Painted while Macdonald was living in Nootka, Pacific Ocean Experience shows a figure rowing a boat as seen from above. The individual is made small against an expansive ocean. The work is not a realistic representation of reality, but rather shows Macdonald’s thoughts on the relative insignificance of humans within the vastness of nature. The figure is contained within a “mandorla” (or a halo) and is protected from the forces of nature that surround it. In the diary that Macdonald kept in Nootka, he wrote about rowing across the lagoon near his camp, which may have served as inspiration for this work.