Artist Statement

Carmen's Cardinal, 2014
Digital Oil “Carmen’s Cardinal” 2013 Commissioned Piece

“The bold colours and strong strokes I use to evoke hope and strength. Battling a life threatening illness you have to constantly remind yourself there is always hope. My art is about hope and patience. Powerful, textured and detailed such as life. The fluid colours in paintings such as commissioned piece “Carmen’s Cardinal” brings a sense of a new light and renewed being. They are created from visions I have and my own life experiences in the hopes of empowering others and lifting human spirits within.”

On the computer, paper or canvas, Naomi McQuade passionately creates life within a still frame.  A commissioned Visual Artist and Creative Director designing works of art from her home studio in Mississauga, Ontario.

“I play a lot with water colour & ink, acrylic on canvas, charcoal on paper as well as digital oil.”

Intrigued by what technology has to offer Naomi experiments a lot digitally. Graduated from Seneca and Sheridan College, Naomi McQuade has been working professionally creating art and images for over 20 years.  Showing her life’s work both locally and internationally.

Naomi McQuade’s artwork is available on Fine Art International by visiting the following link.


Image by Michael Spencer
Image by Michael Spencer

“My time is my time. I have never looked at myself as the underdog – I fight to the finish. I work hard to fulfil my dreams. Throughout my life I have images I need to put down on paper, canvas, and digital oil.”

Naomi McQuade, born in 1973 in Toronto Ontario, breeched and blind in one eye came into the world to a single mother who gave up her maternal rights. Estranged from family eventually entered into foster care at age 16. Drawing from life and using her pencil to mend and improve her circumstances from a very young age. Using art to heal has been a trend in Naomi McQuade’s life everyday visualizing a life, full of positive effects. As a child with dyslexia she struggled through school with the exception of art & science. School teachers established how creative Naomi was and recognized this. Moving from school to school nearly every year throughout the GTA she did not have a traditional upbringing.

Image by Michael Spencer
Image by Michael Spencer

Today, a mother of two boys and an award winning entrepreneur she has overcome countless obstacles throughout her time. Volunteering her hand to design art for the Children’s Aid Society and winning the Clark Bursary award in 1992, she used the money to buy a personal computer. Eventually putting herself through school. On the way working as an assistant art teacher for the local community centre in her late teens. Curious about computers, went into computer programming which was the wrong course, she says. Eventually, redirected and strived for a 3D computer animation certificate in 1998 and entered the world of film. Naomi had a difficult time finding work in 3D and found herself painting faux sets, creating props, and directing art on set in various BravoFacts and independent works of art including volunteering with Kid-Safe Productions designing and painting a mobile theatre. Working with permit status in the film union I.A.T.S.E, she dabbled in set decorating, designing, collaborating with directors and soon after going back to art school, and meeting art teacher Rebecca Last at Sheridan College. Becoming Rebecca Last’s apprentice she says, taught her what it meant to be an Independent Artist, and business owner. Traditionally painting with Last everyday experimenting with oils, acrylics, glazes, and interior design, spending thousands of hours honing her art skills. Last has described Naomi’s earlier work as “moody”. Working through she developed herself, and held true to what she believed.

I believed I could make my visions a reality.”  quoted Naomi.

Still having trouble finding work, Naomi underwent fine art studies at Max the Mutt animation school in Toronto. Soon after, she worked for a short time at a company called Arius3D and scanned rare museum artifacts using proprietary colour laser scanning technology and visualization software Pointstream in the year 2000. After approximately a year, Naomi became pregnant, newly engaged and laid off – scared and not sure of her next move, she haphazardly started selling canoes on eBay around that time. Naomi’s foster dad Kevin Gallagher is a canoe master and instilled a love for the water, the outdoors, and following her dreams. Eventually, realizing the potential of the online marketplace focused on a business plan. She designed the website, graphics and new look for the brand The Holy Cow Canoe Company while husband, Gulam Baloch focused on the customers experience and dealers. With her computer & photoshop skills she concentrated on bringing the product to life in the photos and helped project her love for paddling to the online marketplace.

Graphic work by Naomi McQuade
Graphic work by Naomi McQuade

For the past 14 years their company have been building the brand and selling canoes across Canada, the United States and Internationally. In 2010 Holy Cow Canoe won the eBay Canada Hall of Fame award for exemplifying eBay’s community values. “Holy Cow Canoe has been a work of art in progress.” says Naomi.  “The canoes in itself are a work of art. Building and painting each one by hand.” In 2015, the company has since moved to Guelph Eramosa and are now focused on building the brand further.

In 2014, she had the pleasure of volunteering her hand to the talented film maker Jason Boritz, and helped design the front cover of his published book the “The Ultimate Transformation”.

Recently, she also had the pleasure of collaborating with the photographer Michael Spencer of Absent Image documenting an editorial piece with photographs titling it “A Day in the life of” – An Artist.

All the while taking time to build her health back, Naomi has been fighting for countless years an undiagnosed illness that put her in a wheelchair. Years went by where she couldn’t physically paint, paddle a canoe or do what she loved from the disabling effects of the illness. Even when she doesn’t have a tool in her hand Naomi is drawing and painting in her mind producing compositions, studying contour lines, exploring light and shade.



Naomi art -04
Image by Michael Spencer

Now, she takes every opportunity to draw from the human form undertaking life drawing classes at Visual Arts Brampton as a member and taking commissioned work when she can. Painting and drawing mostly landscapes, and wildlife from her home studio in artistically historic Meadowvale Village in Mississauga, she devotes time to develop and visualize her life as an artist. Naomi’s work has been described by her peers as ‘outstanding’, ‘full of feeling’ and featured in the 21st century impressionists groups. For years most of Naomi’s work has been unseen, locked away in private collections. She has had a handful of shows in the east end of the GTA at the Pickering City Hall and several outdoor exhibits.

Years of battling a life threatening illness has taught her to slow down and really focus on what’s important. You’ll see her outdoors with her sketchbook in her hand in a Holy Cow Canoe spending time for both pleasures at Fairy Lake in Acton where she has developed the canoe outpost program. While at the lake, Naomi visualized a better dock for those with disabilities and petitioned the town of Halton Hills to update the dock to a wheelchair accessible one. The town has agreed to install this by 2017.

In 2015, The City of Brampton showcased Naomi’s work in a feature show and said to be “ of the best shows The City has had.” Arts and Culture Coordinator. Naomi will be back for an additional show in 2016. Naomi is currently working on a new collection of life drawings.