Going Big – Adventures in Large Paintings

I have finally decided to put my mural skills to work in my studio. After many years of plein air painting on small panels, I am really enjoying working large! There is a demand for large paintings here in Colorado, and I am all too happy to satisfy my clients. Here are a couple photos from my latest series of wildflowers.

Painting large in 2003. My back hurts just looking at this!

Hearkening back to my mural days, I used a grid drawn on my resource image that was in proportion to the grid drawn on the canvas. This allowed me to recreate the shapes within a smaller space, and my drawing was more successful. We used this same technique when I was in the Peace Corps and we did a mural on the school wall. We were very far away from projectors, so we used this tried-and-true technique.

Drawing the grid and the sketch with vine charcoal


The piece I am working on in my studio, pictured here, is titled “Alpine Garden,” and it measures 48″x60″. I purchased this stretched canvas last time I was in Denver, and I had to use picture hangers to store it on the ceiling of my studio until I could use it.

Lucky for me, Cactus built me a studio that can handle such large canvases!

When the large pieces are finished, it is time for the varnish. I have tried two types, and the jury is still out. I enjoy the Gamblin Varnish, Gamvar, for its direct application. Using a brush feels a little less risky than a spray. However, it is very shiny and I have had galleries complain about the glare. The other type I have used is Kamar Varnish. This is a matte finish, but it is a spray on. It is also way more toxic and can smell for days. I have also had issues with big drops coming off the spray tip and landing on the painting. For these, I opted for the spray, but I had to bring them outside because of the fumes.

Spraying such large pieces can be a challenge, especially in the wind!

Both of these paintings can be purchased through Horton Fine Art, my new gallery in Beaver Creek, CO. I will publish an addendum about framing these next!

About Chula Beauregard

Chula Beauregard is an award-winning artist, born and raised in the mountains of Colorado. After graduating cum laude as a Studio Art major from Whitman College, she served for two years in Gabon, Central Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Later, she earned her Master’s in Education to teach Fine Art. In 2008, she began her painting career in her hometown of Steamboat Springs, CO. She often wanders the West with her family of two boys and adventure-loving husband. She is represented by the Wild Horse Gallery (Steamboat Springs, CO), the Cogswell Gallery (Vail, CO), and the Squash Blossom Gallery (Colorado Springs, CO). Learn more at www.chulabeauregard.com.

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