Nurse puts her healing hands to work on the canvas

When you are dealing with life and death situations on a daily basis, there is a good chance that at the end of the day you are going to need an emotional release. For Alex Curtiss, who works as a nurse at Cape Cod Hospital, the very hospital in which she was born, that release is art. “There are times when my work can be so stressful,” she says. “It’s hard not to bring your job home. Art lets me forget everything that happened during my day.

“I like going to yoga, but I love painting,” she continues. “I put on my music—currently my go-to song is ‘Ocean’ by John Butler Trio—and I start painting, and before I know it, it’s three in the morning.”

Curtiss was raised in what she describes as an “artsy” family that supported her painting and taught her to appreciate art. Her grandmother was a painter and her father is a builder who she describes as creative in his own way. She finds inspiration from looking at other artists’ work and is currently particularly drawn to the work of Australian painter Elle Wills, whom she found on Instagram. Her biggest influence while growing up, though, was her next-door neighbor, Jeanne Greenan, who was an artist. But, even with four years of art classes in high school, Curtiss still feels she is self-taught. “Someone can show you how to paint, but you have to learn to apply the paint yourself,” she says.

Curtiss explores using oil, acrylic and watercolor paint, pen and ink, and occasionally pencil, and while her subject matter can be eclectic, she tends to draw from the natural world. Fish, lobsters, octopi and ocean waves dominate her painting, and her pen and ink drawings show an exceptional control of the medium. On her website, she writes that her art reflects the current stage of life she happens to be in at the moment, and as she is steadily evolving and shifting, so too is her art.

Her latest success, however, isn’t in the world of two-dimensional art but in jewelry. Cape Cod jeweler Tiffany Jazelle first discovered Curtiss on Instagram and invited her to paint a mural in her shop in Dennis. Curtiss then got to design the charms in the latest T. Jazelle jewelry line.

See more of Alex Curtiss’ work at alexcurtissdesigns.com or @alexcurtiss on Instagram.