Mac Martin is an artist in Seattle who paints landscapes (and more) with acrylic paint in bold color palettes!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Mac Martin: I have been creating art for what feels like my entire life. When I was little, my mom had a small art studio in our house and would let me use almost anything I wanted and try a bunch of different things. I started painting specifically with acrylic paints when I was in 7th grade, I believe. Since then, acrylics have been my primary medium, but I learned a lot throughout high school and college about watercolors as well and use them regularly.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My artistic process has grown a lot in the last few years. Currently, if I am doing a landscape, for example, I typically base it off photos I've taken. I usually paint places I have personally been to, which informs how I portray the places as I want the emotion of the landscape to be present. I will typically paint on canvas, so I do a basic but detailed sketch first. Then I create my color palette and start blocking in basic shapes and color washes for the major parts of the image. After that, I typically work top to bottom on the painting, starting with the skies and moving down the painting to the foreground. I build up in layers of detail and usually end up using an extremely fine point brush for a lot of the painting, regardless of the size, to try and incorporate hidden highlights and details. After I finish, I sign and varnish the painting, and then it's ready to go!
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
My inspiration from art comes from nature most of the time. I love spending time outside, whether by walking my dog or going hiking, and find a lot of joy and excitement in what nature has to offer. During every season, there's always something that catches my eye, and I love trying to capture the feelings of stunning scenery. Most of my paintings are based off photos from hikes I've been on with friends or my partner.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
My specific beat is definitely nature, specifically mountains and big skies with fun wispy clouds.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
A couple of my paintings that mean the most to me aren't even what I would consider my "best" work. I have two paintings I did in college (Angra and Rainbow Skies) that I won't sell because they are both very special to me. I made them when I was just a little art student who didn't know what she wanted to do but knew she wanted to paint. Both of those pieces are hanging up in my living room currently, and I love looking at them every day. Another one is a painting called Little Si which also hangs up in my apartment, that my brother and I painted together a couple of years ago when he visited for Christmas.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Moving to Seattle has impacted my art so much, and taking a color theory class in college created a very noticeable shift for me in my work. Moving here by myself for college and exploring a new place, and seeing really big mountains for kind of the first time struck me in a really big way and inspired me to challenge myself more in my work. Similarly, color theory shifted everything I thought I knew about how color works and pushed me to develop the style I have now, which focuses a lot on using colors you don't always expect in order to add depth and create light and shadows in more exciting ways.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
To see more of my work, you can follow me on Instagram at @maqmakesart and check out my website maqmakesart.com which links to my Etsy shop and my Patreon! And if you're interested in updates about my life and work, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter (via my website) that goes out once a month!
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
Coming up in the next couple months, I have the privilege of helping one of my best friends (@b_line_dot on Instagram) with a couple different mural projects in Seattle, which I am so stoked about! I also am waiting to hear back on a residency program that I applied for, which I am very hopeful and excited for. Other than that, my goal is to keep making art I love. I went on a trip to the Bay Area in August and have so many photos from that I'd love to make into paintings soon!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
I take my coffee so many ways, but my favorite, if I go to a café, is a vanilla oat milk latte. However, when I'm at home, I typically make a pour-over and just add a little creamer to it!
About 'Artist of the Week': Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.