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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  thoughts on scale

February, 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!

February
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!
 
Comments:
As a resident of central Pennsylvania, I absolutely detest February.

After viewing your painting, I vow to go outside tomorrow and have another look.

A stunning painting!
 
Thanks Kim, and as a resident of central Wisconsin, I feel your pain...but yes there really is beauty out there...
 
One time I heard an artist/teacher say you could find a painting anywhere you threw down a big mat to isolate it from the surroundings. From there, you will get a summary of the whole of the surroundings.

I have to make myself slow down now and then and take that advice.

In fact I need to do that right now as I'm rushing around waaaay too much.
 
Hi Rebecca,
I attended ArtFeast the other night, my first stop was Darnell. I got to see "Aerugo" which I first saw on the 2/11 post. What a gorgeous piece! Good thing I got to see it, because it had just sold -- congrats. I didn't see "February" (did it make it there in time?)-- everything was pretty busy there with the ArtFeast event. I look forward to seeing it next time I'm at Darnell.
 
Diane,
It's always nice to have a first-hand report! Thanks. I guess February didn't arrive in time,but yes I heard about the Aerugo sale,that was great.
 
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