Happy Girl!

March 30, 2017 | 45 Comments

I am an extremely happy girl today – not just because I was visiting my favourite tearoom (The Tea Cosy in the The Rocks) and hanging out with a visiting Urban Sketchers friend (the wonderful Stephanie Bower from Seattle – see below) but… drum roll please… I have my smile back!

Yes, after 3.5 years of torture, I finally got my braces taken off yesterday. There is no doubt that it has been an ordeal (just as it was when I wore them for over 3 years as a teenager!) and I have had to be patient and just live with the slow rate my teeth were moving (I was originally told I would have them for 2-2.5 years.) I haven’t shared much about what has been going on, however in summary, nearly five years ago I started a big adventure. It began with having my jaw realigned (5 month process involving a plate over my molars) and once my jaw was in the right spot, my teeth didn’t meet.

Anyway it has been tough going for the last few years, not only from the pain associated with the teeth moving, but also mouth ulcers etc especially at the end of a long day of teaching. At one stage I thought I would abandon real life teaching totally until the braces were gone. On top of that there was the difficulty associated with eating and cleaning my teeth – you have just no idea how amazing it feels now!

Smiling is a big deal for me – I love to smile whenever I can – so it’s been tough to have those ugly things in my mouth. After such a long time of my ‘braces smile,’ I am in shock as I don’t recognise my teeth – my ‘pre-braces smile’ was very different to what it is now. Who is this person smiling back at me in the mirror?

Although I am much more interested in worrying about inward beauty, there is no doubt that I often have had to push through feeling self-conscious, especially in photos and videos. But it’s been really good for me to overcome this fear in order to share and teach. My desire to help other people by sharing my ideas and sketching techniques has been so much stronger than worrying about my tin grin.

However, it was never all negative, there were certainly times of fun. To prove it, I just have to share my favourite photo with my braces smile – entitled “The Bracket Sketchers” with Luis from Portugal in Singapore.

But now… I have no excuse for not doing more selfies, vlogs or Instagram stories. Do I?

It was so lovely to catch up with Stephanie today in celebration, and to eat scones again without stressing about getting food caught in my braces.

Anyway, I just had to share my little happy dance with you today!


  • Patricia Langer says:

    Congratulations Liz!! I can empathize and certainly appreciate the celebration when it’s all over. You look absolutely radiant. What a model of courage you are for getting out and sketching daily no matter what.

  • And I dance along with you Liz.

  • Holly Johnson says:

    Congratulations Liz…what a radiant smile…you look lovely!

  • Sharon Kasstan says:

    Enjoy your new gnashers, Liz. You now have beautiful teeth to match your beautiful personality……!

  • Magdalena French says:

    Your inner smile and joy was always evident – it couldn’t help but ooze out from within you… I’m so happy for you.

  • Tami Jacques says:

    I rejoice with you!!!! I agree whole heartedly with Magdalenas’ comment, the joy that is expressed has always
    been there. Thankfully you were able to persevere and have been rewarded. God bless-

  • Barbara Wasserman says:

    Congratulations, Liz ! I wore braces when young, and can still remember all the attendant horrors, and the relief when they were removed. Very glad for you to finally be rid of them, and so nice to see you smiling so happily.

  • Carole Jurack says:

    Thanks for sharing, Liz … you have a beautiful smile now!!!

  • Susan Becker says:

    I’ve been there too (adult braces). Much empathy. Kudos to you for keeping on with everything that was important to you. Your smile and your whole self look radiant!

  • Eleanor Segal says:

    Congratulations!!!! Freedom!

  • Sue Bone says:

    The miracle of modern dentistry…Wowzer!! Liz, You are happy and beautiful and creative and just plain old Fabulous!!

  • Anney R says:

    Oh I know the feeling of getting braces off. Enjoy your new found freedom. Now you won’t be distracted by them. Honestly I barely noticed them in pictures. Its your personality that shines through no matter what. Wish you weren’t clear across the world. Would love to sketch with you and your group one day but have no plans yet to visit Australia.

  • Julia Blackbourn says:

    Congratulations on every level. Your inner beauty and cheer always some through whatever else you were going through and your whole personality is sunshine, now enhanced by your gorgeous smile!!

  • Gerda Wolzak-van Hummel says:

    Happy for you and …Dance!

