View Full Version : Painting big

07-21-2005, 10:02 PM

I was recently asked by my boss (I am a Civil Engineer working in water resources) to make a very large acrylic painting to decorate our office. By large he means 30X40 or 36X48. I am not used to painting this big and the compensation won't be that great. But I am excited about the prospect of painting large and having other people see my work. The biggest I've painted so far is just 18X24 so this painting will be 4 times as large :eek:

I have a lot of questions about painting big and I would really appreciate if you could give me ideas.

I. The paint

I was thinking of buying Dick Blick acrylics since they are big and inexpensive.

I was thinking about buying 12-14 colors in their 8 oz size.
Q: Is 8 oz way too much paint for a canvas this size (30X40 or 36X48)? I can always have leftovers for future paintings :D

These are the colors I am interested in: Mars Black, Titanium White, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Oxide, Cadmium Red Light, Naphtol Crimson, Cadmium Orange, Yellow Medium Azo, Phtalo Green, Perm. Hooker's Green, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple.

Q: Do you think these are enough? I have a feeling I need another blue. I would like to buy the neutrals (browns, blacks, white) plus one warm & cool of the 3 primaries, plus 2 good greens, 1 orange and 1 purple. I am not sure if the primaries I have listed above are cool or warm. Any idea how to find that out?

II. The support

Although I am not a big fan of pre-stretched canvas, I am thinking of buying it just because people like it and it's hard to find other supports in big sizes.

Q: Can you suggest any good staple-free or back-stapled prestretched canvas that doesn't warp at this size (30X40 or 36X48) yet is not too expensive? I was thinking Fredrix Gallerywrap canvas or Dick Blick Master canvas, but I am not sure if these are cross-braced...

III. The brushes

I am totally lost here! I guess I will have to buy a couple of large cheap house painting brushes at the hardware store to put down the initial layers.

Q: Can you suggest sizes and brands appropriate for painting this size (30X40 or 36X48)?

IV. The price

Finally, the most difficult question is how much I should charge for the painting. I was thinking I will spend some $125 in materials (paint, mediums, brushes, support) and I could charge $400 for labor, but is $525 total too little? If I were to sell it to someone else (of course depending on the end product) I would probably sell it for at least $1,000. My smaller paintings sell for up to $400-$500 already.

Q: What do you all think?

I would really, really, really appreciate any input. If I'm going nuts, just tell me too :D :D :D

Thanks, Michelle

07-22-2005, 04:25 AM
I usually paint big (40x40"or 32x48") The amount of paint is not so high, about 4 times the amount of paint you use on one of your regular sizes.
I know a very cheap supplier of canvas 40x40"about 20 euro (an euro is a little bit more worth than a dollar), but that 's in Holland and I don't know if they ship to america.
I usually use no more than about 5 or six colours. I've never bought green, because that's so easy to mix. black, white, red, blue, yellow and magenta.
That's all the colours you need to mix any colour you need.
I wouldn't buy housepaintbrushes, because they are way too thick. I always use "spalters" that are also used as varnish brushes. They have the width but are not thick. My materialcosts for a painting 40x40"(Reeves deep edge 3D blockcanvas gallery stretched) is about 25 euro. I sell them for 1100 euro.
The good part is that it takes me about two hours to make them.
Hope this helps.

07-22-2005, 04:46 AM
You can Paint on anElephant
,a Full sheet Plus, or Buy a roll of Watercolor Paper too.
I have used regular Paint and regular Brushes on the Elephant . If your client wants you to frame as
well it s a Problem. You will needa Brace, I think , even with acrylic Glass and it will be very expensive. You have to weigh your options and see which is cheapest all the way around for you to produce.
I told my client to frame it himself. :evil:

07-22-2005, 04:54 AM
Before you start you must dicuss what you want with the Client.( Money )
Also show him the Drawing before you start . Let him see it at different stages , so he doesn't refuse to take it and get a contract signed by him and you. tell him about your investments in this painting as well. Make sure he has seen your other works so can't say he doesn't recognize your style and doesn't like it..
1000 to 1200 sounds right.
June :)

07-22-2005, 11:07 AM
June & Connie: Thank you for the input. I think I should do a small one first on an 11X14 canvas. That way the client can see if he likes it.

June: Do you think I can find the elephant paper online? I've never seen it at Jerry's Artarama which is whehre I buy the most time (due to convenience - they're just 5 minutes from my house). How would you frame a painting on elephant watercolor paper? Under glass? Or would you have to affix it to some kind of hardboard and frame it without glass?

Connie: I absolutely love your style. It cannot take you 2 hours to make such magnificent paintings!!! Or maybe it does...your paintings do not look overworked. They are so simple, yet your brushstrokes are so effective. I hope to paint like that some day, but I'm so detail oriented... Have you tried using Dick Blick's oversize brushes? They have a great price and their products seem to be good quality. You know, I can buy all the paint (12-14 tubes 8oz jars) for just under $60. If I start painting this big I may need all this paint...well this will probably last me years but I love paint! :-)

Thanks, Michelle

07-23-2005, 01:25 AM
Michelle how exciting for you. This is such a terrific opportunity.

I guess painting that big is daunting first time.

What is your subject did you say??

IF you want to buy housepaintbrushes, the ONLY one I would suggest you try is the taklon kind..

As for pricing, I read that a lot of folks price by the square inch. eg:- 1.00 - 2.00 per square depending on how good they are I guess..

Don't underprice yourself, but don't overprice either or you wont have a return customer..:D

Have a read in the Internet Sales Strategy Forum..

07-23-2005, 03:07 PM
Hi JJ!

The subject is the Everglades. I still need to find a nice photo of the Glades, but we have a couple photographers where I work that may be able to provide me with a nice one.


07-23-2005, 10:21 PM
Good Luck, I am sure it will be an awesome painting !!!!!!