Sunday, December 9, 2012

Big Fat Art

My friend Mego came over yesterday to make "Big Fat Art".  Which is to say we got out the 18"x24" cheap drawing paper, some craft paints, watercolor crayons, and drawing materials and just went at it.  What a great way to loosen up the art muscles!  Working with someone seemed to provide momentum as well as a way to not focus TOO much on the particulars of any specific "piece".  Know what I mean? Just enough distraction to avoid over-thinking anything, and yet enough we're-in'this-together to keep the focus on making marks.  Here are a few things I did:

Stage one, drawing and painting

Stage two, more paint and stamping

Stage one, drawing and painting

Stage two, more painting
These are all just practice, in process.  Maybe some will evolve into pieces, but it doesn't matter.  The practice was what I needed. I did more on my own the following day, and will continue to use this format for loosening up for working large

If you want to try this, here are some parameters:
Get out your materials:
  • large cheap paper
  • craft paints- limit your palette; I used black, white, and a few neutrals
  • large cheap brushes
  • large palette
  • big stamps or textures
  • paper towels, bucket o' water
  • a few drawing materials: pencils, crayons, graphite, charcoal, pens, markers
  1. Start with paint: make large gestural marks, big shapes, big lines, etc. Do at least half a dozen painting "starts"; they can be all variations on a theme, or each one different.  
  2. When the first one is dry, go back and make lines using different drawing materials.  The lines can have different relationships to the painting underneath - they can be in sync, they can be counterpoint, they can go off on their own...
  3. Then go back into each drawing/painting and do something more: stamp patterns or textures, add some color, draw more, paint more, whatever. 
Or you can begin with drawing.  Or begin with stamped patterns, or whatever you want.  The point is to make a loose plan:  Start here, then do this, then do that.  Stay in the process, and remember that these are not finished pieces.  They are practice. 

I know, loosening up and making beginnings is easy - exercises and "prompts" are a dime a dozen.  Finishing your piece is the hard part.  As a piece progresses, your options narrow, your piece becomes more specific and more focused.  Staying on that path and letting the piece make its statement is where the artistic rubber meets the road.  More on that in another post.


  1. Inspiring to see the proces. I also like to say I loved your book 'collage journeys' , it was the first mixedmedia/collage book I bought.
    I a going to try this too! ( I always work small )

  2. I have to say that the largest I've worked with is 9 x 12 but your inspiring pieces and techniques make me want to dive in. Thank you foroso generously sharing your techniques!

  3. Thank You for the instruction on working large. Seeing you work the process motivates me to try painting on large format. Forever a fan!


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