I really like the challenge of painting large canvases, and this week I made a start of three of them.
1) A brand new commission, which is a portrait of a family of four dogs, two Cockerpoos, and two Border Terriers. This piece its just shy of a metre in length, and 60 cms high.
2) A 60 x 70cm painting of a running horse
3) A 100 x 100 canvas featuring a seated black Labrador
I find that I need to do quite careful 'mapping out' on a big canvas before I begin to paint. Because of the size, it isn't possible to take in the whole piece at once and draw it by eye.
I use dividers and sharpie pens to mark out sections of a painting, check proportions and ensure that there is space for everything I want to include. I do a quick plan on Photoshop, by creating a clipboard that is the same ratio as the canvas I am about to paint. Then I arrange the subject matter within the clipboard until I am happy to save it and use it. I then use my proportional dividers to enlarge the photoshop image and transfer it onto my canvas. I don't put any detail in at this stage, just a rough map of where everything is going to go.
Here is a short video clip of the beginning stages of the above commission. I'm going to film the entire process for my client so that she can watch the painting process all the way through.