I have many thoughts about my current series of large-scale paintings, but I’m going to limit this post to the topic of mark-making as it relates to scale.
I started thinking about this perhaps a year ago, while I was working with small encaustics but considering doing some large-scale paintings. I liked the broad swath of brushstroke I was getting using a large-ish brush on very small panels, like this 6″x6″ piece to the right. I wanted to preserve that mark as I moved to 6‘x9’ canvases.
I knew that on a large canvas this would require a BIG brush, so I picked up a paint roller instead. The humor in this doesn’t escape me… I do not enjoy house painting, yet here I was, using paint rollers on (a canvas stapled to) the wall. It felt familiar, though misplaced.
Once I started, though, there was no question I’d made the right decision. It worked, I liked both the process and the results, and I had other questions to ponder anyway, like where the series was going.
But the proportional scale of those roller strokes makes for an interesting photography conundrum: it’s almost impossible to infer the size of the painting from a cropped photo. Are they 16”x20” or are they 72”x108″? Size matters!
Here is the latest painting, in a conventionally-cropped photo. Compare it to the photo at the beginning of this post, where you can clearly deduce the size of the painting.
If I wait to photograph until I install grommets for hanging, the viewer will have a size reference, sort of. People know what size grommets are, but, then again, there are small grommets and there are large ones! For the record, these are similar to the grommets you might find on a store-bought tarp.
These are spectacular paintings and you thoroughly succeeded in the execution of the work. Roll on!
Thanks! I’m having a great time with these. There’s still quite a bit of material to explore in more of them.
These are amazing paintings, love what you’ve written also..what an experience!
What I like about the big paintings is how quiet & intimate they are; with some large-scale work I feel overpowered by the image rather than connected to it. I know it’s misleading, but I enjoy the fact that you can’t judge size from a cropped photograph. It sets up an equality of large- & small-scale work that is useful to think about.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of these–this size seems to suit you well.
Tom, you’re touching on some of my notes for my next blog post, no fair! Thanks for thinking the same way that I’m thinking. I also feel that they are intimate in spite of their size, and there’s something very important about that for me.
Regarding the equality of large- and small-scale work, I think that the small encaustic piece in that post has the same effect. When I see photos of that piece and its mate, I keep thinking they should be 6’x6′, not 6″x6″.
Great paintings, but when are you going to start painting large scale ones? Stop being so timid!
Actually, I like even the very small scale of these paintings on my computer screen.
Ha! Very funny, Taz! Though it’s true that I’m eyeing a 9’x12′ piece of canvas.
I’m an art student in Dunedin, New Zealand. I have my painting pretty large and I’m planing to use eyelet to hang my painting, as your painting showed above. Can you share your technique how do you make sure the edge of your canvas will not loose after trim the edge? Thank you.
My edges are hemmed. I buy the canvas pre-hemmed but you could hem the edges, or just fold them over enough that they are caught in the grommet (thereby forming a sort of hem without sewing).
I came across your wonderful paintings while looking up information about using grommets to hang a large painting. I have 2 paintings on unstretched canvas (currently just stapled to the wall to work on) 7 ft high by 18 ft long, and would like to use small grommets, just big enough to fit over a nail or screw to hang the painting. What size grommets do you use, and what tool do you use to install them? Also wondering how far apart each grommet needs to be. Happy for any suggestions you might have. My canvas is unhemmed btw.
Oh so sorry that it took me this long to get back to you. Somehow I hadn’t noticed your question. I have a grommet hand press, pretty heavy with a lever handle, and I use usually 1/2″ grommets but mine also does smaller ones. In terms of how many you need, I guess you just need to see how far apart they can be to keep the canvas from being too floppy. Start with less, perhaps, and add more as needed?