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Life and Work with Carolyn Mackin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolyn Mackin.

Carolyn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
A child of the 70’s and 80’s in the ‘burbs of Boston, I could be occupied for hours with some crayons and paper or the latest craze in crafting. As a teenager, I found photography a compelling way to explore my world and that fascination took me through many years of art school, a semester in London and over a decade of indulging in the exciting art scene in San Francisco.

And while I adored traveling the world and creating ‘painterly photographs’, I found myself in front of my computer editing images more than expanding myself creatively. Now married, with 2 young boys, I felt a calling to paint. Wait, what? I couldn’t. I really had no clue what to do with a blank white canvas! But, I dreamt of dancing with huge canvases and after years of procrastination and making excuses, I found an online class and finally started painting in 2012.

I could not have anticipated the significance of delving into intuitive art and how it would change me. And I never thought that, I would learn how to run my own business and enjoy marketing and selling, too. Each year, my abstract art business grows and brings me a tremendous amount of pleasure.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My first and biggest obstacle was to believe that I am capable (and the best person) to actually sell my artwork. I used to think (thanks to art school) that the only way to make it in the art world was to get my work into galleries. But times have changed and social media has made it possible to connect with my clients directly. And I figured out that, I really love talking to my clients about my art and guiding them to find the perfect painting(s) for their space.

Running a business without any formal business training is also a huge challenge for me. I never thought that I would be knowledgeable about finding my target customers, creating a marketing campaign or knowing how to ask for a sale. Thankfully, there are many resources online that are specifically geared toward the creative entrepreneur that have made my business possible.

I would advise anyone just starting out to do what feels fun creatively, build a community of other creatives both IRL and online and continuously push yourself out of your comfort zone. Look closely at those who have careers that make you swoon and delve deeper into what they are doing and then emulate it. And most importantly, get in tune with your intuition and make decisions from inspired action rather than a belief that you should do something. That will help you re-center and focus when you become distracted by what other people are doing (it happens to all of us).

Please tell us about Carolyn Mackin.
My abstract mixed media paintings celebrate the adventurous lives of curious seekers. Because I have an affinity for design and décor, I not only make large statement paintings, but complimentary smaller accent pieces, painted sculptures called Art Stacks and even a collection of abstract art flags made from ripped up and reassembled original paintings. My next collection, ‘Magical Places’, gives the imaginative viewer a visual environment in which they could take a leisurely stroll around a vibrant city block, glide down a river and speed over a bridge in a convertible within seconds.

Inspired by traveling, city life, white light and intimate connections, I create mixed media paintings through an intuitive process of layering acrylic and oil paint, oil pastels, paint pens, graphite and paper. When I paint, I often enter a trance state that allows me to open my mind and create from a place of curiosity directed by my inner voice. The surrender that happens feels much like my practice of yoga and mediation.

I paint what makes me light up. Cities are wonderfully exciting places filled with possibility, vibrant energy and endless inspiration. Patterns have the ability to mentally transport me to exotic locales such as India, Morocco and Bali. White light, in its infinite forms, is a constant wellspring from which I derive insight. I am drawn to strings of lights, lanterns and chandeliers because they evoke celebration.

Creating custom paintings to coordinate with the other décor elements in a room is one of my favorite things to do. This option is perfect if you love my style, but need a specific size and color palette. I am a good communicator and help my clients distill what they know they like, but are not able to articulate. Plus, I make extra custom pieces, so they have choices. My goal is always to make it a very difficult decision for them to choose which final piece(s) they want to keep!

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I believe that all of our life experiences get imprinted in our sub-conscience, so I know that my childhood experiences are a large part of who I am today. My parents separated when I was 8 years old and it was crushing and uprooting and challenged my sense of security and trust in love (especially in dating). And, at the same time, both my parents supported my devotion to art, even when I decided to major in art at college. I was always curious and confident (for the most part) but have coped with agonizing pain from endometriosis and food allergies my whole life.

From my father, I developed an abundance mentality and from my mom I learned about making my spiritual growth the center of my life. These important lessons have shaped me into the artist/businesswoman that I was destined to become and continue to evolve into.


  • My pricing for starts at $60 for a 6×6” original. I price by size.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Carolyn Mackin

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