Landscape Painting Donated to Sunnybrook Hospital

Serene Seashore donated to Sunnybrook Hospital 



joyful art; original paintingjoyful art; original painting


In 2021, an artist friend asked if I would be interested in doing a painting on a ceiling tile for Sunnybrook Hospital. I found it an odd request until I learned patients could view the paintings as they were being wheeled through the hospital.  It took me a moment to say “yes”. 

The ceiling tile was 2 by 4 feet, a size I have worked on a few times.  I wondered what I would like to see if I were being wheeled to an operation….and immediately thought how the seashore (any seashore) gives me a sense of peace and joy. I found a photo of the seashore of Galilee (in the Holy Land).  Although this is the actual body of water along with and on, He Walked, it is not relevant. It is a seashore and I wanted the viewer to imagine themselves walking along it.  

See Sunnybrook Hospital Ceiling Tiles


See more paintings by this artist at Gallery




Cedar Ridge Members Christmas Show/Market


Joyful art; original painting; Denise Gracias
Joseph’s Dreams by Denise Gracias

Cedar Ridge Creative Centre Christmas Show and Market

Joyful art, original painting, Denise Gracias
Contagious Joy by Denise Gracias


After two years, Cedar Ridge Creative Centre has resumed their annual Christmas Show and Market.  In the past, every room was filled with vendors selling arts, crafts, jewelry, food etc.  It was always a very enjoyable experience for the vendors and the visitors.  This year, the market is limited to just the downstairs.  I will be there with the Uhill Christian Calendar that features my painting “Joseph’s Dreams”.  It will be wonderful to have the actual painting behind me (in the exhibition).

See Cedar Ridge Members Christmas Show


Greeting Cards; Joyful Art; Denise Gracias
Greeting Cards by Denise Gracias


For more information on these paintings and others by Denise Gracias go to Home


Do You Have Room for Christmas; Joyful art; Denise Gracias
Do You Have Time for Christmas? by Denise Gracias
Woman of Sorrows; Joyful Art; Denise Gracias
Woman of Sorrows by Denise Gracias


Unto Us a Child Is Born; Joyful Art; Denise Gracias
Unto Us A Child Is Born by Denise Gracias


Christian Calendar features “Joseph’s Dreams”



Joseph's Dreams; Joyful art; original painting; Denise Gracias
Joseph’s Dreams by Denise Gracias


“Joseph’s Dreams”  Chosen Advent Image 2022


I am honored to share that my original painting, “Joseph’s Dreams” is featured in the UHill Christian Calendar.

Earlier this year, I learned that the Liturgical themes for the next calendar year included Joseph’s Dreams.  I knew immediately that this was the theme I wanted to paint. I had made a  promise to St. Joseph (till now unkept) to do a painting of him. Even if not chosen, I would at least have fulfilled that obligation. 


 After contemplating the Biblical scriptures below for several weeks,  I came up with a seed of a concept.  I sketched the sleeping St. Joseph from my imagination. In the final week, I  worked daily on the painting, taking time to reflect. I could not rush it and was not finished when I submitted…moments before the deadline. I hoped and prayed that  the judges would see potential, and perhaps like my interpretation.  A few months later, I was pleasantly surprised to learn this is exactly what happened.  

I meditated on the following Biblical Scriptures:

Matthew 1:20, 21, 24, 25

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’….When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And (Joseph) gave him the name Jesus.” 

Matthew 2:13-15 

“And when they (the Magi) were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, ‘Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt, and be there until I bring you word, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.’ When he arose, (Joseph) took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt. And was there until the death of Herod .” 

Matthew 2:19-21

“When Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt saying. ‘Arise and take the young child and his mother and go into the land of Israel, for they are dead who sought the young child’s life.’ And (Joseph) arose and took the young child and his mother and came into the land of Israel.” 


Since St. Joseph had three dreams in three different place, I decided to use three canvases, thus a triptych. St. Joseph received the Messages of the Lord  through angels, while he was asleep. Therefore, I highlighted the fact that he was in a deep slumber through the triptych. White curtains represent the angel draping down on him, like the “Hand of God” blessing him. The message content are indicated in the windows.    


The Uhill Christian Calendar is a powerful tool for evangelization.  What better gift for family and friends who are lukewarm, have gone astray, or on their way back to following the Lord.  


