Thinking BiggerJuly 4, 2012
It is possible I think about painting more than I actually paint. Or to be more specific, I think about “the process” of painting more than I paint. I don’t think this is a new habit, but one that I am becoming very aware of as I evolve my style into a looser, expressive genre. It seems to make sense that all my studio processes evolve too.
I’ve had a refined process for my oil commissions for years now. Photo shoot, followed by small oil sketch studies, then after client review we move into the bigger detailed painting. I’ve been very comfortable with this process. I had a plan and my client knew my plan. If I were to stay working in a realistic style of work where the end result is so predictable, this process could possibly remain lifelong. But I’m moving forward with new freedom and expression as a painter…oh crap…does this process still work????
I’m also realizing that working bigger in a looser style requires changing some method habits I’ve developed over the years:
Habit #1, Brush Size: Oh flat brush #2, I’ve developed a comfort level with you, but a bigger painting deserves a bigger brush so I can lay that colour down. I want my brush strokes to be decisive and commanding. It’s impossible to have this intent with a little brush in lots of itty-bitty brush strokes.
Habit #2, Amount of Paint to Mix: Bigger brushes, bigger paintings, need more paint. I”m afraid this is a hard one to break begin the paint miser that I am, but I’m working on mixing larger piles. I’ve got my eye on a French Mistress (hey not that kind of Mistress!) A big glass palette box, that I can mix my large piles, rather than the 11×14 palette sheets I’m currently using and running out of room on.
Habit #3, Distance from the Canvas: ….”step away from the canvas…step further away from the canvas…” This doesn’t require much explanation, but might require some studio re-organization so I can get farther away.
Lastly, I’ve decided to abandon the small sketch study process I’ve had for years. Bravely, I’m moving straight onto the bigger canvas. I hope some of those wonderful and spontaneous brushwork moments I experience in my small study work will begin to surface on the larger canvas as I adjust my other work habits. I’ve realized trying to re-create a spontaneous moment in painting..is well, just not that spontanious..go figure!!