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3 Blood Street
Pepperell, MA 01463
United States

Megan Carty is a Boston area contemporary painter who makes uplifting abstract floral paintings for people who have a flair for bold boho statements and tailored style. Through her bubbly personality, her use of bright colors, and her positive healing message she's here to deliver joy for your well-dressed walls!

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Journal

Filtering by Category: Inspiration

Art Depicting My Mind with Depression and Anxiety

Megan Carty

abstract_painting_by_megan_carty

My latest work is abstract but has a message. I’m exploring what it feels like inside my brain while living and coping with depression and anxiety. How it isn’t always just black and bleak. It is complicated and full of color, confusion, decay, growth, and beauty. There is optimism, light, and energy. There is fear, desperation and stress. There is dismay, chatter, loneliness and overwhelm and it all exists together in a sort of murky soup. (for lack of a better word). 

I create a tangle of color, shape and line to convey this confusion of life and decay to the viewer in a relatable way. Surprisingly, the end result is something I hope to be pretty and interesting to look at. To be relatable and delightful despite having a morbid undercurrent. Like it has a hidden secret there in plain view…a secret shared between artist and viewer. What we see on the surface isn’t always the end of the story; it’s just the very beginning. 

abstract floral painting by megan carty

Abstract Floral Paintings

Megan Carty

megan_carty_studio_painting.jpg

Now that my solo show of New England coastal paintings is hanging up, I've found my cravings to paint abstracts again have taken over. I'm not finished with landscapes forever; I just like to explore the other side of my creativity. I get such satisfaction from painting scenery I love and recognize; and then I get such a free feeling from painting in an imaginative way that speaks to my soul. 

 

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I have a love for sassy color, line, and shape...and opposites. Dark vs. Light. Massive vs. Delicate. Clutter vs. Open Space. Harmony vs. Dissonance ...making work that evokes botanicals (plants and flowers) really fits the bill. I get to use ALL the bright colors, delicate lines, biomorphic shapes...it's beyond fun. And working abstractly allows me the freedom to make my own choices...to let the painting create itself from my inner muse. It's always a surprise what appears before me on the blank panel! My goal is to make paintings that are statement pieces: sophisticated, unique, tailored, crisp, and PRETTY. (Yes! I said the "P" word!)

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New England Contemporary Abstract Landscape Paintings by Megan Carty

Megan Carty

New England landscape painting by artist Megan Carty

Hot diggity-dog! Spring begins soon here in the States! (Of course, it stays snowy in MY neck of the woods until almost the end of April!) I don’t know about you, but I like spring because I start to “awaken” with energy as I leave hibernation mode and start ramping up activities to reach my goals. Are you revving your engine and ramping up too?

The idea of spring has triggered new growth for ME. As you can see (especially if you follow me on Instagram!) my landscape painting style is continuously evolving into my own…more toward abstraction…little by little. 

TICKLING YOUR BRAIN? WHAT’S THE DEAL?

Paintings are more interesting to look at and are more dynamic when you AREN’T given all the information.

*gasp!* 

This “tickles your brain” and allows your mind to fill in the blanks from your own experiences so you can make the piece your own. 

In that way your own memories and emotions allow you become an active participant in the art! 

Cool, right?

I’m not as interested in capturing the New England landscape exactly as I see it (we have cameras to do that!) and would rather challenge myself to capture the gesture, energy and mood of a place in as simple a way as possible (using color, shape, line and value).

You would be surprised how DIFFICULT this is! I’m trained to SEE with great detail and notice every little color shift as I try to record it. Now, I’m trying to turn OFF that fussy tendency and simplify, simplify, simplify. It takes me out of my comfort zone but makes the art more exciting and electric.

I’m trying to SUGGEST details rather than show them. It can be hard to let go, loosen up and trust. Kinda like the advice given to writers: keep it simple and say it in as few words as possible!

New work is flowing along and I plan on releasing all new paintings (both small and large in size) soon. Sign up for my email newsletter "Collector's Circle" to get news and find out about exact release dates in advance.  I’m so excited about these…I can say they are nostalgic, gritty, honest, and show the more fickle side of the New England land. They are close to my heart and I believe they will resonate in meaningful ways for others. 

I’m excited to share this evolution with you! As always, thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me. Please do reach out and comment if you have any questions about my process or the art. I’ll be happy to answer! 

New England Contemporary Abstract Landscape Painting by Megan Carty, grass painting
New England Contemporary Abstract Landscape Painting by Megan Carty, Casco Bay, Yarmouth, Maine

New abstract nautical paintings on the way!

