The importance of scale in painting: Small and Large paintingsFebruary 15, 2016 2022-02-22 10:41
The importance of scale in painting: Small and Large paintings
When you have to start a new painting, you have many decisions to take: What to paint, with what medium, etc… one of the most important decision to take is the scale of the painting, what size should you make it?
If you have been gallery hopping, you might have noticed that most artists working with prominent galleries are usually working on a big scale.
Then on the other side, it might be interesting for your customers to be able to afford your work at a variety of sizes and prices. Also, not everyone might have a free wall at home that can accommodate a 4 x 8 feet painting.
I personally find that some subjects in my paintings will work better on a smaller scale and some will work better on a larger scale.
For exemple I like painting my flower paintings from imagination on a small scale: 12 x 12 inches canvas or board.
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In Oslo, mixed media on yupo paper mounted on board 12 x 12 inches
I also like to draw on a relatively small scale as it would be too much time consuming to work very big.
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Some styles will lend themselves better to very large scale, I am thinking about abstract expressionism for exemple.
Any painting with a lot of patterns and no clear focal point will usually work better on a large scale. Working big might also encourage you to paint in a looser or more abstract style.
Also, some forms of art that can look very casual at a smaller scale, like doodling can make a totally different impression on a very large scale.
Doodling can look very different on a large scale.
It is the same in sculpture and installations, what can give impact to a simple idea in a work is the prodigious repetition of simple elements.
I am thinking about works of Art like “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”
From Wikipedia:”Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was a work of installation art placed in the moat of the Tower of London, England, between July and November 2014, commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. It consisted of 888,246 ceramic red poppies, each intended to represent one British or Colonial serviceman killed in the War. The artist was Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper. The work’s title was taken from the first line of a poem by an unknown World War I soldier.”