Thoughts from previous drafts not posted...
Painting larger pieces and working with the composition of larger fields/grounds/surfaces and substrates is like all other areas of growth. That old Quantum Mechanics saw of "unintended consequences" comes into play. Especially with a less than perfectly solid easel. The pieces are 24x18 and I find that the entire approach has changed in order to prevent me from mistreating the composition.
Here's a list of thoughts about painting:
Rules make lousy paintings. Eg, 'never put the subject in the center'.
The only thing that works is working.
Observation is better than instruction.
Fear can help unpeel the dangerous entre into good painting, risk all.
Let go of the previous look and dive into a subject that resists your style.
Get control of values, there is no sense in color until this is reached.
Don't color in!
No crayoning-in with the materials, the scrub must be also one stroke perfect.
Eliminate the need for recognition for mediocre work, this will kill all good things.
Burn your "children" – the paintings that have become too precious but still are stuck in mediocre or even poorer quality.
Find out why you paint.
Learn who you paint for.
Determine what ratio of your drive is from inside, and from outside you.
It's okay to screw up, do it as often as possible. But recognize it for what it is, see it clearly for good screw ups or foul screw ups.
Work even when you're away from the easel, paint in your mind and look, look, look.
Set a light source over the whole scene, skip the details and fussiness.
A good painting is not an inventory of detail.
Play with design exercises regularly, bad paintings usually happen at the start.
Let art and self-esteem be in separate buildings!