If you are interested in this painting, or other similar paintings by this artist, go to Biblical Art


Contagious Joy On Display at AGO

“Contagious Joy”  featured in Portraits of Resilience Exhibit  at  the Art Gallery of Ontario

Contagious Joy; Joyful art, original painting, Denise Gracias
Contagious Joy by Denise Gracias


Joy is unchanging even in the midst of trying circumstances. How wonderful if this joy could spread like a a virus in a pandemic from heart to heart.

Portraits of Resilience

In 2021, the Art Gallery of Ontario had a Call for Submissions for their online exhibition, “Portraits of Resilience”.  They asked artists of all backgrounds to express through art, what kept them strong and resilient through the pandemic.   Apparently, over 3000 submissions were entered from all over Canada and even from other parts of the world. My painting, “Contagious Joy”. was one of the 110 images chosen to be in an exhibition at the AGO. 
A nine year old artist painted the image beside mine (of the little girl at the piano), while a teenager painted the courageous woman above.     It was clear that neither age nor experience was important in this exhibition. 

What is Contagious Joy?

The idea for “Contagious Joy” stemmed from  an image of angels I saw in a calendar. The angels were singing, playing musical instruments and so joyful.    I painted a few trying to relate each one to one other angel.    It seemed important to capture the details, including the facial expressions and the folds in the garments.  Over the next few months, I changed the palette, experimenting with similar and contrasting colors giving a sense of peace in one, and drama with the other.  Finally, I settled on colors for the garments that  reminded me of candy, ice cream and toys. Depicting the angels of different races and ages came naturally and I included even a baby angel.  The title also came naturally. It seemed one angel had good news, and without a word, shared it with a glance to another. A third angel observed the joy and shared in it and it spread.  The facial expressions as joyful as they were, had to be removed because they distracted from the overall essence of the painting. 


Check out the other inspirational paintings Portraits of Resilience – Art Gallery of Ontario


For more information on this painting as well as other similar paintings by this artist, click here In His Image


Joyful art - original painting by Denise Gracias
Contagious Joy by Denise Gracias – Displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario





Sophie Scholl – Just A Girl?


Sophie Scholl – An Exploratory Painting

Sophie Scholl could have had a very nice life, had she remained silent in the shadow of the Nazi Regime.

At the start of the year 1943, Sophie was a twenty-one-year-old, student at the University of Munich, enjoying a vibrant social life, engaged to marry, and close to her family. The looming darkness of the Nazi era cast a very dark shadow on her life, but she chose to resist evil, rather than cower to her fears.

The White Rose Movement

Sophie Scholl; Joyful art; original painting; Denise Gracias
Sophie Scholl by Denise Gracias

Sophie  joined “The White Rose” , a non-violent resistance movement founded by her brother, Hans and his friends.  Members worked together to write, type, and distribute leaflets warning the German people about the evils of the Nazi Regime..   Alone, members carried suitcases containing the latest leaflet on trains to cities all over Germany.  Arriving in the night, they emptied their suitcases into public mailboxes. Without delay, they returned home the same night by train.  This effort led to thousands of Germans receiving these anonymous leaflets. 

Capture by the Nazis

Eventually, the Nazis caught hold of a leaflet. Despite the risks,  on February 18, 1943, Sophie, and Hans, with a suitcase filled with leaflets, entered the University of Munich. Spreading and scattering the leaflets throughout the gallery corridors hurriedly before the bell rang. After pushing the last pile of leaflets over a banister on the top floor, the bell rang. They tried to escape hidden in the crowds. Unfortunately, they were caught immediately and handed over to the Gestapo.  Christoph Probst, another member was also brought in. 


Seeing Sophie was “just a girl”, the Nazis gave her several chances to have her charges lessened, by denying her true involvement. She could have saved her life, but refused. Along with her brother, Hans, and Christoph Probst, the Nazis tried them on February 22, 1943, and found all three guilty. Within hours, they were beheaded. Sophie went to her death without “the flicker of an eyelash” according to her executioner. Later that year, someone smuggled a leaflet out of Germany, handing it to the allies, who distributed millions of copies all over Germany by plane.

About the Painting:   

This painting captures the moment when Sophie has thrown the leaflets over the banister in the university. She watches them flutter down like the petals of a white rose.  She raises her hands….in surrender? No, she is raising them up in in victory.  Her quest for truth and justice and love of Germany, overcame her fears.   She was not “just a girl”, but a strong, courageous, free woman. 


