About Harriett McDonald

 

"The smell of paint and turpentine has always been in the air at my house."

I am a lifelong resident of the Desert Southwest. I was born in El Paso, and went to school there. My family moved to Sanderson, Texas, the summer after I graduated high school. Ultimately I joined them, married there, and stayed until 1995, when my husband's job moved us back to El Paso.

The smell of paint and turpentine has always been in the air at my house. My mother began painting at thirteen and continues to this day (she is 80). I painted my first oil painting at the age of eight, but I did not really start painting until my mid-20s. I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil.

It has always seemed to me there is something inside that is struggling to get out. I do mean struggling. I am pretty much self-taught. I have had brief workshops with Jan Herring and Dalhart Windberg.

Every painting seems like the first, and as I begin, I am both excited and anxious. Excited because something about the subject has attacked me inside, and I see beauty that I want to capture; anxious because whatever it is about the subject that sends that electricity through my heart and mind, it is almost always as illusive as quicksilver. I may be able to express it on canvas and I may not. I consider a painting a success or failure depending upon whether I have moved the magic from my heart and mind to brush and canvas according to my vision for it. Whether or not others find the painting satisfactory is not my criteria. That is not to say that I am indifferent to whether or not the paintings bring joy and blessings to others. That is my purpose in making them available to others.

"It has always seemed to me there is something inside that is struggling to get out. I do mean struggling."
"I paint because I cannot bear not painting. I have times and seasons that for one reason or another I cannot get to the easel, but those times make my heart hurt."

I paint because I cannot bear not painting. I have times and seasons that for one reason or another I cannot get to the easel, but those times make my heart hurt. Everywhere I look I see something that I would paint and it is very disturbing not to be able to vent that creative impulse.

I believe we all have an internal and an external environment and what an artist produces speaks profoundly to the spirit within.

For my life, art is a wonderful blessing. It gives me a way to express my wonder at the amazing world God has created, and a way to share the joy of the whole experience with others. I have found that painting has taught me to see "more" than the average person does in everything I look at. When I look in your face, I see light, shadow, reflection, color. It always makes me happy when my students first begin to see color and shape in things they have never noticed before. They get so excited. It truly enhances life to be able to see beauty where you have never seen it before.

Through the years I have had many one person shows, won awards, acquired patrons all over the United States, and am hanging in private and institutional collections. I have taught private lessons, small classes, and workshops. All of that is fine, but I paint because I love it and feel compelled to do so. I sell because, except for very, very rare instances, the process itself is what I enjoy most, and I have no real attachment to the pictures. In all these years there have only been two or three paintings that I regretted not keeping. So these are my offerings...

Please enjoy.

-- Harriett McDonald


Harriett McDonald and Gallery Night

 

Copyright 2002 Harriett McDonald. All rights reserved. Revised: March 01, 2004
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