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Maker Monday: Claudia of Love and Light by Lucy

I’m Claudia Lucy, a BC based self-taught painter, owner of Love and Light by Lucy, and chronic illness warrior. I create handmade Acrylic Canvas Paintings with inspirational themes and messages. I opened my small business, Love and Light by Lucy, in 2019 with the mission of “Sharing a little Love and Spreading a little Light” through my art, because the world could really use a lot more of that right about now!

I am currently fighting a pretty intense battle with chronic illness after having Covid-19 in March of 2020. I am extremely passionate about inspiring and advocating for others who are facing similar health challenges! My illness has totally changed the course of my life, and I never would’ve imagined I’d be the owner of a small business. However, life sometimes throws a curve ball, and here I am apart of this beautiful community of Canadian makers and I’m excited to share my story through my art.

When did you first become inspired to start creating? I first started painting after I had the H1N1 virus in 2010. I was 13 and before I got sick I was a dancer and also quite active, but because the virus left me wheelchair bound for about a year, I started painting as therapy to re-learn some of the motor skills I has lost. It has sorta just stuck as a hobby since then! This year, as I faced a new level of chronic illness after battling Covid-19 twice, painting again became a healing and therapeutic part of my recovery. Art really has a way of not only inspiring the buyer, but also the creator, and I love that!

What is art to you personally? Art to me is an outlet, a safe place to freely express myself! I really believe it’s the core of who we are as humans. We were all born to create in some form, we just all have a different medium… the art of sport, music, dance, drawing, medicine, numbers… whatever it is that brings out the best in who we are and lights a spark of passion in us.

Why do you create? I create because I can. That may sound cliche, but not long ago I struggled to do the simplest day-to-day tasks on my own, and I wasn’t sure if painting was something I’d get to do again. There are still many days, where my illness make the things I enjoy very difficult and painful to do, which can can be frustrating. So when my body allows me, I create… mostly because it’s what I LOVE to do, but also because I know what it’s like to have it taken away, so I never take it for granted.

How have your life experiences influenced your art style? As I've mentioned, I am currently battling multiple chronic illnesses and my fight to regain my health has definitely been a BIG influence in my art. Inspirational quotes are a huge part of what helps me through the good and bad days, so they’ve also naturally become a huge part of my paintings. Were you born an artist or made an artist? I would say I was born an artist. The arts have always come very naturally to me and I can’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t creating in some way or another. However, I never imagined it as a career path, as I also always loved learning and was interested in many other academic paths. But when I wasn’t able to attend post-secondary as I always planned, my artistic side really started to blossom. I think that creative seed was planted in me early on, way before I knew I was born to create!

Which of the pieces you've created is your favorite? I love when customers ask me to make a custom piece with a saying or quote that has specifically inspired them through a challenge they've faced. Those pieces always mean so much to me!

What are your hobbies? I’m a self-taught piano player and music is a huge part of who I am. I’m also a bookworm, so can often be found with a cup of tea and a good book in my hands! I love playing sports and dancing, but that has sadly taken a bit of a back seat due to my current health struggles, so for now I enjoy watching sports and remain hopefully optimistic that one day I’ll get back to playing them too!

What is the hardest part of running your own business? Doing just about anything while battling chronic illness is hard because bad days come out of nowhere, and good days are few and far between. So running a small business and meeting the constant demands of social media (which has been my biggest learning curve!), in person and online fairs/markets, Etsy orders, custom requests and everything else that comes with owning a business, can be exhausting and overwhelming at times. However, I’m lucky to have an amazing family who are always willing to help when my illness leaves me too fatigued or ill to manage business tasks on my own. They’re really the MVP’s of Love and Light by Lucy and I wouldn’t be able to do this without them!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Happy. If chronic illness has taught me anything, it’s that we can make all the plans we want, but in the end things are going to happen and those plans are going to have to be altered. Younger me would be heartbroken by the dreams I’ve had to give up because of my illness, but I’ve fought so many battles to be here, and along the way I became an artist! So in 5 or 10 years, it would be great if I could say my small business has grown, my health is a lot better and maybe I’m even returned to school… but if that doesn’t happen and all I can say is “I’m happy” that will be more than enough!

What advice would your current self give your beginner self? Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and just go for it… you may surprise yourself!

How did you come up with your business name? I named my shop, Love and Light by Lucy, because my middle name is Lucy, which means light. My biggest goal for my Etsy shop is to use my art to spread love and share light, even if it’s just in small ways. I think sometimes we forget that the smallest act of kindness, really does go a long way. We should all try to share a little love and a little light each day, because even something as simple as a smile can brighten someone’s difficult day.

Have you taken classes or are you self-taught? I’m a self-taught artist. When I was younger I was a dancer and enjoyed playing sports, but after suffering from health challenges that affected my motor skills, I had to find a different way to channel my creative energy. I first used art as a form of physical therapy, but then it became a part of who I am and how I express myself.

Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration from things that have inspired me along my journey. Songs, movies, TV shows, quotes, bible verses, nature, animals… whatever puts a smile on my face or gives me that extra motivation to make it through a tough day. I hope some of the things that inspire me, will also inspire others, so when they see my art they’ll be reminded that tough times don’t last, but tough people definitely do!

How do you stay positive when fighting chronic illness?

It can be a challenge for sure, but I try my best to stay positive by being thankful for the little things. As much as the chronic illness has taken from me, I find it much easier to face the hard days when I choose to be thankful for what it has given me instead. It’s made me tougher, more courageous, strengthened my faith, and really reminded me what and who is truly important. I never would have pictured my life turning out this way, but just because it’s different than the picture I had in my head it doesn't mean it isn’t good either.

What is your motto? My motto has always been “more blessed than broken”. I really believe that focusing on the blessings in life is key to seeing the beauty that is all around us. With all I’ve faced during my current health struggles, I truly believe I’m way more blessed than broken and I always try to repeat that to myself on days that I start seeing the broken, more than I see all the blessings.

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