Once again, talking with a fellow artist brought the gift of a new idea: connect the small boards together and paint them as one larger board. The issue of confining edges disappears. The image above shows the four 6" x 8" panels, now taped together to create a 12" x 16" expanse. I did the same with four 8" x 10" panels that have been plaguing me, creating a 16" x 20" surface. All of the smaller pieces already had five or six layers of paint on them, but I scraped them back, arranged them in a pleasing manner, taped them together, and now have two larger surfaces rather than eight small ones on which to work.
I liked the fact that the smaller pieces were already underway: Although I could tape together blank boards and start from scratch, the colors and textures already existent provided something to react to and build upon. My expectations are open-ended. Although I have promised my galleries some small pieces, I have not been specific. If these assemblies come apart and provide viable small paintings, that is fine. But I am also aware that they might end up staying together, either bolted edge-to-edge or floating in a frame with space in between. Who knows? Part of the joy is that the outcome is unknown -- rather the opposite from the hemmed-in feeling of painting an individual itty-bitty board. It is an experiment!