We've had some cloudy and rainy conditions the past few days, which has impacted my painting efforts. Regardless, over the weekend, I started laying in paint on a large painting showing a specific perspective of the Japanese bridge. I did an elaborate underdrawing on the canvas which allowed me to start painting without having to figure out the perspective lines. I'm still in the early stages of the painting but I wanted to share some photos since seeing the process can be interesting and educational for others.
One of my goals for this residency is to do larger paintings en plein air; I've had this in mind since arriving in Giverny. My only limitation involved the logistics of carrying the canvas and setting up in the garden in a way that wouldn't inhibit the gardeners. I'm definitely at the maximum size canvas that I can handle within these parameters.
If you're thinking about doing some larger paintings then I have some strategies to share. The first thing that I'll say is that I applaud anyone who paints on a large scale. It's one of the greatest challenges as a painter. I know size can be subject, but to me anything over 3 feet qualifies as large.
A main thing to remember is that a large painting requires more paint and more time. More paint is obvious, but remember that the time factor also includes preparation and preliminary work on the painting. Cutting corners or starting something willy nilly won't turn out well. It's good to start a larger painting with a clear plan of attack. Think about it like writing: writing a short story is very different than writing a 800 page novel (or so I'd imagine).
With that being said, I feel that it's important to do something ambitious in order to expand my comfort zone. Even if it doesn't work out, at least I've tested my limits and I can gain the confidence and reference experience. For me, I've started to become more accustomed to larger canvases as I figure out what works for me. However, I needed to laugh at myself when I went to the Louvre and Versailles and saw these paintings which are like 20 feet by 30 feet. But those paintings were usually group efforts which would take months or years.. so it's not fair to compare myself that way.
Anyway, I encourage you to push yourself and explore new ways of working. If you start something, then follow it through and don't give up halfway. I guess this applies to things other than painting, but if you want to try something ambitious in your life then try and see what happens!
When I first arrived in Giverny, I started thinking about ways that I can differentiate my paintings from the iconic views that Monet painted. The last thing I want is to do any Monet-style copycat pictures; I want to do something unique and decided that one way to achieve that is by changing my viewpoint to get a variety of perspectives.
With that in mind, I've been developing this new Japanese bridge painting. The idea came from a sketch that I did as more of a panorama view. I eventually decided to do an oil study, but from the other side of the bridge and with less of a perspective angle. I liked the study and decided that it will work as a larger painting.
I did the underdrawing on the final canvas today so that I can begin painting tomorrow morning (with weather cooperating). I don't always do such an elaborate underdrawing, but this bridge has a very specific shape and I need to get the curvature correct before begin the painting. I feel like an architect or designer when I do work like this and it's a change since my process is usually more spontaneous.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the final canvas is fairly large and will take some time to finish. Wish me luck!
I was very happy to have my Brother, his Fiancée and her family come visit me in Giverny. I showed them Monet's house & gardens and also my studio with all the paintings that I've been doing. On Friday, I met them at Versailles which was very impressive. The palace and grounds are massive. We walked a ton and also rowed a boat on a huge pond/lake.
Saturday we did Disneyland Paris, which was great and made me feel very nostalgic. We packed in a full day with experiences, rides and great food--We had lunch at Captain Jack's - Restaurant des Pirates and dinner at an amazing restaurant on Main Street called Walt's.
Sunday, we met up at Auvers-sur-Oise, which is where Van Gogh and his Brother are buried. It's a beautiful town, but pretty sad that Van Gogh died so tragically there. While there, we also visited Daubigny's house and studio. The smaller French towns are really inspiring.
It was an amazing weekend and a time that I will remember for the rest of my life <3