A Feeling of Colour - Marion McConaghie
Marion McConaghie is inspired by the decadence of the Renaissance and Art History, and this can be sensed in her beautiful works.
She loves to add texture to her art, using a variety of materials and techniques, including collage, acrylics, watercolours, charcoal, pencil and spray paints, plus digital techniques and experimental printing.
Marion grew up near the Causeway Coast in Ireland and came to England to study art, gaining a First Class degree in Fine Art Painting.
She studied fine art at Nottingham University, and then on to Brighton University. Throughout her studies, Marion spent time exploring installation, photography and video, which inspired the sense of movement she gives to her paintings. After university, Marion embarked on a career in graphic design and before long, she found herself gravitating towards creating mixed media paintings.
Marion creates both figurative and abstract art. Her abstracts are mainly inspired by the sea and landscape, some of these are drawn from inspiration from growing up near the sea in Northern Ireland. exploring the relationship between the modern and traditional with some use of graffiti in her paintings.
Marion always starts her process with lots of research and planning.
We present you with a questionnaire we asked Marion to answer,
Where do you live?
Lewes, East Sussex, UK.
Since when have you been an artist?
I’ve been involved in art for many years, with college, university, part time art related activities, but properly focused on it for the last 7-8 years.
What would you call your style of art?
Emotive, Expressive, Textural.
Did you study Art or are you self-taught? What did you study?
I completed a foundation course in the early 1990’s at Nottingham University, studied further at Sir John Cass in London and completed my degree at Brighton University in 1995 in Fine Art Painting obtaining a First Class Honours Degree.
Is painting a full-time job or do you do another thing? If you also do
something else, what is it?
I am a Mum so I work in my home studio around school times and holidays.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Downhill Castle in Northern Ireland, Highgate Cemetery, North London.
What are your hobbies?
There’s not a lot of time for hobbies but I like to go for walks in the countryside and by the sea.
Where do you paint?
In my studio at home.
What mediums do you work with?
Acrylics, water based oils, charcoal, pencil, markers, spray paints, texture mediums and collage.
Professionally, what is your goal?
To carry on working in a field which I love.
Does personal history work its way into your practice? How might who you are
be reflected in your current work?
I’m really inspired by history and the past so it does work its way into my work.
What are you presently inspired by— are there particular things you are
reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
I’m currently inspired by the things I’ve always been inspired by, history, texture in nature, textures found in flaky old paint, peeling billboards, antiques, graffiti. My favourite place to be inspired by portraits is the National Portrait Gallery in London or walking around the old houses of the National Trust absorbing the old masters hanging on the wall.
How has your style changed over the years?
For many years I did commercial work applying my creative ideas to designing cards while I worked full time as a graphic designer and artworker. I needed this outlet to do something creative but it wasn’t really fulfilling my passion, so it took many years to figure out what I wanted to paint. Before I got back into my painting though I created a range of dictionary print art, which became very successful and was taken on by a large publishing house, these prints are still selling today as a separate outlet to my fine art work.
What is art for you?
I love the way art creates an emotion in you the same way music can.
Three things in your bucket list.
Visit Italy, explore southern Ireland and get a bigger studio.
What is the most challenging part about being an artist?
Getting hours to actually paint is challenging as there can be a lot of administrative details attached to my work, which is of course an important part of it, but sometimes can take up valuable painting time.
What is the best part about creating art?
Getting lost and absorbed by colours and texture.
What is indispensable in your art studio?
My bluetooth music player.
What do you worry about and why?
The current state of the world’s problems. It’s best not watching the news!
How do you define success?
Doing something you are passionate about, being free to explore your own talents.
What does family mean to you?
What is your favourite food?
Fresh food and everything sweet.
What are you the most grateful for?
Health and doing my art.
Do you have pets? What are they?
Yes a cat.
What’s your fondest childhood memory?
Christmas was always special.
What music do you listen to? Do you paint with music?
Music plays an important part in my work even though I’m not a musical person myself. I listen to it as it gets me into the painting zone of work. I listen to a huge variety of music so it is hard to sometimes pinpoint a particular artist although Kate Bush has been a huge influence on me, Sinead O’Connor too, I find her voice amazingly raw and also Mazzy Star. Also anything from rap, Irish and techno music or other tunes I used to listen to in the 80’s-90’s.
What makes you cry?
A sad film.
Name something you love, and why.
Explain what you do in 100 words
I create a range of images which include subjects such as abstracts, animals and portraits in varying sizes on canvas or wood and also from some of these I create limited edition prints. I love texture and try to include this in my abstracts, these are inspired by the sea and landscape, some of them are drawn from inspiration from growing up on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. With my other subjects I create pieces with themes of freedom and movement with a collection of images depicting horses, birds and butterflies and portraits exploring the relationship between the modern and traditional with some use of graffiti in the paintings.
What words of wisdom would you pass unto your childhood self?
That it might take time to fulfil your dreams and passion, you just have to be patient.