Megan Carty

sea glass beach, great diamond island, maine
searching for sea glass on Great Diamond Island, Maine
seaweed, maine coast
hunting for sea glass in Diamond Cove, Maine
todder digging at Diamond Cove, Maine

We just spent a week at Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay off the coast of Portland, Maine. It was a truly magical time to watch the kids explore and discover in nature! I will share about our trip over the next few posts but had to share these few images with you! I went with the intention to gather inspiration for my next abstract coastal paintings...they are going to feature colors and line from the crisp Maine coastline.

I found inspiration imagery in droves! Just smelling the fresh sea air was enough to send me to glory; but the sights and sounds (oh, those lapping ocean waves!) were just as wonderful. I'm so excited to get started on this collection and bring it to life for my fellow sea-lovers to enjoy. These are going to be sleek, classy, serene and unique. Unlike anything else out there.

Above are a few pictures from the day we collected glass from Sea Glass Beach in Diamond Cove. The kids couldn't get enough and we went back several times... I fell in love with the views from the beach and the beautiful deep shades of green in the sea water. The seaweed was a bright yellow ochre and there was sea grass in bright greens...all mixed with shells, rocks, and glass. It was hard to leave this spot but we have a lot of colorful souvenirs to remind us of our visit!

Capturing the mood and feeling through paintings will be a fun challenge. Let it begin!

Painting through Intuition

Megan Carty

abstract watercolor landscape painting by Megan Carty

I'm digging the direction my work has been going lately...abstract but looks like a landscape...I try to convey a sense of time and mood through my use of color. They are like vignettes or memories of a space in time. When I sit down to paint I am usually in a peaceful state where I just finished meditating and I continue that peaceful energy into my painting practice. I look at my colors and then start with whatever I'm most drawn to. I don't plan ahead usually; although sometimes I will see a color palette I love in an inspirational image and I will aim to use those colors. I like to just let intuition take control and see how the piece unfolds on its own. Sometimes working this way makes me nervous, but it's my way of practicing faith...faith in my intuition and in my vision.

Experimenting with Acrylic Inks

Megan Carty

abstract watercolor painting by Megan Carty

The other day I bought some acrylic inks to experiment with and I'd say I'm in love with them. It's the joy, permanence and vibrancy of acrylic paint, but the flow of a watercolor. They take some getting used to so far, but I think they are satisfying my artist spirit perfectly. Monday (today) is the day I get a lot done since the kids are in school or with a babysitter until 3:00. So, I have a few hours where I can focus on creating and doing business stuff. I got to sit and paint...just BE so I could work out some ideas that have been collecting moss in my brain. This painting is one of those. I even found time to list several new pieces in the shop and boy, does it feel good to add fresh work! I feel like I can breathe again now that I've cleared out the cobwebs inside myself.

Painting Mount Desert Island MY way

Megan Carty

Mt. Desert Island painting

Since I've decided to make work intuitively, I've found that color from my mood influences my work. Kind of like when we wake up feeling like crap and put on our easiest "go-to" outfit...comfy...tried-and-true. I have my "go-to" blues and greens which never fail to soothe me and put me in a sort of relaxed trance. Like being at the lake on a summer evening. On days when I'm buzzing with energy and high vibes I like to mix in some brighter hues like pinks or oranges or rusts. Today I made this piece (pictured) and found if I pulled the paint up a little it looked like trees on a hillside near a pond or coastline. It's so interesting that one little flick of paint can turn a blob of paint into representation of a memory. My first vacation with my now husband was to Bar Harbor, Maine where we enjoyed the fall foliage and went on hikes along the various trails. It was pure magic. Enough so that we ended up getting married there two years later. Maybe you have a memory of being amongst nature that was healing and special experience for you? I know that I need to incorporate more hikes into our lives...my kids need to be making these same fond memories out in the fresh clean air.

On Putting Yourself Out There as an Artist

Megan Carty

I’ve never thought of myself as brave until recently when I decided to create abstract paintings that are made intuitively…raw paintings that are made with bright colors and shapes that call to me as I create them. Unplanned. Chaotic. I used to hide behind creating representational work that showed off my skills but didn’t show off my heart or soul. I say “hide behind” because it’s easy to do the things people expect you to, right? Doing work that may not be as popular/easy to understand with the majority of people; or maybe isn’t as “marketable” is risky. You set yourself up for criticism you might not have gotten from a well-executed painting of a more typical landscape.  

