Making a painting look like it has depth is like a magician’s trick but with lots of training and practice thrown in. I love doing this in my “Askew” paintings. I started wondering what it would be like to go the other direction and transform my physically flat paintings into actual 3-dimensions. Pondering and pondering this idea. Then I got an online flyer about a Zoom class doing just that—called Transforming Your Paintings into 3-d (or something like that). Even better, it was being taught via ZOOM by a Golden Working Artist (Golden is the best acrylic paint company in my opinion). Melanie Matthews lives all the way in Quebec. What could be better than to learn something brand new a year into a pandemic??? Melanie did a spectacular job with this workshop—it was just exactly what I needed and more! Now, about a year later, I’m still experimenting. I’ve learned so much and am excited about this (literal) expansion of my work.

A jumble of supplies I’d gathered up and started to paint in random colors at the start of the workshop. There are also items that Melanie sent to each participant, more oddball and fun stuff to consider using in various ways.


A simple construction on a painted base, using wood scraps. It’s all stuck together via glue gun.


This one is a little more complicated, by virtue of using more shapes hence more to consider. I’m not a planner so I did a lot of propping pieces up and trying to move them around to get a feel for what to put where. In the end I just started with one piece at a time, from the base up, gluing, thinking and adding the next piece.


Still wondering about tracing one of my “Askew” paints, cutting out the shapes and using them as a template for a sculpture, I decided to try the opposite. So what you see is a painting I made from the sculpture shown above. Interesting thought to work in both directions!


Experimenting with using plexiglass. I enjoyed the way the front and back sides added depth to the pieces. Fun but laborious to cut the plexi. Not a successful sculpture but again I learned a lot. I want to experiment with using both plexi and foam core together to see if I can get that to work.


Shown here is a part of an installation I did for the annual Oracle Artist Studio tour last November. This is the first time I based a sculptural piece directly from a painting. Not assembled exactly in order, but if you look you’ll see the matching shapes. On the opposite sides of each shape I reversed the base colors and the patterns. The bottom piece you see has a yellow base and maroon pattern. On the other side, it has a maroon base and yellow pattern. By the way, this was just barely stuck together. I had a big sign in front of it Please Do Not Touch. Naturally someone touched it. The next morning I discovered it laying on the floor in a state of collapse. I guess that touch got it just enough off balance to eventually fall apart. Unless it was a mouse that did it in the middle of the night. I’m just now trying to figure out how to piece it together again and attach it all properly this time.


Here are bits and pieces that I’m balancing with each other experimenting with how to assemble the shapes together.


Voila! All pieced together and secure enough to hold at an angle without it falling apart. A major achievement for me.


Really stretching my ablilities, going larger. This puzzle you see is based on a 36″x36″ painting, so I guess in theory the 3-d rendition will also be 36″x36″ or so. I’m about halfway done here. Unless you take into consideration that I have to paint the back sides of each shape too.


And here is the front side, completed except for a few details. To the left are photos of the 2-sided painting on paper this is based on. The bottom photo matches this side. Now I have to flip the whole thing over and paint what you see on the top photo. Then (finally!) I’ll be able to make this thing into a 3-d sculpture. Wish me luck!