Painting outdoors yesterday with my pal Don, our discussion included one of his professors who would do large “sight sizing” self portraits by placing the oversized canvas quite a distance from the mirror. In his case, about 25-30 feet away. He would roller skate back and forth between his reflection, where he would mix color an decide on one or two brush marks, then he would move quickly from the mirror to the distant canvas and place the stroke. Then, back to the mirror to look at the painting from a distance, mix more color from his reflection and so on….back and forth, back and forth, until the big painting was complete. Very cool idea!
So we tried it!!!!
OMG! Very funny! And hard, and a workout! Here are some pics. We placed the canvas about 12 feet from the mirror. Had a warm light source on the right and the cool light came from a large window to our left. I think we spent under 2 hours.
Look closely and you will see Don is riding a skateboard!! He almost crashed into the easel.
It was amazing to see our 22×28 self portraits build in this way. Don is a great painter, a good friend and a generous teacher, so I learned a ton.
This way of looking forced us make only one or two strokes/decisions at a time, no noodling. For me, I felt a sense of urgency to remember my intended stroke, so I RAN to the canvas and back every time! I think we made some pretty intense noises and we were cracking up. You should try it! Susan Bach, our studio mate, was working nearby and thought the whole process hysterical and would make a good game show. Wouldn’t that be fun?? Yes please!!