In Conversation With: Llael McDonald

Observing the works of Dutch masters, Llael McDonald paints still lifes with a contemporary focus.

When and how did you first fall in love with art?

I was seven when I discovered I could draw, and from there I started looking at famous artists in a magazine collection my grandmother’s friend gave to me. I was hooked and shortly after started experimenting with oil paint, with an art practice stemming from a Fine Art degree, and which now spans 28 years.

Can you tell us something special about your studio?

I’m based the Victorian Southern Highlands and my studio is set up at the top of our barn shed. Whenever I paint I open the French doors on the balcony, and have the wonderful luxury of being accompanied by birdsong.

What does a typical day in the studio involve and when do you feel your most creative?

I drop my kids off at school and then head straight into the studio to paint. I paint every day except on the weekend. I would love to say I’m able to paint whenever I feel inspired, but in truth sometimes I simply have deadlines to meet. Even then painting remains a joy for me and always will be no matter how big the workload.

What inspires you?

I paint still lifes, with inspiration derived from things such as food as it is something I feel everyone can connect with. I like to bring the ordinary forward and encourage people to look at things in a new and elevated way.

Is there a particular material you prefer to use?

I have only ever used oils, as they are rich and movable on the canvas. I like painting Alla Prima, so the longer the paint stays wet the better.

What have you been working on recently?

I recently had a solo exhibition called Sumptuous at the Sydney’s Sketch Co gallery. I’m now working on a body of work for both the Melbourne and Sydney Affordable Art Fairs.

If you could add one artwork from any time to your collection – what would it be and why?

An artwork I would have in my collection would be anything by Willem Kalf, a 17th century Dutch painter.

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