Monthly Archives: June 2015

Thinking In Three Dimensions

Thinking three-dimensionally has always been impossible for me.  Not just challenging… impossible.  In the same way that I’ve written here about not ~~seeing~~ paintings ahead of time  –  I can imagine a thing, I just don’t envision it.

Right now I’m very excited about again collaborating with my partner Ben Sweeney, this time to translate some of my recent abstract paintings into big, sculptural, metal pieces, and in order to even talk to anyone about this concept (including Ben, who is extraordinarily good at visualization) I need some drawings.  And since three dimensions are involved, going at it sort of through the back door is the only way I know how.

For example – some time ago a customer who has several of my earlier, figural paintings commissioned me to design a pair of lamps that felt like my paintings.  So considering the limitation described above, and that this was new for me at the time, I finally ended up building a rough model based on my very rough two-dimensional idea before I could come up with even a sketch (let alone a meaningful drawing) or have any idea what they might look like from the side or the back…

MARCI MCDONALD | datura lamps drawing | c.1995

… roundabout, as I said, but I do manage to get there!

In the case of this coffee table, I was able to get away with just the two-dimensional drawing since bas relief is almost flat – I could carve the design without having to know what it looked like from the back…

Marci McDonald | Ben Sweeney | water lily coffee table drawing | c.2000

Marci McDonald | Ben Sweeney | water lily coffee table detail | bronze and marble | c.2000

Marci McDonald | Ben Sweeney | water lily coffee table detail | bronze and marble | c.2000

… and we just figured out the ends and legs as we went along. I have areas of bas relief in mind for the new pieces, combining cast and fabricated elements like we did on this table, but abstract, and on a much grander scale, with more emphasis on patinas.

I’m thinking to start with these two paintings, which I already see as quite sculptural…

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

MARCI MCDONALD | what is deep | acrylic painting on canvas

 …and tonight I’ll be dragging out old wax and pouring the big, flexible sheets I cut up to make my models.

Then come drawings, followed by working with Ben (which is very high on my five favorites list) figuring out how to physically accomplish this, and then formulating it all into a presentable package  b e c a u s e . . .  this project will require {{funding}} and I’ll write about that in a future post.