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Make it BIG: Let Your Art Expand By Creating A Large Scale Artwork


chalk board that say dream bigger written on it

I'd like to challenge you to make a big piece of art. How big is big? As long as it's significantly  bigger than what you would normally make. It's about changing scale enough that it feels very different and challenges you. There is nothing wrong with working small/medium but this practice of trying out a "biggie" can shake off the cobwebs and has many additional benefits. Let's get into what they are.


Be "In The Room" or physically present.

I was speaking to someone recently about the difference of the experience between working large and working small. As an artist when you work on a small scale you can seem to physically leave the room as you connect in a close way to the work you are creating. With stillness and intense focus we experience tunnel vision that makes surroundings disappear. In a sense we "shrink" to the awareness of the small space we are creating and become absorbed in this tiny world. Who needs psychadelics - am I right? The difference in creating large work is that you "expand" in a sense. You make larger movements to move paint across canvas. Also you have to keep your vision wide open in order to keep the entire surface in view. You even have to take steps back constantly in order to see the entire piece properly (unless of course you have a demagnifying glass ). You literally take up more space with your movements and really occupy a larger portion of the room.


See a creative transition in style due to adapting to large scale.

When working larger there is a shift in all of the elements of your artwork which will cause you to execute your work in a different way in order to adapt. For example, with wide sweeping brushstrokes comes a shift in style that is born out of the demands of working larger, covering larger areas with greater speed and different brushes. It's possible that this may develop within your approach an ease of movement that is expressive and confident. Another shift might be that because it's harder to keep an eye on composition without stepping back so often you might decide to block in the composition loosely first. If this is a new way for you to work it will impact your style and so on with any other changes in process that you adopt.


Everything else becomes easy.

If you push yourself to work large enough you may experience the wonderful side-benefit that other work becomes easy. When faced with a challenge such as a larger scale your other work may seem comparitively easy to create. Production of your other work can increase remarkably after completing a large scale artwork. New confidence is born out of "Well if I can do that then this should be easy and fast."


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About the author

Artist in residence Rebecca Chaperon

Rebecca Chaperon is our Artist-in-Residence

With a compulsion to create unique visual stories, her paintings often follow the thread of a heroine's misadventures through a surreal landscape.

She's had the pleasure of teaching at Langara College and given community workshops on painting techniques with an emphasis on watercolour, oil and acrylic. She is a board member at the Grunt gallery.

View her online portfolio

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