How does one paint a commission… that is to be ten feet by four and a half feet wide?
First of all, you have to give it a lot of thought. Figure out what you want the painting to be.
Then, go find reference material toward that end, sketch it out.
So, a giant reef, from the ocean floor looking up. With lots of critters swimming in and out and around the corals.I shot my reference photos underwater just north of Elbow Cay where we keep our sailboat in the winter. Usually, I do my shooting with a pole spear in order to score supper, however after April 1 lobster season is closed so it’s much easier to tote my nifty underwater sure shot. At first, I took photos freediving; take a big breath, swim to the bottom and lay on my back in the sand, take a picture, wait for it to “develop”, take one more picture, run out of air and shoot for the surface.
Hey! I’m PADI certified! Duh. Rent a tank from Froggie’s, go to a beautiful reef, lay on my back in the sand, and just take my sweet time shooting away. I shot thousands of pictures for this painting. I figured I had 6480 square inches to fill up so I better have lots of pics when I got back to my studio.
Once I got there (studio), I perused the photos, printed out about 20 of them, and played around.
That’s what I do, I play around. Aren’t I lucky?
Then I got a (relatively) small canvas and measured so it
would be RELATIVELY the same size… notice the scribbles on the right side of the FIRST photo up top. Well, it’s all scribbles but that’s OK. Then I starting placing the major elements…. surface of the water, fission in the rocks, coral formations. And a few fish.
SO, here we go. Linen canvas arrives… 60″ wide by 6 yards. That’ll leave me zero on the sides and four feet on the top and four feet on the bottom. I mark my outside guidelines: 120″ x 54″, with room on the sides, top and bottom to gallery wrap around stretcher bars. Then I roll it from the top and roll it from the bottom (painting side facing out)…. ready for the furling easel. Wait, I need a furling easel? Maaaaaark……..
comes to the rescue! He builds a frame, with dowels on the top and the bottom.
Now, I need something to support the canvas.
I put together 4 stretcher bars: 54″ wide (width of the painting) and 60″ tall (I’ll work 60″ at a time). I squared it by measuring and matching the diagonal lengths. Then Mark screwed on a back support that will KEEP it square and also hang it on my wall easel behind the canvas. So, I hang it on the wall easel, and now i’m ready to slip those dowels through the rolled canvas and Ta-Dah…. Just what I had in mind, but better! Attach the canvas to the support using those clippy things, and I’m ready to go.
Next step….. squeeze out the paint. Stay tuned.