They called me LAU
Hello, I´m glad you are here trying to know me a little more. Let me introduce myself. My full name is Maria Laura Mc Donnell Smith (my artistic signature is McDonnells), I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in July 2019. I have a strong mix of European bloodlines inside me (Italian, Irish and Spanish), that´s the reason of my names and last names 😉
Since I was little, I showed aptitude for drawing, a technique that I perfected throughout my youth. My first experience in the world of painting was in 2007, when I started painting similar representations of well-known paintings. These initial paintings of mine where well received by critics. That motivated me to create my own works, giving the world what comes from inside me through painting.
My work is guided entirely by my intuition and I try to capture the emotions that I feel without any prior plan or expectations. Then the brushstrokes are flooded with colors, textures are intertwined and, the creative moment that gives shape to my paintings begins.
I believe painting is a communication between the soul and the world. It´s listening to my heart and trusting in the process.
Inspired by colors and textures, both in art and in life, I am very fond of landscapes, nature and animals. Dazzled by natural phenomena and as a designer I am passionate about fashion and decoration as well.
- Skills: I can give a touch of elegance and personality to any space.
- Childhood: Born and lived in Buenos Aires.
- Favourite Guilty pleasure: Croissants and an espresso with whipped cream.
- Favourite Artists: Gustav Klimt, Monet, CY Twombly, Helmut Ditsch, Mike Dargas & Gottfried Helnwein.
- Favourite Color: White and all shades of Pink.
- Favourite painting colors: it depends…. I change very often.
- Personality: Very social. I love to meet people and make friends from around the world.
- Most important thing in the world: My family, my husband and my pets.
- Places I´ve traveled to: Italy, Spain, UK, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece, US, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina.
- A city in the world: New York
- My favourite food: Sushi and Pasta, and a wide variety of dessert of course.
Since Kindergarten I have always had a strong interest in art. As a child I liked to draw and make creative cards for all kinds of occasions, and I would express my love through colors and drawings. My teachers recognized my innate ability to draw, and brought this to my parent’s attention. From that moment on, my parents guided me towards art, enrolling me in every extracurricular activity related to art.
After finishing school I wanted to study Fine Arts. My parents suggested choosing Graphic Design instead, they believed there were more work opportunities and I agreed. I studied Graphic Design at the University of Buenos Aires and got my degree in 2001.
After working as a designer for 7 years, something started to bother me, and I didn´t feel happy with my profession. It was then when my partner and current husband motivated me to attend the creativity studio of Marcela Hempe, who became my first true art professor and my mentor. At first I was nervous to begin painting, because I was used to drawing with pencil in black and white. I started down this path with Marcela’s support, and she taught me from scratch different techniques and skills for creating a piece of art.
In the beginning I was not confident with painting, but step by step I developed my skills and began to create abstract works of art full of color.
In 2009, after 2 years doing interpretive art commissions for friends and family, I asked myself: Why can I not produce my own work, if I do it so well?
Since then I´ve discovered and perfected new techniques that captivate me. I have created more than 150 paintings, on canvas and paper that have been distributed all over the world, from my beloved Argentina, to Chile, Uruguay, Perú, Colombia, México, Brazil, Italy and The U.S.
Since 2007 I have worked with a wide range of techniques, Oil, acrylic, watercolors, etc. This is how I have developed at least 11 different collections. My most recent serie “Memories”, is the one I feel the most satisfied with. The color compositions, the layers, textures and techniques used in it, show my experience of more than 10 years as an artist.
Most of my acrylic and water color paintings are started and completed in the same day. As I paint with the flow of my emotions, I have to capture the feeling in the moment as its happening and let the energy flow from inside me onto the canvas. On the other hand oil paintings can take several weeks to set. After finishing a painting, I feel relief, joy and fulfillment, as if I brought something out me that needed to be expressed to the world.
Thanks for being here! I hope my paintings challenge you, thrill you and talk to you with an invisible message but direct to you.
- 2007 – 2009 My first abstract paintings.
- 2011 – 2012 I traveled to Europe and visited a lot of countries and different cultures. When i came back i made my first Art Exhibition, plenty of inspiration and energy, the Collection was called “Fluir” (to flow)
- 2013 I had another trip to Europe and the Middle East , the different cultures, landscapes, smells and colors were an inspiration for me when I came back to Argentina.
- 2014 I started taking drawing classes at Laura Delgado Studio.
- 2015 We moved to another country, Chile. The new life being far away from my loved ones, made me connect with the painting in another way, I left my work as a graphic designer and started to paint as a way of living.
- 2016 My first group exhibition in Chile, with Taller Bellavista where I learned Hyperrealism
- 2017 We came back to Buenos Aires. I had a painful surgery that took a long time to recover. I didn´paint that year, because I had to use all my energy to heal.
- 2018 At the begining of this year I assisted Maxi Bagnasco Studio, to perfect my hyperrealism painting. In May I traveled with my husband to The United States and it was amazing, we traveled to a lot of cities and wonderful places. On a flight Back to Buenos Aires I met Nora, who inspired me to reconnect with my essence. Back in Buenos Aires I started to paint again and decided to commit to painting for the rest of my life.
- 2019 At the beginning of the year I made 2 new collections, “Energía Universal” (Universal Energy) and “Revolución” (Revolution). In the middle of 2019, we had the opportunity to move to USA for my husband’s work and by July we were already living in Raleigh, North Carolina. The landscapes and the energy of the place helped me with the sadness of being far away again and also made the distance less painful. A lot of Green, nature, Life!
- 2020 I started painting again, at the beginning of the pandemic I created a new Collection, “Calm”. It reflects my inner process to stay calm in the middle of the chaos that the world is going through. “Calm” helps me to be centered, focused and keeps a balance between my wishes and the possibilities available. It helps me to avoid the fear and the anxiety. In October 2020 I launched my first website.
- 2021-22 I´ve painted 2 more Collections, ¨Deep Ocean¨and ¨Never Ending¨, totally different from one to the other, but both reflects my emotions during this unique times. Deep Ocean made my go deep inside my feelings, feelings of melancholy, anxiety and uncertainty where transform into relax and let it flow. Never Ending, is totally different, evoques the emotions of love, peace, energy moving and changing for the good. Gratefullness and Mindfulness. This collection was a total blessing for me.
- 2022 Launch of the new “Eternal Bond” collection, a tribute to all mothers and their unconditional and eternal love. At the end of October, collective exhibition at Palacio Barolo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. One of the venues of “The Night of the Museums”. Life surprised me and I decided to take advantage of the opportunities. This last trip to Buenos Aires was an invitation to connect with my emotions, with my memories and to enjoy and appreciate every minute close to my family and friends. A blessing. And my new collection “Memories” is inspired by these magical moments with my loved ones.
Exhibitions and Shows
- 2022 – Groupal Exhibition – Palacio Barolo – Noche de los Museos – Buenos Aires.
- 2019 – Groupal Exhibition – Municipalidad de Vicente Lopez – Buenos Aires.
- 2019 – Individual Exhibition – Bike and Coffee – Buenos Aires
- 2016 – Group Exhibition – Galería Ximena Cristi – Bellavista – Chile
- 2012 – Groupal Exhibition – Godoy Art – Hipódromo de San Isidro – Buenos Aires.
- 2012 – Group Exhibition – Foro de las Artes y las Ciencias Vicente López, Buenos Aires.
- 2010 – Group Exhibition – Open Arts Norcenter. – Individual Exhibition – Papa Charlie, Punta del Este – Uruguay