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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nantucket Dreaming, 6x8 Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

Nantucket Island.
Is this a place you love?  Isolated, yet close enough... wild, but civilized, sea breezes and cool architecture...  good food, yeah, it's got a lot going for it!
This month Girls Just Wanna Paint had a topic of "Looking Down".  I have always wanted to do some aerial paintings so maybe this will be a jumpstart! You can see the rest of the submissions HERE.

Tonight, the 30th, Wednesday, we will have a little reception for our GirlsJustWannaPaint show at the South Shore Natural Science Center, from 6-8.  And, here, a day late and a dollar short, is my announcement.  Please come by to see our work, come tonight to meet us all and have a sip and nibble 💗

Friday, October 28, 2016

What A FUN Day!

Last Sunday was the Hingham Arts Walk.  And Girls Just Wanna Paint was there in force.  We were stationed at the Hingham Community Center with a satellite position at Talbots - could it be better?  I doubt it!  
What we did was set up a beautiful still life with gorgeous zinnias, a gift from a wonderful fellow artist, Gail Nathanson, and all of us Girls were in a circle around it, painting it.  We each had a table of our other art, for view and sale, against the walls of the room.  We had cider and delicious cookies, too.  So we got to talk about our work, our methods, our viewpoint and style with the many, many visitors.  
We also got to spread the word about our upcoming show at the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell, MA, which goes up November 22.  So much going on!  
My painting, entitled "Zinnia Frenzy" is 10x10 inches on canvas.  It will be at our November show.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Something A LITTLE Different, and Hingham Arts Walk

OK, I'll admit it... I've painted probably a hundred donuts, but NEVER a munchkin!  Whaaat? Seriously.  So as a demo in my North River Arts class (that ends this week, boo-hoo - but a new one will start next week!) we started off with a little bit of sweetness for the first class.  They were amazing students. These 3 were mine, the assignment was to paint the same objects in 3 different compositions.  I think my favorite one is the bottom one, with them all in a row.  How about you???They are on paper.  I will bring them to the Hingham ARTS walk tomorrow.

From 12-4 GirlsJustWannaPaint will be stationed at the Hingham Community Center, 70 South Street, Hingham.  We will rotate in and out of Talbots, too!  We'll have tasty sips and nibbles, and we will be painting a still life!  Come on by!  Say 'HI!'

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Koi, 6x6 inch Acrylic by Kelley MacDonald

Right now my cup runneth over.  I will share everything bit by bit with you, my blogosphere friends, but for today... my 3 classes are running very well.  Am I just blessed with incredible people signing up for the classes - QUITE POSSIBLY!

I think it's a combination of their talent (which they will, to a person, deny), attitude of openness to the tasks, and their just goodness.  I love the days I teach.  Sometimes my demos make me happy, sometimes not.  Today was a YES day.  As a matter of fact I was going to name this painting "Saying Yes To All the Good".

Does this mean I don't have worries?  HA!  That everything is smooth and I am not agonizing over this friend or that?  NOPE.  (we will not mention politics here, just ART and LOVE) :)  No, but I have been saying YES to a LOT of things, and am sometimes overwhelmed, but... I am receiving back a thousand fold.  So... thanks for following.

I love these little Koi, and will probably paint them BIG.  Ya Think?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Busy Prepping for Upcoming Classes!

Let's get our painting groove ON!
In Marshfield, at North River, you can join me for a regular acrylics painting class on Tuesday mornings, or an advanced (exploring mediums - no need to be an 'advanced' painter for this) class on Tuesday afternoons. Starts THIS Tuesday, but you can hop on the wagon for the following week.

