View Full Version : Observations on growing as an artist

05-23-2013, 04:39 PM
I started this - I figure everyone could post their own observations as they've grown as artists.

Before I went to Japan last year I was mostly painting 9x12" and 6x9" Most of my paintings were 6x9" I bought some 12x18" to take with me to Japan. At the time I thought it was so big! I had a hard time even sketching out on the paper that big. I'd always retreat to 9x12s or postcard paintings for comfort.

Eventually I got more comfortable with it. Now I am in Turkey and the pads or blocks are a bit more expensive than individual sheets. So I started buying full sheets here. Lately most of my paintings are half sheets - 15x22" I feel extremely comfortable working this big now. I am so happy about it! Right now I am sketching out a 11x15 and it feels small to me even.

My goal is to get to the point where I feel comfortable working on full sheets. i foresee it in the near future ..

What observations have you had on your own personal growth as an artist? It's nice to notice it and pat yourself on the back.

05-23-2013, 05:58 PM
As I don't sell much, I limit my paintings mainly to quarter sheet. Cheaper to frame. I feel quite comfortable at 1/8 sheet too and often revert to that size in class. I have no plans to go full sheet.


05-23-2013, 09:03 PM
I find myself growing more comfortable working on larger sized paintings. The most recent one I completed was 18 x 24, for example. I believe what is behind that is a constant deliberate effort to plan better and follow a process (which I am always assessing to refine as needed).

Compared to a couple of years ago, I spend much more time these days on selecting a color scheme, determining composition, thinking about the order in which to paint each section of the piece, etc. During the actual painting, I've learned to stay focused on my process, to be patient in letting things dry between glazes, to exercise some restraint when I want to so badly get into reworking an area, and to recognize when my brain or eye is fatigued and I need to take a little break. These things, combined with focused practice in paint and brush handling, have brought me to a point where I can now pretty accurately predict results from start to finish. As a result, my confidence when starting a new painting is fairly high that I'll be able to finish it successfully. Planning and process have made a good outcome seem less like voodoo magic and more like something I can reasonably expect to happen.

And somewhere in there is room for the skill of being able to recognize when a piece has gone so far wrong that it's just better to toss it in the reject pile and start anew :) I've gotten much better at letting the failures just be failures instead of trying to laboriously rework them to death.

05-23-2013, 10:44 PM
I started with half -sheets . Soon, I realized that I responded to pictures that were big rather than small ,at shows ,museums , etc . So I switched to the full sheet and have Never been able to switch back to half again , despite much effort through the years .
I just see it big and can't explain why.:( :(

June :wink2:

05-23-2013, 10:46 PM
Oh Yeah !! The Moral is Beware what you wish for, you may be sorry.

05-24-2013, 12:15 AM
Josh, good point! I have painted all sizes from ACEOs to 1/2 sheets, but not a full sheet yet. I know what it costs to frame a 1/2 sheet. . .:rolleyes: :lol: But, who knows? I do like a challenge!! :thumbsup:

Josh, my biggest accomplishment is that I am painting! I had not held a brush until I retired and thought that I was just an appreciator of art. What a shock when I realized that I could produce art on my own. Now, I have five art shows under my belt and I have been one of the co-producers of the Show. :eek: :angel:

You, my friend, are growing by leaps and bounds in your art!! Keep painting and growing!!

Katherine :music: :music:

05-24-2013, 04:11 AM
It depends on what I'm painting. For classes I use a quarter size taken from a full sheet. For paintings I've designed and thought about awhile, it's usually a 12x16 or 14x20 block depending on the subject.

05-24-2013, 08:56 AM
I've never painted a full sheet; but want to try. I've painted many 1/2 sheets and 1/4 too. I LOVE full sheet paintings; but it's hard to grasp at first I think. Josh whatever you are doing is working; your work is getting better and better!

05-25-2013, 04:04 PM
I'm working on my first full sheet right now! I'm not sure why I'm doing it - as in what I'm going to do with it when it's finished. I don't even have a suitable work space for a full sheet. I'm painting with the paper lying loose on a table smaller than the paper is. I just have to cough up a big huge rose. It's been stuck in my system for a while.

05-25-2013, 04:29 PM

My goal is to get to the point where I feel comfortable .....

:wave: Thats the point : "feel comfortable " ignore the size - its not important -
its Quality !!!!!! :wave:

05-28-2013, 11:54 AM
It's wonderful that you find yourself growing. :)

I like working around quarter sheet size because it's easy to store. It would be fun to paint large, but I don't know where I'd put it when it was finished!

05-28-2013, 03:17 PM
I'm with everyone else on the 1/4 sheets. For now, it's much easier to store/market/ship them.

Not nearly as many people have the kind of free wall space it takes to facilitate a full sheet work, so I stick to the 11x15.

I still love working on 16th sheets for studies and quick fixes to get me out of a rut.

I tend to find myself not bold enough to go bigger scale on the 11x15 when I don't do a 5x7 first. It seems like I put the same sized [insert focal subject] on the bigger picture that I do on the smaller one, then struggle to figure out what to fill all the space up with.

05-28-2013, 09:16 PM

My goal is to get to the point where I feel comfortable .....

:wave: Thats the point : "feel comfortable " ignore the size - its not important -
its Quality !!!!!! :wave:

Egon, I agree totally... I really don't feel that artistic growth is necessarily measured by the size of our work. I've seen full sheets that make me shake my head and I've seen ACEO's that are more than striking. Size isn't relevant.

The development of skills and techniques, for me, is the measuring stick that tells me if I'm growing or not...

And, as Egon says, feeling comfortable about whatever size you've chosen to paint is what's really important!

05-29-2013, 04:17 AM
Haha, the more I learn, the more I realize I have a lot to learn!

Not sure if that gets me a pat on the back or not. :P

05-29-2013, 10:37 AM
Char well put!

I guess the point being is that I had a goal to paint bigger but felt daunted for a long time. Now I feel comfortable from half sheet down to ACEOs, and I am getting there for full sheets. I want to be comfortable in all sizes ~ different sizes lend better to different subjects, in my opinion ..

05-30-2013, 09:01 AM
I've painted on all sizes. I prefer half sheets because they seem the easiest to handle for me. I feel sort of cramped on smaller sheets since I like detail, and the full sheets are very expensive to frame and also to lug around to shows. They do look impressive on a wall, however. Sometimes I end up painting on a full sheet, but matting it smaller.

I wish I could paint in standard frame sizes like Doug does, but it never seems to work out for me. It all seems to depend on how it looks with the mat as to how big it will actually be.


05-30-2013, 06:17 PM
I mostly stick to standard sizes as well. A.C. Moore had a BOGO sale on precut mats a while back, and I stocked up on all my major sized, getting tons of different colors to use when I photograph my paintings for sale. It's nice to have a selection of colors that will compliment any color range, when black or white just doesn't look right.

The thing I've noticed about the precut mats is that they seem to cover more of the canvas than is optimal. I've taken to not really doing much with the outer 1" or so on my paintings since most of them get that area covered up. Makes me wonder if my cheap nature is causing me to not cover the whole paper well enough.

05-31-2013, 12:31 PM
I paint alot on full size sheets, it gives a lot of freedom for me, these are all full size sheets.