I want to draw big figures again. I purchased some canvas a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure how big I wanted to make the figure. I held up the 2-yard piece of canvas, trying to gauge how it would look. I think my MFA figures were 4'x6' but 6 feet is really big. I don't have enough room to hang a 6' piece of canvas on any wall without covering up an electrical outlet, which I don't want to do. So I tore the piece of canvas in half, so it ended up being 54" tall (because the canvas is 54" wide) and 3' across the top, until I gessoed (it shrank to 34").
Here I am gessoing:
This is how I have to work on large canvas - tape it to the wall. Because to stretch a canvas that big will cost around $100.00. Seriously. That is ridiculous for 4 strips of wood, and braces. So I am going to work on unstretched canvas.
I was figuring out the measurements for my figure. One morning last week I woke up early (and couldn't get back to sleep) so I started to pencil in guidelines. And I determined that my figure must be seated. Otherwise a standing figure will be too small. Then I decided that the canvas needed to be a little wider, just about a 4 foot square, to have room for arms and legs.
So, Friday, since I was home for the holiday, I tore the edges off a piece of canvas that I had wrapped around my drawing board to gesso, and I added pieces to the sides of my big canvas.
I tried pinning the extra pieces on, even using safety pins, but they wouldn't go through two layers of gessoed canvas. Then I tried masking tape, but it didn't hold at all.
Look how wonky!
I had to rip out the right side and resew it twice. Finally I marked the edge to sew in pencil, but I still had to rip it up and resew to get it mostly right.
Uh-oh. I did not notice the intruder on the table while I was sewing!
Symon was interested in my pin cushion.
Sewing the canvas was similar to machine quilting - like wrestling an octopus!
I will take more photos when I work on the canvas some more and get the figure drawn in.
For awhile I was thinking: OH! If only this had occurred to me in the first place! I could have torn the 2-yard piece of canvas down to 4' wide and just gessoed that and gotten it right. But, as I was ripping and sewing and resewing, it occurred to me that this was an apt metaphor for my life - not only the Stitching Metaphor but trying and messing up and having to fix and repair and redo. Maybe it's better this way. This patchworked canvas will have a lot more to say than a neat nicely stretched canvas begun on perfect stretcher bars.