Artist Takeover Blog Series: Grace Lane-Smith on Kintsugi

Artist Takeover Blog Series: Grace Lane-Smith on Kintsugi

At Artterra, we've always believed that the soul of an artwork is as rich and vibrant as the brushstrokes on the canvas. To truly appreciate art, we must venture beyond the frame and into the heart, mind, and spirit of its creator. With that in mind, we're thrilled to introduce our latest initiative: the Artterra Artist Takeover Series.

Every month, we'll hand over the reins of our blog to one of our talented artists, giving them the platform to share their stories, inspirations, processes, and everything in between. These posts are unfiltered glimpses into their artistic worlds – a rare opportunity to engage with the creators on a personal level.

From candid discussions about their journey and struggles to insightful tips for budding artists, this series promises a rich tapestry of experiences and wisdom. Whether you're an art lover, an aspiring artist, or simply curious about the people behind the masterpieces that adorn our gallery, these posts are for you.

So, sit back, relax, and join us on this intimate voyage into the worlds of our artists. Dive deep into their minds, feel the pulse of their passion, and let yourself be inspired.

Photo above by  Adrienne Kayla Photography. Room styled by Katie Taylor.


Not in a Rush Coastal Painting 
Painting titled Not in a Rush by artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith.


Artist Intro

Hello, My name is Grace and I am an artist living in Nova Scotia, where the ocean is a constant source of inspiration. Painting the ocean is both a creative outlet and a sanctuary that informs my mental health and vice versa.  

 Artist Grace Lane Smith paintingartterra artist Grace Lane-Smith painting. Photo by Adrienne Kayla Photography.

In this season, I’m going deeper with exploring themes of being present, staying grounded, and what it means to live more intentionally offline. 

Creating art that feels like a portal is an important part of my work, as they are vehicles to help create a soothing space and transport you to the beach, where you too can take a moment to slow down, feel grounded, and enjoy a moment of peace.

Painting titled that summer when by Artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith
Painting titled 'That Summer When' by artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith


Bringing the calm of the coast indoors to enjoy the beach year round

My two newest canvas paintings (‘Not in a Rush’ and ‘Time Expands’) were designed to be the focal point in medium and large spaces in homes. They’re sizes that can enhance a bedroom above a bed, in an entryway, or be the focal point in a living room or study. Smaller paintings such as ‘That Summer When’ and ‘Sand and Sea’ can make for eye-catching portals as part of a gallery wall, or a coastal themed bathroom.

Time Expands
Painting titled 'Time Expands' by artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith

If you have napped on the beach or walked barefoot as the tide swirled around your ankles, you know how doing that can free your mind from everyday worries and help you live in the moment. Instead of reserving that feeling for fleeting summer days, why not bring the gentle waves home to help you live mindfully as well?

It is an honour to partner with Artterra especially since it is an active player in supporting organizations that prioritize sustainability. Each purchase made through Artterra supports our collective environmental effort in cleaning the oceans with a 2% donation, in addition to supporting other environmental, social and cultural causes.


Coastal paintings by Artterra Artist Grace Lane-Smith
Paintings 'Sandy Toes' and 'Sand and Sea' in a beautiful interior by artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith

Objects that take on meaning

Like many of you, my summer was spent with family. Summer certainly seems to operate on a different timeline. Over the past couple of weeks my in-laws have been visiting. In that time, with help, we repaired:

  • 1 clothes dryer (workable for the first time in 4 years!! 
  • 1 vacuum cleaner (something as simple as turning a lock mechanism made all the difference)
  • 1 computer (that one day stopped going online and simply refused to for a couple of weeks)
  • 1 easel (in the works of being repaired - parts worn out after ten years of use).

It felt good to repair these items. Not only has their usability been expanded, but their story continues to unfold. Sometimes an object, say a table or a decorative painting, is just a table or a decorative painting. But over time if treated properly, objects take on meaning and that becomes part of the kaleidoscope of our own stories.

Coastal painting labeled 'Not in a rush' by artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith
Painting titled 'Not is a Rush' by artterra artist Grace Lane-Smith. 

To share an example, my easel was a Christmas surprise that accompanied me from apartment to apartment, changes in roommates to living with a partner, going from a transitory life to a settled one. While my environment changed, the easel remained a constant. It’s precious because of what it represents and the memories it’s helped take on.

We live in such a throwaway culture that anything less than perfect generates waste. The truth is, throwing something out the moment they show signs of age is a fairly new phenomenon. People have been repairing and reinventing since the dawn of time. One of my favourite interior designers in Nova Scotia, Heather Pitts of @waughpittsdesigns, has renovated an old school into a home. She recently
showed a set of walls being painted in her stories to take on the appearance of aged walls. Here is an example. It has a very timeless feel.

