Going Big

[singlepic id=373 w=460 h=340 float=] It's been one thing after another lately. I just got over my cold in time to hack my (formerly) working thumb with a kitchen knife. Well, technically I didn't really hack myself. I just bumped the knife so that it spun like a top off of the counter, making contact on its way to the floor. In any case, the big awkward bandage is not helpful when it comes to painting. Benched again.

Pretty frustrating since I was on a roll with oil painting. But, it's given me time to think about the reason for that roll.

A few months ago, as I mentioned ad nauseam at the time, I gave myself the project of painting my 3' x 9' triptych, Las Lunas (detail, above). It took some weeks to do it and it was pretty daunting since the biggest paintings of my professional career up to that point had been four feet on the long side. But it was really interesting to work on such a large scale (I clamped the canvases together as I painted so it was effectively one big painting).

While it didn't seem too terribly different from other paintings at the time, it did have an interesting effect afterward. Every painting I've done since has seemed really small. And by small I mean manageable, doable, un-intimidating. Easy.

Ever since that one big painting, there has been a significant shift in the way I paint. I'm faster, more fearless at it. I mix the paint and get it on the canvas and don't worry so much about whether it is right. Oddly, though, it is right far more often than it used to be. It's as if that big painting filled some sort of requirement to get me to the next level. It put my regular work in perspective.

So, if I am making some sort of a point about my experience here, I guess it is this: do something that scares you. Work outside your comfort zone. If you do, you might just find that your comfort zone is a lot bigger when you are done.