Donna McGee

Artist-painter and teacher.

B.A., McGill University, Montreal, and M.A. in Art History, Concordia University, Montreal

A bilingual, native Montrealer, I credit my incredibly dynamic, culturally rich, and often frustrating city for producing so many accomplished artists of all stripes: visual artists, musicians, actors and directors, architects, sculptors and dancers.

While I love the exchange of ideas that is part of my environment, I toil away quietly in my own little corner, but I also teach equally passionate people about art: the techniques in acrylic and watercolour, drawing and showing examples from art history and generally trying to help them find their own voice in their art.

And I paint. Since I teach, I experiment. So I often have about three different paths of exploration going at the same time. Something in watercolour, something else in acrylic and, well, it depends.

The Themes:

Water is the commonality in my work.

Most superficially, perhaps, is how water and pigment behave on paper. My aesthetic has much in common with some Japanese art -- a deceptive simplicity, calligraphic elements and an emphasis on the placement of objects within the composition.

There is also a more traditional series in acrylic. Here, it's the reflections, the transparency, the refractions and its ubiquitousness, and our capacity to take it for granted, especially in Canada. Included in my pictorial analysis of water is the awareness of its symbolic content found in many works of literature and poetry – water as cleanser, refresher or purifier, passage across water as an indicator of change, growth, or death.

Third, my interest is in the big picture. As in the really big picture, or pictures that have come back from the Hubble telescope and what that means to us as inhabitants of this planet. So often I feel that we need a bit of perspective that goes beyond our petty annoyances with each other; annoyances that cause wars and way too many forms of disrespect and mistreatment of each other (to understate it a bit...).

This abstract series is meant to aid meditation, especially of our minuscule existence in the incredible vastness of space. But to interpret the dry matter and dust of the big picture, there is a contradiction – I need fluidity in my paint.

I build these paintings slowly, layer by layer, and need time for each layer to dry. Sometimes they take over and my careful planning gets co-opted. I like the surprises this type of painting brings me.

My paintings are in collections in Canada and Europe.