After developing some small paintings, I needed to figure out how to expand these ideas to fit onto bigger canvases. I initially thought it would be as simple as copying the idea onto a bigger surface. But I’ve found that doesn’t really work. The artwork seems flat without the original energy and inspiration that created the original small artwork and the work is too simplistic once slavishly enlarged.
While pondering this problem, I stumbled across a Robert Burridge YouTube painting video, one of his “BobBlasts”, titled “Making a small painting BIGGER!”. He had some excellent advice including:
• Scaling up my painting materials. Using larger brushes, bigger buckets of water, and larger sheets of collage materials.
• Standing up and using my whole body when I paint, not just my arms.
• Not trying to copy the small artwork, just using it as a compositional guide. Feeling free to add new elements and colors as I went along.
• Stopping to take stock of where the painting was at and determining what areas need to be simplified and reined in to maintain the integrity of my original composition.
I took Bob’s advice and created the painting “Construction Site”. It was fun and messy to make, and I manage to get paint all over myself and my studio. I did have to go back in and calm things down a bit at the end, but I love the energy and spontaneity of the final artwork.
I’ve been wanting to start a new collection of larger canvases for a solo show I have scheduled in April. But before jumping willy-nilly into it, I thought it would be helpful to decide the conceptual direction of the work.
Here, I created small paint sketches with slightly different ideas. I’ve got three different themes on this paper alone (a circle look, a looser abstract style, and a tighter organic look). Which direction do you think I should go?
Almost two months ago, I started a painting commission and I wanted to share the process with you. After getting approval on the basic composition from some simple sketches, I worked up two small studies with very different color directions.
The client picked the orange study but he wanted more orange, less red on the bottom, wasn’t fond of some of the black, and eliminated any ink “doodles”. Armed with a better idea of my client’s taste, I began work on a larger canvas. Here are several stages the painting went through along the way, incorporating the changes and preferences of the client’s each time. As my process incorporates many layers of paint and hand-printed collage paper, adding more layers only enhanced the final painting by adding depth, texture, and complexity.
Though the final painting loosely resembles the original study, it took on a life of its own through the collaborative process to its finish. It was really fun to work together to create a painting we are both happy with.
I am beyond ready for spring to begin. This New York City winter has been long, cold, windy and just plain TOO LONG! I’m guessing I’m not the only one with the winter blues. I just sold this little painting to a friend who lives in the mountains of Colorado where I know her property is still under piles of snow. Hopefully hanging this in her home will make her spring come a little earlier.
The last couple of days, I have shown you a painting in progress. Today is the last steps where you see how I pull all the “randomness” together into a cohesive work. I retraced my original vine sketch to scale (24″ x 24″) to fit the dimensions of the painting panel and transferred it to the surface of my paper collage surface. Then I painting multiple layers of white acrylic paint around the outline to reveal the main subject material. Voila! Colorful vines and flowers appear as if out of the mist. The surrounding white really makes the colors pop. The last touch was to add some red-painted outlines of branches of berries. Some of my favorite parts are actually in the white areas with their detailed but subtle textured surfaces. See the two companion paintings are below.
In my last post, I started a new “vine” painting and showed you the first two steps. Today, we move to step 3. To complete the “under-painting”, I added lots of pieces of colored paper to the panel. I kept the colors bright and bold, weaving and overlapping them to create a surface of bold color and heavy texture. I added several more layers of paper over these initial paper layers shown below. All of the paper was coated with acrylic medium on both sides to glue it to the surface and protect the surface. It looks like a hot mess now, doesn’t it?! Step 4 will be posted tomorrow, and you’ll see how I resolve all of this random color into a coherent design.
I wanted to paint my daughter, Kelsey, realistically within an abstract setting. After getting her to model for me for a photo shoot, I set down to work. I was trying for a dreamy look, but on my first attempt but I made her look down right depressed! So we did another photo shoot and I tried again. In the second version, she is pondering serious world issues, not the least bit dreamy. I took one last stab at it and she ended up looking contemplative. Close enough! Here’s a close up of her first two faces and the full-size version of the final painting. I was a surprise birthday gift for her but I didn’t finish it on time. I guess I’ll find out tonight whether she reads my blog ;).
I’m continuing my yoga inspired painting series. This is the third painting in the series, titled “Chitta Vritta”, that translates to “restless mind” in Sanskrit. A past yoga teacher of mine liked to call this “crazy monkey mind” instead, describing the wandering of our thoughts while we are trying to meditate. The top of this painting depicts this “monkey mind” where thoughts are pinging all over the place. As our breathing kicks in and our minds still, we allow the calm into ourselves and it blankets this space with stillness (the bottom of the painting). I love the beginning of a yoga session as my pace slows down and my mind quiets.
I’m thinking of doing at least five more paintings in this series. What yoga inspired idea would you like to see me paint next?
Back on April 6, 2014, I posted some small paintings I did of the New School building in New York City. I can’t seem to get enough of this building. So here I go again with another larger, abstract version of it. I’m just living with the painting for now, waiting for it to tell me if it’s finished or not. Let me know what you think. Stop or keep going? Suggestions? Thank you in advance for your input.
“New School Refractions”, Acrylic on Panel, 24″ x 30″.
Painting a self-portrait is hard. You have to get past that knee jerk reaction to paint out your wrinkles or drop the extra 10 pounds (20, 30, or more) when painting yourself. One method to get past this is to abstract your self-portrait. Concentrate instead on using new funky colors, disproportionating your body parts or leave your face as a blank oval. Who’s going to notice a few flaws with all that going on! Here’s my rainbow self-portrait, saggy eyelids and all.