Also in BRISTOL, RI, at the Bristol Art Museum, I'd love you to join me on Wednesday afternoons to paint acrylics. To reserve your spot, please sign up soon! :D

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Oh, Iris, 18x18 inch Acrylic by Kelley MacDonald

This is a rather large one, compared with what I've been posting lately.  I've been allowing myself to paint larger, and more 'painterly' (expressive brushstrokes).  I did a vase of sunflowers a couple of days ago, and all afternoon worked on this - I wanted the silhouette to be strong, and I wanted the purple to be dimensional.  Then I played with the background - with white and 2 different yellows and a violet added, and thick paint.  This will be at my Art Al Fresco on Sunday - it was cancelled last week for weather.  Bristol is a beautiful little town, if you are around you should visit.  All my art will have special pricing, as I really don't have room to keep it and want people who WANT it to have it. If you are interested in purchasing this before it goes to Bristol on Sunday just email me at  and title the email "Iris Painting".  Anyway... here's the info:


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Double Trouble, 6x6 Inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

"Double Trouble", 6x6 inch original acrylic painting on archival board
$100 & $12 S&H
So.... it's a warm and sunny Summer morning, and you are out and about, listening to the birds, thinking about the day, and craving a coffee.  So you pull into a coffee shop (which will remain nameless but can be found on every 4th block in Rhode Island, anyway).  And you are just going to get a coffee.  Yes.  Absolutely.  

But... the woman behind the counter brings out a rack of plump puffs of sugar coated soft-as-a baby's-belly donuts oozing jelly... and WAIT.. where is your resolve?  How many do you WANT?  (how many can you fit in your car?) .  OK.  2.  No ... 3   So... 4.  Yes, 4.  And... it kind of makes a one-of-a-kind perfect morning, with enough to share with the dog, the spouse and anyone who might drop by (or the dog, if he can reach the bag).....

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer Skies, 8x10 inch Acrylic painting by Kelley MacDonald

Well, "a day late and a dollar short", as my much-missed Dad used to say!  This painting was for our GirlsJustWannaPaint post that went up Friday, and our topic this month was "Summer Skies".  Look at the rest of them HERE. I was going for a bit of a push in my brushwork, easier for me in oil than acrylic, but I wanted to try.  I'm a big advocate of putting down a stroke of paint and leaving it, and I wanted to hold myself accountable and not mush or smooth colors together.  Why?  You are probably asking (if you are not an artist) .... well, it demands a level of confidence, that you have thought about the color, and the value (darkness or lightness of that color) that can't be faked.  I wanted also to allow the colors I saw in the sky, clouds and water to be allowed to 'ripen' next to each other.

Sometimes a passerby will stop and look as I'm working outdoors and say "Do you really see those colors in the cloud?" "Yes," I reply, "and so would you if you took a moment and just looked at that one spot in the cloud."  Artists learn to really really look at everything.

Other news~ I am having an online auction at my former home, featuring a bunch of paintings - bidding starts at a dollar, you do have to register to bid, but if you are interested in a painting, rather than having to pick it up if you don't live in driving distance, I will ship, and bill you the shipping.  Honestly, I have things still sitting at $1!!!  All you have to do is email me at  Here you go, scroll through:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lipstick Artists

So I spent last week in Maine, one of my favorite places, painting furiously, catching up with artist friends, and talking about, thinking about and looking at art.  My eyes are exhausted!  Last week it mainly rained in Maine - or was overcast or extremely windy.  So I only did about 7 plein air pieces.  One day there was no chance of outdoor painting and we gathered on the enclosed porch to paint form our iPads or small still lifes, and I gathered lipsticks and set out to paint them.   NOT easy!  But certainly fun.  And I posted it on Facebook and everyone seemed to be able to pick out what types of lipstick I painted! This is an 8x8 inch acrylic painting.  Email me at if interested.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What Do Women Want? 11x14 Acrylic by Kelley MacDonald

"A Day At The Beach With A BFF And A Cute, Comfortable Bathing Suit (That Doesn't Make Me Look Fat)"

Happy June!  Today is the GirlsJustWannaPaint publishing day and don't you know I missed the deadline for putting up my post?  So it didn't go out with the rest of them this morning.  Oh, this painting was READY, but not till yesterday afternoon, when I was working on the water.  Then I had to dash to our GJWP meeting (which is kind of like a party sometimes, and last night was one of those... ahem... way more Cosmos than I'm used to... ) and I simply fell asleep when I got home, without putting the image in on the blog.  So... and you know what?  Many of us must have done the same thing!!!  The post that went out was missing a number of the paintings I saw at the meeting last night (we had a wonderful bartender...). 

