Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What is YOUR passion?

I should have been a reporter, lol!  On a roll here with some interviews with fabulous people.  I met Canadian artist Jeanette MacDonald on Facebook and made instant friends. I LOVE her art, but more than that I feel her passion.  I invited her to tell me about her life as an artist and she graciously agreed.  Yay!

Maria:  How did you get started with your art?

Jeanette:  I always dreamed of being an artist, and I have always drawn and
painted. When I was a kid I loved to color, to draw girls, and paint using Artex liquid acrylic roller paints. When I was seventeen I was given the book, Drawing On The Right Side Of the Brain. I began to open up to some other ideas about sketching. I started to see that doing art might not be an inherited skill like I thought it was. I found that using the concept of negative spaces, I was able to draw much better than when I tried to draw the whole object.

Then in 2004 I bought the book,The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron and that opened me up even more! I was working in a creative environment, a home decor and vintage furniture store, and I loved the work. I learned how to create vignettes. I also learned a lot about composition through learning how to build a vignette. I was also taking courses in Interior design and home staging back then as well. I was working with other creative women and together we started doing The Artist's Way. We were all painting up a storm, sharing our experiences, growing together and we even had an art show.

When I quit working in the store, I stopped doing my art temporarily. I moved from the town I was living in and I kind of put my art on the back burner at the new place.  Although I always had some creative endeavor on the go, whether it was decorating my house, sewing, or something else.

A little over a year ago, we decided we were going to sell our sweet little cottage, and live aboard a boat. That is a whole story within itself, and it could be told as the "Art Of Living" but it would make this too lengthy. We sold our home to a well known artist and author, Nick Bantock. We became friends with him and in August last year I took a weekend workshop facilitated by him. What I adore about Nick is that he does not give you a set of step by step instructions. Rather he gives everyone some tools to access their own unique artistic muse. There was not one project that came out of that workshop that looked the same. I have since done some workshops that I am not as keen on. While I love what the artist themselves create, what I created was too close to theirs for me to feel like I could call it may own. Nick has since released a creativity book, called The Trickster's Hat.

My artistic journey has made me realize that we are all artists. We all have creativity in us, and the big thing is to practice using our creativity. Through that we naturally grow and improve. This is what I believe.

Maria:  How did you get to where your art is today?

Jeanette:  As I have mentioned above, my art is ever changing and becoming. I am where I am today because of the time put into practicing my art. The more time put in the more I learn about myself and what I want to create. Someone said, "I do not wait for inspiration to come to me. I get down to work and through creating art, the muse comes." I am not sure who said it or how they said it, but that reflects what I believe. If I do enough art, I may eventually improve and make some art that is good.

Maria:  It is more than good; it's great!  What inspires you the most?

Jeanette:  I am inspired by making my art a habit. I do it every day in one form or another. I usually write every morning for a couple hours when I wake up, I wake up early, so I am busy right now writing a book on my creative musings. What I have been doing is using my art to tell me secrets about my inner muse. When I contemplate upon my art, little bits of truth about me reveal themselves.

I love the writing and contemplation process so very much. For years I have been reading all sorts of books on the Law Of Attraction. I still read them. I love the old-timers like Emmet Fox, Robert Collier, Thomas Troward, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Napoleon Hill, just to mention a few. But since I have started painting and then writing, I am learning how to integrate these fabulous teachings into my own life more. Each painting has become a psychic message about those principles, designed solely (or soulfully) with me in mind. My life has been given a tremendous lift by making art my practice. I love my art so much; it has been the breath beneath my wings.

Maria:  What type of art materials do you like the most?

Jeanette:  I love acrylics. I have never used oil.  I live and work on my boat, so there is not enough space and ventilation to try it out. But having said that about acrylics, I am so grateful to Nick Bantock, because he opened me up to the possibilities of mixing any medium I wanted to try. I am still playing around with that, and probably always will be. But I am so grateful that the materials I use to create art are only limited to my imagination.

