North Texas Daily

Drawing and painting senior uses fantasy to reason with life

Drawing and painting senior uses fantasy to reason with life

Drawing and painting senior uses fantasy to reason with life
June 18
12:00 2021

Drawing and painting senior Kimberly McDonald opens her sketchbook and is faced by a sketch of a purgatory, fantastical world. The sketch is part of her series called “King of the Tundra,” one of many series she has created to tell narratives through illustrative work.

“It really pulls a lot from Catholicism, so you have the world of the living, dead and in-between, which is sort of the motif of what purgatory is,” McDonald said. “A lot of my work tends to be about the in-between, and forms and people and how our dreams affect reality.”

McDonald uses her illustrative work to find the differences between reality and fiction and portray that to others. As an art major, she is able to keep up these themes in her academic work to tie in the overarching story and continue the character development of the people she has created.

She incorporates her past experiences into her work in unconventional ways to support her works theme of connecting dreams and fantasy to life occurrences. When she was younger, she never thought she would have gotten into fantasy, but as she continued to experience life, she learned fantasy work tied into her motif.

“For example, when I was 15, my mom passed away at the beginning of high school,” McDonald said. “After that, I had a strange feeling of ‘F it — I’m just going to do whatever I want, and it doesn’t necessarily have to make sense.’ People can be bad, but also people can be good, so that definitely changed me so much because my best friend was gone.”

After her mom died, McDonald went into a three year marathon of creating stories and strange depictions of characters to show how raw life really is, which helped her understand pain and grief on another level.

She has been into telling stories for as long as she can remember, whether it is through writing or creating visual art, but as she got older, she found her niche in the field.

“Ever since I was little, I was drawing comics and creating characters and I didn’t really get serious about wanting to do it for a living until sixth grade, then I dove headfirst,” McDonald said.

Austin resident and McDonald’s friend Michael Gutierrez said he has seen McDonald make it her life purpose to inspire others through her work.

“I think her artwork is important because she really has such a strong motivation to tell a story through her work, and her drive and inspiration is so strong and inspirational to me,” Gutierrez said. “I have seen her grow tremendously over the last six years with finding her style and voice, from how she has always been so driven and constantly drawing, until now where you feel like she has really established herself and her work online in many niches.”

McDonald uses her artistic platform to show that humans are multidimensional, and she hopes to show the brutality of change through hope in her work.

Those close to McDonald, such as friend and Lubbock resident Maddy Feagan, said she puts her entire being into her creations to share important stories.

“Her art often reflects pain, darkness and suffering, but also the hidden beauty and kindness that exists in this world and the next,” Feagan said. “She always strives to diversify her methods and create a unique style.”

Over the last decade, Feagan said McDonald has refined her work by learning how to play with lighting, shading and proportions while experimenting with new forms.

“When I first met her, she couldn’t draw hands and hated drawing men because she wasn’t comfortable with how the proportions came out or wasn’t satisfied with the perspective of the drawing,” Feagan said. “Since then, she’s refined her skills, learned to use so many different mediums and has developed a process.”

In the future, McDonald plans on continuing to tell her stories and meet people along the way who have similar goals.

“I have dreams of working with bigger studios and working with a bigger team of people,” McDonald said. “I have dreams of, even if it’s not my story, helping represent other people’s stories and gathering people together to create a collaborative environment to talk about stories and themes that are similar to mine.”

Courtesy Kimberly McDonald Instagram @artwithkimmie

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Maria Lawson

Maria Lawson

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