Miniature Mountains by Christian Mackie
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What’s your earliest memory with painting or fine art?
I don’t have too many big art memories; minor classes on the weekends, always chasing my hyper-talented older brother. I do have a fond memory of my 12th grade art final. I did a big self-portrait in colored crayon, and got an A. I was super proud of it, and wanted to protect it, so I decided to run it through the lamination machine. I remember Ms. Butcher just looking at me like, “how do you dress yourself?” It was great.
How did you first get started making miniature mountain paintings?
This only came to light recently, but a friend reminded me that, around this time last year, I was doing a very loose project called Bob Ross Notes where I doodled mountains alongside my morning coffee. I think that back then, it was also a way to zone out; I have a fairly stressful day job and just creating a little world to escape into is much needed sometimes.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work with these miniature mountains?
I never have a plan going into a piece, so sometimes I’ll work myself into a (tiny) corner and have to make compromises as to what kind of landscape features I can fit. I usually have a rough idea of what the end result will look like, but I have no clear path to getting there.
Any innovative tools or techniques you’ve come up with along the way?
I snapped all my paintbrushes in half, because I kept hitting myself in the face with the ends when I would go in for a closer look.
Favorite memory of Bob Ross?
This is heavy, but I lived with a roommate who was incredibly inconsiderate and stressed me out for the six or so months I could stand being there. She went away for a weekend once and all I did was watch Bob Ross without my headphones in and ate all my favorite foods at an actual kitchen table instead of my bed, all weekend. It was pure bliss.
Tell us about the response to your work on Reddit. How has the Reddit community contributed to this project?
It was great, surprisingly! I never expected to be talked about, or contacted or propositioned for commissions. It was hugely humbling, and the volume scared me a bit. Some definite contributions on smaller scales; personal messages to try a different kind of gesso; to watch a particular Bob Ross episode; or to look up a local mountain range. Those were the messages I appreciated the most.
What inspires you?
My bike. Its name is Cooper. It’s never shied away from an adventure and it’s real red and stands out and I never treat it well but it’s always worked just as well as the day I got it. Check out #cooperportrait on Instagram.
Care to share a dailymini exclusive with readers?
Yeah! I actually made a timelapse video of how a mini painting comes together. It’s not live anywhere else currently, so have at it!
Favorite artists innovating today?
Lorraine Loots. She’s absolutely insane. If this ever gets back to her: Lorraine, you’re amazing. But I think you’re insane. Get it, girl.
There’s also Willard Wigan, whose work is transcendental. When I was in my teens, I remember watching an interview where he mentioned he accidentally breathed in one of his pieces of work one time. And he has to paint in between his heartbeats or his hands are too shaky. He’s a magic human man.
Favorite miniature maker out there?
I’ve been trying to find a good project to use @minimaterials for! Small cinder blocks, bricks and other construction materials. Really dig their vibe.
What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?
I’m going to count it as a miniature: the solar system/galaxy lollipops by Vintage Confections. They’re the best gifts.
What would you like to see replicated in miniature that you have not yet seen?
What is your favorite period of art history?
My little sister is in Art History and I just texted her and she says to say Baroque.
I have a degree in Photography, that keeps me pretty busy most of the time! Check out @mackiec on Instagram.
Why miniature mountains?
I mentioned it earlier, but just the ability to zone out in a world of my own for a little while… Bob Ross says in one episode that he paints nature because when he was in the Marines, he wanted to go home and make himself a world where war, pollution, and deforestation wasn’t a reality. That really clicks for me; not that my reality is so terrible, but that we can help people get to another one through a canvas.
What’s to come from Christian Mackie?
More mountains! No big plans to deviate. I want to try some different materials to paint on, maybe pennies or coasters. I know my brother has some beautiful, small wooden coasters that he’s been drying for a year or so and they’re almost ready to varnish and paint on. Excited for those.
Christian Mackie lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and has been working on his miniature mountains series since 2016. Never miss a mountain on Instagram and add one to your collection by shopping the miniature mountains store online. Share your favorite adventure story for a chance to win a framed miniature mountains print or two non-framed prints!