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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Painting Large vs. Painting Small ...Which is Better?

'A Moment of Silence'             24x36       pastel on Pastelbord       ©Karen Margulis
 I am so excited!  I painted a big one last night and I am hooked.  Thank you to the dedicated art fans who braved the cold rain to come to my Open Studio and demo last evening.  I had so much fun painting this 24 x 36 pastel.  If you follow my blog then you know I rarely paint large. In fact this was probably my 3rd painting this size ever.  My usual size is around 8x10 and I love painting even smaller.

Painting Large was so exhilarating!  It was like dancing. It wasn't just my hand doing the work it was my whole arm. I had to move!  It was great. I loved it and I am already planning my next big one.

2.5 x 3.5 inch color study

I was using a 24x36 Pastelbord so I didn't want to mess up to badly and waste a good board. So I did some planning (always a good idea)  I did a small color study in the mini size 2.5 x 3.5".  This helped me work out the composition and color palette. Once satisfied with the colors I pulled them out of my box and put them in my working tray.

Next I measured on the board to get my big shapes in the right place. Then I painted with no underpainitng....just straight soft pastels on a dark gray Pastelboard. I used Terry Ludwig pastels.

reference photo and color study
So which is better? Large or small?  For this painting I actually did both by doing the small color study. I ended up referring to the study for the larger painting. So I have to say not only do I like to paint both large and small....I need to do both. Sometimes you feel energetic and want to dance with a big painting. Sometimes you feel mellow and quiet and a small painting fits the mood.

What size do you prefer painting? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Susan Vaughn said...

Beautiful, Karen! Love your large painting! Do you have more images of the process during the demo? Would love to see them!! - Susan

Karen said...

Thank you Susan! No I didn't take any photos of the process. I need to figure out how I can take a video!

Nancy said...

This is stunning, Karen! I also like your large scale Lavender Surprise from a few days ago. I wish I didn't live 3000 miles away. I would have braved the rain for your studio tour and demo! I look forward to your posts each day. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

robertsloan2art said...

I prefer to paint small for logistic reasons, given my physical disabilities. It's very hard for me to paint large. There are times I long to though and I just ordered an 18" x 24" sketchbook. Maybe if I start sketching large I can work up to taking a long time in multiple short sessions to do a well-planned large painting.

I got in a very large - 30" or 36" square canvas to review for my art supply reviews blog. So I need to plan a big painting in some medium that works on canvas, but doesn't need framing as I can't frame something that large on my budget. So it'll probably be acrylics, oils or mixed media including oil sticks (oils in stick form really). Something that can be dusted anyway.

I'm excited and nervous about it and the one way I can be sure I'll want to live with it is just as you did, do one or more small versions first and work everything out before I do the big one. I don't want to look up at a giant botch day after day!

I love your large painting! It's so interesting to see that your strokes are so much smaller in relation to the whole and their flow is so expressive. That's the delight of big, more detail and even if strokes are bold, there are so many that you can get complex effects with their textures. It's very rich and glorious. The little ATC is lovely too, they're just different.

I think both are great. IT depends on the person and sometimes physical or logistic limits determine it more than just the artist's internal preference. But it's a good idea to plan out for big paintings just on a logistic basis. They take more work. Small ones can be experimental easier unless you're some sort of athlete with a big studio and a big budget.