How to move if you’re an artist: Big paintings aren’t easy! May 25, 2013

Every artist has to deal with it sooner or later  – packing their belongings for a move. For painters and drawers, moving the tools of the trade is fairly straightforward. Brushes, paints, palette knives, pencils, pastels and charcoal fit easily in a box. But if you have big paintings like I do, the very idea of moving feels overwhelming.

From 1983 – 1986, I created my largest paintings to date

(Left) 'Blue Woman Blew', (Right) 'The Friendship Oak'

(Left) ‘Blue Woman Blew’, (Right) ‘The Friendship Oak’

(Left) 'Gold and Manipulated, (Right) 'Gardening'

(Left) ‘Gold and Manipulated, (Right) ‘Gardening’

in my Figurative Abstraction Series. The biggest canvases measured about 6.5′ x 7.5′ and there are several of them. In 1986, I created a 7′ x 10′ triptych whose panels attached with door hinges. I loved working in this large scale; I was drawn into the painting as if it were an environment, and I hoped it would draw the viewer in as well. 

Fortunately, some of the large paintings have homes with collectors, the ones that were still with me were carefully nestled in storage. I spoke with the moving company at length about the logistics of moving the paintings, and how to place them in the truck. My big fear was gouging, rubbing, or puncturing the canvas. Moving day arrived and the good-natured guys were very careful with my work. I instructed them to line the paintings up against outside walls, so I could determine the order they should go in the truck.

When all the paintings were outside, a wonderful thing happened….I had an impromptu, plein-air exposition! The light was soft and filtered through the trees and these paintings that had been stored away in the dark, looked so beautiful in the light of day. It was a little gift in the middle of the stress of a move, a special moment between an artist and her work.