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Sunday, July 27, 2014

What Happens to a Painting When you Make it Larger?

'Dreaming of Poppy Meadows'         16x20         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting here $250
It was an interesting experiment. I didn't plan to do it. It just happened as I worked with a collector who wanted a poppy painting. It wasn't quite big enough the first time. I happily agreed to paint a larger version. Then we decided it really needed to be bigger still. The experiment was on!  I took out a full sheet (18x24) of Uart paper and painted the final version.

What happened as I painted the same image bigger and bigger? I was liberated! It was exhilarating. My marks got larger and bolder. There is more movement and energy in the larger paintings.

Look below at the progression of the three paintings from smallest to largest. You can click on each one to see more detail.
'Knee Deep in Poppies'        8x10          pastel     $125
The next one....16x20 'Dreaming of Poppy Meadows'

The last painting.....18x24        SOLD
I don't really have a favorite. I enjoyed each one. I like the quiet intimacy and softness of the smallest painting. I like the clarity of the second version. And by the last one, I was much bolder and decisive with my marks.  Why?

  • Repeating the same image...painting from a painting and not a photo allowed me to become intimately familiar with it. I was also free to take liberties with it. I wasn't worried about copying or being true to the photo. 
  • Using the same palette and similar composition allowed me to concentrate on the application of pastel....how I made my marks. Soft. bold, linear marks or chunky marks? familiarity allows for more freedom in interpretation.
  • Working larger was the key to feeling liberated. As the paper got larger I had to get my whole body involved.....big sweeps with my arm and not restricted movement on a tiny surface. I highly recommend working larger and having a chance to dance with your pastels!
I often do series of similar subjects but this was an interesting take on a series. I learned that I really enjoy painting larger and I enjoy the freedom that a larger paper allows!

Painting notes: All were painted on Uart sanded paper 500-600 grit with Terry Ludwig pastels. I did a dry underpainting....red and orange Nupastels rubbed into the paper with a piece of pipe foam insulation.


Joanne willoughby said...

Love this post. I did one pastel 18x24 and did enjoy it. My great nephew wading in a shallow marsh with lots of sky. I enjoyed it too!

Eileen Sullivan said...

I loved seeing the different versions--all of them beautiful! There really is a valuable lesson here. Thanks for sharing.

robertsloan2art said...

Great seeing all three versions! Each one has its own feel. I love doing the same subject more than once but this is the first time I've seen working from the painting to make it larger!