This ‘Polaroid-esque’ photo (above) is a bit deceiving…its a picture of the canvas I’m working on right now…and it’s 36″x36″ – the largest I’ve worked on to-date. And unless I get a much larger studio space – its about as big as I can ‘comfortably’ handle – not to mention, fit in my car easily – especially when there’s more than one of them!
I’m re-reading Flora Bowley’s book, Brave Intuitive Painting and am paying closer attention to some of the guidelines she offers – one being; working on either a cool or warm color layer at a time.
She also suggests having two canvases going at one time so that, as one canvas is drying you can keep the momentum going by continuing to work on the other – but so far, I’m working on just the one. I may give that a try…but will have to do some re-arranging in the studio to accommodate two large, wet canvases in the same space.
She recommends working large (really large) and I can see why. Surprisingly its not as intimidating as working small or at least that’s how I see it. When I work small I feel a bit confined and under pressure to create something satisfactory fairly quickly. But when you work large there’s so much more real estate – one ‘mistake’ doesn’t feel as significant – and you can address it later while working in another area. Its very freeing.
I guess I always thought a larger canvas meant I had to REALLY know what I was doing before I started or why else would I make such a commitment. The other thing I like about working large is that it is a very tactile experience – there’s a relationship going on – and I’m in it. I also think it slows the whole artistic process down (I sometimes find myself rushing to finish when I’m working smaller) or maybe its just that (with a big canvas) I’m pausing to reflect more…not sure – because on the other hand, I find I’m interacting with it in a much more spontaneous way as well…kind of like you would with a dance partner when the music changes.