Day 23. Thinking BIG, Dismissing Logic, Everything’s Coming up Roses


“John’s Roses” 24×24, oil on canvas $300.00  [creativ_button url=”″ icon=”” label=”Buy Now” colour=”red” colour_custom=”#2e7bd3″ size=”medium” edge=”rounded” target=”_self”]

Reasons why you should paint small:

  1. It’s a much smaller investment. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost about one to four dollars and about an hour’s worth of time.
  2. Storage. You can store 100 small paintings until they sell far easier than you can store 100 largish paintings.
  3. You can learn as much about color, composition, value, shape from a small painting as you can a large. Doing a lot of small paintings (rather than a few large ones) helps you get better faster.
  4. Smaller paintings sell for less and makes it easier for an “ordinary” (not super rich) person to own a piece of original art.

These are the reasons I started painting on small canvases almost every day about a year ago. But reasons be damned!! The past few weeks have shown me one thing more than anything else: I LOVE PAINTING LARGE. I’ve tried flowers on smaller canvases before and it’s like there is something wrong with me. I’ve had no success. I can’t seem to do it. But large? It felt effortless and freeing. I’m glaring at my 6×6 blank canvases and feeling nothing but dread. There was a time that they really worked for me. Now they seem to cripple me.

This one is on 1.5in deep canvas. Doesn’t need a frame!

Across the street from me lives a very kind older gentleman, John, who grows the most beautiful roses I have ever seen. They are not like the grocery store roses, uniform and rigid. When they are blooming (now!) he brings over a fresh bunch nearly every other day. Sometimes they come to us in a red solo cup filled with ice water. I put this particular bunch in a vase, set up a spotlight and went for it. I actually started on a 6×6 then said, screw it, and pulled out the big guns.

Sometimes I don’t paint still life because I don’t have the proper set up. I don’t have a shadow box, a drape, an adjustable tripod. It’s amazing how often we let what we don’t have stop us from doing what we could do. Things can always be better but that doesn’t mean the right-now resources aren’t worth using. In fact today, I officially broke the easel– the part where the painting sits literally broke off and hit the floor. I thought about crying. But instead I but my large canvas on the frame to see if it would stay and miraculously it worked– not nearly enough support on that little ledge but what am I going to do? Buy another ridiculously expensive easel? For now I’m going to make do. So grateful for the amazing resources I do have– a wonderful but broken easel, a neighbor that brings fresh flowers, and enough paint to last me 77 more days (hopefully!).


Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

April 23, 2015

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