• Gav

Top tips for painting HUGE canvases (or canvai?!)

I've painted quite a lot of canases in large scale, a few have been 2.5m x 5m. An oversize painting (especially a portrait) has quite an overwhelming effect on the viewer...I mean, you don't expect to walk into a room and see a 3m high face in fron of you do you?

One of my favourite commissions was for Peavey HQ. Those guitarists out there will recognise Peavey as a maker of the Bandit amp, Well I was made-up when they asked me to paint some icons of rock n roll for their head office....

Above: Giant Mick Jagger acrylic on canvas in the reception area

A lot of people ask me how to paint big canvases and I'll try and answer the most asked questions in the next few points.

1- Get a big wall!

Yeah, so to start with unless you have a 3m high easel then rip the canvas off the frame and pin it to a suitable wall in your home/studio. By'suitable' I mean big enough to mount the canvas and enough natural light.

Above: I had a giant Hendrix head on my wall...

2- Use a grid method to get the correct scale

We all know the grid method but take your time with this, it's important:

Here's the idea-

As you are going to enlarge the image, consider using double the amount of squares on the image, it might look fiddly on the reference inage me!

3- Get as big a reference pic as possible

Get an A3 or A2 overall reference image, then get several A3 for the tricky parts on the paintings, for portraits that's the eyes nose and mouth.

4- Spend time

Take your time and expect to be giving the final painting at least 3 coats of acrylic. The beauty of acrylic is it's fast drying power, great for a project like this. These canvases took me around 40 hours each.

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