This is the second painting I’ve made using the new large easel. I pin the unstretched canvas onto a board and mount that on the easel. This is currently the largest size board I have, but I’ll be getting a larger one soon. For fun, I used Photoshop to mock up a picture of how the first two “new easel” paintings would look in a gallery. The dimensions are not accurate (the real paintings are smaller, unfortunately), but it gives a rough impression.
In the past when I tried to paint larger scale I’d plan the picture, sometimes working from a prepared image using the projector. Now I’m trying to improvise large paintings, the same way I improvise smaller ones. I start painting without a plan and make it up as I go along, making spontaneous decisions about content, composition, the angle of light, the space, etc. I prefer this way of working.
Looking at the result, I can see I’m still adjusting to the larger scale. It’s full of objects that would each individually fit comfortably into the kind of smaller paintings I’ve been making recently.This painting reminds me of Edward Gorey, although I wasn’t thinking about him while making it. I see the influence of Dana Schutz, M C Escher, and a little bit of Picasso, but something else is coming through. The candles and tumblers strike me as a sculptural idea, like C20th surrealist or post-ready-made type of thing, reminiscent of works by Mona Hatoum or Robert Gober (below). Likewise, the Pinocchio figure I painted a couple of days ago, with an axe between his legs, could easily be made as a sculpture and retain all the same associations (castration, his erection substituted with a weapon, the sexual slang terms “chopper” and “axe wound”, etc.). It’s an object idea rather than an image idea. It even came from a sculpture I made ten years ago, long before I started painting. Perhaps this sculptural way of imagining will prove to be something I can use in my painting more in future.