So... I did this painting in response to the topic "What Women Want".  And what I was thinking was... really?  It's not money, cars, big houses, jewelry (although I argued with my self about this one), or what many men expect.  We want peace in our lives, girlfriends we can rely on in all circumstances, and every once in a while, a day (or half a day) without the usual commitments. No laundry, no deadlines, no thinking of what's for dinner, no negotiations, no CNN, none of that crap.  Just a really good day out with a girlfriend who you know has got your back.  Sunshine.  Waves.  Quiet.  A great book.  And if you're lucky you can follow all that up with a nice dinner and a Cosmo.  Well that's all I want, anyway! That and World Peace.  Doable, right?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wild And Crazy Martini, 8x8 Inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

 I got about 90% of this done in class at North River.  A student/friend graciously let me use this vivid fabric and I LOVE it.   I visualize this framed in a white wood frame, in a bar area or kitchen... I love the fabric background, and MAN was it a fun challenge to see how it looks when viewed through the vodka and glass!

So here's to you. Friends, artists, art lovers and just basic great women...CHEERS!  Celebrate!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Flowers And A Sweet Treat, by Kelley MacDonald

These are my very favorite Peonies from my old garden.  What do I love painting more?  The lush pink petals, the frou frou white centers?  Or..... the GLASS?  It's funny, when I start to paint these flowers I always think "CAN I do this?"  then I just stop worrying, and just do it.  And most of the time... it works.  This is a great little gift for a June birthday, anniversary or a 'just because' thing (or for yourself...).  I never get tired of looking at these flowers. 

And, we have big doings this weekend as my oldest son is getting married Saturday (so excited!), but on Sunday you can bet I'll be at the North River Arts Society's annual Festival.  Saturday and Sunday... seriously, great juried show, great crafts, photography, music, food... and a truly amazing art sale (art in the barn).  Here are a few FRAMED paintings I put in.  Really good price.  I decided a couple of years ago that I would only put things in this sale that I would buy myself, or hang on my own walls.  No clearing out of stuff that didn't sell elsewhere, or paintings that just weren't good enough.  So.... here are the candy paintings that will be there:

I guess '3' is the lucky number for me, eh?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Double Drip, 6x6 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald


I've been spending all day with these two babies under the lights and the scent was killing me!   I hadn't done a donut painting in so long, and have been working on Tulips (in an 8x8 inch size, for the Festival at North River Arts Society, art in the Barn) which I have been totally loving.  The tulips, these plus more, will be at an AMAZING price (they are larger than my regular Daily Paintings, and I've discounted them for the purpose of making what I consider a donation to North River, which is a totally awesome art group).  Here are a few of them:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Ruby, 6x6 inch Acrylic by Kelley MacDonald


Happy Mothers' Day to all you mothers, to all of you who have lost your mothers, mothers who have lost their children, women who yearn to be mothers... all.  This, as I get older, has become such a laden day.  Of course, I think of my own mother... who, if I'm to be honest, I held at arm's length for years.  What was I afraid of?  That I wasn't a perfect child?  That she wasn't a perfect Mom?  How I wish I could get just one of those years back, because now... well, now I know.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that she loved me, and I loved her, and what I wouldn't give to lavish her with love, affection and treats .... ach.  That is a wish I'll never get.  And I know she knows I hear her voice in my head ALL THE TIME.  When I'm impatient with someone I hear her saying "They are doing the very best that they can."  When I'm critical of someone she's saying "If they could change that about themselves they would." "Just do your best (really?  because that one always went against the sort of judgement that I needed to be the 'best'...)."  Still.  I can look back now and see her frustrations, and her sense of loss which she felt all her life, after losing her parents and ending up in an orphanage.

