June 2012 Featured Artist

     Raina McDonald

TransCanada #1, monoprint, 30X22, 2010

Originally from Victoria, B.C., Raina McDonald moved to Nova Scotia in 2003 to pursue her passion for art.  She graduated from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, focusing on printmaking and drawing with a minor in Art History. Following graduation, McDonald participated in the 2009-10 VANS Mentorship program. She currently resides in Pictou County, Nova Scotia where she enjoys engaging with her rural community.  She has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the Maritimes and her work is in various collections across Canada including the Algerian Embassy, Ottawa, Ontario & at St. Michael’s Printshop Archives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

With hopes of maintaining connections to an arts community upon graduating from NSCAD, I became a member of VANS in 2006.  I enjoy receiving the VANS newsletters as a way of staying current with art happenings.  I have engaged with students from grade primary to grade twelve in my geographical area through art projects as part of VANS’ Professional Artists in the School’s (PAINTS) program. I also had the enriching opportunity to work with sculptor, Dawn MacNutt (New Glasgow), as my mentor in the VANS Mentorship Program.

I create experiences to discover more about myself, knowing that I am an organic being that is constantly changing.  My lived experiences of engaging with people and the land directly influence what avenue of expression I choose to engage and how the work unfolds.

Living in a rural community, I have at times felt isolated from a contemporary art conversation that allows for an expansive notion of what art is and a general curiosity about ideas and process.  In the past, this sense of isolation has had a tendency to paralyze my process, thereby shrinking the time and space that I give to my art practice.

The processes that I engage are varied from drawing and printmaking on paper to experiential projects on the land.  Current curiosities include how people interact with each other and the land and the present moment.

I Am Here
Currently, my studio is my property; an old growth Acadian forest where I live.  I am working in an overgrown foundation built in the 1840s, removing debris, combing through remnants of eras gone by, transplanting found perennials.  I am creating a walking trail through the woods leading in and out of the foundation.  This is in preparation for an experiential walking “field trip” titled I Am Here, in which I will invite participants to explore the surrounding world (considering here as a specific geographical location with stories that create notions of past, present and future) along with the world within each of us (considering ‘here’ as an intimate space within our bodies that we inhabit when we allow ourselves to be truly present).  This will be part of the W(here) Festival, Pictou County, NS – June 26th to June 30th 2012.

New Build
I am currently laying out plans for a studio space on my property with hopes to start construction next summer.  I am also starting to look at etching press designs and will be building this over the next year.  In the meantime, my interactions with people and the land will fuel my creative process as I gather ideas and inspiration for new work.  In the coming school year, I will also be offering art workshops in local schools.

To learn more, visit McDonald’s VANS e-studio page at http://www.visualarts.ns.ca/artist-pages/raina-mcdonald/ or visit her website at www.rainamcdonald.com.

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