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Changing Gears

The Fort Saskatchewan Families’ First Society recently moved into a new home, a newly-renovated former RCMP detachment. There was a lot of work to do to transform the building into a family-friendly space, and a lot of fundraising to make it happen. 

So, after Night of Artists last month I quickly change gears into “mural mode”.

As a tribute to the many (MANY!) donors, I volunteered my time to create a donor tree in the front lobby of their beautiful building. This mural was finally unveiled last week. 

 

...I still can't believe people let me paint on their walls
The completed donor wall at the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society
 
It was a privilege to help out a group that does so much for our community and the families within it. It’s a community I am proud to call home. 

Now, it’s time to change gears again. My studio is still a disaster from “last-minute show-prep mode”. Time to clean up and get back down to work. I’ve got some fun new projects ahead. 

 

Silk painting supplies from the Paint Spot
Silk painting, anyone?
 
Coming up for me:

May: Family vacation in Jasper (bring my watercolours!)

June: Art and Faith retreat

July: Whyte Avenue Art Walk

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Busybusybusybusybusybusy

With so much going on I don’t feel like I’ve had the time to update you all on what has been keeping me busy. Here goes, bullet-point style!

– January is always busy in the MacMillan house. Both spawn have birthdays this month, which means parties and hosting and epic cake making.

 

Minions Cake! BOOYAH!
A homemade Minions cake for an awesome 2-year-old
 
– I was also hired to do some mural work for a local preschool this month. A Fairytale Beginning Preschool is moving into their new home this weekend! The place looks great, but I may be a little biased.

 

Mural by Meghan MacMillan
Ever feel like you’re being watched?
 
– I’ve been steadily working on some new paintings, because I need to have some stock for Night Of Artists, March 4-6 at St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre. I’ll also be set up the night before for the St. Albert Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Awards on March 3.

– I just finished a large painting that is to be scanned and turned into clothing! Very exciting! I will let you know more as I know more.

– I was approached by an Edmonton gallery owner to have a show sometime in the next months! Details to follow.

– Working on some different product for the upcoming festival season! Stay tuned…

– New large public commission in the works…?

As always, you can find out what I’m up to day-to-day by following me on Twitter and Instagram! You can also find me on Snapchat (meghan_art), but I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet… *shakes cane at all the young whipper-snappers*

 

***Post Edited on Feb 2, 2016*** I’m currently having image upload issues, so the photos from this post have been deleted. Sorry!

***Edited again*** Really hoping the photos work this time… Someone please tell me if they’re sideways for you…

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Thankful

I am thankful for many things in my life, and I will share them with you. But first let’s learn a little bit about me.

I live in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, where I was born and raised. I studied art at the University of Alberta, and married my husband in 2007 shortly after receiving my BFA. We have two children, a 4.5-year-old son and a 1.5-year-old daughter.

I don’t always feel like my son and daughter are my only children, however. I pour so much into every painting I create it almost feels as if they also become my art-children. When someone buys a painting they adopt it, like I’m sending the artwork to live in a different, but good home.

The oldest of these art-children were created in 2006 and 2007, during my last year of study at the University of Alberta. I had struggled throughout my studies to find my voice as an artist, and my fourth and final year is when everything finally came together for me.

That year I created a series of large colourful paintings using layers of transparent paint, a method of colour mixing I still use today. And until this past March, those same large paintings lived in my studio, taking up much needed space. I was unable to simply cast them aside, however. I love those paintings! They were so important in my development as an artist. I was too attached to them to just get rid of them. They needed a good home.

You may remember when I posted in March about my BFA collection getting one last hurrah. In short, the large colourful paintings were being hung in an office in downtown Edmonton for one last showing before they were to be dismantled and put into storage. Unfortunately, I simply could not have them in my studio any more, taking up room both physically and mentally.

Well, it turns out that the kind folks at Pekarsky & Co.  (where the paintings are hanging) LOVE the art. This past week we made things official and they are now the proud owners of the entire BFA collection, along with some of my watercolour paintings.

I can’t express enough how deeply honoured I am, that they would love my work so much to essentially buy it in bulk. I am always joyful when someone loves my work enough to adopt it. It’s a joy that’s only ever surpassed by my family and my Lord. I am also grateful I did not have to go through the painful process of dismantling the paintings.

Thanksgiving has come early for me this year. I am thankful for the talent I have been given, that I have the means to use it, and that others are eager to share in the joy it brings.

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Upcoming events

Just a quick note on where to find me next!

I’ll be setting up a booth THIS Saturday (September 12) at the Strathearn Art Walk. I have new cards in stock and new necklaces available. And, of course, I will have my original paintings with me, including a couple that I started at the Whyte Avenue Art Walk. Please come by and say “Hi”!

On September 26 I will be at the Shake At The Lake & Art Walk in the Greisbach neighbourhood. It promises to be a fun family event with music and games and inflatables. Hope to see you there!

Meghan MacMillan, Artist

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Getting ready…

…for the 2015 Whyte Avenue Art Walk! I can’t believe it’s just over a week away.

I’ve been scurrying to finish work in progress, and am happy to show you FOUR new paintings!

"How Sweet (the Sound)" by Meghan MacMillan, acrylic on birch, 12x36", 2014-15
“How Sweet (the Sound)”,  acrylic on birch, 12 x 36″, 2014-15   –   $525
"Revolutionaries Wait" by Meghan MacMillan, acrylic on birch, 12x36", 2014-15.
“Revolutionaries Wait”, acrylic on birch, 12 x 36″, 2014-15   –   $525
"Save It For Tomorrow" by Meghan MacMillan, acrylic painting on canvas, 20 x 60", 2014-15.
“Save It For Tomorrow”, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 60″, 2014-15   –   $880
"Fly Up To The Surface" by Meghan MacMillan, acrylic on canvas, 36x48", 2012-15.
“Fly Up To The Surface”, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48″, 2012-15   –   $925

My Art Walk tent will be set up on 83rd ave, just south of McIntyre (Gazebo) Park, near the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. I hope to see lots of people there… Looks like it’ll be an event to remember!

