Size Matters . . . !

“Bucket Crane II”

Watercolor 22 x 30 inches

So many times I have painted a subject too small for the size of the format on which I was painting (the paper.)

Whaddayamean, Mike? Too small? The details were right. The ‘picture’ looked like the subject.

Yes, yes. I understand. But one must look beyond the details and see the RELATIONSHIP of sizes in subject versus the rectangle in which one paints. The comparison says soooo much!

Usually, for the subject to have the necessary power in a painting, BIG is the answer . . . . . . .so big that it crowds the edges and spills over the edges of the rectangle to assert its power. Or those shapes may appear to be floating in space and not connected to anything if the subject shapes are too small for the size of the paper.

There are times, however, when that feeling of floating in space might be necessary. . . . . . .like the painting above. I painted this idea once before in the previous post. If you compare the two paintings, one can see there is quite a different feeling in this versus the last. In this piece, the shape appears further from the viewer and definitely higher off the ground. If you fear heights as I do, then a painting like this might affect you emotionally putting a shiver of fear into your consciousness.

This is where it makes a lot of sense to sketch first (before painting) and do so inside of a rectangle of the same proportions as that on which you will be painting. By doing so, one can see (and should examine) the size relationship between the rectangle and the subject. It matters!!!

3 thoughts on “Size Matters . . . !”

  1. That really does have a feeling of suspension in space. The lower line that connects the right and left sides of the painting offers some stability without diminishing the feeling of height. I learn so much from your blog. Why the yellow background?

  2. I believe size and shape are the most fundamental part of the painting, and never have understood why so many default to the standards. I avoid the standards as much as possible. I have a theory that every painting has its perfect size, and nothing irritates me more than miscalculating on that. A big subject I spend a lot of time on in workshops.
    As usual, your writing addresses the most interesting topics, and your supersonic work backs it all up. !

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