eclectic adventures, risk, challenge, and growth.
I have always been a risk-taker, quietly having fears but enjoying the thrill of the new and the overcoming of my own fears. I have learned early to be open to new opportunities, challenges, new trails to explore. This has allowed multiple career experiences, exposure to new things, wonderful people I have learned from, guided, met. My art now is best, most exciting when as in my life, I take risks, respond to challenges, try new things, look for and respond to opportunities. When I am open to continual learning, excitement, and wonder.
To my younger self: You will hesitate, have self-doubt, think you are invisible, less than. Being quiet, observing, supporting from the stands has a place in your growth and success. So does reaching inward, silencing the inner and outer critics, and trusting yourself. And know you can also be bold, out front, lead. You won’t always feel ready, secure, knowledgeable – embrace the risk, take the challenges, rely on your intuition, and keep feeling excited by what you do. Don’t worry about fitting in, following roads well-travelled, rather go where you find wonder, where you feel alive in work and life. Learn from others, near and far, it is okay to seek support, collaboration, team. Lead where you need, and always help others to grow. You grow through others’ growth. You can be eclectic in your career, likes, interests, loves. Remember though that even adventures say no to some journeys, some trails. Take breaks and integrate balance. Finally, failure is as valuable as success—in art and in life, failure often leads to strong success. People are important, support, lead, influence, learn from and lend a hand to the vulnerable, the silent, the disadvantaged. Always pay it forward.
Today—I put my art on hold for many years, with no regrets in all my past adventures, people, places, and learning now influences my art. I am moving to bigger, bolder, realism into abstraction, and I hope to have more impact on communities and social issues through my art. I continue to consult based on my career areas and provide mentoring.
I could not have had the career adventures, moves, the risk-taking in life, work, art without the unconditional support of my partner. Rick – thank you.