Cruising the Shore
It seems a little crazy to talk about the approaching holidays in September but now is when I have to paint for all the small works shows that will be exhibiting at Christmas time. I need to "think small" to find inspiration for those little gems.
I have started my group with "Cruising the Shore'" a 5x10 seascape from Leo Carillo State Beach. This painting started as a 8x10 but I decided I didn't like the composition and cut 3 inches off the bottom. The sand and extended rocks, which I eliminated, didn't add anything to the painting and actually distracted the eye from the ocean. I was able to experiment with the photo image before actually cutting the original and of course it helps that I paint on panels so adjusting the size is easy.
I never thought to do this until Calvin Liang explained this process in a workshop. He was painting on a larger panel and said he would give it to his framer who would cut it to the size he wanted and then make a custom frame to fit the painting. He had just used masking tape to block off his canvas but I took this concept a step further by reviewing several of my works to see if cropping them would improve the painting. Each one has things that I really like but problems with the composition. By cropping them, I came away with a much improved painting and some lovely little gems for the upcoming Holiday season. Now, I realize I can look at a painting and adjust the dimensions to improve the finished piece. It is an easy fix to make a painting work.Topics: Learning Curve
- Become Your Own Best Critic by Setting a Higher Standard
- Should an Artist Duplicate a Successful Painting?
- Composition, the Backbone of Your Painting
- Shaping the Composition to Your Liking
- Painting Distances
- Finding Inspiration
5 Responses to Painting Small
Hello Sharon. I like your cropped painting and wonder what it looked like before cropping. What surface do you use and was it easy to cut?
Thank you. I use a number of different panels depending on what is on sale online.
1) New Traditions Art Panel C15. I like these the best but they are pricey and since I use so many I have tried others.
2) Fredrick Archival Canvas Panel. If you buy them by the box they are very reasonable.
3) Blick Premier Belgian Linen. For the money I think these are the best.
Each panel has a different core which the canvas is glued onto. The painting I cut was a Fredrick panel and that is a pretty tough coreboard so I used a hacksaw. The New Traditions is a foam core so that would be very easy to cut and probably just a razor would do. The Blick is the toughest with a particle board so I wouldn't attempt that myself. I would probably need a power tool for that one.
The original painting was weak, take my word for it but I liked the sky, distant cliffs and birds. That is why I didn't wipe it down. Cropping kept all the good stuff.
Great idea, Sharon!
I know Calvin did that (remember how we couldn't figure out why he left so much empty space at the bottom??? LOL) but he planned it ahead of time.
Interestingly enough, when David was critiquing everyone's work on our last day of the Channel Islands trip, he said on a number of occassions to different people that it would be a good painting if the artist would crop out this part or that part and actually made the same suggestion of just cutting down the canvas.
Of course that DOES leave you with the issue of having to get a custom-sized frame.
Have a great trip. See you in a few weeks.
The custom frame is the only drawback but the little 5x10 seems an interesting size for more small paintings.
Thanks Sharon. I've been using Fredrix Archival canvas/linen panels. I think I will try the Blick ones now. I've never heard of the New Traditions so will look into those.
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