Scaling up and expanding

Sometimes working on multiple small paintings at once leads to results that require a little expansion - to further explore something to see how it might work if the areas and proportions changed.

I've always enjoyed large scale paintings, my work generally lends itself to a more ambitious scale rather than being confined into smaller dimensions, but smaller works do help to create a volume of ideas and exploration.

This is how a few of my recent big canvases started out. I scaled this smaller piece up to a really big painting as I could see the capacity it had that would lend itself to a bigger expanse.

The detail of the ‘balance’ (the linking of elements), the semi-opaque white as a leading element to this piece, are favourite points for me.

I had to scale the piece from rectangular portrait dimensions to square and devise how the colours would work on a white primed canvas when the background wasn’t a neutral base of ply.

With painting onto the white primer there’s a need to cover the whole surface, unlike with the ply, which means all of the painted shapes become more as one, rather than benefiting from the natural way the ply becomes visually, and tangibly another plane.

With the ply it’s more obvious that the surface is separate and the paint sits on top of it. With a canvas this is less so the case. And then there’s an element of illusion in the two dimensional effect as well where just by adding a painted colour, it changes the planes.


Yellow and white abstract.

This painting is another large scale translation onto square canvas from one of the smaller studies on ply that I did.

The asymmetric composition and diagonal lines with linked elements are where I feel the flow with this, as well as the introduction on this larger piece of the red triangle 🔺 contrasting with the subtle green and white, yet linking across to the fluorescent yellow.

As with the other large painting that evolved this way, there were changed and adaptations I made to transfer to a white background (primes canvas) and the larger, square format.

Now having lived with it for some while, and having progressed other pieces I’m eager to add something, another element, that was never a part of the plan when I started.

So you could say that this piece has taken almost 2 years to do!

Trudie Moore abstract painting studio

I once had a conversation about how I develop my paintings, do I plan them? The suggestion was that I could plot them up on on a computer before painting.

But despite the time to learn a way that suits me for this to work, I struggle with that as my brain works better by using the paint itself. And actually a lot of the time what I plan changes as I’m doing the painting.

I can lose the impact if I try to plan too much. Perhaps you could say it was a 2-way conversation with the painting where it starts to guide you. You could say this was an intuitive approach but I think it’s more of a collaborative process with each piece.

Or maybe I prefer to just enjoy the moment or the instant that something reveals itself to me. A bit like running. I hate to run out and back on the same path, the run back is too difficult or painful to endure, I like the constant change of the new all the time. To plan a painting and then paint it, I think kills the joy and the thrill/ tension in the moment of actually getting the idea direct to the painting.

But I do use a sketchbook so that I don’t lose ideas and thoughts when they hit me or when I want to work out how something is going to work.

And so with the development of paintings, I love nothing more than to work on several at once. If my mind goes off on a tangent with an idea I can do it on another painting instead of being solely tied into the one and then losing the idea by the time I’m done. And I can develop nuances I think of once I’ve started by running those thoughts and ideas across a group of paintings at once.

That’s what’s happening in this picture, several pieces in development at once feeding into one another, a neon hotbed of ideas!