A few years ago I came into possession of a roll of triple oil primed linen, 78” wide by 118” long. For most of that time the giant canvas has leaned in my studio corner while I waited for some sort of inspiration to come whack me on the head.The prospect of a gallery exhibition next year made me consider the linen roll with renewed interest. Why not do a painting on the entire 6’6” x 9’10” piece. Of course, this preposterous idea brought my nattering naysayers out of hiding. “You can never make a painting that huge.” “Where will you set it up?” Where will you store it even if you finish it, which you won’t?”
With much effort, I sent the mental critics packing and plunged ahead. After constructing a special easel in Studio A (the front porch), I unfurled the long linen roll. To my chagrin, it turned out to be quite a bit longer than the easel.As a result, I am forced to work on one section at a time. Presently, I’m working on the lower half with only the vaguest idea of what will go on top. This kind of not knowing turns out to be tremendously liberating. By focusing on one small area at a time, I am free to paint whatever strikes me in the moment.
This morning I will paint this much. After lunch I will paint another area. The painting proceeds, in this way, from one moment to the next. From past experience I know that the whole composition can be pulled together, and will eventually hang in the gallery as a unified piece.
That will be seven and a half months from now.