She paints shoes.
"And purses and anything else that will stand still long enough," laughed local artist Crystal Desharnais of Blessings Studio. "To be able to transform the surface of something, even if it's temporarily, is so much fun and it just offers everything the possibility of being more and I love that concept.
She first painted her shoes when she was 12.
"So I actually used a pen and I loved monochromatic gradient shading," she said. "So that was huge when I was a teenager because I didn't have access to paint so everything I could draw on had abstract gradient shapes and lines and curves. So my shoes had shaded lines, angles and they always kind of looked like puzzles."
The first pair Desharnais painted formally was for an art show held at the Artists' Co-Op, not long after she moved here about ten years ago. She went to the thrift store and found a pair of funky shoes and because she loved her pink-disc earrings and necklace and wanted it to be more, she painted the shoes to be artful, she said.
"And that's when I started to teach it to my students," said Desharnais, who was an art teacher at Gateway Christian school for children in Grades 1 to 12. "And then they all did it and it was great.
I love painting shoes. They are tiny little canvasses that go everywhere."
Desharnais has Blessings Studio where she paints shoes, as well as canvasses, applies make up and creates make up artistry, designs interiors, stages homes. She's also a graphic designer, who creates digital art and whatever else strikes her fancy.
"I love the idea of wearable art," said Desharnais. "That's why I do makeup because you wear the art. Every single day I wake up to a new canvass - yay!"
Desharnais does make up for all occasions, and also creates unique photographer-ready looks including boudoir, glamour, and modeling.
"And I love to do the artful photography makeup - something totally avant garde and wild," said Desharnais.
Tradition speaks to her, too.
"I love being part of preparing for a wedding," she added. "To be invited into that little window of people's lives is so special. It's so incredibly intimate and private and I feel so privileged when a bride chooses me to be their makeup artist. To be there with all the fuss ... the tenderness and love and the rise and fall of all the emotions. And then I have a moment in time with each woman where I am inches away from them and I can breathe encouragement into them, calm them down and talk about their beautiful features - because everyone is uniquely beautiful."
Painting her art and painting faces with make up are her two true passions, she said.
"In the same way, just to be in that intimate moment when you can connect with people is such a privilege," said Desharnais, who has five children with her husband, David.
Baby bump painting has become very popular recently.
"I love painting bellies," she added. "It's one of my new favourite things to do. Oh my gosh, I am giddy when I'm doing it. I am seriously smiling from ear to ear. I love it and talk about a privileged, intimate moment as I am standing nose to belly and talking to their babies, telling them you can meet me later and I'm sure they'll remember my voice! I never plan what I'm going to paint either. I always let who that person is and how the energy is and the mood play into what I will paint."
Check out Blessings Studio on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blessings-Studio/117904424953382