The beautiful, fluid and colorful acrylic paintings of Marci McDonald draw the viewer in to another world. To see more of her work, please visit her website.
What I like best about these paintings is that they’re different than anything I’ve done before.
They represent a profound shift in the way I work, in the way I look at the things that inspire me, in the way I think about my art, in the way I feel about myself as an artist.
Coming back from a difficult period of transition and loss in my personal life, I felt an overwhelming need for a big change in my artist life. At precisely the right time, I read an interview with extraordinary abstract painter Bassmi Ibrahim, in which he said that it is the responsibility of every serious artist to create new beauty in his or her lifetime. Beauty as yet unseen, and unique to the artist. A lofty goal!
These paintings are me acting on the impact those words had – me moving away from a lifetime of representational imagery to a place where my aim is to translate inspiration into beauty that is more from my spirit, with more drama, and with more mystery. By far the most difficult thing I’ve ever undertaken as an artist.
It wasn’t dissatisfaction with my imagery that led me to this change, but frustration with my meticulous, illustrator-ish methods.
The way I’m working now lends itself to a grander scale, mixing big batches of very fluid pigments, and getting the paint onto big canvases in all kinds of wonderfully liberating ways.
I’m trying to think less when I paint – not easy having been a printmaker and then a precise painter, always starting out with a very refined line drawing, and slightly less refined plan for color. I want what I do now to happen intuitively, and to affect viewers in a purely emotional way.
I’m learning. Feeling productive on a daily basis is critical to my happiness, and there are still many days when I just have to suspend my need for that job-well-done fix.
But when things do come together in ways that allow me glimpses of the otherworldly beauty I’m after – rewards that let me know I’m learning – I’m satisfied for a moment. All the failed attempts and wrestling with the unfamiliar are more than worth it, and I’m happy to be reaching ahead.