Art By The Inch – A Beginning

Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (MarinMOCA) in Novato holds an annual fundraiser called “Art by the Inch”.
It’s a terrific concept!  Several artist members of the museum paint very large works on paper – at least 4×6 feet.  Each artist creates whatever subject matter in whatever style they choose, and then the different sections are seamlessly linked to form a 100 foot mural around the walls of the gallery.  The public is invited to peruse the completed mural and choose any size from any section for just $1 per square inch!  What a fabulous way to buy original art!  You help create your own masterpiece by the very act of choosing your very favorite part to frame.  There is no fee to attend this event.

I am one of the participating artists this year, and it’s my first time to ever work on such a large painting.
When I unrolled my 4 x 8 section of beautiful, heavy rag etching paper, it was a bit overwhelming.  How on earth was I going to cover this?  And I didn’t really want to paint with acrylics, as most of the other artists do.  Hmmm.  I decided to use watercolor, which is my preferred medium.  I’ll need to spray and coat it for protection when I’m finished.

First things first.  I had to rearrange all the things in my studio to make room for two large work tables placed side by side.  This holds the paper, although both ends hang over by over by a foot.

Inspired by my recent trip to Costa Rica, I’ve decided to focus on tropical birds, butterflies, and flowers.   I will keep adding elements throughout the late summer and fall until the project has to be presented to Marin MOCA in time for the fundraiser.  I expect it will be difficult to see the piece cut up, but that’s the whole point, after all.   

I’ve started by painting several butterflies scattered across the sheet.  I am painting directly on the paper, not drawing first.   Each item will be painted in a single background color to define its basic shape, and I will paint details later.

I will keep posting images as I progress…