About six years ago, I set myself the challenge of painting a large picture. I had made earlier attempts, but none that I felt succeeded. The logical way to learn to paint monumental works (it seemed to me then and seems to me now) is to paint them. The painting above, measuring 66 x 82 inches, was my first successful large painting. It’s painted in acrylic paint.
A bunch of intermediate steps led to this picture. For instance I made a “cartoon” of the whole thing first. Cartoon refers to an actual size drawing of the subject. Making the large drawing was an adventure in itself. The immediacy of drawing and the fact of this thing being so big, it was as if I could physically enter the painting.
The things in the picture played roles in our lives. My then pre-schooler daughter’s drawings formed the basis for the “stones” of the wall. The blue lizard was one of her toys. The picture’s story grew out of one lovely day’s adventure, during our regular walk to the place we call “the stone wall.” Here, one abandons oneself to the beauty of nature. We pause and just look at whatever comes our way. We hunt for lizards and frogs. We find interesting insects. We peer into the world of the very small. Yet in the fantasy of the painting, it’s possible to have a flamingo who watches over you, too. The fracture in the sky above the dreaming child is like a ladder that Jacob saw with angels traveling between heaven and earth. It is a passage way to wonderment.
For the artist, a picture should challenge your skill in some way. What is your challenge?