  • Maggie says:

    How very inspiring you are!!!

  • Kirk Whiteside says:

    Congratulations! I knew your pain! Enjoy your site and your courses!

  • Congratulations! Just having gone through my own tooth agony I am particularly impressed you were able to keep teaching and even smiling during this time. Can’t wait to see the smile in person in Chicago!

  • Fiona Campbell says:

    You look fabulous ! Well done for toughing it out and not letting the discomfort stop you sharing your considerable gifts and enthusiasm. You bring light and encouragement to so many of us !

  • Elsie Hickey-Wilson says:

    WoooooHoooooo! Big day! Love the smile! Been there, worn them, can relate, Sweet victory! Looking forward to seeing that smile in Chicago!

  • Caroline Rees says:

    Looking good Liz! Happy as ever 🙂

  • Marjorie Paterson says:

    Your smile is infectious , Liz, before and after…I think you have an inner light which shines out.
    Best wishes!????

  • Evelyn Conroy says:

    Congratulations, Liz! My goodness what a story and…..what a smile! Just so you know, I was very happy whenever you appeared on my screen before, too!

  • Laura says:

    You look wonderful before and after. Thank you for being such a beautiful person inside as well. Your love for others along with sharing your art and life is a blessing.

  • Frank Bettendorf says:

    My congratulations for staying the course and for “smiling” through it all!
    Frank B

  • Ros Crompton says:

    Well done Liz. What a long haul it’s been and so worthwhile. You look terrific, winning smile.,

  • Chas says:

    Congratulations! That’s a long time and a lot of discomfort. Clearly that dazzling smile is a wonderful payoff but you definitely earned it! Wonderful!

  • Fi says:

    A beautiful smile! So happy for you and thank you for sharing your joy!
    Love this post and so exciting to see my two Urban Sketching teachers together and in Sydney!!

  • Diane Johnson says:

    Liz your smile is infectious and I’ve always admired your ability to show it, even through the pain and discomfort of your braces. You must feel reborn with all that restriction removed! Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you celebrate by eating the thing that was the most difficult with the braces on, and thoroughly enjoying it. Well done, you truly are amazing.

  • Liz Steel says:

    thank you all so much – you are making me smile even more and become a little teary as well. Thanks for all the support and encouragement, today and in the past. SO many things would never have happened without you all!

  • Believe it or not it’s the very first thing I noticed after reading the post’s title.
    Much happy for you, much better smile!

    Happy smile ^_^



  • Frank Hinton says:

    Hi, you don’t just look happy, you look absolutely wonderful !

  • Dee Robotham says:

    Well done Liz. What a beautiful smile! You are a very determined woman. I spent most of my teenage years wearing braces of one sort or another and still my jaw is misaligned and teeth are uneven. To old to be bothered now, but have to say a little of the green eyed monster is rearing it’s head seeing your gorgeous smile.

  • Pamela Jarvis says:

    Full of admiration for sticking at it Liz. You look great!

  • Joyce Neufeld says:

    Excited for you!

  • Kay Brown says:

    Great to see you both together. I’ve learnt a lot from following your respective blogs. You are both truly inspiring

  • Anne Evans says:

    Congrats on your beautiful smile. You have always glowed from within. I never really noticed the braces – but can see the difference now. Enjoy your new freedom.

  • Larry Goldfarb says:

    You look great. Keep smiling.

  • Julana says:

    Good for you, Liz! I didn’t even recognize you in the picture. I had a similar trial, as an adult, moving and changing orthodontists a couple times–even having wedding photos taken. Glad for you.

  • Sarah Washburn says:

    Time for a profile pic update! Love your pics, thanks for sharing so much of your work and life as an artist. You’re an inspiration.

  • Emma Montonen says:

    You’re looking lovely Liz, but your smile has always been lovely, also when you had the braces! I loved seeing you in the SketchingNowBuildings course, always positive and smiling. 🙂

  • anna says:

    it is a great day .. I also wore braces 2 years at 64. it was an horror and a lot of disconfort
    . it is nice to see you smiling so happily.

  • Heather says:

    Congrats Liz, you look absolutely radiant! You really are glowing! I totally agree with all the comments here, you have always had an amazing smile. Have you managed to stop feeling how smooth your teeth are yet?

  • CB Yoffee says:

    I am smiling right back at you as I read your story. ????

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