Learn more about the 2015 Whyte Avenue Art Walk here: http://www.art-walk.ca.

I’ll also be setting up THIS SUNDAY at Savour Strathcona County in Sherwood Park. Learn more here: http://www.strathcona.ca/departments/economic-development-and-tourism/tourism/savour-strathcona-county/

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One last hurrah.

I might be overly attached to my artwork.

Don’t get me wrong – I love selling paintings! But every time I do, a tiny piece of me is sad to see it go to its new home. I invest a lot of myself into each of my paintings; not just time or money, but emotions and experiences.

A couple of years ago I was brought to tears when I heard that one of my paintings, which had been sold for quite some time, had been destroyed in the floods that ravaged southern Alberta in 2013. So just getting rid of artwork that is old and unsold almost seems heartless to me.

My BFA portfolio has followed me around for almost 8 years and through two moves, and has now sat in my current basement studio for over 5 years. The paintings are massive, much larger than I paint now, and difficult to sell. But I could just not bring myself to get rid of them. They are GOOD paintings. They were foundational in bringing my practice to where it is today.

But it’s time.

On Sunday I delivered the paintings to an office in downtown Edmonton for one last exhibition, or one last hurrah. If, in six months, they have not sold, then they will be dismantled and the stretchers reused. The canvases themselves will be rolled and put into storage.

The paintings themselves take up too much physical space in my studio, and too much brainspace when I’m painting. I need to let go and move on, and try new things.

Speaking of selling paintings…

If you would like to see any of these paintings up close and in person, please let me know and I will put you in touch with the wonderful people at Pekarsky Stein, who have been so wonderful to work with, and I am so happy that they let me show my work in their offices!

Day Two
“Day Two”, 48 x 72″, acrylic on canvas, 2006. $800

 

 

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Coming soon, OR Doing anything and everything to stay creative.

So raising two kids is a bit more time consuming than I had anticipated.

PreschoolBoy is now going to preschool two afternoons a week. You’d think that’d give me more time to paint, but…

ToddlerGirl is on the move, and sleeping less during the day, AND she’s a climber. She’s going to be one of those kids that’ll keep me on my toes.

By the end of the day all I feel like doing is, well, nothing. So getting down to the studio has been a challenge.

But an artist without an outlet isn’t the best thing in the world, so I’m trying something new. Something I can do in front of the TV after the kids are in bed. Something I can still sell alongside my paintings during the coming festival season.

Presenting…

Handpainted, one-of-a-kind pendants!

Let me know what you think!

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Whyte Avenue Art Walk 2014

Meghan MacMillan at ArtWalk 2014
Meghan’s ArtWalk 2014 booth, set up under Edmonton’s famous Southpark on Whyte sign.

What a weekend it has been.

On this lazy Monday afternoon I am recovering from a whirlwind 3 days of art – talking about it, looking at it, making it, and selling it. For the second time I participated in the Whyte Avenue Art Walk in Edmonton, and I have to say, it’s made me want to set up my booth in more places and at more events. Not necessarily because I sold a lot, but because of the connections I am making with interested viewers.

If this is your first time visiting my website, after picking up one of my (almost 200 given out!) business cards this weekend, you may be wondering where the images of the art you saw this weekend are. Honestly, the lead up to the ArtWalk was so busy I never got them uploaded to my website. That is my task for the next few days. In the meantime, take a look around at my other work in the gallery, and remember: I do commissions!

Edit: The Daffodil Gallery has selected my work to appear in the 2014 Off-Whyte Show. Hooray!

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New Year, New Beginnings

A new year brings with it a time of reflection on the past. 2012 was certainly a year of ups and downs.

Ups: My best friend married her best friend. My son has grown (and continues to grow) in leaps and bounds. My mother has gone through a successful chemotherapy protocol. My husband is starting to get his own business off the ground. I volunteered with the City of Fort Saskatchewan and showed off my artistic skills for a series of promotional videos. I completed a commission for my MLA for her local constituency office.

Vibrant Skies
Vibrant Skies
30 x 54″, Acrylic on canvas, 2012

Downs: Not many, but one doozy. In late November I landed in the ER at the local hospital. I was almost 10 weeks pregnant at the time. Unfortunately, I lost my baby.

I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions since that day. There are times when I am praising God for the short time I had with my baby, that I am still healthy, and for the wide network of support He has given me. Other days are not so great, and I lean harder on Him and that support network. I have struggled artistically, not wanting to taint any works in progress with my sorrows, and not wanting to start any new works that would simply remind me of my struggles. I’ve been writing a lot, as a form of catharsis, until I feel ready to step into the studio again.

 

 

The new year is also a time to look forward to the upcoming year. A friend posted a fitting quote today on Instagram.

Photo credit: Riz_B

I find that I have hopes and make plans for the future, but I never get off my duff and do anything to achieve my goals. There are two solutions to this problem: Either stop making plans and having goals, or DO SOMETHING for goodness’ sake.

So, I’m doing something.

Though I haven’t produced anything in the studio since my miscarriage, I have been working on the business end of things. I finally have something close to a workable artist statement. I visited my favourite art store last week to pick up a few new tools for when I do get back into the swing of things.I’m gathering a list of galleries and shows to apply to.

When I finally find the time to breathe after putting all the Christmas decorations away and celebrating my son’s second birthday(!!!!), I’ll venture back into the studio and pick up a brush again. And I will live in the present, so I can have the future I want.

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