Working from Studies
In yesterday’s post I was musing again about small vs. large paintings. In the comments, Donna Baek asked if I would talk about pieces I’ve done that started out as small works or studies. Donna expressed the problem that working intuitively and spontaneously doesn’t lend itself to planning larger works based on smaller ones.
My reply was that I, too, prefer to work intuitively rather than with a plan in mind. But sometimes I come upon an idea in a small scale that I think should be done larger, that I’m compelled to try. And I agree it’s a very tricky thing trying to make it “look” spontaneous. That’s the hardest part.
I need to mention that in the case of commission work, it’s often necessary to do a mockup and then a larger work from that.
Donna asked me if I could show some examples where I’ve translated from small to large.
First, this is a completely fabricated digital idea I had for a painting:
. . . and here is the finished painting — a triptych that is 48 x 84 inches!
I like the painting much more than the digital image, because it is filled with active brush strokes.
Here is another example. A client saw this digital painting and wanted something like it:
And this is the finished painting, 36 inches square:
I liked this one, but there was a certain fluidity in the original digital image that I wasn’t able to reproduce on canvas. That’s because the digital version was blurry on purpose. In order to reproduce that I would have needed to use an airbrush.
Here is a commission that I did for a client who wanted three panels the size of closet doors, or 24 x 84 inches each. First, the digital mockup, which was based on a cropped scan of three of my existing paintings:
And here are the three completed panels, installed:
I was very happy with these three, and so was the client.
Another commission that comes to mind is this one. First the digital mockup. I sent this picture to the client showing the digital image with their living room colors:
(I love the puppy dog!)
And here is the final installed painting:
I feel that almost every time I try to re-create an image on a larger scale, I like the resulting work better than the concept.
Note: There’s another example, in yesterday’s post, of a 4″ monotype that was the concept for a 60″ painting.
The bottom line is that it’s not easy to make a painting look spontaneous if it’s planned out in advance. But practice makes perfect — someday, I hope!
Please readers, send me your pictures of ideas you have translated from small to large. I would love seeing them, and if you give me permission, I will post them on the blog.