Dancing with the Canvas
For the past couple of weeks I have stared at these two paintings, waiting for them to tell me whether or not they are finished. I haven’t wanted to talk about them until I knew where to go from here. This morning I walked into the studio feeling at peace about them for the first time.
The reason this has seemed so important to me is that I feel they are a turning point for the scale of my work. I’ve worked mostly in small format for the past four years, with little desire to paint large canvases again. I now realize that my head has been ruling my heart, and that I have missed working large. There is an intimacy and immediacy about working small, but I believe the spirit can become a little cramped when things get too comfortable. The physicality of painting on a larger canvas calls on a different set of abilities, encouraging deeper breathing and movement – working through and around the canvas, going back, coming in close again, like dancing.
Maybe the following quote from Ellsworth Kely had an impact when I came across it this week on Famous Modern Artists Quotes:
My collages are only ideas for things much larger; – things to cover walls. In fact all the things that I have done I would like to see much larger. I am not interested in painting as it has been accepted for so long – to hang on walls of houses as pictures. To hell with pictures – they should be the wall – even better – on the outside wall – of large buildings. Or stood up outside as billboards or a kind of modern ‘icon’. We must make our art like the Egyptians, the Chinese & the African and the Island primitives – with their relation to life. It should meet the eye direct. – Ellsworth Kelly