Alright, so I like big canvases and I cannot lie. I just recently discovered this. To date, “big” would be 18×24. 16×20 is my happy place. So maybe we should say bigger than 15×19 is what I have been mostly working with (not an actual size).
I had reached a level of comfort with painting and really did not want to encounter a status quo. I do not lack for ideas or inspiration. Growth and development are what I want to keep front and center. But how?
Recently I had been chatting with a coworker about painting. They asked me if I could imagine having free reign to paint on an office wall. I said yes. Yes, I could imagine this. And how much fun to have such a large space to create on. Maybe that’s the sentiment behind go big or go home—like the sky’s the limit.
Well, I went big, and I was home. Home is where my studio is. Sometimes it’s setting up on the kitchen counter, and sometimes it’s dragging in the card table from the garage, still setting up in the kitchen. Sometimes I drag the card table all the way to the patio (it’s really not that far), Depends on the day, who’s painting (sometimes I have painting parties), and how many I am going to paint (canvases, not people), we just create a whole new space. Whatever it takes.
I had been pondering about dreaming and thinking big and how you then push past that to dream even bigger. Bigger as in what if you take everything you can imagine and put it down on paper and then expect that, too, will be exceeded? Enter the 30×40. What a canvas to serve as the vehicle for putting this pen to paper so to speak.
So one thing to note is to account for logistics. It took me more than a hot minute to rig this behemoth onto two easels. And then I noted that larger than life also means higher than I could reach. And then I realized how diminished my palette knives (the only tools I use to paint with) suddenly seemed. Nifty.
No matter, shop had been set up so I was diving in. I knew where I wanted to hang this and as I held up the canvas to the space, the current artwork there came crashing to the floor. So that happened. Increased incentive to get this piece completed and hung before company came over in two days. You know, since it happens to be in the foyer. (Seriously?)
Repeating colors already in the house, the color theme came easily. I began where I always do with laying a background with a single color and applying large color blocks from there. I was certainly curious to see how this part of the process played out considering the increased surface area. With the exception of the newly incorporated standing on the counter to reach the very top of the canvas from time to time, so far so good. (Do not try this at home.)
The next stage was all about layering, and it was extraordinary. I just kept going and going and started to understand why some artists are all about the space. Space just lets you paint and paint, and I did so until it seemed like it had landed. I took a step back and thought, “you know, I think this is done!” And then I gasped.
If I were going to push past, that would mean taking one more pass at this piece and seeing what happens next. I didn’t know what would happen next but I did know I could not stop here.. So I took a deep breath and closed my eyes (yes, I literally closed my eyes) and dove back in. Okay then.
After being certain at one point I had ruined this piece I was hours into, I ended up with something I was thrilled to both have and have discovered. Pushing past was worth it. I am also happy to say this successfully hangs (as in not falling off the wall randomly) in the foyer representing both history and promise.
I’ve titled it “Beyond.”