So I took my first step today – with studies. This is a good time of the year for me to think about large studio paintings and this is how I start….
For me, when I decide to create a large studio painting, it is best to begin with small studies.
Here is where I first work out which idea has enough merit to pursue in a larger format. I correct and adjust colors and tones, and play around with compositional possibilities in these small studies – just generally think things through a bit. It’s a MUCH more difficult task to make major adjustments on a large canvas! This is my attempt to ‘choose and plan out my route’, keeping the detours in the larger painting to a minimum Since I’m a planner by heart, this system suits me well.
The studies need to be proportional to the larger canvas. Right now, I’m leaning toward painting the first study 60″x90″ – BIG. I do like challenges! The second one may turn into a 24″x36″ painting.
Currently, the large paintings on my easel are of a bison herd crossing the Yellowstone River at 36″x48″ and a big horn sheep line up at 60″x30″. So between them all, this should keep me busy for a while! I do like to have several larger paintings going at one time, so if I’m stuck on one I can easily move onto another at a different stage and hopefully ‘unstick the wheels’.
These ideas came from a plein air excursions in Yellowstone National Park a while ago and they’ve been ‘burning a hole in my pocket’ ever since. They are both from the area near Firehole Lake Drive – a favorite haunt of mine. I’m excited to get working through the ideas finally…. let the journey begin!