The minute she steps into the room, you notice that the woman is as vibrant as her paintings! Jaye Portigal is having her first solo exhibit in a place that is full of heartwarming memories, the former Antico Martini on Somerled reincarnated into Prime BBQ restaurant.

The Côte Saint-Luc born artist has herself enjoyed many professional lives before reaching this point. A classically trained artist with a bachelor in Fine Arts with honors at Concordia University, after years of being a successful entrepreneur, this year, Ms. Portigal decided to be fully committed to earn a living as an artist. « In my various business ventures, I was surrounded by actors and artists, immersed in a creative atmosphere. » She also never stopped being involved in the visual arts and perfecting her technique by studying with Rita Briansky, Shirley Katz, David Moore to name a few.

« I’ve lived elsewhere. But my heart belongs to Montreal! » When she retraces the artists who most influenced her, immediately Jaye thinks of Emily Carr, the Group of 7… « But the most influencial for me remains the Beaver Hall Group. » This home-grown artist definitely remains true to her roots.

« I’m not your typical artist. I admit I’m a square peg. » For artists like Jaye, social medias are a fertile option to conventional means of reaching an audience. And Ms. Portigal is very active through the multiple platforms available online. « I love that through them I can discuss art with painters I admire. But it’s also wonderful to have people find you online, check out your work and contact you to commission a piece. »

Family life

Jaye has had many paintings commissioned, which can be found in private collections all over Canada, in England and from Philadelphia to L.A. Although they are imbued with realism, her portraits bring something more, something whimsical, to the canvas. « If you want an exact replica, a photo will do nicely! » says the painter.

And then she starts telling you the beautiful stories of how some of those commisioned pieces came to be. Her joy to be able to translate with colors and brushes someone’s life or the role of a certain dog in their owner life, is contagious. Such is the tale of a dog she painted in its owner’s garden. When years later, the couple moved from that place and the dog’s health was waning the owners found solace in the painting as they reconnected with happy days now gone.

Present and future

When asked where she sees herself 5 years from now, Jaye spontaneously replies: « In my own studio, not worrying about a thing and doing what I love! » Quite a program.

Jaye Portigal brings texture and movement to painting. And maybe her major in animation partly explains how she achieves this effect and creates paintings that feel they are coming to life. Her portraits are singular representations of people, pets and places as they colorfully tell stories that rejoyce our eyes and our hearts. The canvas is where her talent unfolds as she realizes her dreams today, tomorrow and for years to come.

Anytime, have a peek at ther virtual Etsy shop at

And as she is quite the connected woman, she is also active on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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