Photo credit: Lori Whelan

Photo credit: Lori Whelan

Isabel studied visual art in the Fine Arts department at York University, and subsequently, with her interest to combine healthcare and art, she graduated from the University of Toronto as an Occupational Therapist.

Isabel was the founder and creative lead of the innovative Creative Work Studio, an arts based, therapeutic, well-being, community program at St. Michael’s Hospital she ran with great success for over a decade.

The inspiration and immediacy of music and its diverse communities brought Isabel to music as an adult. Her path has been an organic and evolving journey. The fiddle was her first instrument which she began studying in her early 30s. The world of old-time Appalachian fiddle music also introduced her to the oral traditions of learning music by ear, attending music camps, and engaging fully in the vernacular community of jamming and singing. Early on, Isabel was drawn to listening to and playing a variety of different roots music genres including Country, Bluegrass, Americana, Swing, Folk, Klezmer, and Rock’n roll. Like a kid in a candy store, she tried them all!

Isabel began writing songs and self-recording her melodies before she even knew how to play chords. Later she studied guitar with Steve Briggs, one of Canada’s finest and most well-respected guitarists (Russell DeCarle, Quartette, Michael Brennan), and eventually she was performing in bands and recording albums.

Throughout her journey Isabel has continued to maintain her commitment to social justice, and in her work as an arts based Occupational Therapist, to providing opportunities for people to develop creativity and discover their inner artist as a means to develop resilience and health. 

Isabel will be exhibiting her paintings at the Spadina Museum, as part a collaborative installation called One Path W-O-M-AN, Nuit Blanche, Toronto and in the Why the @#&! do you Paint? show at the Gladstone Hotel in October 2018.

Read more about Isabel's visual arts practicemusic career, and her therapeutic arts based well-being work.