Catherine McDonald is an artist that we are very proud to call apart of the KESS family. She is one of our founding artists and has supported us from the beginning. She is a talented photographer with a whimsical eye for nature, scenery and travel. Many of her photographs feel like a botanical wonderland, as she captures the warm and delicate flowers from around the world. Her nomadic, wondering life has brought her to unique and beautiful places, and her photographs take its viewers along for the journey
A unique pair of photos of hers are “The View of LA” and “The View of Seoul”. The two images capture the scenery as seen through the eyes of a tower viewer. The contrast between the Californian and South Korean skylines is a fascinating juxtaposition. “The View of Seoul” is especially interesting as it captures the fascinating wall of locks.
Catherine has a variety of talents as an artist. Not only is a wonderful photographer; she also has a penchant for designing beautiful chevron patterns. Her skills as an graphic designer rival her prowess as a photographer. With the culmination of cheerful and bright colors, her patterns make an exquisite addition to any décor scheme.
Mcdonald is amazing at capturing the beauty in the world and her work can brighten up any home.
KIH: When did you first discover your love for photography?
Catherine McDonald:I earned a point & shoot camera through a school fundraiser one year when I was a little girl and I really attribute that to starting it all. I had no idea what I was doing back then, but my Mama kept buying and developing the rolls of film anyway. Later on, I was given a nicer camera by a family friend, which only spurred on my curiosity. It was while living in Europe amongst such history and beauty that I decided to pursue this professionally.
KIH: You seem to love photographing nature and flowers. What gravitates you to capturing these subjects?
Catherine McDonald: I am fascinated by nature in general as it’s what grounds me; but even moreso, with the way the landscape both changes and stays the same, no matter where I go. Of course, those unique, different things are inspiring on their own; however, I also like finding similarities in places you wouldn’t otherwise think would be the same. This past Spring, I was fascinated by the similarities, yet distinct differences, in the Cherry Blossoms in Seoul vs in D.C. This Summer, I was fascinated with the similarities between the Southern wisteria I grew up with vs the Korean wisteria growing wild here.
KIH: What is your favorite piece? How did you develop the composition?
Catherine McDonald: My favorite piece would have to be “Cherry Blossoms” simply because the moment was so beautiful. When we lived in the DC area, I used to take the Metro into the city just to walk around. I was walking around the Tidal Basin by myself one beautiful Spring morning during the Cherry Blossom Festival, and decided to take a rest on a park bench. I was listening to birds chirp, and watching planes taking off and landing over at Reagan when I just happened to look down and notice the heavy blooms almost touching the water. The fallen petals underneath were sparkling and dancing on the water and the moment was just so beautiful. I pulled out my camera and snapped that shot from right where I sat.
KIH: Travel has a big impact on your artwork. What trip did you find the most inspiring?
Catherine McDonald: This is really difficult to answer, as I feel everywhere I’ve ever been has changed and influenced me in some meaningful way. Moving here to Seoul was completely unexpected, but it has inspired me and filled my heart in ways I never knew could happen. I know I’ll carry my memories here close to my heart always. Also, our month long road trip around the American West was really inspiring as well. I’ll never, ever forget driving along rural backroads in Wyoming and seeing wild horses running in the distance.
KIH: Where do you come up with the color inspirations for your Chevron patterns?
Catherine McDonald: You know, the chevrons started with my own home in mind. I was really big into chevrons in home decor, and was trying to find ways to incorporate them into my own home. At the time, It seemed like all I could find were the skinny chevrons in bright, bold palettes. I wanted something more neutral that I could stick on my couch or on a dining chair. I started with colors found in my living room, kitchen, and dining room. From there, I began using colors that I was influenced by in the moment. “Sweet Kisses” was made over Valentine’s Day,“Juicy” was inspired by a juice box my son was carrying around. “1932” was inspired by old photographs of my (now deceased) Mama Mary & my Papa Howell.
KIH: What do you find boosts your creativity the most?
Catherine McDonald: Music, fresh air, travel. Seeing things I’ve never seen before. Moments of meditation. This morning, I’m burning a candle a friend brought over yesterday, listening to the birds chirp, and enjoying the fresh air from the windows and doors being open. .
KIH: Where do you do most of your work?
Catherine McDonald: I’ve been focusing more on photography this year, so the bulk of my work is done while out exploring the world.