'It's kind of almost like meditation time for me,': Regina vet finds peace in pet portraits

A Regina veterinarian says she finds peace through creating digital portraits of pets.

Focusing on personal mental wellness was emphasized at school

Dr. Erica Sims says her pets were the first animals she drew pictures of, before starting Pawsitive Portraits, a business that also acts as a mental break. (Submitted by Erica Sims)

Erica Sims started Pawsitive Portraits after being asked by a friend to paint a picture of her fiance's dog as a wedding present.

After months of effort, she realized how much work was required to create a large, painted portrait and decided to switch to a digital medium. 

Since 2016, Sims has been creating animal portraits for clients and using the craft as a personal stress relief. 

"It's kind of almost like meditation time for me," Sims told CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend. "I can just go and sit in front of my computer and draw for however long I want to."

Taking time for yourself and focusing on personal mental wellness was emphasized during vet school, according to Sims.

"We spend a lot of hours at the clinic, we care very deeply for our patients, and it's really hard sometimes to come home at the end of the day and not take work home with you," Sims said.

After she's done work for the day, it isn't always easy to leave it at the office. Since starting Pawsitive Portraits, Sims has noticed a change in how she feels.

"It's something I have to look forward too that's not related to work," Sims said, adding she also meditates and exercises to find a work-life balance. "If I didn't do these other things and I was only a vet — only Dr. Sims and nothing else — it would be a big struggle to be balanced."

Finding passion

Sims said after high school, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life but she knew she had a passion for painting, drawing and fine art.

She did two years at the University of Regina's fine arts program, where she was introduced to digital art.

"I thought it was a really interesting medium. I just kind of started doing it for fun," Sims said.

Sims said the minimal equipment needed for digital drawing made it easier to do art in her free time, finding an escape from her studies.

With files from Jen Gibson


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