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Going Big

In the past, I've used monoprints as a form of vibrant sketching. Paint goes down quickly on a gel plate and prints are made without a lot of additional adjustments or layers. The smaller 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 format lends itself to the spontaneity and joy I like - you can't overthink it.

But trying to make larger paintings using the same process is a bit more challenging. Going big has pushed my boundaries (literally and artistically). When I tackle a new project, I like to look at references but in the case of big prints, I haven't found many other artists using large format (16 x20) gel plates and there aren't any applicable books or tutorials. So, I plunge ahead with the default trail and error method, discovering what works for my aesthetic. While the landscape subject matter has remained constant regardless of size, the loose brushwork in my smaller sketches has given way to a more refined and subtle layering of colors and textures. One or two layers has increased to over a dozen.

Paint must now cover a much larger surface area so my new toolkit includes all sorts of implements from brushes and palette knives to sponges and rollers. Experience with watercolors has also had an impact in the application of layers of translucent colors. In some cases, I add watercolor accents at the end after the acrylic paints have dried.

Five new big paintings are framed and headed to a small gallery in town. Hopefully the new work will be accepted and away we go!

There's still lots of learning to be done...and that's really the exciting part of being an artist.


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