Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Painting Big Paintings

Last week a wonderful plein air painter, Laurel Daniel 
posted a very informative "step by step" of how she'd done a really big painting. 
(She usually paints on the much smaller side.) 
It was so helpful to me, as I am attempting a similar challenge.
A few months ago, a friend had given me a huge blank 5' x 3' canvas.
So during a recent heat wave, 
I decided to crank up the air conditioning and attack it.
I had to bungee cord the thing to my easel!  

I covered my taboret with freezer paper to use as a pallet. 
(A la Ken Auster

I did a grid and 
blocked in my map using red charcoal.
A big mistake. It made a mess.

I blocked in the dark and light sides of the figures 
the same way I do my small paintings 
using much bigger brushes

Then roughly blocked in the background just to define the figures.

So, this is where I am. 
I'm not sure if I will finish it  
or just cover it up and start over.  

Here is my read on painting huge paintings so far:
1. Details are important so you have to get it just right. 
2. It's harder to just make a stroke and leave it.
3. You have to use an extraordinary amount of paint! 
4. Not to mention how much time it takes!
So it's a huge investment! 

My short attention span and need for immediate gratification 
has kept me away from this.
Now, I know why!  

Be sure to visit my Patience with Patients blog 
to see what we did today! 


  1. Don't stop now! It's a great painting and you'll be glad you finished it.

  2. Totally understand, Nancy. In the winter I paint large, from life, which tends to get tight and over worked at times. In the summer the little daily paintings are much looser. Schizophrenia, maybe? Somewhere there is a style waiting to happen. . . I hope. I love your work!!!