Holiday Gifting: Meet artist Meagan Donegan

We decided to team up with Bay Area artist Meagan Donegan to create our special holiday gift packages. With her light hand and incredible eye for detail, Meagan's drawings are balanced act of playful and sophisticated. Learn more about her talents and passions while you look forward to our gift box in the mail.

When did you first realize you could draw?
I got my first sketchbook at age 5 and have had one ever since. I used to get frustrated about not being able to technically draw what I was envisioning and finally realized its more about getting to a place where my feelings for the subject are coming through. 

There is a theme of animals in your work- can you tell us a little about that? 
They were my first subject matter as a child which continued through my early teens. I have always felt really connected to them, their power and mystery was always hard to translate on paper which challenged me. In high school I started to do more figurative work but I came back to just working with animals after some big events in my life. I think it is because I have no narrative with animals, just awe which keeps me open and creates an entry point for stillness. It became my meditation. I get lost in the wool, the patterns in the fur and feathers. There are whole worlds in there. 

What does your print "Winter" mean to you?
That series started as a mural design for my daughters room and I just kept going. I had been doing ancestral work at the time and sharing stories about her family line. We started with her favorite, a rabbit, then kept adding different animals and seeing how they danced and fit together. I added the fruit plants for our connection to the natural world and balance of the feminine and masculine aspects.

Do you have any holiday traditions you enjoy doing?
My favorite is going to the Midwest so we can spend time with family, which is usually spread throughout the US. I have spent more than half my life in California and my daughter has spent her whole life here so I love bringing her to Missouri to experience the change and full force of the seasons.

What gift are you most looking forward to giving this year?
There is so much transitioning going on in the world I feel like we will do bigger gifting in the form of donations. For our close ones we have been making and painting clay and dough figures then printing paper to wrap them in. 

How does living in California influence your art?
We left for a road trip the morning the fires broke out and drove through the haze in the North Bay without knowing what was happening. My heart has been heavy for everyone affected by the fires and the loss of the land and wildlife. Whenever I am away everything is a reminder of what California influences in me, which is my art. I am a strong but pretty sensitive being and use nature as a way to ground and recharge. If I am not balanced life and work don’t flow. In the Bay Area, depending on our time, we can be in the waves, a Redwood grove, a fern covered hillside, on top of a mountain or running through fields. The landscape, the community and all of the artists, makers and chefs are a constant source of inspiration. There is no place like it. 

How does being an artist inspire a sustainable lifestyle?
I think that just works back into being sensitive. It is all an energy transfer, it matters to me where things come from and how they came to be. I also love and appreciate well crafted things which really translates into everything from the food we eat, the art on our walls, the objects in our space and what we sleep on. My struggle is balancing being a single mom with lots of projects going on and sometimes making decisions based on convenience, like single use plastic containers. I try to even it out by using recycling for art projects and teaching children to use nature as an entry point for self knowledge and creating but that is one thing I want to eliminate completely. 

How has being an artist helped with your mind + body wellness?
Its been my processing tool and how Ive come to know myself. 

What are some creative activities you like to do with your daughter?
We do a lot of drawing and painting. One of my favorite things is to take a pile of work, cut out our favorite parts and remake them into headdress’ or a backdrop for a play or dance performance. She really loves music so before bed she makes up song lyrics and I write them into a journal for her. We also do projects with nature which I have posted on my site.