Donna Howard’s World Expressed in her Whimsical Paintings

Donna Howard is an Artist based in Massachusetts, USA, and she is one Artist with a great sense of humour. Her life story is one to be amazed at, especially how she describes it, in her own words:

“I was born into the Witness Protection Program so the details of my childhood have been kept from me for my own safety. I was released when it was discovered that I was never in any real danger at all. I was turned out into the street with a written apology, a pat on the head and a detailed invoice payable to the FBI for all that protection I never even needed. Talk about being behind before you even begin. Actually, I was recently paroled from a 15 year sentence in an office cube. It was a fortunate occurrence if you consider all the time I wasted wishing the window directly behind me could open. I grieved for about 5 seconds before going to my attic to find the paintbrushes I remember being so fond of in college. They were a tad dusty and a little more than “slightly miffed” due to my neglect. It seems they forgave me after I introduced them to the shiny new tubes of paint I had purchased just for them. Now our days are spent in joyful anticipation of the challenges each new blank canvas presents.”

Well, this sure sounds like an amazing story, and as soon as one goes “Ohhhhh that is inredi….” Donna interjects, with a smile on her face: “[Hey, don’t be so serious!] Except for the part about having a sketchy childhood, the first bit was a complete fabrication. sorry, I couldn’t resist!”

Donna explains how she got to be an artist by telling us that she “dabbled in art as a child, dug deeper through college, panicked and immediately abandoned the notion of being an artist”. Then, around about the age of 45 Donna found her in an “office cube crash and burn”, and in attempt to rescue herself from this dire situation,, with the help of her husband and the rest of her “tribe”, she finally found her artist self that was still hiding inside.

“I paint whatever happens to bubble up, but my family and my emotions are where it begins.”

Initially Donna’s work was an exploration of her childhood psyche.  “That was a trip”, she admits. “And it was where I forged a bond with my artist self, promising not to abandon her again!”

Donna has a very special connection to her art. She deeply relates to the subject matter she paints; her art reflects her inner world where her childhood world meets her adult self and results in whimsical yet meaningful paintings.

“Every piece affords a new emotion and I imagine that’s the point of art. If you want to talk about my work then it leaves me with an overall sense of joy. The colors, the silly imagery and the fact that the subject matter is so close to my heart.”

Donna creates her art in the basement of her house, and she regrets not having a space that she can officially call a “Studio”.

“Don’t get me wrong I am over the top grateful to the universe I have a space to work! It’s dark it’s crowded – kinda like my mind, but it’s safe and warm and home. The best thing about my studio is it’s location which affords me the ability to work in the middle of the night when I seem to be most productive.”

When asked what challenges Donna experiences as an Artist, she explains that “there’s always the money challenge- it’s hard to make a living – and one of the original reasons I abandoned art in the first place.”

Donna’s style is truly unique. to the observer, it may seem like her art is made of mosaic tiles, but “on closer inspection it is layers of acrylic paint”.

She tells us that Donna’s style developed quite quickly within her first few months of picking up the brushes in 2010.

“I don’t think I fully understand it yet because it seems to have a few uses both for the painting and for my own mental health. I can use shape and color to balance the image on the canvas. Shape and colour are also used as expressions of my emotions surrounding the subject matter.”

Throughout her time as an Artist, Donna has done a few magazine interviews and has donated work to be auctioned for charity on many occasions.

She is a member of Cambridge Art Assoc., Cambridge, MA and Gallery Z Artist’s Co-op, Lowell MA.

Donna accepts commissions. Follow her website and social media account to support her art practice!

—TSG

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