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!


Commissioning an artist

You might be asking “How do I commission an artist? I don’t know where to find one, What should I expect? How do I start?”

I’ve been undertaking commissions over 21 years, for me as the artist, it’s been simple, I chat to my client, we discuss what they like and I build a picture of what the painting is in my head that is what they want. But that’s not the scenario for the recipient as they just don’t know what they are going to get.

I don’t know where to start

Don’t worry, I do

So you might be asking the same question ‘can you do something for me? What’s it going to look like?’

There are so many ways of going about briefing an artist, or of carrying out a process for a commission. I’ve done them a few different ways:

  • the client asks for something that looks like something I have already painted and we chat about that and it either sets the brief immediately – style, colours, size OR it leads into new territory for something a bit (or completely!) different
  • I go to the house/ business/ location and we measure up, look at what’s already in the space (furnishings, furniture, light, space, materials and colours of objects in the room)
  • I take an existing painting around to a space to see how it works in the space, we talk about the colours/ space/ visual style and elements of the painting.

Trust

in the process

Be brave

There is a degree of trust and faith you need in order to take a risk. You aren’t in a shop looking at something that has already been completed and imagingin how it will look above your sofa or reception desk. You have to know and understand that the artist you’re working with has a strong sense of visual awareness and sensitivity both to you, your environment and the outcome you’re looking for.

Take a chance

This is the time to be adventurous. If you brief the painting to be safe, that’s what you will get. If something that is in the artist’s portfolio really appeals and is unique, stands out and is stronger than the rest of their work then that is the upper point of risk you might take. The more you talk the better the outcome. If you say ‘ I like that but that one is a bit adventurous, I feel like I should have this [safe] one over here, can we meet in the middle?

Perhaps you like adventurous, perhaps you need reigning in? Maybe the bold colours need to be brought into line with your interior so that they don’t clash.

There are so many variables.

You can be guided.

You can set the boundaries

You can choose the size

You can choose from a portfolio

You can guide the colour choice (if you need or wish to)

Or you can trust in the artist to create something with you in mind that is their vision.

You can commission something that you choose to have no input into

Their vision of you, or their vision of what you like. Or you can ask them simply to do something for the space that is completely of their own, that you will love, because the thing that drew you to them for a commission is an intrinsic part of what they do. You can work with their intuition and natural style. That way the piece you commission just might be the wonderful piece that makes the art collectable, valuable and unique and worth the most to you, to them and to the art world (if future investment is the thing you are after).

How would you choose to run your commission? You have the power to both choose the artist you want to work with and the power to decide if the choices I have outlined above are available from the artist you choose.

Trudie Moore abstract painting geometric 2018

My process for

commissions

How I take commissions

Here’s a sample of one of the ways in which I do commissions, hopefully you’ll find it a calm and reassuring process, there are some formalities but I try to keep it lightweight because that’s more enjoyable for both of us.

 

A bespoke commission for an abstract painting in the style of my current body of work (geometric abstracts)

You will enjoy the experience of commissioning a qualified artist to create a site-specific painting in collaboration with the artist. I have been creating commissions over 21 years.

I’ll come to your site and chat about the possibilities for creating something that works specifically within that space and which can be seen as an extension of your personality or business through that environment. You might wish to come to my art studio or storage facility to view more paintings and discuss them more deeply.

I will then send you a quote and a short contract to sign to commence work, I will also ask for a deposit to be used against materials (but the full payment is upon delivery).

We might discuss points in the quote or the brief further at this point to check that what was discussed and put onto paper is still on track.

If it’s an installation, or something more three dimensional, we might draw up some visual plans or light sketches to illustrate the mechanics of the piece, but you will be aware that the way that I work is an evolution with the painting itself and this is not controlled and contained planning as such (like for a design) it’s a piece of art that has a conversation with the piece itself.

It is unlikely that I will show you the painting prior to delivery unless there are any queries.

Your painting will be created and delivered within an agreed time frame (usually 6 weeks dependant on time of year/ drying times).

I will give guidance on hanging the work but will not install the painting unless it’s painted direct-to-wall. 

After delivery, I will ask to take photos and I might ask for you to send me photos after installation, or for a recommendation or social media sharing. I’ll ask you for permisison to share any photographs of your interiors or profile.

What I will create for you

You will commisison me to create:

  • A fine art painting on bespoke artists gallery canvas from Harris Moore or another professional canvas supplier, of your designated size (ply or acrylic on request) or an installation painting.
  • A specific piece of art that enhances and creates a feeling within your environment 
  • A site visit to your chosen location for the piece
  • The experience of having a piece of fine art created that will be specifically for you
  • All materials
  • Ownership of the final piece (creative license remains with the artist)
  • Installation of painting direct to walls OR delivery to location*

 

Who commissions work best for

This works best if you are:

  • Open to enjoying the process
  • Willing to place your faith in the artist to create something in their house style that has you and your space in mind
  • Have a sense of adventure and ambition about your project and its place in the artist’s body of work
  • Happy to work to the artist’s contract of sale

 


Painting on plywood

A lot of my recent abstract paintings are on plywood. There's something architectural about them, it feels as though I can expand outwards from the surface. I feel as though that surface can layer with others. The ply gives me a really solid and resistant base whereas canvas gives and feels more fragile.

This has become something of a trend for me. Traditionally I've always used canvas - high-grade artists canvas on bespoke frames. But not as of the last few years.

Modern acrylic paints have a range of abilities and very satisfyingly they suit ply, and ply works well with my hard-edged geometric lines. The paint goes on super smoothly and the edges are much cleaner. I've been working with the ripples in the wood to help determine which areas of the surface I want to 'save' and which I want to obscure. This sometimes dictates the composition which gives me restrictions I have to work within - external controls if you like - of which I help to make and guide the decision.

Here are a few medium-sized pieces from 2015. There is some structure, there are divisions, there are omissions to the surface.

 


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!