darcy kabcenell

Meet Darcy

The short story

I’m a colored pencil artist who lives in metro Detroit, Michigan. I live with my sweet pup, Pinot, and my loving husband, Michael. They are my rocks.

My career path has been anything but linear. I went nursing school at University of Michigan. After college I became a critical care nurse, then a general floor nurse, then a home care nurse, and now a colored pencil artist.

The transition my seem abrupt, but I’ve truly never been happier.

Now I use mindfulness and photography to capture beautiful moments. I cherish those moments by drawing a photorealistic image using colored pencils.

The big jump

I grew up as an art fanatic. Everything I did and thought was rooted in creativity. I drew paper lights to hang on my bedroom walls during the holidays, I co-invented board games with my childhood best friend, and I even handcrafted paper pajamas. I didn’t create the most conventional types of art, nor did I “reinvent the wheel” as most artists do today.

I made art based on what I saw and used unconventional materials.
As a hyperrealism colored pencil artist, it is clear that my art style hasn’t really changed.

I took a few “gap years” from art and creativity - from 6th grade through college graduation. During those years I decided to focus on my studies. I received my nursing degree from the University of Michigan. I even worked as a critical nurse and home care nurse before realizing my true calling.

My two careers contrast one another. Looking back at it, it’s hard to believe how naive I was. I chose nursing for all of the wrong reasons: safety, salary, and prestige. Yes, I genuinely love to help people, but I really needed to help myself.

Darcy Kabcenell Art Nursing Graduation

I was a ball of anxiety from the start of college and I never understood why. I realize now that it wasn’t because of the workload, it was because I was in the wrong field. I liked to have deep, meaningful conversations with patients and comfort them with warm blankets, but other than that, I absolutely dreaded the rest of nursing. I hated it. I always thought “it will be better when…” Well, I was in the nursing field for 8 years and it never got better.

I was living someone else’s life.

From middle school on, I just went through the motions of what I thought I “should” be doing: Get good grades, check; get into college, check; land a stable career, check.

I never once checked in on myself. I was miserable.

I had a few ‘aha’ moments, completely out of the blue, when I had a strong urge to draw. I was surprised to realize that after not drawing for 10 years, it came naturally to me.

I continued. I drew everything. I became obsessed. It was obvious what I had to do: drop nursing and pursue art.

My transition into art was not smooth. It was a big jump - I was very afraid. I spent countless weeks, even years, focused on “finding myself”. I filled nearly four journals with self-reflection thoughts, I read over ten self-help books, I spent many hours attempting to master mindfulness, and I spent many, many long nights discussing “who I am” with my husband.

Darcy Kabcenell Art Mindfulness Journal

It was challenging because I had to shed the identity of who I once knew.

Now I am my true self. I am comfortable and happy.

Spending all of that time discovering myself in order to find happiness was time well spent. That’s why I now preach mindfulness. I want everyone to be this confident in their own skin.

I’m here to share with you my experiences and tips to help you do the same. I want you to live a life based on mindfulness so that you can finally feel the happiness that you deserve. I want you to love life, but more importantly I want you to love yourself.

the Art

My daunting career change isn’t the only mental battle I’ve faced. I’ve suffered from various mental illnesses since I was a teenager.

From eating disorders to OCD to depression to anxiety, I’ve been haunted by the voice inside my head. For years, I felt alone and misunderstood while facing my inner demons.

I am eternally grateful my incredibly loving family. With their support, I feel determined to continue to fight for mental peace. My husband helped give me the courage to be happy with myself and, with that, be confident enough to go after what I love - art.