Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Scaling Up

In art, size matters.  Scale is part of the vocabulary of a piece, and it contributes to how the viewer relates to it.  Scale determines to some extent how the artist relates to a piece in the process, and so  influences the outcome.  I've been asked if it's possible to just take a piece and copy it on a larger scale.  Yes, of course you can do that, but something gets lost in translation.  Scale relates to the size of your tools, your body, your gesture, as well as to your materials. 

That said, I have loads of paintings I'd like to try on a larger scale.  I would like to work on a larger scale in general.  I see my work on a computer screen or in a slide show, and think: I wish that were 4'x4', or even bigger, rather than just the 10"x10" it is.  So... I took a 10"x10" piece, and tried to "copy" it at 3'x3', just to see what would happen.
This piece is 10"x10", and it's one of my favorites.  It came at the end of a long day and a long process, at the point where I was covering over big swaths of intricate collage and paint. 

This is a snapshot of the 3'x3' copy, not a good photo or scan, but that is only one reason it looks washed out and flat.
 Some of the differences are obvious:  texture is missing from the larger painting. The values are not right, and so far I haven't been able to come up with a substitute for the calligraphy.  I notice that depth is much more difficult (for me, at this point) to achieve in a larger piece.  Hmmm.... even if I got the scale of all the shapes correct (which I didn't), I have to figure out how to get more push-pull.

I will keep working on it as an exercise.  The goal is not to reproduce the original piece, but to see what will happen, see what I can learn, from trying. Any tips on working at a larger scale are most welcome!  I'd also be interested to hear of your own challenges with this.  Thanks for visiting.

17 comments:

  1. Hi Jane: I too have struggled with this, as I like to work small, but would like to see the results huge! I did email with Jonathan Talbot about how he takes his small patrin pieces and paints them almost identically on a 3'x3' scale, especially with the patterns/texts on his collage pieces. He answered that he blows up the text pieces on his computer and prints them in sections, and then reassembles them on a larger piece -maybe that would help you? I am impressed at how well you actually did. Are the intensities of the red and yellow bits as intense as in the small piece where they look more intense than on the large one?

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  2. Hi Jane: I too have struggled with this, as I like to work small, but would like to see the results huge! I did email with Jonathan Talbot about how he takes his small patrin pieces and paints them almost identically on a 3'x3' scale, especially with the patterns/texts on his collage pieces. He answered that he blows up the text pieces on his computer and prints them in sections, and then reassembles them on a larger piece -maybe that would help you? I am impressed at how well you actually did. Are the intensities of the red and yellow bits as intense as in the small piece where they look more intense than on the large one?

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    1. Oh, yeah, I COULD reproduce the calligraphy. I'd really rather come up with something that will serve the same function, "sit" in the piece in the same way, but I may try that too. I think Cecil Touchon makes small collages of text and then paints them larger on canvas. I've seen them, both, in person, and it's pretty interesting. Thanks for your comment (it showed up twice for some reason).

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    2. I don't know why my comments are showing up twice -that is happening in the Monoprint Collage workshop I am now taking with you as well. I will check out Cecil as I am not familiar with his/her work.

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  3. Jane, the ideas you explore here both in words and in art fascinate me. I'm about to go off to the grocery store and now I'll have SO much to nibble on mentally while I shop! Thank you! I am a relative newbie who took up painting about 18 months ago, and in my early days I don't think it dawned on me that almost everything I painted was "copying," i.e. I was trying to reproduce (and therefore essentially rescale) whatever subject was in front of me, usually in the form of a photograph of a landscape but also sometimes in the form of a painting. One thing led to another and I started painting daily and started a blog and joined Daily Paintworks and participated in Leslie Saeta's September 30-in-30 Challenge where I discovered Gwenda Waterink and through her discovered YOU! I am going to take one of your downloadable classes in January (the others, understandably, were already full), and I'm on a waiting list (fingers crossed!) for your April Big Fat Painting Weekend. THANK YOU for opening doors to new ways of painting. I am so grateful!

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  4. I think that the thing you lose is the spontaneity that is so evident in the original piece. I guess you have to do less thinking and just do it. Re the calligraphy, how about making some papers with asemic writing on them that can be torn up for collage.

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  5. Jane,
    You could try Rasterbator. An app that blows up images for big wall-sized art. So, ok... it may look like college dorm material (not hi rez/it grids out your entire image). But I had a high-level, collage artist teacher in Ptown last Summer that utilizes it in her Fine Art work (occasionally). It will grid out your image and allow you to print out 8.5x11's. Might be something to play with to assist with large scale. Go to: http://rasterbator.net

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    1. It's actually more about seeing What Will Happen if I TRY to increase scale, not so much about reproducing the image. I think that technology is great for other applications, though. I know artists who depend on it. Plus, if anyone wants the image at a larger size, they can order a print.

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  6. oh my oh my all these sizes that i don't understand.
    what is 3" or 3'? i can't really find a proper answer via Google, but perhaps i'm not smart enough. in europe (France / the netherlands) we measure in cm an meters . i do have a ruler measuring inches but this apostrophes confuse me. would you please be so kind to give me an answer?

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  7. Hi Jane,

    You have a great start. You have all your areas mapped out, etc. Now for depth, value and detail.
    I use glazing to create depth and value and then move on to detail/texture.
    I like that your using the Caligraphic areas as a holding place instead of being literal to the original. For texture you could try some of the golden texture product like molding pastes or whatever, there's so many.
    I hardly ever work from a smaller piece of work. I love working large and right now I'm working on 40" X 40" 's.
    For me the biggest challenge is to stop myself from going to quickly to the details before I get the masses worked out, scale, values, possible locations of interest etc.
    I'll use small pieces to work out what kind of textures I Might want or specifics or glazes or surfaces, etc.
    I just picked up a 5 inch brush from the hardware store that has come in handy. I love the movement and the ability to use my whole body while working big.
    My next step is the 6 feet by 4.
    Keep going, heck if you don't like it you can paint over it.


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  8. Great!! I've often wondered the same thing, what would it look on a larger size. This looks so exciting and interesting. Love the new piece you've created!! Yes, it is a piece of its own! I loved the original piece and I love the new one emerging!!!

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  9. I've struggled with this, too, and found that the larger piece would always be full of big, flat expanses of a single color. The shape of it was less readable large. And I had carried the color but not all the bumps and scribbles and variations within it or underneath it in the original. My thinking for my next attempt is that I need a textured under painting first of gesso, since I can't recreate the exact layers I covered in the original. Does that make sense? It was the missing textures that made the large piece unsuccessful.

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  10. Hi Jane,
    I think you have accomplished some amazing 3'x3' peices as you show on your othere website. They really sing, I think!! I agree with you...just trying to replicate a small piece bigger is not going to feel the same........but it is sometimes a place to start! I still like you littel pieces. They have alot to enjoy!!

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