Welcome to the second edition of our Meet The Artist series: a monthly feature on our website giving you a little more information and perspective into the lives of our many talented artists! We hope you enjoy this third edition in our series, and that you will look forward to future editions on the first Saturday of every month.
Today we would like to introduce you to Jacky MacDonald. Her delightful style is a wonderful part to the collections available here at the gallery, so we hope that you enjoy her work as much as we do, and that you enjoy learning a little more about this very talented painter.
Give us a little history of you: where you came from and how you got where you are today:
I was born in Hull, Quebec in 1955. As a little girl, I was never very good at school and often got caught drawing instead of doing my school work. My parents must have thought I had talent to decide to enroll me in art classes at a very young age. Every Sunday, my family and I would go visit the National Art gallery. My Dad had a passion for art as well. AS I grew up, I took fashion designing then went to University in languages because it was told that you could not get a career in arts.
Taught french at Algonquin College. All through those years, I continued to paint on my spare time. After a few years, it was time to go back to art in a more serious way, so I went to the Ottawa school of art then had the opportunity to learn from renowned artist Philip Craig. In 1999, The city of Hull gave me the opportunity to have a solo show to commemorate the Hull bicentennial. All my paintings were of old Hull in the year 1900 or so. One of my paintings was chosen from the city as a gift to Princess Astride of Belgium.
I started selling my art at Art Shows when one day I was approached by an art gallery asking if I would be interested in selling at their gallery which I accepted.
It seems the more I paint, the more passionate I get. I love the smell of paint and love shopping for art supplies. I go to bed thinking of what I will paint next. I fall asleep dreaming of colours. I get my best ideas at night.
What inspires your work?
A lot of the paintings I do are from Europe. My paintings bring me back to the places I visited in France and Italy. I do like to paint local too.
Describe your technique:
I used to paint with paint brush but in the last couple of years, I have discovered the palette knife. It’s wonderful what you can produce with a knife. It’s a totally different feeling and the result is more alive.
Describe your process from how you get your idea until it appears as a finished piece:
When I travel, My husband and I take thousands of photos. When we come back home, I often will use 5 photos to create one painting and some of it is from my head. Often, I will just start straight on the canvas without drawing first. You could say I sketch with my palette knife.
What other types of art and materials have you explored and what is your favourite medium?
I do pastel drawings of dogs and horses. It’s nice to switch it over sometime but I love oils. I have recently started working with acrylics but it doesn’t give me the same feeling as does oils.
Is there something or someone who inspired you to start or did you just pick up and away you went?
My Dad was my biggest fan. He is the one that bought me my first set of charcoal at the age of seven.
Tell us about people you’ve met along the way and decisions you made that shaped your journey:
I have to say that Philip Craig has been a great inspiration to me. He taught me more then any other art courses I took. He encouraged me to start selling. Without him, I don’t think I would be where I am now.
Do you have any interesting stories from creating your art or in your day to day life?
It so happens that the Royal Canadian Mint has asked me to present a painting for there 2013 $20.00 silver coin. It is a competition so I may not win but just the thought of them calling me to ask me to participate is an honor. Keep your fingers crossed the deadline in Saturday the 24th of November.
How do your studio and surroundings influence your work?
My studio is above the garage and next to my bedroom. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is go stare at my work and figure out where to go from there. If I can’t sleep I night, I tip toe to the studio and start painting. I am so lucky.
What kinds of things do you keep in your studio for inspiration?
My dog is always with me. Charlie has his own bench that overlooks the front of the house. Charlie seems to know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to paint. He actually seems sad if I don’t go up to the studio when I usually do.
What impresses you about other artists’ work and who impresses you today?
What impresses me the most about artists is the way some of them can create such flow and harmony with so few brush strokes. Leonard Wren is one artist that I think has an interesting technique.
When you are not working and creating, what do you do? Do you have another job?
In the morning I have a dog walking job. I will pick up one to six dogs and take them to trails that I have been walking for 30 years. We will spend up to two hours exploring, then I take them all back, go home, have a bite to eat and get ready to paint.
Do you have a favorite tool to work with or that inspires your work?
The palette knife. I can start a painting with a few strokes of the knife and it will guide me to where the painting should go. Sometimes those and up being my best pieces of work.
What is the hardest thing about creating your art?
Knowing when it’s finished.
Do you prefer to do commissions or mostly what inspires you in life?
It’s always easier to create your own because it comes from your vision. Commissions can be tricky because I have to put on canvas someone else’ thoughts and ideas.
What is your favorite thing to do on a Friday night, on the weekend, etc.?
I always look forward to Friday night and having a romantic dinner with my husband. My husband and I spend a lot of time outside on weekends. Whether it’s working on our backyard of playing tennis and swimming in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter, or going on hikes with our dog.
What is your favorite food?
I love all types of food. Dim sum is one of my favorites.
What is your favourite wine, or other drink?
Louis Latour Pinot noir by far is my favorite.
Anything else you want to add?
I love painting so much and I would love to inspire others too. Painting is my life. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t paint?