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Something Totally Different

Over the past 2 weeks I had the opportunity to paint something totally different from anything I had ever tried before. Not only was the subject matter completely different but the size of the painting was unlike anything I had ever painted before.

My son’s home has a large open room with very tall ceilings. He wanted a painting for one of his walls and he also requested that the painting be very large. He brought me several samples of landscape paintings that he thought he would like. He also was interested in having an impressionistic landscape painted. Well as we all know I paint animals, mostly horses, and they are not really that large, usually 16 x 20 or 18 x 24. He was interested in a painting measuring 4 ft x 5 ft or even larger. Wow! I didn’t even know if I could paint that large, let alone an impressionistic landscape!

So my first search was for the canvas. Believe it or not I found one just the right size at Hobby Lobby. It was hanging up so high in the store that they even had difficulty getting it down.

The next problem was trying to get it home. It would not fit in the car so my husband had to come with the truck. Even after several attempts it wouldn’t fit inside the truck. So the solution to this problem was to tie it down in the bed of the truck. We finally made it home and all seemed well. Then the next issue was trying to fit it in the studio at home along with the easel, the correct lighting, and the other furniture already occupying most of the space. After moving several things around, finally I found a spot and placed it on the easel. I discovered that just placing it on the easel was not secure enough so it had to be tied on the easel. If not then each brush stroke was causing it to rock back and forth. This painting was beginning to take on a life of its own.

Then I discovered that every single brush I owned was too small. So I needed a large background brush before I could even begin. If not then this painting was going to take me two years to paint. So the brush was purchased and it proved to be just what I needed.

Then the next decision was the paint. I knew that I would be painting in oil. However which oils would I use? If I paint with the water soluble oils I am going to go through many tubes because they don’t blend as far as regular oils. So I went with the decision to paint with traditional oils. This proved to be a good decision even though the cleanup after each painting session was more difficult than my favorite water soluble oils.

Finally after all these decisions were made the painting began. I usually always begin after priming the canvas with a detailed drawing of the animal. With this particular painting I dove right in. A few charcoal marks on the canvas proved to be the beginning even though some of this plan was not followed exactly as the painting developed. I must say that the first cobalt blue brushstroke that crossed the canvas came with the thought, “I don’t know what I’m doing! The canvas is so large how will I ever fill it?” After painting for a few minutes I began to see that a painting this size frees you up and causes a looser freer painting. I had to use my entire arm and not just my hands. This large brush really kept me from painting with such fine details. It forced me to look at the larger picture. Painting impressionistically definitely was a lot more fun than I had ever imagined because everything didn’t have to be exact.

The painting is now finished and my son has taken it to his house and it is hanging on his wall. Oils take a long while to dry, so he transported it wet. He didn’t want to wait until it was dry and I really needed it out of the studio so I could have room to paint other things. So after lining his SUV with plastic, it was a successful trip with no damage to the vehicle or the painting.

The entire experience was very different. I’ve included several pictures so you can see the development of the painting. I hope to have some prints made for the website at a later time. So be on the lookout for them.

I am thinking that I might like to try something like this again sometime. Even though this experience was totally different and full of challenges, it was filled with learning and a very rewarding outcome!

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