Friday Tips: Derrick Breidenthal: More Than One Size


Wall Number One, Oil on Panel, Derrick Breidenthal

One of my clients saw a small version of this painting, or in other words a study, in the gallery two months ago. She loved the piece, but it was sold. I mentioned that Derrick could paint a work that was in the same vein, but in a larger size, if she liked. He did, we installed it yesterday, and she’s ecstatic. So’s he. But please bear in mind, the enlargement is a painting unto itself; when placed side-by-side the two are not identical. 

I’ve made this point many times, but I will again. Anything you paint in a small size can serve as a study for a larger size.  In fact it’s ethical to create each painting in three distinctly different sizes (Rembrandt often did, as did many of the Impressionists, as have 100s of others throughout history). In this way, when you finish a work that you know is a masterpiece, you can realize more from your years of sacrifice that one mere sale.

Some artists will resist this approach, and that’s fine; I never ask anyone to do it who isn’t inspired by same.  But for those who see it as both a challenge and an opportunity, great.  As long as the fundamentals of creating original art aren’t betrayed, this  makes things easier for everyone.  Makes it a easier to pay for things like dental bills, health insurance, and a functioning car as well. 

4 thoughts on “Friday Tips: Derrick Breidenthal: More Than One Size

  1. I do this, creating studies, and it works really well for me as far as sales go. The studies have lead to large commissions, which I then do more studies for and everything [in the end] can sell. It’s a good practice for the artist and the buyers. Studies are less expensive and there fore you open a market that may not have thousands but hundreds to spend and that is do-able. Great post, thanks!

  2. Glad to see you’re ahead of me. If more painters made a practice of this, the notion of the starving artist might begin to fade a bit. Two of my other painters who practice it are Kim Casebeer and Allan Chow. Both have broad collectorship as a result, since, as you point out, this makes their work available to folks who can’t afford the larger pieces.

    This whole discussion can apply to sculptors as well.

  3. I’m glad to hear you support this – makes me feel a bit better! I do this occasionally and I’m always worried that I’m going to piss off the person who bought the first version of the painting. Then again, when you paint the same thing in two different sizes, the two pieces often have a very different feel, even if they were meant to be the same subject.

  4. Right on. If anyone ever objects, just point to the history books. Remember, you have the right to do whatever you wish with your career–as long as it’s carried out with passion, originality and integrity. I feel that artists need to get past the issue of making things unnecessarily hard for themselves. Many acquire these attitudes in art school from a variety of sources, confusing success with selling out. Few people ever accuse Picasso or Warhol of selling out, and both made a practice of this–then devised practices of their own.

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