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.
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.