COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL ) — This local artist uses iridescent accents to reclaim the mundane. Mackenzie DeClue’s work features landscapes painted from her memory with gold leaf or metallic paint to romanticize everyday scenes like a flowing river, sunset or moonglow. Her series “Golden” will be featured at the Heritage Art Center Friday, June 9 through Sunday June 11.
“I feel like it’s a way that you maybe wouldn’t think of otherwise,” DeClue said about her use of iridescent materials. She added gold leaf was historically used in religious works, like altarpieces.
The 28-year-old artist, who was a yoga instructor before embarking on her professional art career three years ago, explained why this is important.
She said, “Documenting felt kind of like a way to reclaim that like spiritual aspect of absorbing yourself in nature and just taking a moment to take a deep breath and recognize that yes, you see that specific moment every single day, but there’s something beautiful that it’s consistent and it’s always there and it’s always moving, that it connects all of us.”
According to DeClue, the pieces in her “Golden” series are rooted in how these moments pass through time. The series is meant to romanticize what the Chattahoochee River would look like without as much human interference.
DeClue explained art has always been a part of her life.
“I actually really love history, specifically art history as a kid,” said DeClue, who recalled picking out art history documentaries to watch on rainy days growing up.
As she got older, the storytelling aspect of art became more appealing. DeClue explained she started painting as a meditative practice to transfer the memories she experienced onto paper. The artist was especially inspired by English watercolor works from the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Although inspired by these paintings, DeClue rarely uses watercolor in her painting. Instead, she attempts to recreate techniques used by the watercolor artists with oil- and acrylic paints. Sometimes, this process means researching, experimenting and practicing new techniques until the picture in DeClue’s head becomes reality.
“It’s not like you can just Google an image in your head and be like, ‘How do I create this painting?’” said DeClue. The artist explained she oftentimes uses smaller pieces of paper to figure out a technique by creating visually similar works. She emphasized her work is a practice which has developed overtime and her paintings display her changing skillset and meditations.
She even revealed at one point she fell out of love with painting landscapes, her current specialty, while trying to define her artistic style.
DeClue said, “I just wanted to make marks and figure out how to paint again in a way that I wanted and then I got back into landscapes and depicting something that you could clearly define while adding in that [iridescent] element.”
Prices for DeClue’s work have a wide range, from $45 to $6,000, which she explained is “super intentional.”
“I create these for me, but I also create them because I think that having art that’s accessible to everybody is super important…Everybody deserves to like create and absorb beauty, whatever that is for them,” said DeClue.
DeClue’s work will be available for viewing and purchase at the Heritage Art Gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Those who cannot make the showing can visit her studio at the Highland Gallery or see DeClue’s website and social media.