[Lead image courtesy of Tracey White Photography]
Mississauga's Nisreen Askar, an extremely talented local painter and artist, has been immersed in the world of painting since she was a teenager. Inspired by her father who painted for most of his life, she was constantly looking over his shoulder and be amazed at his talents and wanted to emulate that herself.
She sold her first painting, which was a portrait of someone she saw in a magazine, at age 17 and has never looked back.
Once she realized her passion, Nisreen began honing her skills and learning as much as possible about the world of art and painting, from techniques, various mediums and art history.
She began teaching a few years afterward, wanting to share her knowledge and inspire others to become artists.
She moved with her family to Canada in 2006 and has steadily built a name for herself in the community as a talented and giving artist.
Shortly after she arrived, she took a painting course at the Living Arts Centre and then moved forward to Sheridan College, where she successfully obtained a Certificate of Fine Arts. She also took several Art Studio courses at Sheridan as well as a means of continually improving her skills.
This is on top of her Diploma of Fine Arts she achieved from the International Career School in 2008.
She speaks highly of both Visual Arts Mississauga and the Mississauga Arts Council, as she considers them to be family. They were (and still are) very supportive of her by giving her many opportunities to share her work and knowledge through the community, as well as encouraging her to succeed.
Nisreen also thrives on volunteering her time and is very happy when she can give back to the community that’s welcomed and supported her. Whether it be at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, face painting at local events, creating paintings and pictures of various subjects/topics, educating and teaching others, this talented artist is a firm believer in helping and supporting others, all while being actively involved in various activities across the city.
I asked what her favourite type of painting style is and she promptly replied that oil painting has a special place in her heart. It gives her more creative flexibility than acrylic does and she “can feel every stroke as paint meets canvas.". It’s not a knock against other types of paint; rather, it’s what she has a strong connection with and Nisreen says some of her best and favourite pieces have come through oil paintings.
While brush painting accounts for a strong portion of her work, one of her favourite techniques is found by utilizing palette knives. This multi-dimensional tool enables her to produce several different depth aspects to the pieces as well as sweeping lines for a beautifully fluidic result.
She does use acrylic paints but primarily for abstract pieces and ones created in a short amount of time.
She’s well versed in glass painting wood painting, decorations for events and kids birthday parties, murals, cutouts for events and she’s even painted in chocolate!
Nisreen has participated in several competitions as well as community events, including winning an award in the Amar Karma Award for live painting, placing third in the Live Painting Competition at the Mosaic Festival, has shown off her talents via Sauga Busks through live painting as well as the Easter Fair in Port Credit. She also earned two Certificates of Appreciation for live painting at the Golden Years Expo.
Her work has been showcased at Heritage Mississauga, Visual Arts Mississauga, Studio 89, Central library and other locations across the GTA.
She’s been nominated for a MARTY award for the past three years as well…perhaps this will be her year!
I asked what she enjoys painting the most and she instantly replied with “nature, sunsets and the environment. There’s so much natural beauty around us that I’m constantly inspired whenever I’m outside.”
Her advice to others is simple: “Study. It’s not enough to only paint. Even if it’s a hobby, study the history of art, techniques so it can help you learn more about this art form.”
As art is several different things to each person, Nisreen says “art to me is spiritual as it gives me an opportunity to explore the expression of energy, freedom, boldness, beauty and love for life. I have such a love and appreciation for the beauty of art and I want to share that with others through teaching and my paintings.”
She currently teaches children and adults and is always looking for more people to inspire and educate.
Her future plans include opening a school and find a larger location. Her quaint Port Credit studio (which she celebrated one year this April 4th) is a good starting point for her but as she continues to grow, there will be a need to increase her creative and teaching space.