Jaime Lee Lightle
Artist, Art Therapist, Gallery Director, Round Hill Studio
instagram: jaimellightle | web: www.roundhillstudio.com | web: https://jaimeleelightle.weebly.com
Jaime Lee Lightle’s creative talents manifested themselves originally in the musical arts as a classical violist, while studying and dabbling in visual arts in her school years.
Born in Ottawa, Ontario, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University, where she stayed and worked in finance and administration and human resources for six years before moving to Pembroke in 2009. It was here that she was inspired to pick up her paintbrush again.
Pembroke is where she met her future husband James, an injured army veteran who was exposed the therapeutic value of Art Therapy as part of a treatment for PTSD. Inspired with their love for each other and their love of painting, the couple then decided to find the perfect haven where they could flourish as professional artists. In 2015, Jaime Lee and James moved themselves and their three dogs to a sweet old house in just outside of Annapolis Royal in the quaint community of Round Hill.
Then in November 2016, Jaime Lee took the leap and opened a gallery in a small storefront in Annapolis Royal where it became an instant success and prompted a change to a larger location, which is where the gallery is currently located.
Jaime Lee has participated in dozens of group and solo shows in the last three years and has facilitated a number of workshops to the delight of many looking to expand their creative palate. She has developed a style of colourful spontaneity inspired by her local surroundings. From rural landscapes and local architecture to flowers and animals, Jaime Lee’s artistic explorations are ever evolving with her signature bold brush strokes and vibrant colours.
Jaime Lee is also a Thesis Candidate through the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (Distance Learning Program) and is looking forward to opening up her own Art Therapy private practice.
I lost my father when I was 15 years old. Although my story starts before that age, I believe this traumatic loss catapulted me on to the journey I am on now. I survived this huge loss by putting my focus into academia and then later to corporate ladder climbing. I had no idea that the grief inside me that I was avoiding was going to lead me to my next chapter. When I turned 30, I met a man that I thought needed me, but rather we needed each other. James Lightle was a soldier wounded physically and emotionally from war and I was a no-nonsense businesswomen, unbeknownst to to the pain I was hiding. James was introduced to Art Therapy as a means to help him with his ghosts and I was open to the idea of tapping into my creativity and so I picked up the brush for the first time since high school. Almost 10 years later, 3 years of therapy, and a move to Nova Scotia, I was ready to start my true path as an artists and Art Therapist. In late 2016, I started my academic career as an Art Therapist, career artist and Gallery Director all at once! It was a tough 18 months, but I have come out more with so much gratitude, compassion and passion for what I am doing that I could have ever imagined.
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I took a big risk opening an Art Gallery in rural Nova Scotia. I had no retail experience, and art is such a niche product and I had no idea if the art we were creating would sell. There was no stable pay cheque to count on, but I took a risk to fulfill a dream. The dream to give the world exposure to my husband's art.
What’s your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
Nova Scotia is on the forefront of something huge. The people of Nova Scotia are caring, compassionate, creative and resilient. There is no surprise that Nova Scotia is attracting other creative, caring, like-minded people and we need to encourage more of these people to come here, AND we need to encourage our youth to stay! If we invest in our sons, daughters, grandchildren we can achieve so much innovation, growth and prosperity.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?
There is no single stage that I can credit as the greatest for my growth. When I shifted my focus on self care which is an ongoing process, it has helped make me a better person.
What’s your favourite or most read book or podcast?
“Mindfulness is Not What You Think” by Jon Kabat-Zinn and the “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
What’s your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
Discipline was the most powerful lesson I learned in this last year. I have applied it to every facet of my life and it has paid off.
Who’s inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
My mom was a great role model and taught me to love your family, for all their good qualities AND faults. My husband inspired me and encouraged me to Love Myself and I credit him for bringing me back to my creative roots.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing. No judgements on the past.
What were your priorities and how did they help you overcome some of the struggles you’ve faced?
Physical fitness and hugs. I want to be the best version of myself and I feel that being honest with myself, loving myself and prioritizing my health have helped me overcome my obstacles.
How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships?
I never allow any of my professional relationships fracture as I try to achieve a deeper understanding of others when a business relationship ends. Furthermore, I truly believe that leaving with an understanding of everyone's core priorities and needs allows the door to stay open for future opportunities.
Art and mental health advocate, animal lover, changemaker, community-minded collaborator