Portrait artist and creativity coach moves to Sandy Hill

Derek Carlisle

Clare Thorbes, a former resident of Sandy Hill and my classmate in journalism school, returned to this community just before Christmas.

Asked what brought her back here, Clare said: “I missed the city. I have lots of friends in Ottawa and family in southwestern Ontario. And of course, this is a great place to be an artist!”

Clare paints oil portraits of pets and people and is passionate about working en plein air. You might spot her at her easel in the neighbourhood once the frostbite risk abates.

She’s also a certified creativity coach, helping writers, artists and performers build a satisfying life in the arts.

“As creative people, we have to juggle family commitments, jobs, the ups and downs of our personality, the realities of the marketplace and making time and space for our art,” Clare explains. “My job as a coach is to help clients establish and maintain a regular creative practice in the midst of a busy life, and to figure out solutions to whatever’s in the way of their creativity.”

One of Clare’s paintings is on display at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Her artwork is in private collections on both coasts as well as here in Ottawa. I’m the proud owner of “Canadiennes”. You can see more paintings at or find out about coaching at

In the past, Clare has co-owned a small press, freelanced for First Nations and business publications, and worked as a multilingual translator. She still edits books, and says she’d love to translate books about the arts from French or Spanish into English.

Illustration by Clare Thorbes. See another at the “Horses” post.