(5) Working in series…. extra large

I think I work best when I work in a series.

If you need a little more detail, I’m linking to one of Bob Burridge’s “Bob Blast” newsletters where he discusses this in a bit more detail. This is but one of the lessons I learned from Bob that has made “all the difference” in my work. If you’re not familiar with Bob… buckle your seatbelt. 

— I digress —
But working in a series does get challenging when I’m working LARGE. Or at least, large for me.
I’m working on a piece for my niece and nephew and want it to be 30’x44′ – which is 2 full sheets together (22×30). 

I had an idea I wanted to focus on, and along the way, make it interesting.
(happy, family, celebration, home, comfort, energy)

I had a compositional style I wanted to use, which was more challenging, because I really like a few different ones, but have found I stick with cruciform more often. So I decided to try a couple “new” to me: overlapping frames and constellation. (I am in love with Miro’s Constellation series, seems always so happy and celebratory.  ….oooouuuuu I just had a brain sparkle – I’ll do a constellation of one of my cats. Another day tho-) (Updated: I recently read a book on Kandinsky and must include some of his later works in this “love” category) I really like these; I wonder how they’ll show up? 

Kandinsky ^

Miro ^

Since my target is so large, I wanted to start small and work my way up. Seemed to make sense at the time. By the time I got to the full 30×44 (nope, changed that to (2) 22×30″ in the end). I was enjoying myself quite much. But then, I couldn’t get “something” to work. And so I kept trying. This morning, I find I like the colors and the patterns (some of them), but something is just off. I like several things about this piece, which I hate to lose, but it’s just not working.

I’m going to put that one aside and try to start again, with 2 fresh sheets. I think I need time away from that one, and just simply paint, and not try to get fancy schmancy. 

I’m keeping the colors (they’re requested by Gwen), which are nice together too. They fit a color scheme that I like: mostly yellow/gold/vanilla, cranberry and teal, with a marine blue focal area color. I’m going to try overlapping frames again. (Much as I love constellation, I don’t think I’m advanced enough to pull that off yet) 

And I want the final to have a luminous effect. I learned that a few years (?) ago, and pulling out my notes – I can best achieve that by putting very similar chroma but slightly different value next to each other. And I’d like the overall to gradate the value from top to bottom. Link to Joen Wolfrom’s “Adventures in Design” for more on this effect.

One of the things I did learn from the latest piece is that without a “map” I can get all over the place and not find my way. 

So, It might make sense to start with a map of the overall gradated value top to bottom; then paint over this with the appropriate values choosing from among the “chosen” chroma. When I’ve done that digitally, it seems to work pretty well. Then, I can spice it up and throw in a non-matching swatch here and there to give it life. 

Well, I don’t often start with this much of a plan. But I’m comfortable with it this time. I’m trying to achieve something specific, so changing it up. (Insanity: doing the same things to get different results)

Next question to myself: should I start horizontal (flat) or vertical? I like both and will often use both while working. I think I’ll start flat horizontal, like usual to build up some texture, just a bit., then flip it vertical (or as near as my table will allow) to finish. 

–> Time to lower the table angle, make a pot of decaf, get the music going, and open a pack of candy cigarettes (that one has it’s story, sometime I’ll drop it in)

Back a few days (a week?) later. I’ve finished the paintings, and was able to do a couple things from my initial goals. will stop with 2; a diptych? That’s fun. Now to mount them. I want to keep them lightweight since their so big. 
What you also missed: I took some premade panels 24×36 and painted the edges black laid one of the paintings on. the 22×30 is good on this, but the difference between the top/bottom and sides margins is not good for this use. Jerry said he’d make a couple panels to fit better. 

it’s not the panels’ fault. I’d like it though if they’d make panels that were maybe 2 inches larger than typical paper sheet (22×30 that is so very prevalent). Ok, so on to putting some panels together. 

Fast Forward:
Final effort… I like it, it achieves what I was intending. (Better still, Gwen and Josh like it too)

The photo is a little fuzzy, but the gist is intact. I called it “Letters“, Gwen calls it “Letters from Venice“… so “L… from V…” it is. 

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