Meet Your Maker: Melanie MacDonald

Melanie MacDonald is another artist I discovered at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition a few years back. She's also a regular contributor to the art sale at the AGH, which helped me follow the progress of her work and kept me hooked, so to speak. In fact, every time Mike and I discover one her paintings for sale, we hem and haw at length over purchasing one, mostly because we can't decide which one we like best! As you can probably predict, I love her use of vintage and everyday objects as her subjects, her use of bright colours, and the realism in her work. After a short hiatus I am glad to see Melanie back painting and showing again. She is part of a group exhibition at the newly opened gallery, Hamilton Artists Inc., until March 12th. And I am delighted she has agreed to answer a few questions for us. Consider it background information for you to impress your friends with this Friday at Art Crawl. Take it away, Melanie...

WHO are you? Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
I am a painter, living in downtown St.Catharines. This is my hometown and I love it. I went to university here and got involved with the Niagara Artists' Centre as a student and have stayed involved to the present day as a volunteer. My paintings are photo-based and my interest has been capturing or representing light in paint. My partner, Steve, and I are really into vintage stuff/kitsch, and in turn, my paintings are often made of objects from a different era. I have painted a series of dirty dishes, ceramic figurines, vintage board games and flea market scenes.

WHAT inspires you?
Cast-away or forgotten stuff.

WHERE do you work? Describe your workspace.
Two years ago, we bought the small 4-unit apartment building we have been living in for the last 10 years. We take up the whole upper floor and about half of it is studio space. The light is fantastic up here, the floor is pink and cornflower yellow tiles and the walls are celery green.

WHEN do you feel must successful? frustrated?
I feel most successful when I quickly rough-in a painting at break-neck speed and most frustrated putting the painfully slow finishing touches on one.

WHY do you do what you do?
I guess it's because I can.

HOW do you do what you do?
I owe a lot of my success, or ability to do what I do, to an extremely supportive creative community that exists in St. Catharines. Also, having one dependable or stable income helps make my career choice possible. We consider ourselves to be THINKS -- a two, half-income, no kids kind of family.

Describe your creative process and/or your typical work day.
I like the 9-5 kind of work day. I juggle laundry, dishes and meal preparation and flip back and forth between these tasks and my painting. Certainly by dinner time I am ready to get out of the house for a bit to get some exercise. We play basketball twice a week, and I try to get out to the gym/pool on the other days. As there is a cluster of artists living in the neighbourhood, and the NAC is just around the corner, we are never at a loss for things to do socially. Steve is the director at NAC, so free time, by default, is usually spent on art-related stuff.

Thanks so much, Melanie, for taking the time to answer my questions and give us all a sneak peak into your creative life and process! Your home/studio sounds absolutely amazing and I love your term "THINKS".

For more information on Melanie MacDonald, please visit her website here. In addition to her exhibit at Hamilton Artists Inc., as mentioned above, she will also be participating in the NAC fundraiser "Accomplishing Small Feats" on April 2nd.

All photos by Melanie MacDonald.

1 comment

mikey j said...

We should have bought the Deer Glass painting! Every time I see it I suffer pangs of regret.

I'm game for checking out that NAC: "Accomplishing Small Feats" event if we can hitch a ride or mooch a car!