donna k mcgee


25+ Local Artists, from Painters and Photographers to Woodworkers and Potters, will be featured during this DC Art Extravaganza

As you know from our recent posts... Our partners at SwatchRoom, the new Shaw-based creative design and fabrication studio, will host its first annual three-day SwatchRoom Salon Party March 7th through March 9th. Curated by ArtSee, an art event services agency, and hosted by Hierarchy, the newest event space by DC’s No Kings Collective, the celebration will showcase more than 35 local artists during three distinct events. The Salon Party will be accessible to all levels of art enthusiast, beginning with a showcase of affordable work from emerging artists and culminating in a private event featuring new collections from some of DC’s most sought-after artists.

Attendees must purchase tickets to the Friday and Saturday evening events on eventbrite, here:

And the complete 2014 “SwatchRoom Salon Party” Schedule of Events is...  

FRIDAY, March 7th: Introducing DC’s Best Emerging Artists
TIME: 7pm – 12am
LOCATION: Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Road, NW

To kickoff the Salon Party, a grouping of DC’s greatest emerging artists will be featured on Friday night. Each artist will display their latest work across all mediums: painting, photography, printmaking and more.

Artists will include:

Fabiano Amin
Leah Appel
Carolyn Becker
Amy Hughes Braden
Patrick Burns
Ellie Deneroff
Dominique Fierro
Jeremy Flick
Barb Januszkiewicz
Donna K. McGee
Cory Oberbndorfer
Brian Petro
Cristina Steadman
Radio Sebastian
Fawna Xiao

SATURDAY, MARCH 8th: Celebrating the District’s Favorite Artists
TIME: 7pm – 12am
LOCATION: Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Road, NW

On Saturday night, collectors will have a preview to some of their favorite artists’ and designer’s newest collections. Attendees will also enjoy live painting, music, performances, and break dancing.

Artists will include:

Gregg Deal - paintings
Kate Warren- photography
Martin Swift - paintings
Jeremy Flick - paintings
Maggie O'Neill -paintings and home goods
Cory Orbendorfer - paintings
Karen Suderman - paintings
Chris Cooley - pottery
Dominique Fierro -photography
Sophie Blake - jewelry
Allison Priebe Brooks (aka Queen Bee Designs)
James Kerns - furniture and lighting
Tariq Tucker - paintings
Carbon Vintage - furniture
McNamara Designs - furniture

We hope to see you there! 

2014 SwatchRoom Salon Artist: Donna K. McGee

Artist Donna K. McGee creates richly saturated paintings, primarily traditional and minimalist abstracts that trap a powerful, nostalgic quality inside them. McGee uses muted colors that make you feel as if you are watching a fading scene, that is slowly moving away from you.

In her talks with ArtSee, McGee really honed in on the ideas of mentorship, inspiration, and evolution that were critical in her success as a painter.

These are probably three of the most important facets an aspiring artist can seek out or experience and we are so fortunate that McGee shared with us. 

ArtSee: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met/know in the DC art scene? Why?
Donna K. McGee: The most interesting person has to be my mentor of twelve years, Helen Corning [McGee's favorite artist as well]. She was an abstract artist and instructor at the Yellow Barn at Glen Echo.  She died three years ago at the age of ninety. She taught classes and had a solo in Maine the last year of her life.  She was able to help every student in her class to find their own artistic self.  Each of us are are abstract students today, and each of use have a different style of painting. 

A.S: What is the biggest inspiration for your art?  
D.M: The total aesthetic awareness of nature inspires me.  There is every color and texture imaginable in nature.  When I  paint I delve into the images that color and textures create on the canvas.  It becomes a magical experience.

A.S:  Speaking of colors, what is your favorite color?
D.M: That is a difficult question to answer.  I use lot of blue in my work, but sometimes I like to concentrate on one color and see how far I can go with it.  Bronze, gold, red, becomes alive and pops when one color is juxtaposed to the next.  They all become a favorite.

A.S: What do you think has changed in your art career and your work since the beginning of your career?
D.M: I am braver. It is a very scary thing to put your work out there for others to judge. In the beginning I was more aware of "what the viewer would say" or "what would sell", instead of making it totally my creation. I am far more adventurous with color and texture.  I discovered, that as  I continue to stretch to new levels, those who have purchased my paintings continue to support my work. I have to be true to my self and continue to stretch to the next level.   

A.S: Lastly, what are you most excited for at the Salon Party?
D.M: I'm excited to be part of this opening where I have the opportunity to show my work to a new audience, and to meet others who are interested in local artists.

The SwatchRoom Salon is a three-day celebration of local and emerging artists, designers, and collaborations and giving back. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You

Mica Hartman

Donna K. McGee opens Room For Blue at Foundry - Nov 2

Bethesda-based artist, Donna K. McGee, will exhibit a collection of her abstract works at Foundry Gallery in Dupont Circle through December 2. The show begins on October 31; an opening reception will be held on Friday, November 2 from 6 until 8 pm and a closing reception will be on December 2 from 2 until 4 pm. 

While most of McGee’s art is created using acrylic on canvas (she manipulates a pumice to create texture in these paintings), some of her pieces are mixed media. One in particular, titled “Shedding Anew,” incorporates snakeskin, rice paper and bronze paint.

“I have been more involved in the texture and the combination of how the light eliminates the total piece,” said McGee when describing the piece. “The gold and bronze is eloquent, yet the snake skin is very organic and symbolizes a process of shedding.”

However, most of the pieces in the show at Foundry focus on the color blue, which McGee uses as an organic influence.

 “Most of my first abstract paintings were all earth colors,” said McGee, who will exhibit a mix smaller pieces and large wall pieces at Foundry.  “I still like the earth colors, but I’m working on a blue palette and keep finding new ways to be drawn to it.

McGee explains how the use of color, and especially blue, is especially significant as we are on the brink of the Presidential election.

“Blue is so much in nature, yet it also evokes other types of symbolism,” said McGee, while explaining how colors are used as markers for identity.

McGee, who has been a full-time artist for fifteen years, became interested in art at an early age. But instead of pursuing an art degree in college, McGee chose to study Early Childhood Education.

When she went on to teach, most of the courses McGee instructed were connected to the arts and creativity. McGee even went on to author “The Whole Collage,” an art book for aesthetic education and “Creativity and the Child: Training Modules For Teachers.”

McGee, who is inspired by nature and artists such as Rothko, Monet, Matasse and Turner, describes her work as “meditative” and “engaging to the viewer.”  She is actively involved in OUTLOUD, a collective of DC-based abstract artists, and she continues to study at the Yellow Barn of Glen Echo.

The Foundry Gallery is located at 1314 18th Street NW. Those wishing to contact the artist can do so at

 Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Rachel Nania