By Kayley Weeks / Staff Writer 

Emily Colby is a senior at the University of Southern Maine. Her major is Health Science with a minor in Fine Arts. She plans to attend graduate school to further her education after her graduation this spring. Colby is from Lunenburg, Vermont and she is currently residing on campus at USM. 

Her art career stems back to preschool, where she would spend a lot of time at the easel creating paintings during her free-time while her friends were off playing with blocks or in the sandbox. Colby describes her present art as “free flowing, story like, and often full of vibrant colors.”

Art by Emily Colby

Colby finds her inspiration in nature because it is endlessly complex and forces the painter to create their own interpretation of what is in front of them. Current social justice issues have also inspired her, Colby says that, “there are a multitude of issues regarding gender inequality, racism, and healthcare that have been building up for decades, but have truly surfaced in the past year- and art is an outlet for myself and millions of others during this time.”

Her favorite art classes were two separate Introduction to Painting courses. Colby took one of the courses twice in high school at the Lyndon Institute with Barbara Follett. Follett inspired Colby to continue to paint in a free fun way. The other course she is currently taking at USM with Hannah Barnes. The section is called ART 261 for anyone interested. Colby stated that, “Barnes does an excellent job at explaining painting tips and techniques that have elevated my painting skills tremendously. Her knowledge and experience in the world of painting has helped me realize painting will be a life long learning process.” 

For non-art majors like Colby interested in taking an art course as an elective, Colby recommends an Introduction to Perceptual Drawing course. Colby found this class to be a great way to gain perspective and a general appreciation for art. Colby believes everyone should spend time creating, and this is a great course to take because the required materials are inexpensive and it allows you to really look at things in a way you typically wouldn’t.

Colby’s biggest motivators this semester are her friends. She describes them as her close contacts and her support group. Her friends are credited for inspiring her to continue to create. As a group, they motivate each other to be the best versions of themselves, for this Colby is grateful beyond words. 

Colby is currently working on many things: a self portrait for class, a mystery abstraction painting for class, three portraits for my family members, nursery room decor, custom shoes for a friend, and a request to sketch out tattoos for a person.

Art by Emily Colby

Colby’s favorite art piece changes day by day. She says that her all time favorite piece is a 18×30 watercolor portrait of her family cat that she painted for her mom while she was in high school. This is her favorite painting because many people have enjoyed looking at it. Colby finds it important to create things that have the power to make people smile.

Like most students at USM, Colby has found that remote classes have made interacting and collaborating with other people hard. With the pandemic, Colby is grateful to be forced to get outside more. She enjoys pulling inspiration from nature believing that it is something that everyone should take time to do, “in a world where so many things are uncertain right now, I like that nature can be my rock,” says Colby. 

Colby lives on campus year-round, so she is adept to creating art at school. When she does travel home, she enjoys reminiscing on her younger days by setting up her art supplies on her family’s big wooden dining-room table, Colby believes location is not important as long as she has snacks nearby.

With the semester being remote come many challenges for all students. Colby is fortunate that she has not encountered any art related difficulties. Colby’s biggest obstacle is that she misses being able to spend time hanging out with large groups of people, going to concerts, going out to eat and seeing people’s whole faces out in public. Which everyone can relate to right now. Art has been a great coping mechanism for Colby when she is missing those things or is feeling disconnected. 

After college, Colby’s goal is to travel the world as an occupational therapist. She would like to work with children. She is serious about implementing art therapy into her work. Colby believes that art is a window into a child’s mind. 


Art Instagram: emily_colby_artCustom Shoe Website: 


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