"It's a national magazine, so it's quite an honor, and just to get
a painting published without paying for it is prestigious," the
Woodland Hills artist said. "It was very gratifying."
Getting published in an art magazine was one goal she had written
down, along with having her first exhibit at Descanso Gardens Boddy
House Gallery. She can now add that second goal to her
accomplishments as her watercolor and oils are in a group show this
month at the gardens.
"I had always thought wouldn't it be great to reach that goal and
have an exhibit there," she said. "When I was given the chance to
exhibit, I was very excited and still am."
She's living proof that if you write down your goals, you will
A painter for 30 years, Swan-McDonald started painting scenes at
Descanso 20 years ago. In the beginning, she would snap pictures with
the camera and return home to paint from them. Over the last few
years, she said she became "brave" and started taking her easel and
painting the lush gardens on site or plein-air.
"It feels a little funny because people come up to you," she said.
"There is so much to see, you don't know what to paint. People are
usually complimentary. So it's fun to talk to people too, once you
get used to it."
One painting in this exhibit she painted last spring. Titled
"Springtime at Descanso Gardens," it is of the cherry blossoms
blooming near the rose garden.
"It's a fun thing to do, capture that moment at Descanso," she
said. "I enjoy it so much."
Another painting, "February at Descanso," has a palette of rusts
and olive-muted greens and earthy reddish colors.
"There is a whole different mood in this painting," she said. "It
has all the colors of the California February."
Painting plein-air allows an artist to capture the atmosphere,
which one can't do if they are not there, she said.
"It's hard to explain, but you can interpret the cold, or the
warmth, whatever it was like that day because you were there, and
transfer that feeling or sensation you had while painting," she said.
Swan-McDonald graduated from Southern Illinois University with a
bachelor's degree in art education. She is employed part time as an