And what I have that endures are her real gifts.  Courage.  Strength.  Faith (which, yes, gets wobbly and even missing sometimes, but oops, there it is again!).  Stubbornness.  Drive.  And compassion.  All things which are the essentials in this world, gifts from her.  Gifts I hope I can pass on to my own 3 wonderful children.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Cinco De Mayo, 6x6 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

How would you like it?  Straight up or frozen?  Hmmm... Maybe you like it one way and your best buddy/friend/significant other likes it the other?  Whatever way you make it or buy it, it is delish!  I like mine extra lime-y.  I remember my favorite Margarita story.. I was painting in Mexico, in San Miguel de Allende with Paula Villanova and it was Easter Week (had we realized this we may have picked another week, but the crowds were fun, too).  Paula and I were painting in the Jardin (town square) and she went for a walk.  I jokingly asked her how much I could sell her painting for, and she said some silly answer like $20.  We laughed, and don't you know I sold both paintings on our easels while she was gone!  I gave the guy a terrific price and he was thrilled, as were we.  Paula and I celebrated by spending the afternoon in a very cool, beautiful restaurant drinking the best Margaritas (straight up) I have ever had, to this day.  Don't remember too much about the rest of the day, but I'm sure it was fun. :)  I will get back to that lovely town.....  And if you enjoy Paula's paintings, you can see them as well on our Girls Just Wanna Paint blog. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Man's Best Friend, 12x12 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

First of the month, that always brings the Girls Just Wanna Paint piece.  This month's topic was "Man's Best Friend".  So, so many painting ideas floated through my head.  But this one, the steadfast little waggly tail tucked under his master's arm at a hard moment, this is the one that I had to paint.  I love painting dogs, and it nearly killed me to paint this painting 'from behind', as there is no little wet nose pushing it's way into your face... but plenty of time and days for that.  I find that my animals (and yes, I include my cats here) seem to just know when I feel bereft, and they insist that I take their comfort.  I'm grateful for them, and while they aren't cure-alls, they are terrific best friends! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gimlet, Anyone? 7x5 Inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

Green.  I love the color!  So many greens in this piece!  And well, so many yummy things are green, like limes!  And then there's all that ice - never too much ice!

So.. kick back & enjoy.  This might just be my drink of the summer.  Looks so refreshing, no?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Make Mine A Manhattan, 6x6 Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

I guess I'm thinking of 2 things today, painting this, OK, 3 things. 
  1. It's Primary Day in New York, and aren't we lucky to be able to vote for whomever we choose?
  2. I have a friend that's coming to celebrate her birthday and her FREEDOM from her job, and I'm very excited, wanting to toast to her!
  3. I love love love painting the shimmery, gold, yellows and reds in a Manhattan with a cherry.  OK, I love painting any kind of whiskey, bourbon, any of that gold-y stuff.  Which is kind of odd, since I don't actually like the taste of it!  It's the visuals, that get me, every time.  Plus painting glass... I love to do that too.
Anyway - hey, we have a lot to be grateful for - every one of us, if we think about it, so ... here's to you!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Oooops, I Did It Again.... 6x6 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

So it's finally, finally Spring, when our young hearts turn to thoughts of love and.. jelly donuts!  Those magical, pillowy mouthfuls of sugar and jelly and puffy dough... OOOH!  

I have in mind a whole box of them, of different design.. but I will always start and return to my lovely jellies.  I've been exposed recently to APRICOT jelly donuts.  Devils up in the Quincy area make them and ... well, let me just say it's worth the trip.

