A couple weekends ago I participated in a weekend mural workshop with Mike Alewitz. Alewitz is a trained sign and commercial painter with a keen interest in social issues. He teaches maybe the only mural painting class in a university in Connecticut. I learned quite a lot in a short time. In my own university experience, I didn’t learn many practical things about art; such as what different paint brushes are for or how to use a colour scheme…most of what I learned was art theory….the “why” of art.
Anyway, Alewitz mentioned how he gets frustrated watching fine art painters wasting so much time in trial and error , figuring things out as they go along (remember, as a sign painter, time is money!). I think that’s fine because painting is also a process. However, I did see in a book on Chagall, a couple times where there was a small drawing done in the exact colour and design as a larger work. And this is Chagall, a highly creative painter. To me it looks like he pre-planned his painting…saving time otherwise spent in trial and error when he started in larger format.
Some practical knowledge is so obvious to someone trained in the trade of sign painting, but a fine art painter may have to figure out these things for themselves. I am going to experiment with getting my drawings more figured out before moving to larger canvas to see what happens. If I don’t like it, I can always paint over!