Artist Q&A: Kathryn Macnaughton

Kathryn Macnaughton artist represented at Bau-Xi Gallery

Photo by Nathalia Allen

June 30th, 2016: Q&A with Toronto artist Kathryn MacNaughton, by Bau-Xi Toronto Co-Director Alissa Sexton

1. Where do you draw inspiration for your paintings?

Everyday experiences. I can be inspired by the colour of a brick wall next to a lamp post or the roof of a building next to a blue sky. I find myself getting inspired in the most obvious, yet obscure places.   

2. How do you begin a painting, with colour or composition?

 I like to change it up. It’s nice to start with a colour palette because it’s usually the component that creates a certain feeling/mood, but sometimes I have a compositional idea first so I’ll try to rough out the idea in black and white and then add colour.

3. Which do you feel is most important in your paintings, colour or composition?

Both are just as important, but if I had to choose one, colour. It’s the part that creates the connection between myself and the art. It conjures up feelings, memories, emotions and I think the composition helps support that.

4. How much time do you devote to planning the painting versus actually painting it?

I do like to spend some time experimenting in between producing the work. It always inspires me and gets me motivated to try out some new ideas. Then I’ll mockup something up and try to stick to it, but it’s always a journey that can become a completely different vision then I expected. 

5. Do you prefer the composition planning stage, or the painting stage?

I like both for different reasons. The planning stage is where the initial ideas start to take form. It feels like a puzzle you’re trying to solve. The painting stage is where things become unpredictable and you start discovering new ideas. I love both. Organized thoughts, then unpredictable chaos. 

6. How does it feel when a completed piece leaves your studio?

Really great. I never let anything leave my studio that I’m not happy with.  

7. You’ve recently collaborated with Style Garage to create a chair – how did that experience inform your practice?

 It was amazing. I’ve been wanting to work on different surfaces and this was the perfect opportunity. It was just an experiment that will hopefully lead to me working on more furniture. I’m very inspired by interior design. I think it’s a really important part of my work. I always think about the environment in which my paintings can live in.  

8. What would you like people to feel (experience, visualize, etc) when they look at your work?

I hope something romantic. There is a lot of lust and sexual tension in the paintings.



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