Enjoy the milder weather - I think we can put away our snow boots and shovels here in New England.  Breathing in, and breathing out....  thinking of new things to add to my blog!
OH!  Have you seen the GirlsJustWannaPaint pieces for this month?  I think... it may be our best month ever!  Go HERE to view! The topic?  "Looking Up"!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Darling Sparrow, 6x6 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald


Do you love her?  I do.  I have always been drawn to the soft, pouffy rounded shape of a Sparrow.  I think if you sit and watch them you just have to fall a little bit in love with them.  Notwithstanding my cat thinks my love for sparrows includes dead ones,  which it most definitely does not.  I love their lively little eyes and dancing way of hopping around.  

I have somewhere (packed, and I'll find it) a sculpture of 3 sparrows on a branch.  When I get it out I'll include a photo of it. 
HUGE apologies for a post I wrote (it was a long one) on the 1st.  It disappeared - and didn't even go to the Drafts folder.  Shaking my head.... hope this guy gets out to you all.  Hey.... Spring is VERY close!  Reason to celebrate!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baby, It's COLD Outside, 6x6 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

I have long wanted to do more figure painting.  Can never seem to find the time for 1) a class, 2) a drop in or 3) a workshop.  But today I felt compelled.  And this baby appeared on my easel.  No, I don't know this child, it's adapted from a Google Search. 
I used (Cadmium) Red, (Cadmium) Yellow and (Ultramarine) Blue and white, plus a bit of Burnt Umber (brown).  I love baby faces because they are without guile, their eyes are large and their skin is so soft.  I plan on doing many more.  I think a collection of these would be so adorable together!
Are the eyes the window of the soul?  Seems so.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

You Deserve It( - and my process), 6x6 Inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

Dead of winter... halfway through.  I have friends who are at the beach, soaking up the sunshine, playing and dining outdoors, in warm places.  No.  I don't resent you - YOU DESERVE IT.  And honestly, this winter, despite a couple of weeks of rough patch, has been sort of kind.  I hope you exult in your warm days, your tan you tried not to get (right...). Kick off your flip flops and walk the beach, let your mind wander and R-E-L-A-X.  Because... yeah... you deserve it.

And here's a sneak peek at a Work In Progress (or maybe it's done, I never know).  See, our Girls Just Wanna Paint topic this month is "Palette".  You know, like our artist's palette.  So... first I made many sketches in my sketchbook of one of those hand held wooden palettes.  My personal palette is one of two: a clear glass piece on a kitchen cart, or a disposable palette, with about 20 sheets of waxy paper.  

I. Was. Bored.

So, I thought, what if I made a wild garden (the only kind I can grow) and made a flower for each color on my palette?  I use a limited palette (to start with, anyway) of
Titanium White
Cadmium Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Light
Quinacridone Rose
Ultramarine Blue
Path Blue and
Burnt Umber

So I took a canvas and over about 4 days laid down the 'darks' of the leaves, stems and loam, and the 'light' of the sky.  At least 2 layers for the sky - at least 6 for the darks. Then.... I COULD NOT BEAR to put the flowers in!  FEAR OF FAILURE.  A friend whose opinion I respect came by and I asked her and she said,  no, no flowers.  I agreed.  Mostly.  Decided to start from scratch with a completely different idea. 

BUT THEN... I was cleaning my other house's studio out and found a big piece of mylar (clear sheeting).  I taped it over (you can see a piece of tape on the upper left corner) the painting and proceed to paint as I had imagined it.  And I am very glad I tried this.  I don't know now, if I will paint this design on the actual painting or simply adhere the mylar with the paint on it on TOP of the canvas.  But it came out exactly as I imagined it.  

