Monthly Archives: September 2014

But I LIKE Losing Control

When I think about what really makes me happy, being productive is way up on my list of top five.  Productive as in being able to look with some degree of satisfaction at what I’ve accomplished at the end of every day.

As I’ve been undergoing the ENORMOUS shift to working in the abstract, there have been many, many days when I’ve just had to suspend my need for that daily artistic accomplishment fix and be satisfied focusing on the positive;  the work IS getting better, and I’m finally learning that even though what I see on the canvas might not be what I had in mind to do, it is still often beautiful.  And worth keeping.  Not as easy as it sounds for someone whose techniques meant things were never out of control.

Part of my current process involves working flat, using very liquid pigments.  So often as I lovingly watch their magical mingle and flow, I’ll see something like I was hoping for… that’s it! Okay! Okay, stay right there! Okay, stop flowing!  Riiiight.

Today for example, this area, which is very cool and had the textures and blends (and spots! see 9-20-14 post) I had loosely in mind…

MARCI MCDONALD | painting in progress detail

… became this, which is also beautiful, but much softer than I had in mind.

MARCI MCDONALD | painting in progress detail 2

The important thing is I didn’t just wash it away or paint over it like I’ve kept doing and kept doing for months… I went on from where IT wanted to end up.  Which might not seem like much, but for me has been a difficult place to get to.

I’ve also learned to use a less wet surface and less paint.  Loving thick, glossy pools of luscious colors, I want to just keep pouring it on!  Problems with that kind of way overdoing it have been crazing – a network of cracks that form as the paint dries (even with the use of several additives designed to address that) and/or the loss of wonderful blends and textures as that much paint continues to flow. By using less paint I’ve found I have a little better idea of where things might end up when dry, cutting down on my frustration (and unproductive time spent) a LOT.  And restraining the impulse to keep pouring only cuts down on the fun a little… 



Experimenting With Spots

What I like most about this painting (just finished, acrylic, 48″ x 60″, no title yet)…

MARCI MCDONALD | as it grows 1 | acrylic painting on canvas

… is its movement, and I like the orange spots.  I love spots – freckles, bird eggs, moldy rocks, Dalmatians, leopards, appaloosas – the changes in value are just so much fun for the eyes.

Then it figures that in terms of paint, I like spatter.  But with movement in mind, I’ve been wanting to make spatter on a grand scale – BIG spots of color that are flying (and not just falling) when they land.  AND flying in wide arcs, so they want to land in big beautiful curves, and layer dynamically with areas that move in more gentle but equally unmastered ways.

So I’ve been experimenting, throwing paint in every way I can think of, making really big messes and loving it…

MARCI MCDONALD | splatter tools

 MARCI MCDONALD | splatter experiment

MARCI MCDONALD | splatter experiment

I never ~see~ paintings ahead of time, but the idea of a series that feels like impressions left by some dynamic energy force? (not turbulent, but powerful) has been in my head, and I’m working on it…



Getting Back to Work

Just getting started again is always hard.  No matter how much I’ve been dying for the moment when I can get back to work, there’s always a period of time in the beginning when nothing happens, so I just wait.  I used to think  maybe this is the time it’s gone for good   but have finally learned that I just have to wait.  I’m usually pretending to be waiting patiently for the time to be right.

I had to ignore this painting for a MONTH and this time it took four days… I was here in the studio with it, and would kind of poke at it, but it was four days until I could SEE again.

MARCI MCDONALD | painting in progress

MARCI MCDONALD | painting in progress

MARCI MCDONALD | St. Petersburg studio | 2014


That New Attitude I Mentioned

So part of my new attitude is that I’m liking the idea of doing this blog.  Most business-self-promotion-related tasks just have to be done, but I’ve decided I kind of want to do this.  And that being required to formulate my artist thoughts (because I’ve said out loud that I’m going to do this) will be a good thing.

Acting on my resolution to get my artist self current online, I’ve been reading a lot – things like “Facebook for Dummies” and “Social Media Explained” and “The Tao of Twitter“.  (There’s only so far I will go.  I’m NOT tweeting.)  And looking at lots of facebook pages and blogs and timelines and profiles and strategies and statistics and hearing “content content content” and feeling like everyone’s been reading the same books.

I’d like what’s written in this blog to enhance the experience of looking at my art.  I’d like its presence on the internet to make me more accessible to people who are interested in me as an artist.

One of the most important things I learned from over 25 years of doing art fairs was how much people loved meeting the artists.  People who bought my work felt like I’d given them something, and they wanted to know me.  In spite of not being face-to-face, this may be an even better way provide some meaningful insight, because I can sit here quietly, writing regularly and thoughtfully, about some of what goes on with a serious artist.

Besides all the reading, I’ve been fluffing up my website, and laboring over a better bio, and writing an artist statement relating to my newest work.  All good, and satisfying to see progress being made, and now that I’m back in step, I’m determined to stay that way.  Because needing to spend so much time catching up has meant that this painting…

MARCI MCDONALD | St. Petersburg studio | 2014

… has been quietly, knowingly waiting for me for over a month.  And I really need to get dirty.  So today, I’m working!



My SECOND post ever!

So I imported a copy of my first post ever (from another blog site – I wanted to start again fresh) and included it below:

Friday, August 14, 2009

My first post ever!

Everyone who knows me at ALL knows I have a {{thing}} about words. They’ve forever heard me explain sudden silences or disappearances by saying “I ran out of words.” I have always choked when I know something depends on me coming up with the “Right Words.” In school I thought it might be a good idea to meet this shortcoming head on, and enrolled in a debate class. I prepared meticulously for the first one and was fine making the initial presentation, but when the time came for rebuttal……. there I stood……. at the microphone on a big stage in a BIG auditorium……. and NOTHING CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH! I JUST HAD TO SIT DOWN!! It’s been YEARS now, and just the thought still makes me feel faint and sweaty. So here goes, another attempt to confront the word thing. And writing IS a little different. I keep hearing it’s easy, it’ll be FUN! We’ll see…

 As you can see, it’s five years old.  Five years since my first flurry of attempts to get  {{ social }}.  I’m a recluse.  Not unfriendly, just not big on sharing.  Which makes the social media phenomenon not my cup of tea, but as an independent, self-publishing, self-promoting artist determined to make a good living from my art, I know there’s no getting around it.  So I made a new business page on Facebook, and here I am on a new blog, working on a whole new attitude.  I’m back!