Maria:  How do you get your materials?  Do you save things, recycle things, or buy in a particular place?

Jeanette:  I do save magazines and have picked up bits and pieces from my travels, but mostly I buy my paints and stuff from Opus, an art supply store in Victoria.

Maria:  Is your family supportive of your art making?

Jeanette:  This is an interesting question. Most of my family is very supportive of me doing my art. I am a quirky girl. I have been seeking an artistic outlet for forever, so maybe that helps. But, some family members, I have noticed, seem to be triggered by my doing my art. They are not able to get excited about the fact that I am out there giving my all to it. I suspect they have not yet identified their own inner artist and are still thinking that artistic talent is inherited. This tends to make people resentful and covet what others have managed to gain through hard work alone. Like I said, I believe it is in the doing that everyone can be an artist if they so desire.

Maria:  What is your big goal as an artist?

Jeanette:  I want to finish writing and publish my book. I would like to be published in an art magazine like Cloth Paper Scissors, or Somerset Studio. Maybe it is ego, but I think it would be cool to see my art in there. I have some bolder goals that I will make manifest, I am good at manifesting, but I am not going to share them

Maria:  Aw, shucks!  How do you intend to accomplish that goal?

Jeanette:  I will keep working on my book. I have been writing for several months and at one point I decided it was crap, and started over. But I don,t think it was wasted time. I became more clear on why I was writing and who I was writing for in the process. One thing I will say about me, is that I am one of the bravest people I know. I share my stuff with anyone and everyone. I take the feedback to heart in a good way. It has helped me to gain clarity around what I am hoping to accomplish with my writing. I am working with an editor, and I see that everyone is really on my side. They want me to succeed, so their feedback is gratefully considered and appreciated.

Maria:  Any advice you can give to people starting out as artists?

Jeanette:  I do want to offer my advise to those beautiful people starting out on their own artistic journey. You have art in you to give to yourself and the world. You ARE an artist, no matter what anyone has told you. And the most important thing to remember is that if you ever hope to paint a thing that will make your heart sing, you have to be willing to paint a lot of things that will not sing at first. Practice, practice, practice! There is no quick way to improving your skills.

Maria:  What makes you the most happy?

Jeanette: What makes me so happy is that I am truly able to have it all. That I can have the time I need to be the most "me" I can be, and I get to do that through making art of one kind or another whenever the mood strikes me. I am so grateful to God that I have a husband who appreciates my painting, my writing, and my desires to grow through it all. He actually uses what I write about to contemplate on creating the best life for himself and us together.

Maria: Give a little info about the two paintings you chose to display here.  What inspired you?  What did you learn?  If you'd done it any differently what would you have done?

Jeanette: I am choosing these two because they are two of my recent pieces. My art is ever changing. I am not even sure that I have a style. I am inspired by where I am at spiritually and emotionally with each piece.  The top one was created with empathy I have for every person that I share the planet with. Maybe the cat represents God? I like the idea that there is hope for us as a species. I painted this for a a friend who was desperately trying to convince me that we are doomed as a planet and that there is nothing good to focus on. But, I do not believe that. I think that we create our reality with our thoughts. The only thing he could find that he felt any happiness about was his cat. So, I made him a cat Guardian Angel. I love her. She gives me hope too. I always look for the positive to focus on.

The second one I called You Can Lead A Fish To Water. The fish looked kind of sickly. She made me think about how I have to take care of myself first. If I lose myself then I lose any joy. So I must live my life as the example I would talk about, instead of preaching to anyone. I need to just concentrate on being the best me and have faith that everyone else has their own inner guide that is much better at guiding them than I can ever hope to be. I am enough work.

The other thing is that I live on the water and see orcas quite often. I love the sea. But, I could write a blurb on what each painting means to me and that is what I am doing with my book. I love all my pieces, They each tell a little story about my thought and life process.

That was wonderful!  Thank you Jeanette, for sharing your art and perspective with us.  To connect with Jeanette, check out these links!

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