I have always been attracted to big paintings. While perusing the masterpieces at the Louvre, I gravitated towards the huge, dramatic pieces – I spent a lot of time gazing at ‘The Raft of the Medusa’ with my son, and was not really impressed by the Mona Lisa (I know, that is blasphemy, but I do understand and agree with her significance in art history). Yet, when we travel, I like to buy the smaller stuff – easier to pack? More affordable? I feel like I have a collection of small jewels hanging on my walls at home, reminding me of the great places we have visited.
When I am working in the studio, the bigger, the better! I love the feeling of painting from the shoulder, and the sheer physicality of moving pigment around on a large surface. I have a four foot by six foot work table that I can walk around as I work, and that makes it easier to create large pieces. The largest watercolor I have created is a piece entitled “Chalice” on two pieces of cradled Aquabord measuring 48 by 72 inches. When I look at it, I feel like I am at the lake where the lotuses bloomed.
I am, however, beginning to challenge myself to paint small pieces. They are finished faster and can be transported more easily both while traveling and to shows. I have less time and energy invested in a small piece; if it fails, I simply start another one. And, on the practical side, small works sell!
What are your thoughts on large vs. small paintings?