November 2023 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Donna Launey
This month’s cover artist, Donna Launey, has wandered a long journey to get to her artistic dream. “Art has always held a fascination for me, explored mainly through art history classes, wandering art museums, and taking an occasional painting workshop. In my early years, my passion for medicine superseded and led me on a career path as a Diagnostic Radiologist, specializing in women’s imaging for more than 25 years,” said Donna. And now, Donna’s art career is as bold and exuberant as the colors in her vibrant artwork.
During those years, Donna found herself busy raising three children, and bending to the demands of a busy medical practice. She said she dreamed of the day she could explore her artistic voice. Little did she know the writing was in the stars, and that day would come.
Upon retiring about a decade ago, Donna and her husband made a move cross country to coastal North Carolina, where she finally captured her lifelong dream to paint. A self-taught artist, Donna grasped the supportive local art tribe and took painting workshops from many talented artists. Her artwork evolved, using bold colors and loose expressive brushstrokes to capture her favorite subjects, which include landscapes and still life. Her work is influenced by the Post-Impressionists and the Fauves. The joy and spontaneity she experiences during the creative process is translated to the viewer as a colorful, vibrant, and energetic interpretation of the beautiful world around us.
This month’s cover “Summer Daydreaming” is an excellent representation of one of Donna’s favorite subjects to paint—the female figure. “By depicting a solitary woman in a moment of quiet contemplation, she reminds us of the universal need to claim these moments for ourselves. The ‘faceless’ painting allows the viewer to borrow the moment and hopefully remind her to reconnect to things that matter most in her life,” said Donna.
While not directly planned, her paintings often reflect a current theme in her world. The first part of the painting process is a form of meditation, when Donna uses very loose brush strokes in a somewhat chaotic and spontaneous way to render a form. Color supports the mood, and expressive color is her trademark. Interestingly, she usually works with a limited palette of four or five colors, plus white, and enjoys the challenge of creating myriad of shades, while always cognizant of the importance of value and contrast. Eventually a mood emerges and supporting details are added. Those details may include a faded background of specific places, a hat pulled over the face, or lately, birds have become important symbols.
“The freedom to explore and losing all the preciseness and structure of my previous life has opened up a whole new dimension. Words like mindfulness and meditation were not part of the lexicon of my early days. Becoming an artist has allowed me to tap into a deeper version of myself, and I hope all women take pause in their days, remove all the distractions of this busy world, and learn to stay true to their inner voice.”
Check out Donna’s website: donnalauney.com and Gallery Citrine, a cooperative gallery and studios in Historic Downtown Wilmington, N.C. Artists and the public are welcome to visit her studio there, Thursday through Sunday from Noon to 4:30 p.m. (gallerycitrine.com). You can follow Donna and her artistic journey on Facebook @Donna Launey and on Instagram: @gallery.citrine.