Big take-aways

I had some take-aways as I was sketching for the big version (10x12.5) of the thumbnail. I realized that when I watch an online demo of an artist working on a full sheet or a half sheet, on the screen, the paper looks small since it fits on the screen. You really don't know how big it is. The same way, as I view a thumbnail in my sketchbook from 6"-9" away and scrutinize it, a big painting cannot be viewed that way. I understood the importance of distance - like watching TV. You sit back some feet away, more if the screen is bigger. You need to approach the viewing of the large work the same way - it needs to be scaled. Essentially, when you view it from the right distance, it becomes no different than the thumbnail. It still has to work - the value pattern is foremost, the content or subject may not be discernible, and you evaluate it for the darks and lights that draw you in. I was very pleased with the sketch, so pleased that I was afraid to paint and ruin the sketch! I also evaluated the sketch from up close and from a distance - it is not seldom that I find something is wonky after I've put paint to it when it really should have been corrected at the sketch stage. As I painted, I followed the process of the little sketch - that earlier exercise had warmed me up. And I finally understood what artists say about sketching in the field, collecting references, and then working on the large painting from them. I realized that I just needed to copy the sketch. I did not need to refer to the original image - that seems to be a common theme lately: letting go of the source - and simply recreate the successful smaller watercolor sketch on a larger scale. Where the water area became larger because the piece was larger, I was careful to keep the values of the area and change color or add detail within that value range. That was interesting - I have often thought about "details in the dark" - it's like being able to see in the dark after your eyes adjust. It is still dark, but you can make out faint details - they are also still dark but minor value changes within the same larger value range enables you to see them. Similarly, overall, I know what values those shapes needed to be, but making small areas of interest by creating ripples of similar value or an analogous color creates interest in the larger fields. And of course, using a big paintbrush!


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