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Series and Studies
October 21, 2015

Series and Studies


Just lately I’ve been trying to upscale my paintings from art journal pages to larger canvases- this is my current challenge- I might say, obsession. And discovery no.1 is that it’s not just painting the same but larger. As soon as brush hits canvas the voices begin….It’s scary! the decisions are endless and it’s impossible to finish! And it takes way more paint!

One of the ways I’ve worked at overcoming the obstacles is to try and think about things in advance a bit more. This need to plan goes against the grain of intuitive, meditative, subliminal painting I have done in my art journals. But I have covered too many canvases with too many layers of paint only to start again in an agony of indecision and dissatisfaction to believe that I can just wing it completely, at least while I’m learning. Painting in a series of smaller, quicker, more fluid studies, and sticking to a common colour palette and theme allows me to try out different compositions, and I’ve surprised myself that these can turn out to be pretty decent pieces in their own right.


It’s been fun painting these studies. It feels like a hopping off place between my work in journals and the wide open territory of the larger canvases. It’s playful and loose and organic, which are values I would love to migrate with me to canvas very soon.



11 Responses

  1. Hello Maz. This post is just on spot for me. As a self taught art maker (who is still learning and will be forever-i will never have the guts to call myself an artist) i have only worked in my art journals and did just one painting on a bigger canvas. But having tried the canvas i turned back to scrap fabrics at home. I use cotton or linen pieces. Although they may be similar to art journal pages in size they differ in terms of texture.In that sense they are closer to canvas. I think what you have done here is a smooth transition from paper to canvas. I love the idea of exploring in a mini series. Less scary, less expensive but much more free. I can’t wait to see how you transfer your ideas to canvas. I want to try painting on canvas, too.

    1. Maz

      Love the idea of using fabric scraps Ozge :)

  2. And a question, do you tape off the edges first and then peel them when you are finished? I really liked the edges.

    1. Maz

      I do just that, with masking tape. I agree. the border really defines the painting. It’s my favourite moment, peeling the painty tape off (which I keep to use n collage!)

  3. Sarah Banks

    Thanks Maz – as always you’re a great inspiration and I really understand and can relate to your thinking about working smaller. I hope to be brave enough to try this soon!

    1. Maz

      Thanks Sarah- what kind of art are you creating at the moment? Would love to catch up! x

  4. Just a thought….maybe you aren’t meant to paint on larger canvases?….maybe you are meant to work on smaller more intimate pieces of work? Something people can hold in their hands in book form or a piece on the wall they have to get up close to so they can see it, really immerse themselves in the imagery. We are all made to feel that modern art has to be on a massive scale. Enourmous canvases that stretch beyond a normal wall in a home. But, maybe the small & intimate is good too. Think of your yoga. They are precise, considered moves. Personal & thoughtful. Maybe your work is too. Don’t pressurise yourself to go big when it doesn’t flow easily. Don’t make yourself feel crap. It should be about joy not heartache. There is enough in life of that without hanging yourself out to dry over your work too. Lecture over & out! ???xxx

    1. Maz

      Hi Niki! And THANKYOU for the lecture! No really 😉 In fact I’ve been thinking about this today- today has definitely been a ‘small’ day but I also get days when I feel expansive and excited to express myself on a large scale. I want to move my whole body to make art! But only on some days. The yoga analogy is a good one- some days it’s all about the subtle alignments, the stillness, the breath, the Hatha… other days I want to flow dynamically and work up a sweat which really helps me get from my head into my wholeness, mind, body and spirit- the Vinyasa. (I think this may have to be another blog post!) And I think this is where my larger paintings will lead me too, if I’m patient and trust the process. I am enjoying experimenting, and as soon as I don’t, I stop and do something else. Fortunately I am not short of ideas and works in progress in other areas to keep me occupied! Really appreciate your input- you are so generous with your ideas and experiences. Mwah! xxx

  5. I love what Niki said. And I understand the issue from the opposite direction; my natural place is large canvases {or much larger than a journal/sketchbook at any rate}, and I often wish I could scale down, especially when I see beautiful journal work. It just doesn’t seem to work though. Perhaps Niki is right and we all have our natural place. It’s still fun to experiment ‘out of range’ though. :)

    1. Maz

      Tara, it’s valuable for me to realise that you have kind of the opposite problem! A reminder that we all have our own struggles but that each challenge brings new learning and opportunity. It’s all grist to the mill of creative growth isn’t it :)

  6. Asking questions are truly nice thing if you are not understanding anything completely, but this paragraph offers good understanding

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