Category Archives: paintings

L O V E 2.u. my artist collegues + bloggers * Callahan McDonough. Day.15.Blogathon

To my dear friend and art colleague Ruth Schowalter. You are one of a kind, a  sweetheart, passionate blogger, artist, life adventurer. Lucky to have you in my life and in our community.

 I am so glad you are who you are dearest Ruth, not brief and yet so very eloquent. Thank you so much for ‘sparking’ me forward to March with you and all the artists who joined in C4 ATL blogathon. Great experience. While I doubt I’d ever blog daily I do think I may now blog weekly, which is a discipline I’ve wanted to develop for a long while.
I have indeed had a sense of connection with each one of you and only wish I had the time and energy to go around to each blog and comment. The times I did have to do so made me feel stimulated, intrigued aware of what neat artists there are in our community. I was struck each day by the variety of approaches/solutions each artist came up with and how each was just right in its own way.
I do have a renewed interested in blogging and realize that when there are artists and individuals who actually read some of my blogs I feel more connected to them and my work as well.
A mega big THANKS to C4 Atlanta, I have joined your ranks as a member (also thanks to ms.Ruth) and am very impressed by all you are contributing to our art community.
Being a child of the 60’s I do believe in Love being the most potent, the real-est real Force in the Universe. I wish you each a lifetime of receiving and giving Love.  I pray for us and our planet PEACE.

They conspired to paint the air

They conspired to paint the air

knowing that art

is not only a way

of seeing

but a way

of being,

a passion for the light,

a tenderness at heart

just short

of being wounded by the air,

a toughness too,


They consipred to paint the air,

leaving their mark,

an obsessed life,

infinitely rich,

infinitely ripe,

tasting of peaches

and anemones,

red tile,

voile peignoirs

and air,

inhabited air.


poetry:    Erica Yong,   Becoming Light

painting:      Callahan McDonough, Patterns of Moonlight Shifted,  2013.     Wood panel, mixed media 3’x4′.


My still life in my studio at Georgia State University ca.1970

Reflections on past work: Egle’ 1973

Painting of Egle' My Studio at Georgia State University

Egle’ 1973 5.50′ x 6.50′ canvas & acrylic


This is one of my favorite pieces and is a painting of my dear friend and art colleague Egle’ Gatins. This period of painting for me was rich with subject matter that symbolized my love for color and patterns and also dolls. There were  many layers of depth and meaning including for me symbolism representing the feminine .  Egle’ is even painted as if she were a giant doll. And in fact  I did use a life size maniquin in my still lifes as model, one I  rescued from the garbage, (a practice one the nursing students at Grady Hospital used). I was primarily influenced by the  French painter Vuillard, a contemporary of Bonard and Matisse.  The series of paintings that I produced after this one just poured out of me, and I worked on this series for a couple of years. This work was some of my favorite; it was powerful, and flowed so easily. Recently I have been pulling out drawings from this time and feel an urge to integrate elements of this work into my current artwork.


Blogathon C4Atlanta

Callahan McDonough, interview with:Women’s Caucus for Art Georgia

          Honored to be interviewed for Current Women’s Caucus for Art Georgia Newsletter Feb.4.2014.


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Header image: “The Dream of a common language” by Callahan McDonough.
above: “squared abstract” by Callahan McDonoughInterview with Artist and Psychotherapist, Callahan McDonough
1.Who are you, what do you do, and what is your background?I am an artist, a painter and print maker and have been for over the past forty years. I received my Bachelor of Visual Arts from Georgia State University in 1970. It was an exhilarating time for art at GSU and I had some wonderful mentors, teachers and friends. Jim Sitton, Medford Johnston and some amazing fellow students really changed my life and how I thought about my art.  Happily, I earned a scholarship for graduate school in the art department at the University of South Florida. Unhappily, my mother fell ill and I left grad school to care for her after completing one year of the two-year program.  ‘Reality takes precedence’, another mentor, Pauline Clance, PhD would say to me later.  By the way, Mom is doing fine and lives in Florida all these years later. After Mom recovered, I returned to Atlanta and worked as Director of the Techwood Homes Girls Club.
About this time, the Feminist movement was kicking in gear, and I immersed myself in the  Feminist Women’s art movement. Along with 30 other women artists, we started the Atlanta Women’s Art Collective, as well as the co-ed Art Workers Coalition. Both of the organizations were pivotal in changing the art scene in Atlanta. We were lucky to have Maynard Jackson in office as Atlanta Mayor. He was a big supporter of the arts and started the Bureau of Cultural Affairs, which gave a sense of camaraderie and unity to a multitude of Atlanta arts organizations. There was a window of about ten years when it felt as if we were experiencing a contemporary version of the Renaissance in Atlanta.

