When working from her Yarraville studio in Melbourne’s inner west, music is a ‘must’ for Chalie. “I actually compile and choose my playlist to suit my mood and intended painting style. I can look at many of my completed paintings and recall exactly what I was listening to at the time. I’m also partial to a cheeky studio wine!”
Chalie has always been a creative at heart, dabbling in piano, photography and guitar. However, it wasn’t until her early 20s when travelling aboard that she developed her long-term love for art. “I can still feel the somewhat overwhelming connection to Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko’s artworks as I sat admiring them at the Tate Modern in London. I didn’t, however, pick up my own paint brushes until many years later while working as an Intelligence Analyst. Suffice to say I couldn’t stop, and have gradually changed my career and life course to follow my passion for art. I have now been painting for close to eight years.”
Chalie mainly works with acrylic paints on cotton or linen canvas, but she does also explore inks and oil paints. She draws inspiration from various places, but nature, music and travel are key sources. “In my mind, all are multi layered with texture, shape, form, sound and new life experiences; an endless discovery of possibilities I can translate onto the canvas.” She is also inspired by many artists, such as Willem de Kooning, John Olsen, Helen Frankenthaler, Georgia O’Keefe and Picasso.
The process of continually learning and experimenting is an important one for Chalie. “The first canvas I ever bought was 1.2m x 1.5m. You could say I had grand ambitions!! I still have that painting. However, I quickly realised there was so much to learn and to experiment with. Until this day, I believe I will never stop learning or experimenting as I consider that the essence of creativity.”
“I paint primarily because I find it incredibly freeing and it’s my own way of expressing myself. I, of course, love that these paintings bring a sense of harmony into people’s homes or the spaces they enjoy each day. It brings me so much joy when I hear how my clients connect with my paintings.”
Check out Forman’s collection of Chalie MacRae artworks here!