Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working larger outside.

When painting this week, with a couple of exceptions, I've been working larger on site. This is a learning experience, one that is going to take some time to absorb and adjust to. I'm so used to containing all that I want to say in 154 sq inches or so that doubling or tripling that is a real challenge in simple things, like paint handling. It's a logistics vs time equation you have to become comfortable with. I'll be real honest, I'm also dealing with this... how do I get the same kind of look to the larger work that is a natural result in the smaller work that is painted on site? Or is it even necessary, is the result from working larger such a different animal that I shouldn't even worry about this? These are the questions that I'm facing from my personal point of view.

Even with those questions present, I am already 10 times more comfortable a week into this than I was with the first one, which wasn't even that large. None of these are 'BIG', 20x 24 the largest. But they're larger than what I have been doing so I'm giving myself a break on the struggles and just letting it work out as it does.

I'm comfortable enough now that the next one going with me is going to be a 24x30. I'll work at that size (weather and conditions permitting) for a while and then go up again in scale. They are beginning to look smaller already. I don't any longer feel like I'm staring into the face of the mainsail of 50 ft yacht!

I'm sure that some readers/artists of my blog are probably wondering what all of the whining is about. Many of you might already paint larger on site and don't see it as that big of a deal. I hope to get there soon....

Also, the Beauport easel is my new best friend. I love this thing. I'm sure that the Take-It-Easel would be even better, but I'm going to get my $99.00 out of this one before I worry about the $300.00's that the other one costs. I'm even painting the smaller size panels on it and find it so much more friendly in that use that if it weren't for it's size and the weight of the paintbox I'd take it every where I go to paint.

ALL of these were painted on location...

'September Pastures' oil 16x20 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Well... this was the first one last week. This isn't that big but I'll tell you that it was a good size to introduce myself to outside. I had enough issues with it, and it served it's purpose.


'Full Over Balsam Lake' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Obviously not a big one. I am working on an 18x24 of this same scene. The full moon is gone, but the land hasn't moved. In this case I'll do as much work on the larger one on site as I can, as the conditions permit, and then use this study to finish it up. One of the things that I see in painters working large on location is that the work tends to be of lighting situations that are more stable, towards the middle of the day, using the longer light situation to paint with of course. I like the end of the day light, the last hour or so, and those situations that are fleeting and one of a kind. In those situations I still want and will use the smaller studies as reference, it's the only way to really grab those last minute spectacular events.


'The Island' oil 16x20 © Marc R. Hanson '09
I have to remind myself with the larger paintings to be careful not to just 'record'. I want and need to stay tuned into the emotional side of painting even on the larger scale. I know that the more experience I gain doing this, the more comfortable I'll become with it and the more attention I will pay to that. In the mean time, some of these are going to be simpler, more 'records' of the place than the kind of statement that I really want to be making. Time....


'Loosestrife Autumn' oil 8x16 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Kami and I went out to paint purple loosestrife which is in abundance this year. It's an artist's dream, but it's invasive and not a good thing to see in the environment. Well anyway, we had a ball with the light at the end of the day and the effect that it's warmth had on the greens that are changing towards fall's palette and on the loosestrife itself. YUMM....


'September Beans' oil 20x24 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Man did this morning feel like September! Everything in the landscape is warming, except the temperatures. I wanted the sky in this one. I haven't mentioned time required to paint these. This one took about 4 hours, the 16x20's about 3 hours.

38 comments:

Christopher O'Handley said...

Guess I get to be first again! All I have to say is good for you...I'd be extremely happy to have painted any of these at any size.

Donna T said...

Such beautiful work Marc! If you were doing anything else for a living it would be a real shame. I just did my largest plein air yet - 9x12 -and it took me two sessions (I hear you laughing!) so I admire your ability to think through the process and figure out how best to paint larger.

Susan McCullough said...

Marc, I have been thinking about trying to do larger paintings outside but haven't been gutsy enough to do it- mostly because I don't think I can get enough paint on the surface to make me happy- your paintings came out beautifully!

jeff f said...

Marc, first let me say the larger work looks fantastic. Have you seen those large paintings that Joaquín Sorolla did outside. Amazing.

The Take It easel company is no longer making them. They are selling retooled Beauport for about $250.

