Who am I?
I am a creator. A creator of a life that is mine, alone.
I am the youngest of 3 girls and have always been interested in making art. My mother loved arts and crafts and she found a companion in me for these activities. I had trouble reading when I was young and had a condition that made me see double until grade 3. This affected my art in the best of ways. Once I knew I saw differently than others, I paid attention to what I saw; what is actually in front of us.
When I was 16 years old my great Aunt passed away and left me her paints and brushes… this gift fuelled my passion and I set my sights on studying fine art at university.
When I finished my 4 years at McMaster University in Hamilton I began sewing and selling hats under the brand “Hats by Heather”. I did this for a couple of years and this taught me how to sell, and how to hustle to create. I learned about running a small business and making things to sell. In 1995 I began painting again with the support of my life partner and new husband Jeff Montgomery. We moved into a converted one-room schoolhouse and started a family soon after. I am not one for being patient and so I was ready to start this “thing called life” at full speed ahead. After the birth of our first son, I found I needed to paint more than ever. With limited time available, I soon learned I had to just show up and put the paint on the canvas… inspiration would come to meet me.
I used my entrepreneurial spirit to hold art shows at our home at first, and then later in others' homes, in other cities. People began buying, and collecting, my paintings and I slowly built a name for myself as an artis. I was happy to be creating and very happy to be selling. The perfect exchange of energy! My early buyers are the ones I cherish the most as I believe they were doing much more than purchasing a painting… they were investing in my future. I was going to do everything I could to make them proud.
In 2005 I made a decision to show in galleries, and within 1 year I couldn’t paint enough to keep up with demand from galleries and buyers. This allowed Jeff to leave his job and be the main care-giver to our kids, and let me fly as we knew I was intended to.
As time passed and the kids slowly became less dependent, Jeff found his creative stride and was able to put out an album entitled “Songs from the Middle” under the band name My Friend Andy (Andrew being Jeff’s middle name). He continues to make music to this day.
So, we are a creative family, willing to take risks in order to strive towards living extraordinary lives. We love to travel and have taken our kids out of school for many months at a time over the years while traveling to Australia, New Zealand and Tanzania, Africa.
In 2012 we opened Heather Haynes Gallery, which wasn’t really the plan but there was a need for me to show new work that other galleries weren’t quite ready for. I found my market and a new career as Gallery Owner… Jeff mostly runs the gallery and has to do all the terrible jobs like accounting, for which I am immensely grateful. His focus is for me to be able to create as often as I wish… after all, this is what sustains our life. Art is Life and Life is Art.
Our elder son, Whit, is a painter as well and has been showing and selling his art since he was 17 years old. He is currently in his 4th year of Fine Art at Concordia University in Montreal. Our younger son Sullivan is studying Computer Science at Carleton University. We have hopes that he will support us all one day!
We also have another side to our life that involves supporting 135 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have taken this on because it is what life presented to us and we were open to it.
It’s a beautiful balance of inspiration, courage and intuitive learning.