"Be kind to yourself! There’s no point in self-deprecating thought."
Introducing our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!
Our first featured artist is Juneau local MK MacNaughton, a teaching and exhibiting artist who has a magic touch for capturing both our landscapes and our neighbors.
Who are you?
I’m an artist with a little studio called “Sketch” on the corner of Front and Main street, in downtown Juneau. I’ve always loved drawing and making things with my hands. My fondest memories from childhood are dreaming up little inventions and getting lost in sketches. As a working artist now, art is both an escape and a way to connect to other people.
What do you do?
I work primarily in oils, painting landscapes and portraits. I usually create a body of work focused on a theme for a specific show. In addition to painting, I teach classes to kids and adults, and make things like hand painted shirts, earrings, and other products that sell in shops.
Who/what inspires you?
Working with kids really helped me decide to become an artist. I opened Sketch 7 years ago, but before that I worked for 25 years in social services: domestic violence prevention, disability services, and advocacy for arts in education. I enjoyed integrating the arts into all of my work, and in the end, the kids and adults I worked with inspired me to make the leap into creating full time. After encouraging others of all ages and abilities to express themselves, I finally took my own advice.
What’s your favorite moment in the process?
Well, I’ve discovered it’s always a little hard to start a new project. Even after 7 years of full time work as an artist, I find myself productively procrastinating by wandering around the studio cleaning, and then I realize “I’m nervous about this new idea” and I make myself buckle down. My favorite moment is shortly after that when I’m completely absorbed and immersed in the project. So my advice to others is make yourself get past that initial hesitation!
What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?
Be kind to yourself! There’s no point in self-deprecating thought. It helps me to be goal driven; deadlines are great motivation. I also think it’s really important to regularly reassess what’s working and what isn’t in my business. Finding balance in creating and teaching, and growing as an artist are key to my continued practice. I find that Juneau is a wonderfully supportive arts community. I’ve learned a lot from other artists, and I’m really thankful for how much our community supports local artists.
I have some new products coming out this spring… hopefully! I’m creating games from my artwork that I think will make great gifts for both locals and tourists. And I have two new bodies of work in mind. I’d like to push both my landscape and portrait painting in new directions. I have goals for exhibits at the end of the year. I’m also experimenting in kiln fired painted architectural glass and have a commission I’m working on this spring for a summer installation. Thanks to KP for carrying my cards, earrings and giclee prints! I welcome visitors at my studio anytime. Winter hours are noon-3 week days. Please stop by Sketch and peek around my magical little studio.