June Field, 2007, Oil on Panel, 36x48
After the first color session.
After the second color session.
Normally when I work on larger scale paintings (bigger than 24x36, which is a size I do ok with) I am very uncomfortable. And not in a good, productive way. While I am excited about the challenge of the scale change, I also tend to tighten up and worry, which is usually reflected in the painting. The pieces haven't been horrible, none have ended up in the sand down pile or anything and I have even sold a few of them, but I haven't been exceptionally pleased with most of them either.
This time, because of a combination of factors I was much more relaxed when I began work on two large panels. I have finally gotten over the intimidation of the cost of a 36x48 sized panel ($140-yikes!) by continually reminding myself that it can always be sanded down and reused. A total pain in the neck but it can be done. And because I have been distracted in general, by a number of thing outside of the studio such as the kid's schedule, family stuff, how much work needs to be done on our house and property, money issues and even the hen that has gone broody (more on that another day), I was able to paint without getting myself all worked up beforehand. Sometimes not focusing on what I am doing really takes the pressure off and gets me into the groove before I can worry about getting there myself.
The first painting (on the left, in the second photo from top) painted itself. It's an image of a field down the road that I have painted a number of times (most recently here), but never at this scale, so that was a good challenge. Feeling high after finishing up that one I dove into the next one (on the right) and after the first layer ended up with a very loosely painted image. It was a lot of fun to paint and I was feeling rather invincible after the first piece so I convinced myself the second one was fab too. Then Doug came in to give his critique, which was fairly negative. After seriously considering winging my loaded brush at his head (just kidding, well kinda) I shook myself back into reality and realized he was pretty much right. Yesterday I struggled with the painting a bit more and it's closer now to working (on the right in third photo from top), I think.
And to confirm this recent pattern, I am also working on two 24x24 panels (see below) and nearly the exact same thing happened-the first one painted itself and I am struggling with the second one, the one I felt the most confidence in to begin with.
This experience is a very good example of the fine line that I must walk between self consciousness, overconfidence and humility. Too much, or not enough of any of those things and I am out on the porch with my palm sander, wearing a mask and sanding paint off a $140 chunk of wood.
Bad 24x24, although there is still hope.