Vacationland (detail)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

84? 82? 86! Monday

Deciding how big to make a painting is something that I still struggle with.  How does one  know whether an image should be realized as a small painting, a large painting, or any size in between? As a painter, one can develop a comfort zone, and I for one am aware of this.  Many of my paintings are about 18 x 24 inches. From time to time I challenge myself by working on a larger canvas, but still the question lingers: Is this idea really a six foot idea, or just a modest 18 inches?  In addition too the implicit artistic issues that accompany the decision, there are also  mundane logistic issues to tend to: Will it fit on the easel? How heavy will the finished product be? Do I have enough paint? Is there a collector who shares my enthusiasm enough AND has a wall big enough? And then, perhaps none more obvious than transportation. Often the deciding factor is the size of one's car. Well, I have a normal sized station wagon which doesn't accommodate more than a 40 inch wide painting--not bad, but it is a bit limiting, so I've resolved to not even take that into account.

This past week as I worked on an idea for a painting, and it started to scream big...I mean BIG! Once committed to go with it, I needed to settle on a size. The first drawing was 84 inches (7 feet!) tall, the second scaled down to 82 inches (I know it seems like a small difference, but the model's hands seemed much too small...) OK, so, yeah, I went the other direction and settled on 86 inches... and 60 inches wide. I loved how when I finished my snow angel painting last year, it hovered over me as I worked. Perhaps I needed another angel right about now, but in the end my thinking on this was as simple as "if not now, when?" (Mandy that's for you!)

So here I've post the original scribbly sketch from my little 8" x 10" sketch book, a picture of my studio with the drawing taped to a pink rigid foam insulation board and leaning on the 86" x 60" stretcher bars, and a detail from the large study.  I am being a bit secretive about paintings, as I mentioned in my last post, but I'll be sure to post another detail or two along the way.....on your marks, get set, Monday.