Jolene Mackie (BFA 2009) is an oil painter currently living and working in Kelowna, BC. Her ethereal, imaginative and otherworldly paintings transport the viewer to another world. To see more of Jolene’s work, you can follow her on Instagram through @jolene.mackie.art, Facebook at /jolenemackieart, and visit her website.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jolene Mackie, I’m an oil painter currently living and working in Kelowna BC.
Describe your current practice in three words.
Honest. Curious. Self-reflective.
What are you most excited about in your work right now?
Right now I’m most excited about pursuing lithography. During the 2019 fall semester I was able to audit an Etching and Lithography course at UBCO. Lithography is a completely new medium for me, but I’m so drawn to the quality of the mark I can create with it.
How did your education shape your career?
Art school wasn’t really my first plan – but I am so grateful it became my reality. The opportunity to pursue and study art, and to create with no thought of the commercial viability of the work was an amazing opportunity. It was my four years at ECU that allowed me to get a deeper understanding of why I’m drawn to the things I am, and to understand where I fit within the wider context of the art world.
What do you wish you learned in school but didn’t?
I wish I had left school with a better understanding of what it is like to exist as an artist in our current world. I spent a lot of time doubting myself and my choice to pursue art because the future felt insecure, and there was no clear path laid out for me. I wasn’t sure if I was doing things ‘right’. Now I see that there is no right way to build your life, or make your art. It just has to align with personal interests and values. The beauty of an independent creative career is the ability to re-align. As I change, or circumstances change, I’m able to set focus on new goals, and pursue projects I never would have dreamed of.
How do you stay connected to the artistic community after graduation?
Get involved! Whatever local institutions you are drawn to – show up for events, sign up as a member, or give your time. I always found volunteering a wonderful way to embed myself into a creative community, especially when moving from place to place.
How do you stay motivated/inspired in your practice?
Creativity is a practice. While sometimes inspiration ebbs and flows, the commitment of showing up to your creative pursuit is the most important part. I’m a firm believer that creativity comes from 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. By this I mean that I need to show up and do the work, even if I’m lacking motivation and ideas. Sometimes the act of pushing around paint reveals things I never would have come to by just brainstorming.
What’s a typical studio day look like for you?
I currently have a home based studio, and as such, I have developed some creative rituals that allow me to define my creative work space. I don my paint clothes and enter my studio each morning. I personally find aromatherapy helpful to set my tone and intention for my studio day – so I usually start my studio days filling my essential oil diffuser, and setting some goals. I’m also a big note-writer – when words or ideas come to mind I need to write them down, and tape them up to my ideas wall. It’s a place I go to review what the inspiration and focus of my current work is. Then I dive in with paint – I tend to have multiple pieces on the go at one time because of the slow working time of oil paint. This allows me to work on a piece for a while, then set it aside to return to it with fresh eyes the next day.
Featured image is Traveling Light by Jolene Mackie. Image courtesy of the artist.