Going Large

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on a new painting, Sky, Maryvale. It’s the largest painting I’ve done, coming in at 36×48 inches.

I painted it for the baby room. I want her to have something nice to look up at (we recently found out it’s a baby girl. We couldn’t wait!).

Below are some insights from this painting, particularly in relation to large-scale painting:

– Set aside sufficient time to paint without distraction. A few hours at least. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to get any fluidity in your work.

– Large canvas, large brushes. Save the smaller brushes for the finishing touches, if at all.

– Start fast and paint with instinct. Focus on capturing your initial impression—that’s the important one. As Joaquín Sorolla put it:

“I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly. Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.”

– Draw inspiration from the masters. For this painting, I looked through Claude Monet’s sky paintings. This isn’t about copying the masters. What worked for Monet might not work in my painting. It’s about generating ideas.


Dan Scott