It’s more painful when your personal work is criticized; but it’s SO much sweeter when it’s complimented! Deciding to make what you want to make is like stepping off a cliff without knowing what is below. Will people like it? Am I proud of it? Can I make more of it? Will it sell? Fear has always kept me from venturing into this unknown abyss…until I decided life is too short to play it safe all the time. We each have something unique and special to offer; it’s our duty to “put it out there” and share it with the world. If we censor who we are, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to our greater purpose. I’m excited to be “putting myself out there” and that you are here to share the experience with me. Is there something you’ve been hiding behind? Is there something about yourself you’d like to share with the world but you have been holding back? Feel free to divulge your dreams and secret wishes in the comments below!

How to find joy in the work we do

Megan Carty

megan carty art studio

Getting back into the groove of painting regularly has been a true source of peace for me. It's funny how something that is called "work" is really so restorative. I'm working on this floral commission in my new studio space and I am just delighting in all the natural light! I loved my old space, but the lack of light was frustrating at best. Working on a painting for someone else can seem daunting, but I've found it can be an enjoyable process when I concentrate on the lifetime of visual joy I am serving to others. I feel like I'm using the gifts God has given me for a greater purpose and there is so much personal joy in that. How lucky am I??? When we frame our work around helping and serving others, we find the joy in the process. Cool, right? Today, there is no room to paint as I must serve my children and family....laundry, cleaning, bills, and errands await! Not so fun, but I can delight in serving others and find the joy. Again, I am so lucky!

Welcome Spring!

Megan Carty

Ranunculus by Megan Carty Art, www.megancartyart.com

Yesterday was the first full day of spring! Of course, it snowed several inches here and school was cancelled. Which worked out great because everyone has that nasty stomach bug that's going around and I've been tending to sickly bodies. I picked up some flowers from Trader Joe's the other day and they are helping make all the difference today!

Style My Painting-Comfy Colorful Family Room design

Megan Carty

I finished this huge 48x48 inch painting (and it's for sale in the shop!)...I decided to style a fictional family room around the painting just to show what it might look like over a couch...what a fun little project this was to make! I definitely can see myself doing more of these in the future. Although I'm not an interior decorator, it can be fun to see what my paintings can look like out in the world!

How to deal with creative burnout

Megan Carty

Hi friends!

Dave Conrey with The Fresh Rag Show podcast interviewed me a few weeks ago...we discussed my battles with creative burnout and what I did to fight it and win! This particular interview is the last in a trilogy where he discusses burnout with 3 different artists...one is going through it now, one has gone through it and switched gears, and then one (me) has gone through it and came back with a new strategy. All are great listens and I think will help anyone going through a "what the hell am I doing right now?" issue.  Listen to my interview which aired today HERE.

Don't wait too long because Dave will eventually take down old episodes and you will only have access as a Patreon subscriber (so, either listen now or sign on through Patreon to listen to ALL of Fresh Rag's awesome and informative episodes).

I'd like to add this tidbit that I didn't discuss in my interview. I discussed finding my purpose (to bring happiness to others in my own way using paint and happy colors.) But I didn't talk about how I came to that. I've battled depression most of my life and it's an up-and-down journey. I know that surrounding myself with things I love and appreciate helps me feel a sense of joy when things are hard. As an artist, I can help uplift others through positive work I create. It's not a lot, but it's something I CAN do. If I can soothe someone or help make a space bright; then I feel like it's a win. I'm using my skills and talents to help others. I've been on the dark side and visit it often enough. So, I see it as an honor to hold someone else's hand when they need it too.

I just wanted to say that. :)

My NEW website launch!

Megan Carty

Hi friends! I'm SO EXCITED about my new website here I built with Squarespace! I'm offering all kinds of new artwork for sale and an entirely new site design! I've spent the entire month of October working on it and am so thrilled to show it to you. I took all the photos of my work myself and my friend Kris Vogelsang of Cricket Acres Studio helped me with styling them. She was a huge help. My talented photographer sister-in-law Denise Carty took the photos and portraits with ME in them. I'm thrilled with her great work! She really worked with me to get exactly the kind of shots I was envisioning. We got a lot done in ONE day! And finally, my friend Emily Benson of Style by Emily came over and helped me find my signature "look" just by shopping in my very own closet! In two hours' time she helped me find several new outfits that I NEVER would have thought to put together on my own. She helped show me that I need to stay away from pale and soft neutral colors (they wash me out) and stick with vibrant jewel tones. She even looked at my accessories and made recommendations as to what I needed to get (certain shoes and necklaces in my case) to round things out. Each outfit made me feel so stylish, professional, and fancy. Yet, at the same time, I feel like ME. Just a "blingy" better version. Now, when I put in a little extra effort to add fun accessories with my bright colored outfits people really notice what I'm wearing and compliment me.  What's super-great about Emily is she's so friendly, open, and honest. I felt like we'd known each other forever by the time she'd left! She even held my baby and got him to sleep while I tried things on! Talk about super-woman! She even works remotely via Skype. I highly recommend her if you are looking for style guidance. She was able to come in, assess what I was all about and zero in on a look for me so quickly it was like magic. I feel like a glam new person thanks to her! (a large feat for a Mom of 3 littles!)

