Painting Big!


By going Big I do not mean simply painting on a large canvas i.e. 36 ” x 36 ” or larger, which has it’s own challenges but I mean you also need to enlarge the image you want to paint from. You may think it is an easy process but it is not. Not all images are easily enlarged. The composition can often become distorted when you crop and enlarge a photo. You still need to have all the design components of 3 focal points and a rest spot. Think – Georgia O’Keefe – and you get the picture – no pun intended

To start with, you need to have taken either a very good clear up close image or you can use a good clear well defined photo that you can enlarge certain areas of it. This is not the same as cropping a section of a your 4 x 6 photo and trying to work from that. I am saying you need to enlarge an area of a photo using one of your camera modes, save it as a separate picture then print it. Or once on your computer you can use what ever APP you have to crop, enhance and enlarge areas of your photos to save and print. I do all my enlargements, cropping etc. while my photos are still on my camera.

Once you have a nicely enlarged image to work from you can map it out on your canvas. Do not try and use a grid – use your eye to develop your image. I say this as you will see the proportions of your image will be dictated by the size of your large canvas and so it should be. You may want to continue the editing process as you map out your image, something you will not do if using a grid.

The next step is to paint an under painting. Not only will you be using colours to enhance your tops colours but you will be establishing your tonal values and seeing if your proportions are correct. I spend more time painting in this area than ever before especially when using a large canvas. I’ve found that I can easily make corrections at this stage without concern for finding and using the complex colours that I am seeing. Before I move ahead I check I have well balanced proportions, design and tonal values. The more time I spend on this stage the easier I know it will be for me later when all I have to do is think about colours and hues.

Now I can move to my top layer of that I see. I can push myself in this area as it is mainly all that I have to think about. How lovely is that!

Happy Painting



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