About Susan McDonald

A Little Historical Perspective

My interest in making art started about 50 years ago when I attended one of the international shows that used to happen regularly in the 70’s — where we were exposed to cultures, food, etc. that were not common at the time.  They were everywhere!  I attended one in Kingston and watched a display of painting at the ‘Chinese Pavilion,” and a part of me recognized it, and I said to my husband “I can do that.”  He scoffed a bit but I bought myself some watercolours, sat down, and made some pieces.  I even painted on some cheap toilet paper (was too rough for any other use!).  That was the beginning.  Of course back then we didn’t take pictures of everything we produced, thankfully, but it was the beginning of a long journey for me.

Since that time I’ve taken many workshops and courses, tried my hands at many mediums, but I continuously return to those roots and you can see it reflected in my style.  I’ve settled into watercolours and ink, mainly because they don’t smell, and you’ll see that I’ve had a lifelong love affair with trees.  I see trees as people, and people as trees — even made a little money way back showing people the trees I see in them (and they are still up on their walls).  So every tree I do is an individual, whether they’re painted large on 22 x 30 paper, or teeny tiny in groups, if you look at them hard enough you may even see yourself.

Trees haven’t been my only subject though — I did a series called “Memories of China” before I actually had the opportunity to get to China — the colours are dramatic and in bold abstract.  When I got to China I found these paintings reflected in the fabulous silks I saw at one of the most famous silk shops in Shanghai.  I was surprised myself!  Most of these sold but I did take pictures!  You’ll see some below.

A solo show at the Colborne Art Gallery featured artwork and work in clay that I called ‘Going Beyond’, so the paintings were of ethereal gateways to the beyond, and the clay works were funeral urns.  A bit of a drama queen, eh?  Those art pieces were done in ink, and I’m happy to say I only have a few of them left which grace my own walls.  

Speaking of drama, my work right now is all about emotion and movement.  I’ve had some very dramatic and drastic changes and challenges over the past few years and you’ll see that in the work.  Some of the work is now on the gallery page, and on the landing page of the website.  I have some more new pieces coming, but in the meantime, I’m posting pictures of my ‘older’ work here.  Not sure if it will be chronological, but hope you can enjoy them!

Some of the work was shown at the Kohl Gallery in Toronto, Colborne Art Gallery in Colborne, Northumberland Art Gallery in Cobourg, or the Southampton Art Gallery in Southampton (and a few other galleries in Toronto that may not even be there anymore!).  I’ll have to get out my CV and jog my memory! 

Here’s a small sampling!

What year is this? At Ganaraska Art in Port Hope, maybe 2008?  All those paintings on the wall are mine!

Memories of China 2006?

Memories of China #1


Memories of China #2

Memories of China #3




Going Beyond (Colborne Gallery):

Waiting on the other side …










The first gate

Lost on the way






Turning paper into fabric (Ganaraska Art):

Almost home













Trees (ongoing!  Some shown at the Colborne Art Gallery and the Southampton Art Gallery):












Stay in Your Own Box!

Taking Refuge






Hanging by a thread …