Art: COMING HOME to NATURE: Jeannette MacDougall



By Deva Moore

Making art has a way of transforming a person. Creativity moves through progressive stages just as a plant or flower begins from a seed pod into a bud that eventually blooms. The art process has many stages, twists and turns like a wild grape vine. Learning how to embrace the unknown and go with the flow is how an artist develops their art form. Exploring and experimenting is part of the process. “Like any skill, it is sometime figuring out what not to do that is the answer. This is how an artist can learn to master their craft” says Jeannette MacDougall. “This has been my experience. Each successful stage contributes to the next and evolves naturally”.


Jeannette MacDougall understands this profoundly, and has shared her gift of knowledge she developed overs years with hundreds of students through art instruction and in pursuit of her own professional fine art achievements.

Like coming home again to “Nature”, Jeannette will be returning to the Cibolo Center for Conservation on City Park Road and Herff Farm at 33 Herff Rd in Boerne, where she has had a long-standing relationship. Soon Jeannette will be launching a new series of art classes and community programming that will utilize the natural beauty of the creeks, prairies, marsh and woodlands. Jeannette has had an enduring relationship with the CCC from the early years with art classes, botanical illustrations at native plant sales, summer camps, contributions in design consultation as well as having a permanent art collection in the historic Herff Farm house. As a two-time award winner of the Art and Conservation series, she captured the best of Texas Hill Country in painting representation. So naturally, this local land preserve will serve as the base camp for an inspirational program for all who love nature and fine art! Jeannette will bring in guest artists and instructors, such as newcomer, Rebecca Bruitt, who will be teaching alongside and collaborating with Jeannette. Inquiries and registration can be found at the Cibolo Center for Conservation at 830-249-4616 or by reaching Jeannette at: (210) 386-8078.

Jeannette has always wanted to be an artist as long as she can remember. She recalls a photo as a 3 year-old in the back of a station wagon with a suitcase on its side for a table. All the other kids are smiling at a camera, but she is deeply engrossed in making something marvelous with her paint brush in hand and a Dixie cup of water.
She has memories of staring out endless windows; viewing the world through a picture frame; drawing with her eyes, tracing the outlines, comparing the shapes, the colors and textures. “It takes discipline, focus and courage!”

She has made her art journey a successful one, full of interesting detours and wanderings. Jeannette has followed her dream and made a creative life as a practicing artist.
Her mother’s aspirations for young Jeannette were hopes of a nurse or even to become a marine like herself, but those were extinguished early by her daughter’s strong desire and talent for art. After Highschool graduation Jeannette received a scholarship for the summer program to Interlochen Fine Arts Academy in an intensive 8-week program. Attendees came from all over the country, bringing their own talent. Jeannette was somewhat surprised by the quality and the worldly exposure in her peers since she was a country girl from Michigan. It instilled a healthy desire for competition and to seeks her personal best.
She made her way to Austin in the 1970’s through an Interlochen classmate and found that women were in sandals and vintage cotton dresses while she had just arrived from a Midwestern snowstorm! Jeannette loved all things Texan and was determined to acquire every bit of education and Experience that she could. With a little help from a scholarship to Trinity University she embarked on a BFA. After a few years of teaching art at a girls’ high school, Jeannette moved to New York to study at Parsons School of Design. During this time Jeannette wrote her thesis on the Dual Role of Artist as Instructor. She knew that in order to make art, she would also need a profession that supported her habit as an Artist. At Parsons she acquired valuable skills and practices she still uses in her classes today.

She began her art teaching career at The San Antonio Art Institute which was affiliated with the McNay Museum. From there, she continued a long and successful teaching profession at the Southwest Craft Center, which is now the Southwest School of Art. She has enjoyed a fruitful position there for over 40 years. Jeannette loves being involved in their successful community art school program. She has been quoted as saying, “My passion is to make art accessible to all who want it, and in so doing; “Make art and find joy!”

Jeannette loves the Texas Hill Country and the simple tranquil country lifestyle. She moved to Kendall County 35 years ago, and found a quaint home where she enjoys the peace and solitude in her garden and studio. Since she has always been an artist from early childhood, Jeannette has mastered many subjects and uses many mediums to capture the best results. She has excelled as an artist in different mediums including: drawing, painting, botanical illustration, mixed media, encaustic beeswax, Plein Air, abstract, environmental and installation art. Her work reflects her love of the land which inspires her atmospheric landscapes which are dear to her heart.

Conservation and preservation has been at the heart of Jeannette’s landscape painting ever since growing up on the banks of the Looking Glass river in rural farm land of central Michigan. She explained that it is not enough to just enjoy nature, but we must also actively protect our natural resources. Some of her paintings reflect what happens if preservation is neglected. There is a focus on the natural beauty, while bringing attention to our responsibility for maintaining that beauty through land protection, preservation and conservation.

Jeannette is planning an art excursion to Europe; France and Scotland this summer with a group of students. She has always been inspired to combine art and travel ever since her Scottish grandmother took her on her first maiden voyage when she was 18 years old.
She is also community focused and has many personal projects that she supports locally. Jeannette gives back to her community with passion and expression! Currently, she is leading an art event at the Comfort Get Out the Vote program on Saturday May 7th from 11-2pm at the Comfort Park. This will be a great opportunity to bring the family for some fun art while participating in a community event for all! And as an added bonus, one will get to meet Jeannette AND make art!

Jeannette has worked in Portraits, figure painting, dream narratives, abstracts, and nature-based environmental art. But, her current work focus and specialty has been working with traditional Italian Venetian plaster that has an absorbency like watercolor paper. In this way, she paints with powdered pigments to create an authentic Fresco effect. She uses paint brushes, palette knifes, trowels, sponges, scrapers, and etching tools that make markings which emphasize the wet color. This technique creates a gorgeous effect that has an intriguing 3-dimensional appeal.

A number of these paintings can be seen at the gallery; STUDIO COMFORT TEXAS
716 High St. in Comfort, Texas, next to HIGH’s CAFE.

You may also find other examples of Jeanettes work on her website:
Facebook: Jeannette MacDougall and Jeannette MacDougall Art
And by appointment: 210-386-8078 or by Email: