I started the Inspiration Interview Series because I wanted to know more about the people who share their work with the world and inspire me to practice courage, be creative, and dream big. Mati Rose McDonough is one of those people. Meet Mati!
Mati Rose McDonough is an artist, illustrator and new author who lives in the Bay Area. Mati studied painting at the California College of the Arts and has had many shows around the country. She has taught painting retreats in the U.S. and Italy.
Mati cofounded Teahouse Studios in Berkeley and Get Your Paint On! online painting classes. She is represented by Lilla Rogers Studio in illustration and licensing and has her art published on Patagonia shirts, Pier 1 products, Calypso cards, University Game boards and Madison Park Greeting products.
Mati recently illustrated 2 children's books and published her first painting book "Daring Adventures In Paint".
Ellen and I are crazy about Mati's new book! It's beautiful and inspiringly easy to follow. If you've ever dreamed of sitting down with a brush and creating something - this is the book for you. Ellen and I are going to get our Paint Adventures on this summer!
To celebrate Mati's great new book we're giving away three copies. Just leave your name in the comments section and we'll draw winners on Monday. If you're reading this via your email or Facebook, please leave your comments here (on the blog).
I love Mati's wisdom and vulnerability. I was also blown away by the quote, the procrastination strategy, and poem she shares. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy!
On Vulnerability, Authenticity and Courage
Creativity, innovation, and truth-telling can be very vulnerable in our culture which is why we often feel deeply inspired when we see it. We’d love to know more about how you find the courage to share your authentic self and your work with the world.
1. Vulnerability is . . . showing the world your magic. It's what makes you, you.
2. What role does vulnerability play in your work? Every time I show up at the canvas, I am riddled with self-doubt, my inner-critic and the risk of failing. I want so badly to create something that I love, and often have an idea of what that may look like, and have to throw any preconceived ideas out the window and let come what may.
This vulnerability and risk-taking on the canvas mirrors that of my own life and my constant striving towards alignment and authenticity. I am in the middle of a painful and growing moment right now going through a divorce and rebuilding my identity: my art is healing that piece and informing what I paint too.
3. Is perfectionism an issue for you? If so, what’s one of your strategies for managing it? Perfectionism is an issue and tied into my gremlin of procrastination. I have to reframe this as part of the creative process and build time into my schedule time for daydreaming, sketching and making drafts.
Some other practical strategies are: Just begin! I set my timer for a 10-20 minute chunk to start something that really overwhelms me. Once I get started, it’s so much easier to continue on, but I use a lot of mind trickery to get going. OMG, I love this strategy and I'm off to buy a cute timer!
4. What inspires you? Strawberry Rhubarb pie, thick lattes, turquoise, the sea, working with my hands, laughter, eye wrinkles, love, girlfriends and paint!
5. What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity and how do you move through it? Negativity and feeling hemmed in. I get out my colored markers and big sheets of paper and write gratitude lists and mind-map different ideas on how to approach something.
6. It’s often difficult to share ourselves and our work with the world given the reflexive criticism and mean-spiritedness that we see in our culture – especially online. What strategies do you use to Dare Greatly – to show up, let yourself be seen, share your work with the world, and deal with criticism I talk about this in my book a lot because it’s such an integral part of the creative process. I try to remember that place that children occupy when they freely share their work from a place of joy and remember that this is possible. That and this Martha Graham quote that reminds me that there is only one of me and my mark at any moment:
“There is vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost”
7. Describe a snapshot of a joyful moment in your life. Awww, a joyful day is this: savoring my morning coffee and then riding my mint green bike in the sun through full bloom Berkeley to my art studio Teahouse. Then busting out my paints and having cookie breaks from the bakery downstairs with my sweet studio-mates.
8. Do you have a mantra or manifesto for living and loving with your whole heart? Love wide and strong!
Now, for some fun!
From James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor’s Studio
What is your favorite word? treasure
What is your least favorite word? moist
What sound or noise do you love? coffee being ground
What sound or noise do you hate? car alarms
What is your favorite curse word? the f bomb
From JL’s Uncle Jessie Meme
A song/band/type of music you'd risk wreck & injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? Glamour rock
Favorite show on television? Friday Night Lights
Favorite movie? The Royal Tannenbaums
Best concert? My first with my sister and best friend when we were 16: Paul Simon during his Graceland tour
If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? Let your light shine brightly, baby!
Favorite meal? I grew up in Maine so I would have to say summertime lobster, my mom’s potato dill salad, fresh corn on the cob and strawberry rhubarb pie!
A talent you wish you had? Public speaking
Dream vacation? I’ve never been to Paris and it’s a big dream!
What’s on your nightstand? A poem by Raymond Carver:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
What’s something about you that would surprise us? I played the trombone for 8 years because I was the tallest girl in my class with the longest arms. No fun lugging that beast on the bus every day at age 11!
From Smith Magazine’s Six Word Memoirs
Your six-word memoir? Treasure seeking painting pirate finds herself.
Mati painted these awesome signs and her book includes gorgeous collages of different people holding them. When she asked me to hold one I said, "Heck yeah!" The winners of the books will also get one of these beautiful reminders!
Congrats to Timothy, Russty, and Cheryl Australia!