Living into your dreams is no easy feat, especially when your passion is to be a full time artist. Not afraid to lay her sacrifices and struggles out for others to see, Stephanie Hoogveld is pursuing her dream, and is painting for positive change. We are so inspired by the ripples she is creating with her work and are honoured to introduce her as this week’s #WomenOfAce.
Ace: What are you up to? ( Your current hustle )
Stephanie: I am a professional artist creating large scale oil paintings to celebrate memories that are treasured for generations. I also paint for positive change right here in Calgary! I am currently working on a very special collection titled Women of Wonder. In honour of my mom who passed away to leukemia, I am celebrating the “wow” factor of women by painting the portraits and stories of 15 women who are doing incredible things in their personal life, community, or industry.
Ace: Why is this important to you? ( Where did this passion come from? )
Stephanie: Simply, painting is fun! On a deeper level, I want my artwork to build community by supporting local charities and causes that are close to my heart. For the Women of Wonder Art Show and Fundraiser, I am delighted to join forces with The Ace Class as we host a one of a kind event in support of The High Banks Society. The show focuses on celebrating women who have found success, and to support those who need a little help chasing their dreams.
Ace: What was your dream job growing up? How do you think this has influenced who you are today?
Stephanie: My dad and I used to watch a lot of action films and at the time, I thought I wanted to be a jet fighter. I think I liked the idea of adventure and protecting something important. Turns out, my desire to do good has always been a big part of me. While playing for the University of Calgary Women’s soccer team, I studied Mathematics and Education. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved working with kids and wanted to give back in a way that my role models did for me growing up. It wasn’t until after University that I found my true passion for painting. After teaching high school math for 8 years, I finally took the plunge, and now I paint for positive change as a full time artist.
Ace: If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Stephanie: Positive. Expressive. Inspirational.
Ace: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
Stephanie: My mother. She was such a kind, fun-loving woman who made everyone around her feel special and appreciated. She taught me about being a good person, working hard, and to live a happy life with all of my heart. Losing my mom has been one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced, but she has helped me find a greater purpose in life and as an artist - to paint for positive change. Using the talent that my mom and my dad gave me is the best way to say thank you for all that they have done.
Ace: What does the term “Boss Babe” mean to you?
Stephanie: Doing what you love while inspiring and helping others along the way!
Ace: How do you empower other women?
Stephanie: I think I empower women by showing them that they too can live out their dreams and still help others along the way. A lot of people are in disbelief that I can survive as a full time artist. I try to show my vulnerabilities and just be real about the sacrifices it takes to get there. My Women of Wonder series showcases women who have overcome challenges and is a way of celebrating their victories, whether in their personal lives, community, or industry. Through my paintings, I want to connect women by sharing their stories in a relatable form. The paintings will be composed such that the audience can see themselves, or their sister, or mother, or aunt, etc. By giving a window of hope to viewers, perhaps they too will feel moved to live out their passion. I have also decided to help women who need a little help chasing their dreams by donating 10% of the proceeds to The High Banks Society - a nonprofit organization providing affordable housing, education, and support programs for young mothers and families.
Ace: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman?
Stephanie: Lead with your heart, love with your gifts, and live the best life you can.
Ace: Can you share the biggest lesson you’ve learned from life’s obstacles?
Stephanie: After my mom passed away, I went through a really hard time. I’m grateful she left so many symbols of her presence that reminded me to always have hope. She revealed that she will always be with me which inspired me to honour her in a very special way. Together with my three sisters, we formed The Sky Painters and created 56 paintings based on the stories of 56 families impacted by cancer. 56 was a significant number as she died at the age of 56, was born in 1956, and worked on unit 56 at The Rockyview hospital. My twin sister and I were 28 at the time and we each painted 28 paintings totalling 56. We then hosted The Skies of Hope Art Auction and Gala and raised over $200,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was a huge accomplishment that I am so happy I could create with my sisters as a way to honour our mom and help others.
Ace: When you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to find peace?
Stephanie: Growing up, I used to have so many chats with my mom on our floral couches with a nice cup of tea. To this day, nothing helps me find peace like the warmness and memories of my mom. I’ve also found being near water really balances me — something about the sound of a river or waves in the ocean. I would never shy away from a nap either.
Ace: What legacy do you hope to be remembered for?
Stephanie: I want to be remembered for my paintings as a symbol of hope, positivity, and a way to make our world just a little brighter.
Ace: Where can we find out more about you so we can continue to support you?
Stephanie: I always appreciate some love on Instagram where I share my process and passion for painting. But right now, I am encouraging people to check out my ATB BoostR Campaign which is part of The Build Her Business Competition, supporting female entrepreneurs gain capital to grow their businesses. It runs from February 1st - 28th and I am hoping to raise over $5,000 by offering some awesome rewards in exchange for pledges of support. Rewards range from $10 up to $2,000 including Women of Wonder Merchandise, incredible deals on original art and lots of goodies from The Ace Class! Your contribution will not only help put on an incredible art show, but you will also be helping me grow my art business which allows me to support charities like The High Banks Society.