Monday, April 6, 2015

New Work and Size Matters!

Behind The Scenes
Acrylic on paper-image size 10" x 13" matted to 14" x 18" 
This piece was finished over the weekend. The shoreline at the lake that I visit is very accessible and can vary in its terrain. On one side of the lake, there is a flat "beach" area where people can sit out and enjoy the sun or put their kayaks in the water. Around the other side of the lake, the vegetation gets much more dense and the rock formations get much, much larger. The formations are huge piles of granite. In many areas, you can scale the rocks to get a panoramic view of the lake. In other areas, you have to weave through the outcroppings to get a view of things. This piece is based on that idea, of going in and out through the huge rocks to get a view of the far shore.

Size Matters:
Recently a family friend asked me if I was ever going to paint anything larger that 9" x 12". I told her that I was planning on that very thing. I ordered some larger paper and so will now be able to paint a little bigger: 11" x 15" and 11" x 17" (image size) and matted to 16" x 20" and 18" x 24", respectively. This isn't a lot larger but a couple of inches isn't bad. Storage of the resulting pieces is always an issue. I soak the paper in water too and staple it to a board which means that I need a bigger board. Using a different substrate is a possibility also. I have three larger boards that I can try. It's funny (and I wonder if other painters experience this also) but the issue of painting larger has a very real psychological component to it. Is my idea worthy of a larger space? If I keep things small no one will notice that the work isn't good or that my concept isn't right. (I am actually not so sure anyone is paying attention anyway!) It's really a fascinating discussion. Larger work has an inherently larger presence but does that make the work better? I have seen plenty of very small works such as photographs or drawings that use the smallness of the space to deliver a powerful impact. Small works grouped together can also be very strong. I have also seen a room full of incredibly large pieces of photo realistic artwork-it was extremely disturbing both in content and size. I still carry some of these images in my head. I have to believe that selection of scale is integral to the art making process. Size does matter:)

OK, hope that the week gets off to a good start for everyone. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. Large always has more impact because it is easily seen, but you are right - it doesn't mean it is better than a small jewel of a painting. The sizes you mentioned are still comparatively small. Good contrasts can make smaller pieces work and your beautiful shapes and colors will stand out anywhere.

  2. Dear Libby- Very thoughtful post about size. I so relate to large. You are not alone when it comes to all the reasons one does not feel comfortable painting larger works.
    Like how you portrayed your granite rocks in this painting. Gave me the feel of how these rocks would seem in this place. Thanks as always for sharing.


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