This painting was part of a travelling exhibition “Beauty instead of Ashes” in Germany, England and the US.  There are 7 paintings in total. Bible Art Tour   Check out The Religious Academy


To learn more about this painting and other similar paintings by this artist, click on Other Inspired

Cedar Ridge Members Show


Two Spiritual Landscapes Featured in Cedar Ridge Members Show


joyful art; original painting: Denise Gracias

Creative Paradise

Cedar Ridge Creative Centre is a hidden treasure in Scarborough, Ontario. In a residential neighborhood, an unexpected break in the houses, leads to a mansion, surrounded by beautiful, peaceful gardens and trees. Before you get there, you will see a cute cozy coach house to the right for artist residencies, while if you glance to the left, you will find a carriage house, where pottery and woodworking are taught. Entering the mansion through the front, you will experience a sense of the history and heritage of the structure.  Going up the main stairs,  you will find three rooms, two where art classes are taught, and a third for weaving. The main floor houses the offices and three gallery rooms for exhibitions.  A sun room out back gives breathtaking views of the valley year round. If you wish to venture along the paths out back,  don’t be surprised if you run into a deer. 

 A Safe Creative Space

I started coming to Cedar Ridge in 2004.  It served as a safe place for an amateur self-taught artist who wanted to see if she still had the artistic talent from her childhood.  I have taken classes off and on since then, in drawing, watercolor, portraits, and even professional development.  Walking into a classroom, I see artists who are clearly confident and established, as well as those coming to try art for the first time.  I participated in numerous student exhibitions and I have grown as an artist. 


Members Exhibition

After being closed to the public for two years, Cedar Ridge has resumed offering a variety of art classes in drawing, watercolors, acrylics, etc., for all age levels.  See their brochure

Early Start by Denise Gracias at Cedar Ridge

Art lovers are welcome to check out the exhibitions, including the current Members Show featuring 2 spiritual landscapes of mine.  Membership is free and gives artists the opportunity to participate in gallery and online exhibitions.  In addition, they have a Christmas and summer sale that usually attract sizeable crowds. See below for details.  Cedar Ridge Members Show


Early Start and Neither Here Neither 

Two of my spiritual landscapes were featured in the Member’s Exhibition. See images here of Early Start.  Another painting, Neither Here Neither There, was also featured. 

For more information on these spiritual landscapes by this artist, go to Spiritual Landscapes





Pickering Artfest

Pickering Artfest; An Outdoor Festival for the Family Featuring Local Artists

Pickering Artfest2022; Joyful art; Denise Gracias
Original Landscapes on display at the Pickering Artfest 2022


I held a booth at the Pickering Artfest 2022 this year for three Saturdays in a row. This time I took 4 landscapes and was present to receive comments, questions and lovely conversations from a wide variety of people.  I had such a good time that I will definitely be returning next year, God Willing.  


Thank you to all of you who made this such an enjoyable experience. 


For more information on these artworks or others by this artist, please go to Spiritual Landscapes

“Sophie Scholl -in Berlin

Joyful art - original painting by Denise Gracias
Sophie Scholl by Denise Gracias


Unveiling of “Sophie Scholl” Painting by Denise Gracias in Berlin, Germany


“Sophie Scholl – Freedom” Unveiling of Sophie Scholl unveiled today in Berlin, Germany. Please see the 6 minute video in which Paul Grass, Founder of the The Religious Academy, provides the background before unveiling the painting.


For more information on this painting or other similar paintings by Denise Gracias, go to Gallery

Christ Salon – Religious Academy

Two Biblical Paintings Featured in Christ Salon

Gethsemane; Joyful Art; Denise Gracias
Gethsemane by Denise Gracias
Ocean of Mercy; Joyful Art; Denise Gracias
Ocean of Mercy by Denise Gracias

“Gethsemane” and “Ocean of Mercy” were featured in the Christ Salon sponsored by The Religious Academy






“Gethsemane” depicts Christ’s Great Sorrow and Suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The Apostles, Peter, James and John are asleep nearby, too sleepy and weary to pray and console the Lord.  An angel brings comfort and consolation.

“Ocean of Mercy” depicts the absolute chaos, turmoil, and instability that was experienced after the Death of Christ.  Mary, His Mother, is behind Him.  Her hands are unseen as truly, she felt unified with her Son in His Crucifixion.  St. John lays his head on Christ’s right breast, just as he did at the Last Supper, less than 24 hours before. St. Mary Magdalene is at His Feet, clinging to Him. 

For more information on these paintings or other similar paintings by this artist, go to Biblical Art


Bible Inspired Art