I bought one and I have to say I think I was taken a bit. They did retool it but not enough to warrant the price.

René PleinAir. said...

Wow that's a new endeavour your taking Marc! And well thought through. I wonder if you change your brushes also, ... and you approach does it alt her somewhat?

I am going to follow your development closely, wondering if I ever could go there.

Patty Meglio said...

Marc,

I remember by some of your comments in the workshop that you were heading towards working bigger. These look great, but I understand the struggle here. You either work large but faster, and sacrifice some detail and style or you work smaller, and take a more leisurely but detailed approach. Most of the artists that I know end up touching up in the studio with large paintings. Nice work.

Jeremy Elder said...

Marc, you could've fooled me. I think these have the same freshness and excellent paint handling as the smaller ones.

Also, every time I look at your work it reminds me to think about the big shapes instead of individual "things." Thanks!

Kami Polzin said...

These are SPECTACULAR! We've had the greatest light around here the past couple weeks and you totally nailed it! I think it's time for the 40x60!!!! :) Go for it!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Chris. Your comments are always appreciated!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Donna that is a really, really nice thing to say... Thank you! :) I'm not laughing either. Good for you!!! Keep it up.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Susan. It does take some determination. I've talked and talked about it, have done one or two a year for a number of years, but now it's time.
Just lugging around the equipment, larger easels, palettes, more paint, towels, thinner, large painting supports... you need to stay in shape to do it!
Go for it.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Jeff. Yes, the Sorolla exhibit in St. Louis in 1990 changed my life. That was as good as I'd seen and as good as I've seen since. Whew!!!
That is interesting about the Take It. They still have it advertised online at the higher price and don't mention that they're re-tooling it??? Seems strange. I like the one I have. If the brass hardware were a little more precisely made with less slop, I wouldn't know what you would do to make it better. I did use a few adaptions that a friend suggested to make the Beauport work better and they did. I'm hooked.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Rene'... I am using larger brushes, much to my dismay. But it just takes more to move more paint, so I am converting. Other than that, what I've found out so far is that I need to 'not' change my approach, especially my mental approach. There's just more real estate to cover now.
I know you could go there.

By the way... I finally saw an original 'Rene' at Jamie's house in NY. Your work is beautiful pal.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Patty... Good to hear from you. You hit the dilemma on the button. I'm not so worried about loosing the detail as long as the end result is cohesive and 'free' in it's application. I can see the danger being that you could become stiff in the way you paint because of the abiltiy to put so much more into the larger area. It helps using the easel and larger palette I'm using now. They "suggest" that you back off and work from a more distant point of view, if for no other reason than that you are able to see the 'whole' better. With my normal pochade set ups, I stand too close and don't walk away frequently enough. That makes a big difference.
I can see needing to do some studio work. The paint might not have the 'set up' that I like in the initial session. Once it starts to set up there are textural things that can only be accomplished at that stage. All fun.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Jeremy. I'm glad that you're getting that from my work. I try to keep it in mind as well.

Marc R. Hanson said...

40x60... Ooooookayyyyy! As long as I can borrow your truck to haul it around in. Otherwise it's the mule out back. ;-)
Thanks Kami... :)

Frank Gardner said...

Good stuff Marc!
I wonder how you'll approach a 6x8 now that you've been doing these big ones regularly. Switching up the sizes is a great way to stay fresh.
The Take It Easel I have is one of those retrofitted ones. It works good for me, and since I have never seen their other I'm not sure exactly what the difference is. It's what you do with it anyway that matters.

jeff f said...

They phoned after I ordered a TakeIt easel on line. The owner told me that they could not afford to make them anymore. She said that she was going to change the web site. That was over six months ago. I don't think it's deliberate, I just think she's not to together on this stuff.

The Beauport is made in China. Apparently some company over there copied the design. She said she does not have the money to deal with the legal issues so they just bought a bunch of the Chinese easels and fixed them up. I think the Chinese company has since fixed the problems, as it seems people are not having issues anymore.
Apparently the first ones were impossible to set up due to the hardware not being put on right.

Anyway I like mine. it is good sturdy easel. I use in the studio as well.

Ben Bauer said...

