Maggi McDonald

May 9, 2023 by Artist Lane

Q. What was your path to becoming an artist?   
A. After a tough time personally I realised that life is too short not to follow my creative dreams and decided to go back to school and study design. I rediscovered my love of painting and started playing around with acrylics and palette knives. I shared what I was doing on Instagram and I sold my first painting to a friend and I’ve been painting ever since. That was 7 years ago and I have never looked back. I am forever grateful to be able to paint and create every day. 

Q. How do you approach the creation of your abstract artworks, and what inspires you to choose certain colours and patterns?
A. 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. 

Q. Can you share your thoughts on your use of bright, vivid, and lively, striking colours?
I’ve 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 have 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.

Q. Can you talk about the ways in which your South African heritage and Australian environment have influenced your art?
A. I feel very lucky to have these two beautiful countries
as my home and the natural beauty in both is a constant inspiration in my work. I am fascinated by the patterns in African culture and I collect African textiles and baskets as a source of inspiration for my work. The bright colours of the ocean, fauna and flora are similar in both countries and I borrow from both when I am creating my art. 

Q. What inspires you to be creative? Is there a certain place you go for inspiration?
My favourite place to inspire creativity is the beach.
I love ocean swimming and find that my senses are heightened after a swim in the cold salty water. I often
get super inspired sitting in the sun after a swim.

Q. Do you learn more about who you are through your
creative endeavours?

A. Absolutely! I am a perfectionist, an impatient creative andI work well under pressure! I’ve learnt to lean into these traits and use them to my advantage. I find the process of painting quite introspective and I reflect on life and my place in the world when I am painting and it helps me work out things in my head when I need to.

Q. Who are some artists that influence and inspire you, and what draws you to their work?
A. I’m 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. I am forever inspired by the amazing talent of artists we have in Australia – too many to name! 

Q. Your artwork titles often seem to draw inspiration from nature. Can you discuss your process for naming your pieces and how nature plays a role in this?
A. I am very nostalgic and have vivid memories of moments and places. I often reflect back 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.

Q. Where or what is your happy place?
A. I am a total beach bum and would happily spend my days swimming and lying in the sun. A day at the beach energises my soul. I’m also very happy at home with my family and my dog just hanging out.

Q. As well as an artist you are also referred to as a surface designer? Could you elaborate on what this entails and how you approach designing patterns for various surfaces?
A. As a surface designer I design prints and patterns that
are printed on fabric & wallpaper, stationery and many other substrates. Surface pattern design and art go hand in hand for me as each surface pattern starts out as a hand painted or drawn design which is then digitally edited. With digital printing so much more accessible these days it’s easier than ever before to apply my art to surfaces which I find very exciting. 

Q. What motivates you to conduct your art workshops, and what impact do you hope they will have on participants?
A. I love teaching workshops as it gives me the opportunity
to share this gift that I have been given with others – I love nothing more than when a participant tells me at the
start of a workshop that they are not creative only to see them connect with their creativity in the class and walk
out inspired. 

Q. What role does social media take in your artistic journey?
A. Social media is a key part of my creative business and it is the way I connect with my audience and my collectors.
I have been building my social media presence on Instagram for 7 years and it is an important part of my marketing strategy and has given me the opportunity to put my art out into the world and in front of hundreds of thousands of people which in turn has lead to some amazing collaborations and consistent art sales over
the years. 

Q. If you could interview a creative person, past or present, who would it be? Explain?
I would actually love to be able to interview my grandfather & grandmother – they were both very
creative and a big inspiration to me. They passed away before I started my creative journey and I would love to
sit down with them to chat and show them how their creativity inspired me. This Dopamine Garden Series is heavily inspired by my time spent with them as a child playing in their beautiful garden – happiness and
carefree memories. 

Shop Maggi McDonald’s collection here