Jeanette MacDonald’s brilliant artwork exudes whimsy, soul, and optimism — fueled by her ongoing creative journey and inner exploration
Artwork by Jeanette MacDonald
As a six-year-old, I had a spiritual experience (artistically speaking). My first grade teacher told us to draw a house. Pretty simple, right? I drew a triangle, a chimney with ‘happy’ smoke plumes billowing out, and the usual windows and doors. I felt quite proud of my creation. I even drew a path meandering up to the house. I colored the windows a sunny yellow, to give it a happy feeling. I must say, I felt quite proud of my masterpiece.
My classmates did not share my enthusiasm. They laughed at me, shouting that houses are not triangular. My teacher didn’t miss a beat. She asked if I had drawn the A-frame on the hill. I can’t remember if that was true or not, but I gratefully accepted her gift and proudly announced to the class that yes, indeed that is what I had done.
That early childhood experience taught me a beautiful life lesson: Creativity — in whatever form sparks your passion — is our greatest gift from our Creator.
I am so thankful for that teacher; she was the reason I began believing I had an artist’s soul. She taught me to be open and empathetic to the sensitive emotional heart that artists bring to canvas. She also gave me the courage to express my unique point of view and to share my art with others.
I had a tough childhood…no doubt about it. Some of us are called to experience more than others, and I come from a long line of family members who struggled. Some did not make it, dying young or battling life until the end. One thing I now know is that we all did the best we could. My personal struggles led me to use my art as a path to healing and self-discovery.
Some years ago, I read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. She introduced me to the practice of writing morning pages as a way to learn how to go deeper. I started to use writing and my art as tangible ways to put my best foot forward every day. I still do morning pages, practice gratitude, and read my inspirational books (Marianne Williamson’s A Year of Miracles, being one of those books).
Six years ago, we sold our house in Victoria to Nick Bantock, the author of the Griffin and Sabine Trilogy. I became friends with Nick and his wife, Joyce. One day after talking about his artwork, I made a spontaneous decision to sign up for his mixed-media workshop. Nick showed me the bountiful array of mediums available to create art – especially for collage pieces. It was like a gate swung open and my heart started to pour out my feelings onto the canvas. I was like a kid in the candy store!
I’m a believer in manifesting the life and experiences we desire.
One such amazing experience involves a Hay House Writer’s Workshop. In June of last year, I was on my way to Maui (where I got married ten years earlier) to see my personal hero, Dr. Wayne Dyer. I was over-the-moon excited about this trip. But at the airport, with our bags already checked, my friend called to tell us our dog (fur-baby) was not doing well, and we needed to come home. Sadly, Wayne died shortly afterwards, and I never did get to see him.
In September, my friend Laura invited me to join her in New York to attend another Hay House Writer’s Workshop. Here’s where it gets weird (in a cool way). Two seats over from us was a girl from Hawaii that I recognized. It turned out she was the makeup and hair stylist who made me beautiful for my wedding in Maui ten years earlier. It was as if the Universe (and even Wayne) were telling me: “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”
I’m a big faith person. I have come to believe that behind every obstacle, better things await us if we can give up the control over how something is supposed to play out. When we allow ourselves to be divinely led, amazing things can happen. My art is a manifestation of this belief.