How to repair a hole in a canvas painting:

I normally don’t mind things taking on a bit of wear and tear. Leather takes on a beautiful patina as it ages, and vintage finds are special just because they’re unique. Then, a few weeks ago, I discovered a hole in my newest rolling wave ocean painting, ‘Time Expands’.

This time, I did mind. I did not like having a hole in my canvas. I’m typically very hard on myself and hold my work to very high standards. Anything less than perfect felt unacceptable. It was all or nothing. I felt like the painting, that I had mindfully painted and enjoyed was no longer presentable.

I sought out solutions to repair it, finding support from another artist who experienced the same thing a couple years ago. With her advice, here are the exact steps I took to fix the hole in the canvas:

  1.  Smooth out the surface around the dent in your canvas. You want the area around the hole to be lying flat.
  2. Cut a new piece of canvas to apply on the back.
  3. Use a glue of your choice (I used a gel medium from Liquitex’s Professional line, specifically the Gloss Heavy Gel product) and applied a thin coat to both the back of the painting and the patch of canvas.
  4. Attach the patch of canvas to the back of the painting and smooth it out, ensuring it lies flat.
  5. Turn the canvas around again so the painting side is facing you. Paint over it to minimize any visual clues of a hole.

The hole then becomes seamlessly hidden, unless you know what to look for!

Healing process of a damaged painting
Healing process of painting by Grace Lane-Smith titled 'Not in a Rush'

Healing: The concept and practice of kintsugi

There is a Japanese concept known as kintsugi that is as beautiful when applied aesthetically to craft, and it is healing when applied to people, in all our glorious flaws and imperfections.

plate with kintsugi applied
Plate with Japanese process of Kintsugi applied. 

Kintsugi literally translates to “to join with gold”. This centuries-old art form is a mindful practice where broken porcelain is repaired through combination of lacquer and powdered gold, highlighting beauty in the broken. Kintsugi is about embracing imperfections, celebrating it as part of an object’s life story, and
highlighting it to make it beautiful.

“As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an
event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.” – Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

In my own art practice, I’ve been embracing this more as well. Letting go of perfectionism and allowing the work to flow, practicing being present not only while out along the shoreline, but being present as well in the moment while creating art.

Imperfections in art history and modern design

I am not alone in this. Art history is dotted with artisans that include imperfections, sometimes hidden, sometimes visible. These conscious choices are imbued with meaning. In addition to the art of kintsugi in ceramic repair, imperfections are celebrated in:

  • Navajo rugs:

I love this quote from the Nizhoni Ranch Gallery: “Recently a new collector inquired about how much would a weavings value and collectability be diminished if the weaver made a mistake in the mirror image of the design.  The answer is zero.”

Being a deeply spiritual people, Navajo rug weavers create small imperfections around the borders of their rugs, known as ch’ihónít’im, meaning “spirit line” or “spirit pathway”. These imperfections are usually hard to find (e.g. a bead in a different colour), so not to detract from the beauty of the whole item.

  • Phulkari garments:

Phulkari is an embroidery technique for scarves and shawls employed by the Punjab people in India and Pakistan. Most patterns are very uniform, but sometimes an artisan would deliberately make a small change in colour or pattern. Sometimes these ‘errors’ can be easily
spotted. Like kintsugi, many of these changes are meaningful, such as to mark a joyous or solemn event.

Phulkari Kimono Top by Etsy artist Thepuranabazaar
  • Modern repairs to conserve buildings:

Rethinking the Future (RTF) gathered 10 Examples of Modern Architectural Additions Used to Conserve Older Buildings, illustrating a sustainable approach to reinvigorating design on a large scale. The Japanese architect firm, TANK, gives an example of on a smaller scale by applying kintsugi gold seams to concrete floors.

In this sense, ‘Time Expands’ joins a rich living history of conscious repairs and embracing imperfections. I am honoured to have it represented by Artterra. I’m happy to say it upholds the Artterra value for making sustainable decisions. As this painting is my first to experience an act of restoration, it is currently being offered with a savings of $150 to the collector. Click here to purchase. 

Newness, brokenness, restoration and renewal is all around us. We can make decisions to restore and renew instead of discard in our own lives. How has this process shown up for you? Can ‘Time Expands’ be help anchor you and remind you that flaws can be beautiful when perfectionism knocks on your door?


More about kintsugi:

‘An Unheard, touching, true Kintsugi story’
‘The Art of Kintsugi – Transformation through Brokenness & Restoration’


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