Unlike the majority of our competitors, we have a workshop which, while not being huge, is large enough to create reproductions in all sizes, and especially large ones. Small sizes, everyone knows how to do - more or less well, I grant you. Moreover, unlike the majority of our competitors, we have a workshop ...
A lot of paintings have an impressive original size. Take for example this reproduction of Picasso's Guernica which is 7,77 meters by 3,49 meters. It is about having the place to work it, in addition to the necessary know-how.
I will quickly describe the process we use, which is a bit different from full size reproductions, mainly due to the artist's lack of perspective with regard to his canvas.
And since an image is worth more than a thousand words… I will take as an example this table produced in February-March 2017 for a Belgian client.
The disadvantage of having large paintings is that you cannot always work on the final frame, the wood having lengths that do not allow export if the painting is more than 5 meters. This is the case here, so we have prepared a temporary frame that will allow the painting to be painted as it should. The canvas will be sent rolled up to the framer who will receive it to assemble it, which is not easy, believe me. For tables less than 5 meters, we can send the frame with, at no additional cost, since we have a carpenter in the workshop.
The canvas is then prepared. Since linen rolls cannot cover such large areas, we then have to sew the fabrics together. The hem is made on the back of the canvas, and the seam is masked on the front by the Gesso and an additional coat of paint. It is impossible to distinguish after that the place where the two canvases separate.
The canvas is then affixed to the temporary frame, where it will be painted.
Then apply the gesso. A gesso is an undercoat of paint which will allow the surface of the canvas to be smoothed. This is for:
- that we cannot see the weft of the linen
- hide surface imperfections (in this specific case, the seam)
- prevent the canvas from drinking all the paint
- improve the surface and make it smooth and adherent
The most annoying thing about working on a large reproduction is that you lack perspective. It is not easy to trace the exact contours of a drawing that measures 776 x 349 cm, like this Picasso in the dimensions of the original. For a "normal" canvas, say 120 x 100 cm, no problem. The artist will, according to his model, retrace the contours, then paint, add the details, etc. It's a job...
For large sizes, it becomes enormously complicated. We then use a very simple method, which we use in kindergarten: the decal!
We make a print on canvas paper; in vertical stripes in this example. These bands are then affixed to the prepared canvas and the contours of the shapes are "transferred" to the prepared background of the painting. This very simple technique allows us to keep the guidelines of the painting and its proportions perfectly exact.
All that remains is to put the whole thing together and the work can finally begin.
You can see here the frame and the canvas before painting, seen from behind.
The first step is to trace the outlines of the different elements by following the path allowed by the decal.
Then we start to fill the different parts with the colors which will roughly constitute the first layer of paint. On a painting like Picasso, Guernica, there will be three or four depending on the elements. For more complex paintings, with a lot of detail, you can go up to eight coats plus a varnish. It all depends on the desired effect.
Work continues afterwards as for a normal painting reproduction. We start by painting all the areas in their respective colors.
Once the basic colors are filled, we move on to the painting phase itself. All the details of the table are reproduced identically, zone by zone.
This is the longest part of the job for the painter. It is a question of reproducing every detail and color respecting as much as possible the original painting.
Once all the details are settled, the reproduction in original size finished, it remains only to wait for the complete drying before sending.
Usually several weeks, since we are using real oil paint in several layers.
And There you go !!!
1) Yes, I'm the hunk in the last photo - to give you an idea of the true size of the canvas, I'm 1 feet tall.
2) No, I'm not the one who painted the picture, it's Mr. Dung, who is in the top photos!
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