Maggi McDonald (born in Cape Town South Africa) lives in Sydney close to the beach and create full time from her home studio. Emotion plays a significant role in Maggi's artwork. She channels her feelings and memories from childhood, infusing them into her creations. Each brushstroke and color choice carries a personal significance, evoking a range of emotions that are unique to her experiences.
How did you get into art?
As a child, I often daydreamed about becoming an artist – I grew up in a highly creative household and my parents encouraged creativity and self-expression through art and music. I ended up studying and traveling after leaving school and it was not after some personal trauma 7 years ago that I started painting again to help me heal. I also had a moment of realising that life is too short not to follow my dreams of doing something creative with my life and I enrolled in a design course. The course had a strong visual art focus, and I rediscovered my love for painting through experimenting with different mediums. I started sharing my art on Instagram and sold my first painting to a friend for $50 and I’ve been creating ever since. I now paint full time at my home studio and run my creative business selling original artworks and prints along with artist resources and coaching. The ability to create daily is a gift for which I am so grateful.
How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?
I create in a couple of different styles as I find it hard to confine myself to one style – I love experimenting as it energises me creatively and keeps things interesting in the studio! I do always return to my love of gestural abstraction with lots of texture and layers of colour creating interesting focus points. The one thing that doesn’t change is my love of bright colour palettes. I have always loved bright colours as they bring me so much happiness. I have come to realise that I use colour as an antidote to the darkness I sometimes feel. I have suffered from depression since my late teens, and I find creating and using bright colours has become very much a part of managing my mental health. I also love using colours that make others happy as I feel we can all do with as much joy as we can, especially after the pandemic and the collective trauma that we all experienced as a result.
How do you go about developing your work?
I am inspired by colour firstly and often see colour palettes and snippets of artworks when I close my eyes. I usually start with a loose palette in my head and then follow the paint where it wants to go. My artworks are intuitive and very much a reflection of my emotions and perceptions of the world and my place in it. I am very nostalgic and have vivid memories of moments and places. I often reflect on these as I paint and sometimes a colour or a moment in an artwork will take me back to a specific moment in time. Often these memories are from times spent in nature - as a child on the beach or at the river or playing in my grandmother’s beautiful garden. Nature is incredibly inspiring, and I am fascinated by the colours and patterns found everywhere around us in nature.
Who or what influences you?
My favourite place to inspire creativity is the beach – I live close to the beach in Australia and I love ocean swimming. I find that my senses are heightened after a swim in the cold salty water and I get super inspired while swimming and sitting in the sun after my swim. I am forever inspired by colour and patterns in nature and I try to recreate them in my art.
I am obsessed with the work of Willem de Kooning and especially his artwork Door To The River. I also love the work of Franz Kline – his abstract black and white artworks are striking, and his use of negative space is inspiring.
Make us curious. What is planned next?
I am working on creating more artist resources and content to encourage others to step into their own creativity. I very much enjoy supporting artists starting out in their journey. I am also working on some very cool projects that will be launched later this year celebrating all the beautiful bright colours I love so much.