Lifelong Fort Saskatchewan resident Meghan MacMillan, who has always loved drawing and painting, was about five or six years old when she decided she wanted to be an artist.
It wasn’t until MacMillan was a teenager, getting ready to graduate from Ardrossan Junior Senior High, that she decided to make art her life. Her boyfriend, the man she would one day marry, encouraged her to apply to the University of Alberta’s fine arts program.
“He actually was going to the U of A and brought me the application forms. So he's like, ‘You be an artist.’”
Now the 33-year-old MacMillan can’t imagine doing anything else.
“It's part of me,” she said.
A member of the Society of Fort Saskatchewan Artists, MacMillan specializes in abstracts, works like New Day and Coming Home, canvases alive with vibrant waves and ribbons of colour.
A mother of two busy young children, MacMillan has to make a point of finding time to work in her basement studio, sometimes in five-minute bursts. She creates her pieces by applying coats of acrylic paint to canvases or birch panels, letting each layer dry before adding the next one.
“I layer colours and let the light and your eyes mix the colours instead of mixing the colours myself,” MacMillan said of her technique.
MacMillan finds her inspiration in life’s ordinary moments, like a thunderstorm rolling off the foothills or waking up next to a loved one or playing with her daughter or son. She has always been drawn to bright colours, she said, and if she had to sum up the subject of her work in one word, it would be “joy.”
“And I really only figured out why a couple years ago,” she said. “I was diagnosed with depression. So I don't want to paint my depression. I want to grasp on to the things that give me joy and express that so I can remember that joy when I'm in a depression.”
Through her art, MacMillan wants to help people see that there’s more to life than disasters and doom and gloom.
“This life is beautiful, so I want to remind people of that.”
MacMillan’s works are available for viewing throughout May at Mix 107 in the Integrity Land Building. Starting in September, she will have a solo showing at the Paint Spot in Edmonton.