Marc,

Great stuff and its good to see some color out there, I was in the Park Rapids area over the last weekend and man was it changing up there. I love the first posted one the pastures on, reminds of what i have been photographing and playing with lately. I have not been painting outside much lately but working indoors on many new works to get a good and sound and not so all over the map, been working hard at staying on with paint application and getting comfortable in my own skin!!!!:>)

I am really glad to see some larger sizes being done!!!! wish I had the time and that new contraption you have!

More later.

B

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Great work, Marc! One thing I've found that helps with larger paintings is to use a knife to mix up some basic batches of color. It gets things going faster. Also, to pre-tone the canvas so you're not fighting the white. A white canvas isn't so bad in a small format, but I found it nearly impossible to work with when going large. I use a bit of burnt sienna to kill it and to give myself a mid-value to work on.

Deb Kirkeeide said...

Well, as uncomfortable as it may seem, it truly seems to be working for you.
They have that same freshness of all your work.
Beautiful!

Eugene said...

Marc are you going to start sending these updates via email again? I havent got one for a while.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Frank. Well... 6x8 is about the size of the first stroke I put on the larger ones now! You're right. It keeps you fresh. I wonder sometimes about my, and others, need to switch it up in approach, supplies used, thinking, etc.... but it's just that... it keeps you fresh. Might not be too good for a 'long term look' for your work, but I'd prefer to be fresh while I'm alive and making it. ;)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks for the info Jeff. I'm going to order another one from ASW. With the coupons they offer it can be had for about 95.00. Just in case they disappear again or the one I have needs repair pieces. I like it so much that I don't want to be left out in the cold without it.

I was sent some photos of a couple of fixes to make, mainly that hold the center brace onto the back leg as a unit when it's folded up. Outside of wishing that the brass leg fittings were made with tighter tolerances, it's a great piece of equipment for the $$$.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Ben. Yes, the color is reaaaaallly nice this September. I hope that you can find the time to get out there, though I understand your sit. That easel is on sale through tonight for 95.00 if you use the coupon. I'll email you....

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Michael. I hear you. I've also used those methods and am picking and choosing from the bag of 'tricks' to get comfortable. All good.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Deb! :)

I'm not sure what you mean Eugene? I haven't sent a newsletter for awhile 'cause I'm busy painting. But will as a fall read.

Eugene said...

No worries, I just thought you sent out all updates here as emails. I was thinking I might not be getting mine. :-)

Jesse said...

Marc,
These are great! You really haven't missed a beat. I've been trying to plan out a kit to go bigger.

On the subject of painting fleeting light on a big canvas: From what I've read, Monet and Sargent would work on a piece for 30-60 minutes at a time until it was done. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose took months! I know I would have problems working that way, but you have the skill to pull that sort of thing off.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Jesse... Thanks. It's liberating for some reason. The space that opens up is at first a little frightening until you get used to the new larger realestate in front of you.
Right now I just want to finish some of these but definitely think that the idea of working over time is one that I will use. Last night (way too late) I watched a DVD of Michael Klein's painting a potted rose in his studio, but under a special fiberglass ceiling that imitates diffused outdoor light. He worked 17 days on the painting, from life. In the end he had to use thread to tie up one of the rose heads to prevent it from drooping! The result was magnificent. Same idea...

Jane Hunt said...

Marc - I just love your work!!
I was checking out your plein air setup you showed in a previous post. Is it still working well for you? I have yet to find a great setup and was thinking of following your lead.

Don Coker said...

Marc, they are all great, but I really love the full moon piece!

Don Coker said...

Okay, so September Beans is a favorite too!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Jane and 'Thank you!'. :) I'm not sure which set up that you're referring to? But the large Beauport easel is great and still working fine. I suspect that isn't the one you want, it's large and primarily best suited for larger paintings though I'm using it for smaller paintings too. But I don't hike anywhere too far with it and it's accompanying large paintbox.

For most other situations I'm using the EasyL 12x16 or 10x12 box. Yes, that is working great, love this set up. They sell a tripod with the EasyL as a package deal that is a good deal. Have fun!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you Don...for both!

Pam Holnback said...

As always, you inspire so many of us, w/ all your smalls, now your larges, and all those in between. I really appreciate all the knowledge, tips, and hints you share.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you Pam... that's very kind. I enjoy being able to have enough information built up within me to share. I'm glad that you and others find it helpful.

Solvay said...

breathtaking...