Friday, January 16, 2009

The start of "Salute"

Finally getting a chance to start blogging again. I've been exceedingly busy the last couple of months. Parklane Gallery in Kirkland, ( where I hang my work announced that in January they would be hanging "salon" style. Which means artwork floor to ceiling. I thought instead of hanging a lot of different pieces, would it be fun to hang floor to ceiling, one image made up of many different canvases.

What a project it turned out to be. I had never tackled anything like that before. I knew in my mind what I wanted to do. I had a eight foot high by four foot wide area to work with and I wanted to do a horse and rider. My first thought was a jumping image, but the width made me think of a horse and rider more from the front doing a dressage halt and salute. My next problem was I was really short on time to try to get out and take a reference photo. I really prefer to take my own, and of course I'm very careful about copyright. I saw a photo I was interested in taken by a wonderful equine photographer named Karen Lietz ( We came to an arrangement and the photograph was mine to use as a reference for my Salute painting.

Next was to divide up the image into the different canvas sizes. I started figuring it out using different standard gallery wrapped canvas sizes, with 1 1/2 inches between the canvases. Having done that (it was either 10 or ll canvaes, I made my trip to the art supply store. Well they didn't have all the sizes I wanted in stock. And because I was working up against the clock I didn't have time to special order the canvases. So I started redesigning my layout in the store, pulling canvases off the shelf. I ended up working it out and it turned out to be 14 canvases.

Back to the computer to lay out the image some more. Making it very accurate with the canvas size and the 1 1/2 spacing. After that the next stage was drawing the image onto the canvas. Now I had planned to do some photographing for my blog as this project went along. Since I'd never tackled anything like this before. That went down the road of "best laid plans". When I'm working I just never think to stop and take photos. Plus the fact that I would forget to take my camera to my studio.

My next step was to gesso the fourteen canvases to get them ready for painting. Obviously the finished paintings were to be hung without frames, as they would ruin the image, which is why I chose the deep gallery wrapped canvas.

Then I made a step that is not normally done until after the painting is complete. I wired the backs of the canvas for hanging. And actually hung them unpaintined, getting that 1 1/2 spacing correct on the wall in my gallery.

Next was to start the painting, but I'm going to save that for my next blog entry. At the top of this entry you will see the finish "Salute" as it is currently hanging in Parklane Gallery (size 3 1/2 ft wide, 7 ft. high, price $3,900), and I'll post how it got to that stage in my next entry. Bye for now, Karen