Challenges of working on Large Scale Canvases

I have begun work on large-scale pieces, applying dye onto unprimed canvas approx 3 x 5 m. I imagined the canvases to be fairly straight forward as they would not involve the time-consuming processes and unpredictability of the silk I am finding it incredibly difficult and feel truly challenged by the task. I am reminded of the research I did into the action painters and understand more fully the idea that it is not the end result that but the process of creating that is important.

” What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event”. (Harold Rosenberg)




Before starting I did some small preparatory sketches to help me with composition.

Sketch 1

Sketch 6

Sketch 5 Sketch 4

Sketch 2

These were produced very spontaneously and came easily to me however it was very different when trying to translate onto large canvas. It was very difficult to control the dye and much harder to make the right aesthetic decisions and choices. I have enough canvas to produce ten pieces of this scale but I am wondering if I should have started smaller and worked up to this size gaining experience, control and confidence.

Here is one of my finished silk pieces

Silk: Red With Blue Circle2x 1.5 m

Silk: Red With Blue Circle
2 x 1.5 m

I feel much happier working on the silk, I think I am more in control but still revel in the unpredictability of outcome. This media seems more natural to me and I enjoy the process of layering, working on one piece over several weeks to build up richness of colour.

I am determined to carry on exploring with the canvas and not be impatient. I am hoping over time and with the building up of layers something will emerge from the chaos that I will be able to work with towards a final piece.

About Annemarie Tickle

I am a Lecturer in Textiles at Hull School of Art and Design. As a visual artist I am interested in atmospheric conditions and events and how the scale of nature makes mans mark on the landscape look insignificant. I enjoy the act of doing and getting my hands dirty so my practice is intensly process led. I use a wide range of media but am particular interested in dying techniques.
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1 Response to Challenges of working on Large Scale Canvases

  1. VIKRAM ROY says:

    Hi Annemarie, I do appreciate. I do it in different way, large brushes made of wild straws! 🙂

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