Monday, December 18, 2017

The triptych - 3 of something is better than 1!

I've always loved painting multi-panel pieces. There's something magical about spanning across surfaces to create a bigger picture. In writing 'a bigger picture' it reminds me of David Hockneys work; and there's something to be said of that. His large mutli-panel paintings very much fulfill much that I love about this relationship of canvas and painting.

I tend to feel Hockney uses multi panels, because he's really interested in making something bigger. For me however a triptych is more about the partition of space rather than its scale.  For example, the triptych I have just completed is not excessively large, but great care and thought was taken between each panel and how they interact with each other. Indeed the subjects on the table, their arrangements and placement was considered not only for the overall painting, but how each would relate to it's individual panel.

in progress

I worked on the easel joined together by attaching each panel with strips of masking tape on the back. I then taped a larger 24X36 across the back of the 3 taped panels using more masking tape. This system wasn't overly strong, but it did stop the outer panels from falling of the edge of the easel. The 24X36 also gave the panels some firmness and rigidity.

in progress

I've been asked how far apart each panel should be hung? The answer to this for me is the brilliance of the triptych. Hang each panel next to each other, and then re hang with 8 inches apart. You will find the contrast is immediately palpable.  By simply hanging these panels at a differing distance, the painting has a dramatic and exciting change.

Groupings of flowers on long table
24X18 (each panel)                               Acrylic on panel.

To me, there is not a 'right' distance. Each panel is carefully designed to sit as a whole but compositionally strong on it's own merit. I have joked with collectors that the purchase of a triptych is not the ownership of one painting, but the purchase of 3 paintings, perhaps sibling family members. Each an individual in it's own right, but only truly complete when they are together!

 Groupings of flowers on long table (panel 1)
24X18                              Acrylic on panel.

 Groupings of flowers on long table (panel 2)
24X18                              Acrylic on panel.

 Groupings of flowers on long table (panel 3)
24X18                              Acrylic on panel.

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