above:” A wrinkle in time” by Callahan McDough 


Above: “Inner Vision” by Callahan McDonough
Interview with Callahan McDonough continueAlong the way my life became more complicated; my marriage broke up, but I had a wonderful 2 year old son, Zach. It was clear, however, that selling a few paintings, and writing grants would no longer sustain us financially.  I needed an instant way to make a living, be able to be the Mom I wanted to be, and make my art. So like many artists, I created a business (cleaning houses) to pay the bills.  It grew into a full-fledged business, which I ran for nearly 25 years. Some of you may have heard of “Sparkle Plenty”; that was my business. I called it my “single mom and artist” survival kit.  I was hoping my art would sell consistently, enough to let the business go; or that the business would become less demanding, and support my art career.  Despite the fact that I was in the  Fay Gold Gallery and selling reasonably well, the money was not enough to support us. I decided to go back to school and get a Masters of Social Work so I could have a private counseling practice and still have flexibility to raise my child and do my art. This career move finally worked; I have been in a rewarding private practice for more than 20 years. Recently I reduced my client load to one day per week and now have the freedom to have the kind of studio time I want.  Also, I remarried five years ago and am enjoying the companionship and support of my husband, Bill Pope.
2. What’s integral to your art and art career?
Oftentimes people ask me how psychotherapy and art are related for me. My answer is that both psychotherapy and art are about making the unconscious conscious.  One is direct and interactive; the other is studio work, and more reflective and singular.  Both contribute to who I am as a woman and an artist.  Also integral is my awareness of the work of historical and contemporary artists, as art history has always provided a context for my work.
3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?
My themes seem to fall into two categories. One is Narrative, which includes the Spiritual/Political/Personal aspects of my life,. The other category is more abstract and lyrical. Both are characteristics of my self-expression and artwork. Recently, I have been collaborating with a spiritual writer, Ronna Detrick, in Seattle who is re-defining some of the women from scripture to show them through a Feminist viewpoint — as empowered and empowering, not just pawn’s in a man’s world. I am doing a series of prints that represent these women first as painting, then as a print.
I also intend the work to communicate and connect with all kinds of people, in some way.  Of course, one of the wonderful things about art is that interpretation is up to the viewer.
4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
My desire is that, by creating more of a sense of community, we will all win.  Living in a world that over emphasizes the ‘individual’ (what we call in Social Work, rugged individualism) is opposed to choosing the ‘whole community’ concept that encompasses a world that works for everyone, with no one left out.  I believe our current lack of cultural expression has become the source of much suffering, often as reflexive violence, i.e. those who are shut out and cannot join the world will ultimately lash out.  We can do better, and that makes me really angry that we have culturally not made that shift.
On the other hand, I feel hope and happiness as I have experienced the capacity for kindness and generosity that so many people have, and I see this tendency growing.  For example, some of the organized expressions of hopeful change include: The Feminist movement, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, One percent, Ecological movements to name a few.
5. Who and what inspires you in your work and in your life?

My son is my biggest continuing inspiration, along with my family, close friends and people I love. I have a strong spiritual sense of connection to what I choose to call God. My art colleagues, female artists I know, and friends involved in the arts are wonderfully inspiring. ___

6. What superpower would you like?
I’d like to wave a magic wand that could create World Peace; a world where all are kind and share, and one  that works for everyone, including Mother Earth!_____

7. Favorite artists?
Soooo many: Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Frida Kahlo, Judy Chicago, Sonia Delaunay, Guerrilla Girls, Ruth Laxon, Jim Sitton, Med Johnston, David Hockney, Bonnard, Vuillard, Julian Schnabel.


8. What advice would you give to other artists?
First, know that not everyone is going to make a great financial living from their art; it rarely has to do with the quality of the work but myriad variables get between a work of art, and a remunerated work of art.
If you don’t want to be cleaning houses all your life, get another skill that complements doing your work. Lastly, if some limitation won’t allow you to do your work, treat it like an assignment from art school and get it done anyway. Some of my best work came out of those tough circumstances.

Callahan McDonough

SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM INTERVIEW: Callahan Pope McDonough–Feminist Artist Engaged in Timelessness with Passion and Soul

art photo 19Callahan McDonough Talking Hallelujah Truth

SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM INTERVIEW: Callahan Pope McDonough–Feminist Artist Engaged in Timelessness with Passion and Soul

 *note* all copyrights  this interview: Ruth Schowalter & photos


In the second week of May 2013, following Callahan Pope McDonough’s art opening of “A Sword of Moonlight and Imperishable Love” at Sight and Sound Gallery in the StudioPlex, I ventured to the Old Fourth Ward, to Callahan’s loft space where she works and lives.
Hallelujah for the light and spaciousness of her studio living space, for it elevated me to an altered state of consciousness. Afternoon sunlight illuminated her large colorful paintings, which spoke loudly and deeply to me. Callahan’s organic gluten free chocolate chip cookies and herbal tea kept me grounded as we engaged in the following interview.
 art photo 2Callahan McDonough Studio Hallelujah Truth
LIGHT FILLED SPACIOUSNESS. Callahan’s studio space in the Old Fourth Ward dazzles with its high ceilings and sunfilled walls, countertops, and floor! Her current work is now on exhibit at the Sight and Sound Gallery in the Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. “A Sword of Moonlight and Imperishable Love” can be viewed until June 28, 2013. Original pieces of her work are available for purchase, as well as giclees at affordable prices. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: Give me your personal definition of ART

