I have the opportunity every day to chat with my wife but it’s not often I do it for “work.” While I’ve been sharing stories inspired by being married to an artist every Saturday morning, it was always a no-brainer that I would lead off this new series with her in the first Artist Spotlight.
This is her opportunity to set the record straight, but mostly for you to learn about who she is directly from her instead of through my exaggerated stories. This is the real deal.
I hope you find her as inspiring as I do, especially as she shares about living with depression and what it means to her art and her career.
If you have a loved one with depression, there are many places on the web to learn about how best to support them. Here’s one example among many, which includes a section on how best to talk to them about it.
[Featured Artwork: “Through The Shadows” by Meghan MacMillan. Acrylic diptych on birch panels.]
The following responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.
01. Rock, paper, or scissors?
02. What are three interesting facts about you?
A. I’ve lived in the same town my whole life but, if it counts for anything, I’ve been to both Disneyland and Disney World in the last 5-6 years.
B. It’s maybe not that interesting to people, but I live with depression. I’ve been open about it previously but it always seems to shock people when I share with them.
C. I’m kind of a super-nerd. I consider “nerd” a term of endearment but what I mean is that I like well-crafted storytelling like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Marvel movies.
03. What is the best single day on the calendar?
Christmas. It’s exhausting but so fulfilling all at the same time.
04. Is art your career?
Technically, it’s my career. I make money at it. It doesn’t support me — I have a husband who helps with that — but I don’t lose money. One of the challenges with calling it my career is finding the balance between being a mother to two kids and wife to a third while spending time in the studio.
But, really, the biggest challenge for me is posed by living with depression, especially because it drains so much of my energy. It’s sometimes difficult to stay motivated and inspired given the grey fog and self-doubt depression can bring on the not-so-great days.
05. What is your go-to band or artist?
Lately, it’s been Hillsong United and Coldplay and sometimes just some good ol’ classic rock.
06. What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?
There’s some pretty horrendous ’90s music that you can’t help but just dance to whenever it comes on. Like, anything by Aqua (Barbie Girl). I don’t necessarily like them but I’ll bob along to the music. It’s catchy.
07. What is the main medium you use in your art pieces?
Acrylic on canvas or birch panel.
08. What inspires your art?
Joy, which sounds entirely counterintuitive considering a lot my art is heavily influenced by depression and anxiety. I don’t paint the visual beauty of the moment, but rather the emotional or spiritual beauty. I find that being inspired by the joys in life and capturing them through my art helps me hold on to them and remember them when I’m having not-so-great days.
09. Where did your passion for art start?
I was about six-years-old when I told my first grade teacher that I wanted to be an artist; and it just hasn’t gone away. I was very fortunate to have very supportive parents who encouraged my passion. They always did. They signed me up for art lessons whenever money allowed but we didn’t have a lot of money. So I really appreciate everything they did to support me.
10. What are you hilariously bad at?
Writing of any kind and talking about myself.
11. Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Definitely at night. Even on days I get up with the kids to get them to school my brain isn’t booted up entirely until 10 or 11 o’clock.
12. What hobby would you get into if money wasn’t an issue?
Glassblowing or ceramics.
13. What do you hope people get out of your art?
Joy, again; coming back to what inspires me. I paint to remind myself and others of the beauty of everyday life. I want people who look at my art to feel the joy that inspired me because this world can be difficult at times — not just for those living with depression, anxiety, or any other mental wellness challenge. If I can bring some brightness and colour to it through the cloud of depression I live with, then I consider that one of the best things I can do to help others.