"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Large Project

Oil and graphite on cardboard / 44 x 53 inches

This painting has been in process on and off for a few weeks and, today, I feel like it is finally finished. What inspired me was that my husband ordered a glass floor mat to put under the chair in his office and it came packaged between two huge and wonderful pieces of cardboard! Of course, with my interest in painting on cardboard, I got very excited and  could not pass up the opportunity to experiment on such a large surface. Mulling over what to paint, it seemed appropriate to place one of my large ballerinas front and center. Once the subject was selected, I decided not to prepare the surface at all but to jump right in and paint directly on the cardboard. I started out with a graphite drawing and, when that was finished to my liking, began with oil thinned with mineral spirits. Thicker paint came later. The surface is 44 inches by 53 inches. It is the largest painting I have ever done and I do admit to really loving the way the surface absorbs the paint.

I will show you the stages of how this painting developed. (Click on each photo to see it larger).... 

First the initial drawing in pencil. I had not added the man's face in the lower left at this point.

Second - defining the drawing in thinned oil paint and delineating the shadowed areas.

Starting to add color.

The finished picture and some close ups. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process - and the good thing is - I still have a second gigantic piece of cardboard!


  1. This is SO beautifully painted Susan!!! Your large ballerinas have always been a favorite!!! I can’t believe the size of this painting!!! Absolutely awesome!!! And thank you for sharing the progress! Very interesting !!!!

  2. A fabulous piece Susan, love everything about it . The perfection of the horses and the expression on her face plus her large arm movement to control them is just SOO great !

  3. Bonsoir chère Susan,

    Une peinture fantastique ! et tellement grandiose !... J'aime tes ballerines. Cette dernière est extrêmement réussie. Je suis persuadée que tu t'es faite plaisir en la réalisant. J'aime la force qu'il s'en dégage.
    J'aime le gestuel de cette ballerine. On la sent investie dans son rôle. La présence des chevaux apporte une force à cette peinture.
    Tu as eu raison de faire apparaître le visage de ce spectateur complètement captivé...
    Bravo ma chère Susan.
    Gros bisous à toi et à bientôt,

  4. That does it! Now more than ever I am going to try painting on cardboard. I was going to ask if you used gesso on the cardboard, but you answered my question in the post. I love the size...bigger than life as this subject lends itself, and appreciate you showing the work in progress. Very, very helpful! Your work is always so fun-filled, energetic, humorous and rendered beautifully! Bravo!

  5. Dear Susan,

    Your work is always exceptionally well thought out and drawn with precision... and yet you never fail to inject a sense of fantasy and opportunities for your viewer to add their own interpretations to the work.

    I feel this one steps further into the same "arena"... pun intended. It is a veritable circus of eye candy... color and rhythmical movement from which the viewer detach themselves.

    Best one yet my dear! BRAVO!

    Warmest regards,


Your comments are welcome and brighten my day!