Gazebo Gazette

Gulf Coast Impressions, an exhibit featuring the works of husband-and-wife team John and Tricia McDonald, is on display at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Harrison County Campus Fine Arts Gallery November 8- December 9. A closing reception will be held on December 9, noon -1 p.m.

The McDonalds are the proprietors of Coastal Impressions Studio in their hometown of Pass Christian. The exhibit features a variety of paintings -local scenes in mediums including watercolor and pastel- from their studio.

John began his artistic training in 1963 when he started work as an illustrator for the U. S. Air Force Air Ground Operations School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  His training continued through the 1970s at Woodstock, New York, studying with John Pike and Edgar Whitney. The contrasting styles of his two teachers helped him develop a balance between freedom of expression and a more controlled approach in his painting.

He began teaching watercolor workshops in the late 1970s and found pleasure in assisting others to express themselves.  John’s desire is to preserve in his art the history and beauty of the coastal communities where he spent his youth.

Tricia has been drawing and painting her entire life. As a teen, her artistic aunt encouraged her to pursue the arts. She credits her teacher, Warren Dennis, for making the study of art history vibrant and inspiring.

Tricia has been an art teacher for all ages, both in the school systems and privately. She continues to expand her skills, taking classes and workshops frequently.

The couple married in 1993 and have enjoyed many years of working together.

They have a great deal of admiration for one another’s creativity and talent, though they admit it took several years to figure out how two married people in the same profession could function in a “sane manner” while both were working in the same household.

They have learned to give one another space, especially when one has a paintbrush in hand.

“We talk art a lot. When traveling, we are constantly observing the landscape for interesting shapes, colors, darks, and lights,” John said.

“While I used to object or take offense before John could even finish talking,” Tricia said of John’s art critiques, “I have long since found that I usually agree with what he’s saying. We both appreciate good values and good design.”

As they move forward with making art, Tricia said what’s important to them both is “finding homes for our art with people who really enjoy and appreciate it.”

The Harrison County Campus exhibit is free and open to the public. The campus is located at 2226 Switzer Rd, Gulfport. The art gallery is in the Fine Arts building, building D.

Gallery hours are Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

For more information, contact gallery director Cecily Cummings at or 228.897.3909.