Lesson:  Trust yourself.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Island Kitchen, 6x6 inch acrylic painting by Kelley MacDonald


There's a little island off the South Coast of Massachusetts called Cuttyhunk Island.  It's not a tourist destination.  It's tiny, very walkable, and you would go there for peach and quiet, for beauty and the salt air.  I was lucky 2 years ago to go and stay at the Avalon Inn, and this was their kitchen, which, btw, is my DREAM kitchen. If I ever built a kitchen it would be based on this one.  When I look at the photos I took I am taken right back to that magical time, where I met some great people and was able to sink into my art for a few days with no disruption.  And begin and end every day with stimulating conversation and fabulous food.  Every year the founders of this Artist's Retreat make magic happen for the artists, and imbed memories that last for years.  This year's spots are all taken, I believe but if you keep your eyes out, they open for registration early Fall, for the NEXT Fall.  Yoga in the morning, do what you will all day... cocktails and bonding and sharing in the evening.  Here's the website:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Church Beach, Cuttyhunk Island, 12x16 acrylic by Kelley MacDonald

This was my submission for Girls Just Wanna Paint this month, and the topic was The Golden Mean. You can read about what that is HERE.  It's a way to make sense of why we place things where we do and how it's got a mathematical reason.  
Or something.  God help me.  I either choose my compositions intuitively, or use a grid, with 2 vertical sections and 2 horizontal sections, and aim the focal point somewhere at one of the 4 intersections, but MOSTLY I try different sketches and find what one looks the best to me.
This scene is from an image I took while on Cuttyhunk, a magical week.  Lonely house, gorgeous view, endearing path down to the beach.  Or up to the house, depending.  
I love the solitude implied in this scene.  NOT loneliness, just the wonderful ability to feel the smallness of us verses the bigness of the Universe.  Of God. Of everything 'not-us'.  And how that is all OK, it's how it's supposed to be, and it just feels right.  it's much less than it would be framed, in a show, and also it will cost me much more than $10 to ship it, and that's a gift from me. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tulip Time - Already?? Original Painting by Kelley MacDonald

Time moves on and so do we all!  This has been an unbelievably busy Holiday Season, and also - I have moved, so on top of pushing out 42 small paintings for Little Pictures types of shows, and juggling 2 day jobs, I've become an Urban Girl.  Yup.  Never thought I'd like it (yes, that was me you heard kicking and screaming...) but I will admit... it is A-OK.  I never realized how much TIME I spent getting places.  Now there are endless sidewalks to explore with Paco, and even the cats do not seem to mind not going outside for their morning constitutional.
PLUS I'm super close now to my sons, and that is just GREAT.  

So these tulips grace my new space... and it is the end result of a lesson I taught at the Art Club today.  We took a photo, did 3 small quick experimental paint sketches, and settled on one to really paint.  Teaching at 2 places now, the Club and North River Arts Society in Marshfield.  I love my life!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Garden Of Color, 16x20 Inch acrylic painting by Kelley MacDonald

 "Garden Of Color" 16x20 acrylic on canvas, and acrylic on mylar

Is it March ALREADY????  Giving thanks for a not-too-horrible winter! And yes, it's GirlsJustWannaPaint day, too!  So, this month our topic was "Palette".  As usual, I tried out different ideas in my sketchbook.  What I decided on was a 'garden' depicting each color of my limited palette colors.  A limited palette is when an artist uses just red, yellow and blue (usually, like in my case, a cool and a warm of each color) plus white (and burnt umber).  

So I did my foliage, kind of happy, dancing leaves, etc. and was more than happy with it.  So happy, in fact, that I feared putting in the flowers.  What if that was a bad idea?  I'd ruin the foliage I liked so much.  I decided to take a piece of mylar sheeting and lay it over the canvas, to fit exactly, and paint on TOP of that, and then I could see if it would work.  It did.  But it worked too well.  I was extremely free and loose with the strokes for the flowers, and I like how they came out, like those exact brush strokes, very much.  I knew I could NEVER recreate them exactly.  So I am trying to see how to affix the mylar topping over the canvas.  Even though I've been told I can't do this (which is EXACTLY what to sat to me if you want me to break my head trying...) I love the 3-D effect having the mylar sitting atop the canvas gives.  Below are some close ups... (sideways of course... it's been that kind of day)

For now... it's just sitting.  Any ideas of fixing it to the canvas  LET ME KNOW.  :)

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