thoughts on scale
, shown above, is a rather quiet painting, but has enough surface texture to hold up well under the scrutiny I've given it over the past week or so. There are thin, subtle lines and marks in the dark panel that aren't showing up well here.
It's the latest in a series of smaller multiple panel paintings that I've been working on for the past few months. "Smaller" here means 30"x28" (half the size of much of my work.) Several, including Summit
and Deep Blue
have been featured in previous posts. I like the scale of these--they have presence without dominating a space.
Because I work on all sizes of panel, from tiny 6"x6" to arrangements measuring up to 90" on one side, ideas about scale interest me--regarding my own experience in creating them as well as for the viewer. When I paint something large, I love the sense of being surrounded by the paint...while the challenge is to make something that justifies its own scale. I feel there needs to be something monumental about the piece, that will hold up in its largeness, over time and repeated viewings.
Very small paintings have to be intriguing enough to withstand close-up viewing--to have presence though occupying little physical space. It's really pleasurable for me to give due importance to slight shifts in color or texture, or to a few lines or some interesting mark--and to bring that appreciation to viewers, whose faces will likely be inches rather than feet away from the work.
In between these extremes are paintings such as the one above, medium dimensions. I think the challenge here is to rise above what seems an ordinary or expected kind of scale. To stand out in a world of objects of similar size--not just other works of art, but all the things in ordinary homes and buildings that vie for visual attention--windows, computer screens, furnishings. While this presents a challenge, it's also a strength--this is an accessible scale, that requires no special exhibition space, and feels comfortable to people as an object to contemplate. Issues of scale can be put aside in favor of other considerations. I think I've been avoiding this scale, maybe because of its "ordinariness" but lately it's come back into my work as something worth exploring. More in the works!
is on its way to Darnell Fine Art
in Santa Fe, in time (I hope) for an event on Friday called ArtFeast
which brings in many visitors and raises money for art education in the area. I have sent two other new paintings out which have arrived and will be exhibited. If you're in the area please consider attendning this event!