Painting Big and Getting Out of My Own Way

Pink, Coral, Red Color Palette for Painting Big Abstract Art

NOTE: This article about painting big was originally published in my art newsletter that I send out every other week. Please sign up here to keep in touch!

Size. Space.

“What are things that Melanie has been thinking about!”

Space isn’t a new exploration for me. I feel like that’s something I’ve thought about my whole life – too much space, not enough space, I NEED space, I’d rather live in outer space, ….

I’ve been dealing with some weird energy for the past two or three weeks. Like jittery laziness. Or unmotivated anxiety. Polarity. I’ve been in my head way too much, which leads to over analyzing everything.

I’ve been thinking about things that keep coming up (in my head) that might be holding me back in my art business and ways to address them.

One thing that always pokes at my brain is working too small. I paint in the room that is also our living room/dining room, so I tend to lay out most of my ideas in portable sketchbooks that I end up only being able to use for prints or patterns.

“Work BIGGER,” my little voice constantly says.

“But I NEED MORE SPACE,” I reply.

I’m tired of waiting.

Waiting to find the perfect art studio…which needs to be under $200 and basically attached to where I live for me to want to go there.

Waiting for my next large scale commission…”I’ll just paint in my sketchbook until someone wants a bigger version of these paintings.”

Nope, nope, nope. No more excuses.


Like a lot of things I’ve done in my life, I’m just going to make it work.

Pink Red Coral 30x30 acrylic painting in progress by Seattle artist Melanie Biehle.
Pink Red Coral 30x30 acrylic painting in progress by Seattle artist Melanie Biehle.

Tim Gunn would have given me a thumbs up on Friday.

Okay, probably not a thumbs up. I can’t see Tim doing that. But he’d be proud of me and would give me a hug.

On Friday I took charge. I did two things to change my negative feelings about my living/studio space and the size of my paintings.

1. I started DOING the work. I’m painting big! I began a 30x30 inch canvas painting. You can see some of the progress above. I can’t wait to work on it more today!

2. I MADE MY OWN STUDIO. I moved drafting table and my desk/computer out of our bedroom and into our living room/dining room. No more working on the floor or dining table. My drafting table can serve as a pretty decent easel or workspace. And when I create surface designs in Photoshop I’ll be working in the same space that I paint.

I can literally feel the energy shift in our apartment. Seriously, if you’ve been dragging or feeling nervous lethargy (!!! SERIOUSLY that’s what it felt like!) like I have for the past few weeks, put some things away or throw some things out or move some things around. You’ll feel the difference!

I hope you guys have a great week. Sign up for more stories about art and life right here.


Thank you so much for supporting my art and sharing my work.

Sign up here for my art newsletter The Creative Brief to learn about new work and see what inspires me.

Buy my original paintings, fine art prints, apparel, and home goods in my online shop.

Sign up here to have new blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.