CALLAHAN: Well, that’s like saying what’s my definition of God?
There are different ways to go about defining art. There is a lot out there today that’s called art, and it’s not art. In some ways it easier to say what its not, overall, it’s complex, subjective and mind boggling.
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: In this moment, how would you go about defining art? It’s okay if your definition is primitive.
CALLAHAN:  When I was in art school— the big “A” art was a constant source of debate. In my view, this big “A” art has to have some kind of relationship to art as it relates to art history. A sense of context, even if one is defying art history, you have to have it in your bones what you are making in relationship to the art, the history that’s preceded. Some exceptions to this would be naïve artists, like Howard Finster.I guess, my definition of art is that it has relevance and impact beyond the meaning it has for me, the maker of art.

 art photo 1364846398_The_Dream_of_a_Common_Lang_1
HALLELUJAH TRUTHExplain relevance.
CALLAHAN: I don’t know how to explain relevance exactly but that everything is related and has impact. Relevance is another word for relationship.
But nobody can ultimately codify this relevance because it is a paradox. Most people who are artists are renegades. The nature of this paradox is that there are two realities, that seem to contradict but within the nature of paradox, both are true at the same time. My sense of it is: relationship + connection of all life forms.
 art photo-mother-may-2013-revised


CALLAHAN: Spirituality is something I have a sense about, what I consider a deep knowing based on my experience of it. It really defies description, but words are what we have and need to describe life, but of course words and our minds are limited. So that is my instinct/knowing; i.e., my sense is that there is something that is me and simultaneously greater than me which I am and we all are part of. I personally choose to call this God. And so this question is a little bit like your question, “What is art.”

I can tell you what “spirituality” is not.
It is not some big guy somewhere in the clouds like a puppeteer, proclaiming: ‘Here I give you goodies today and I withhold goodies from these other folks.’ That is a no brainer. Those paradigms of a deity that no longer serve, they limit us and create confusion.
In my view “Religious” institutions have given God a bad name. Religions have been coopted for patriarchal agendas, money and control. There are some religions that are transcending this pattern, but if there is a dogma within a teaching that dictates how we live beyond, love each other and do not harm yourself or another, it’s been coopted for other agendas.
There is no specific version of God. We make symbols to convey our pretty limited perceptions of God and that is where art can be profound, elegant, and diverse.  Art ultimately leaves the experience in the hands of the viewer.
For me, I can call spirituality God, or you can call it Mother Nature or M & M’s. “It” doesn’t need you to name it. I do have a sense that there is something profound about Life itself.In the book, Not God, which was Ernest Kurtz’s PhD thesis about the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, Kurtz describes that his research showed that Alcoholics who came into recovery and had lasting sobriety/recovery where able to make the shift from “I am God”  (be there a God OR NOT, whichever is so) to:  “I am not God”.
What that translates to is that none of us can “carry the worry” or “solve all the problems” or control anything completely. Frequently in childhood we imagine that’s our job and then that causes a sense of being alone, cut off from humanity, anything spiritual, our authentic selves.
In my generation, there was so much emphasis on finding identity. There was a kind of narcissism in the searching for me, me, me….
There needs to be a shift to include me+you+WE.  …………. Continue reading »

Solo Exhibition: Callahan McDonough – Current works May.3-28 June.2013

                                                                       Sight and Sound Gallery Atlanta, Ga. 30012


” A wrinkle in Time” 2012



“A wrinkle in Time”   2012

16″ x 20″

Arches Paper, mixed media


This piece was inspired by Madeline L’Engle’s book: A wrinkle in Time, and reminds me of the sense of I have of the universe being luminous vibrating light of every color. That in this universe our heart felt thought manifests in form and experiences. It comes and goes. And like a wrinkle in time we can collapse time, travel many light years, light folding the universe, as if it were a string, creating a wrinkle in time.

prints available:

under ‘portfolio’


Permissable delights of the Soul………..You are invited to my opening Apr. 1

Please join me for a brunch opening at:

the inde-pendent, April 1.Sunday, noon til 4 p.m.

1052 St. Charles Ave., Atlanta.Ga. 30306 404-313-0004

title: ” permissible delights of the soul”* 2012
34″x40″ wood panel, mixed media

prints are also available

“Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”
Johannes Sebastian Bach
Bill & were listening to a piece from one of the Golberg Variations last night. Woke up hearing it. Like the notion of mirror images, going toward each other, one going up, the other down. Cannot really re-create a complex theory of this, but its what I hear in it.
Sometimes think I have a art split personality, or certainly many visual aspects, at any rate this is one of my new abstract pieces, that will show at my up coming exhibit. The other self/aspect paints images which tend to be somewhat ‘narrative’. Perhaps akin to the Goldberg variations. Maybe the title shoud be ‘homage to Bach’ 🙂

” A soulmate to share my roses “

5 ft. x 7 ft.

mixed media- canvas

“A soulmate to share my roses” e.Jong

currently on display at:  theindie-pendent; Intown Atlanta craft/art gallery & shop