 Here's the first few outfits Emily had me try during our session...

Here's the first few outfits Emily had me try during our session...

 Here are the rest of the looks Emily found in my closet during our session. I ended up buying some shoes and statement necklaces later at her recommendations. Boom!

Here are the rest of the looks Emily found in my closet during our session. I ended up buying some shoes and statement necklaces later at her recommendations. Boom!

I really hope you like my new website as much as I do! It is my passion to bring others happiness in some way and this place has become my online happy spot...I hope you feel a bit of that joy when you are here visiting. I'd love to hear about what kinds of things bring you joy? Leave your comment and maybe we can share some ideas on how we keep a positive feeling going!

Meditation, Stress and Depression: Painting Abstracts helps!

Megan Carty

Hi friends!

I have a new line of abstract paintings that I'm so thrilled with. I definitely plan to make more. They are 18x24 watercolor on watercolor paper. I made them during times of meditation...I would clear my mind and focus on music that had chimes in it (the sort of thing you might listen to while having a massage) and I would just sit. Then, I'd dip my brush in the paint that "spoke" to me and just let it work on the paper as it wanted. I would watch the water and the paint dance together as it flowed down the page. It was quite relaxing. I would introduce another color that called to me and see how it would work itself into the mix. It was a slow process but a deliberate one. It can be hard to sit and watch when you just want to get your brush in there and smoosh things around! The magic is in the stillness.

When I am feeling stressed it can be a trigger for my chronic depression. So, to be proactive, I try to dial down my stress level through calming meditation. The paint, paper, and water help my brain go silent (and take a nice break!) while I focus on the painting process. My mind becomes still and the chatter becomes silent. Let me tell you, it is a real life-saver for me. Does it replace my depression medication? No. But, it addresses my symptom of stress head-on when I need it to. It's good as gold. 

If you suffer from anxiety or stress, I highly recommend you try a soothing activity that will keep your brain still...painting is one way. Adult coloring books have become popular for this reason. Knitting, sewing, embroidery are other things that soothe too! Quieting the chatter in your mind is essential to a productive and steady life. I hope you'll give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

 

Being a Full-Time Artist AND a Full-Time Parent

Megan Carty

Hi friends!

OH MY!!! So, I spent all of September doing the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge and I DID it. As you can see, I didn't post here every day. The truth is, I was so exhausted by the time I finished at the end of the night I just went to bed. I found that getting my camera out, taking a nice photo, editing it, uploading it and doing a blog post was just too much to do in addition to the painting itself. I DID post each painting briefly to my personal (although it's not private) Facebook page. Luckily, the challenge was about CREATING the work and not about posting the work! SO, what did I learn?

1. You CAN paint even with 3 little kids around your feet! But, it takes A LOT of planning. I would decide on what kind of piece I wanted to make the night before and then I'd plan out all the colors. I'd also make a little "to-do" list in the morning and tackle each little item one at a time as I found pockets of time to do it. I would keep my supplies around me in the kitchen so I could lay down color whenever I could. Is this ideal? Nope. BUT each task added up to a finished painting in the end, so it WORKED! 

2. The previous point leads me to the fact that to paint consistently with children you have to be FLEXIBLE. I like to paint in large chunks of time. Give me 4 or 5 free hours and I'm a happy camper. Since that's just not possible these days I have had to find a new way of working. Now, I break the process of painting down into smaller steps and I do them each one at a time through the day. I use one or two colors at a time and just try my best to do what I can in the 10 minute window I have. If I waited for timing to be perfect I would never paint. I've had to take charge of my productivity and be as disciplined with my time as possible. My windows of time were 10 minute chunks. (blah).

3. Work smaller...if you can. I was able to easily complete my paintings when they were a smaller size. I saved my larger pieces for the weekends when my husband was home. That worked out really well! 

