Every month, Creative Gateways celebrates their resident artists with an honored focus on each person’s new works, sources of inspiration, talent, and origin story. This month we are excited to turn the spotlight on Meg Munro…
There and Back Again
Watercolorist Meg Munro has an impressive body of work behind her. She spent thirty years of her life in Mexico, painting “subject matter as diverse as Mexico itself.” This included the landscapes, the man-made locations, the people, and everything in between. In 2016, Meg moved to Sedona and became a resident artist at Creative Gateways. Although she loved her time here, near the end of 2017 Meg decided to leave Sedona to set up shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, after an interesting and eye-opening experience there, Meg has returned to Sedona, and returned to Creative Gateways.
Origins of a Theme
Meg’s new exhibition is titled “The Inner Journey,” and for a very specific reason. As she explains, “That’s what my time in Albuquerque turned out to be. I thought I was going there to make a big splash as an artist and ‘get discovered.’ Instead, I found I could barely paint. I spent most of my time at The Bosque, or laying under trees in various parks. It felt like that was all I could do. All the while this internal pressure was building up inside of me.” Near what would ultimately be the end of her time in Albuquerque, Meg experienced a resounding insight that gave her new direction and perspective. “I realized I had put this pressure on myself as a result of thinking I had to hurry and make up for mis-spending 30 years of my life in Mexico – that I had to force myself to change even more. I was scapegoating my watercolor as the culprit for all my woes, feeling like if I didn’t paint oil I wasn’t going to be ‘current’ or ‘with the times.’ But now I’ve been relieved of the self-recrimination that I’m a failure and now I appreciate the artist that I am.”
Change and Inspiration
For Meg, “The Inner Journey” isn’t simply an exhibition, but an entirely new series of pieces that will continue on. “It represents a trend towards allowing nature to just be, without showing the energetic source behind nature in a specific apparition figure.” It is a type of re-directed extension of a series of painted water gardens Meg created between 2001-2002, while living in Phoenix. “Those involved a ‘nowhere’ or ‘anywhere’ subject. They aren’t dependent on geography, but can be anywhere. They represent introspection with the see-through water to the stems and underwater shapes.”
There is a particular piece that Meg finds important and representative of her transition into this newest epoch: “Lotus Blossom Guadalupe.” Meg began the painting in Sedona and finished it in Albuquerque. “I consider it a bridge between ‘The Apparitions’ series, which is ongoing, and “The Inner Journey” series, which is newer.” In fact, the bridge came largely from a discussion Meg had with a specific art collector, who purchased a lotus blossom giclee from Meg’s earlier work. After learning her cancer had returned, the collector came to Sedona in search of healing. “She told me that although she loves ‘The Mother’ and the paintings depicting her, it was the knowledge of the lotus flower drawing from the debris of the bottom of the pond and transmuting that fecund material into a beautiful blossom that spoke to her as if she were hearing a message from ‘The Mother’ herself.”
Meg’s return to Creative Gateways has also been a cherished part of her new journey. “Returning here is heaven on Earth for me. It represents having gone through my desert experience, gone into the muck at the bottom of the pond, and now I get to just ‘be’ and be here. I get to be supported in this haven for artists. No wonder I’m fascinated with water lily images right now!” Overall, all the recent changes and revelations continue to inspire Meg. “I’m beginning to be able to paint ‘just nature’ and feel that it’s imbued with ‘The Mother.’ It doesn’t have to have Her up front and in your face. It’s like I’ve backed off from having to wear my story on my face and can set it down gently inside myself.”
Join the Journey
Be sure to see more of Meg’s new work at the opening reception of “The Inner Journey,” Friday, October 19th, from 5-8pm, at Creative Gateways Open Studios and Gallery. Hear Meg talk at 6pm as well as converse with her and our other resident artists, explore their spaces, and enjoy small bites and wine!