Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Size Matters

TANKER oil on canvas 36"x36" Initial sketch in Raw Umber and a wash of Gamsol and Umber
TANKER detail

When I originally thought of doing my “Highway 5” series I imagined large paintings, 30 inches and up.  30 inches and larger is HUGE for me.  I can do cigarette paintings at 4”x4” up to 10”x10” all day long and I am having giggling fun.  Larger paintings make me more anxious.  It is a big commitment.  First of all the larger size canvas or panel is considerably more expensive, not to mention that it will take at least 10 times the paint to cover it.  Plus, you know how I like to paint…thickish.  When I was at SFAI one of my favorite painting advisers was Franklin Williams, he was both philosophical and witty, my favorite combination.  He told this story about how most people in their first painting class, would want to do two things.  First, they want to do a BIG painting; second, they want to do a RED painting.  So the first thing he had them do, so he said, (thinking back, I think he just told them the story like he was telling us the story) was stretch a huge canvas, somewhere around 40”x 60” and he would let them all paint on it for couple of weeks.  They would struggle and curse that monolithic surface, until they got the BIG painting out of their system.  Franklin would then talk about the importance of finding your scale, be it Indian miniature size or a mural.  By the way, after this little exercise most people forgot they wanted to do the RED painting and just worked on space, line, form, color, content and all the other stuff that could take up all your time in gooey paint.  Anyway, I did my share of largish paintings and a lot of small paintings.  However, I really envisioned Highway 5 big.  The large scale naturally goes with the largeness of the space, so when I recently got some large canvases on sale I decided to do, “Tanker” in the format it deserved. 36”x36”.  Here is the beginning… It is really making me want to go on a road trip!!!

Bad start on the body of the tanker.  I wiped it out and started again.
Day 2.  I added a darker wash to the road and worked on the different planes of the truck.  The tank itself started looking "quilted" so I lowered the contrast. 

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