4. I gave my kids little projects to do that kept them busy and focused for a half hour; and that was a big help. I would also wear my infant on my back in the carrier...he liked being able to see what was going on and he would eventually just fall asleep there. 

5. I edited my painting style to be more gestural and free. This allowed me to have more whimsical strokes and more movement in my work. It also worked better for me since I could work more quickly and get more finished. I'm happy with that!

6. Don't rely on nap-time. My kids are unpredictable with naps and I always ended up frustrated and angry. I never was able to do what I'd hoped to. SO I focused on doing my work while my kids were awake. When they did nap, I would take my break...eat, shower, breathe, throw some laundry in, etc. 

7. The evening time is for your spouse. It's easy to say "The kids are in bed, I'm gonna get my work done!" But, my marriage has to come first above everything. Without that, the whole unit crumbles. There were days I focused on work in the evening; but that was usually when my husband had things he wanted to do/things he wanted to watch on tv. If he was ok with it, then I would go ahead and paint. But, I always made (and continue to) sure that we had our time together after the kids went to sleep. If I need to do computer work, then I bring my laptop into the family room and sit next to him on the couch while I do it. At least we are near each other! 

8. To piggy-back on point 7, it also applies to the kids. I found that if I spent good quality fun time with them for a while, then they were content to leave me be to let me work for bits. So, we had a pattern of play, work, play, work. They were happy and content to do their own thing once we'd had quality time together. Then, when they ran out of "gas" playing alone, I would "fill up the tank" again with quality time together again. If I wanted time to paint, I needed to GIVE my time FIRST. 

I hope these tips make sense! I'm not a writer; but I figure you get what I'm trying to say! Ha! Being an artist while parenting is difficult. It takes a lot of planning, initiative, effort, and discipline. But it feels so good to get work done in a consistent way and it IS possible! Keep expectations realistic and know that this kind of pace is difficult to keep up every day. Pace yourself and adjust accordingly. Be gentle with yourself...you can only do so much. High fives all around! 

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 17

mlcassid

peach roses floral painting Okey Dokey, today's painting is a favorite of mine...I'm happy with how all the strokes came out and I love this color combination! It's so soothing and relaxing. And that's my signal that I MUST go to bed. The kids have all been getting me up in the night several times and I'm past spent! See you tomorrow!

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 16

mlcassid

small floral painting Hi friends! I didn't get home from a meeting I had yesterday until super-late at night; so I never updated my blog with the painting I did, so here it is! This one was an experiment with really filling the canvas with an interesting floral composition. I don't normally love purple, so I wanted to try it out to see...and I kinda like it! It's a small 8x8 canvas and it's about 1.75" thick. Classy!

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 15

mlcassid

Floral Painting with Swarovski Crystals Hi friends!

Halfway there!!!! Today's piece was started yesterday and finished today. It's large at 36x36 inches square. Another focal piece! This one is my favorite so far...I love the colors and how stylish it looks. I also embellished this one with Swarovski crystals (on the blue vase). They are SO sparkly and add another touch of glamour to the piece. This time, it's more like "Jewelry for your walls" than ever! Painting florals has been so much fun; I seem to be endlessly inspired by the different color and compositional possibilities. I've found my thing! And now, to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzz....

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 14

mlcassid

Colorful floral painting I'm really happy with today's piece. I just love the colors and the style of this one. I'm bummed the photo isn't quite as vibrant as the actual painting...It's a lot darker/deeper than it looks here.  I wanted a bit of a nautical flair, so I added the yacht stripes for some extra style. I've never been one to do much with pattern, but I'm dipping my toes in a bit.

This challenge is about half way done; thank GOD! It's so hard to complete paintings every single day and be a full-time Mom to three. I get pretty darn grouchy by the time 3:00PM rolls around! So far, I'm learning how to plan my paintings to make the most of my little bits of time. I'm also learning that I can fit a lot more in the day than I thought I could! OK. Off to bed I go!

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 13

mlcassid

Large Whimsical Floral Painting Hi friends!

Today I decided to do a HUGE painting. At least, it's huge for me! It's 30 x 40 inches wide and 1.5" deep. I wanted to do a "showstopper" kind of piece...a focal point for a room. I'm thrilled with how it came out; colorful, whimsical, and energetic. Painting large is hard for me; you really have to make sure you are mixing your colors well or things get flat easily. But, it's so satisfying when the piece is complete. I'm certainly ready for bed though! It took a lot out of me! I hope you like it too!