playing with scale

This afternoon I've been trying to decide what scale of painting I best enjoy working on. I made four studies of these berries and found that there is some kind of equation going on... the size of the object over the amount of detail it represents, multiplied by the way the paint is applied and divided by my favourite brushes somehow equals the size of the finished painting and whether it 'works' for me or not.

Being someone who has been trained to draw rather than paint, I'm learning all the time. Whereas drawing (for me) is often about line and flat tone, I'm finding that painting is more about areas of colour and light and how the subject matter relates to its background.

When I view it as a learning process, it seems easier to do. Maybe that has the effect of overriding my perfectionism... whatever, I'm glad it works.

If you paint or draw... what scale do you enjoy working on?


Cathy Cullis said...

hello, these are lovely studies.... you have tackled each choice of scale really beautifully..... I like working quite small. If I could devote the time to it, I wouldn't mind training to work in miniature, or at least attempting that. I am not a technically brilliant artist, but I enjoy the challenge of working from life.

Gretel said...

I work to many scales, depending on what it is. I tend to avoid small though, unless it is drawing designs in one of my Moleskines and then it depends on the size of the Moleskine (yes, I have lots!). When I'm doing sheets of roughs for a publisher or whoever, I do them on A3 sheets. It's not something I consciously think about anymore, I just do whatever is comfortable. You'll find yours!

marigold jam said...

Sadly drawing and painting are not things I can do so cannot comment but those paintings look great to me!

Sandra Robinson said...

At the moment I work small but would like to work bigger. I trained in painting but they didn't really teach me how to paint you were just left to it. Drawing is a very good skill to have, and your drawing skills show in your paintings. I enjoy reading your blog your work is lovely.

Frances said...

Sue, I think that my answer re comfort in scale is ... it depends.

If I am myself in a large space, I feel more expansive, and want to open up my creative wings, so to speak.

If, on the other hand, space or time is limited, I might find it easier to work in a smaller scale. Recently, this has been my scale, perhaps chosen for me by my circumstances, perhaps not.

I do enjoy using a variety of drawing a sketchbook, I'll sometimes try to crowd lots onto a page, sometimes do the opposite and just draw in a large scale, with perhaps a softer pencil or broader pen and find the drawing flowing right off the page.

Sometimes I like to start with subject matter that might itself be pretty tiny, and then to draw it big, give it importance, and lots of attention.

When it comes to painting, in oils, I would rather work as large as my space allows, but for watercolors, any size suits me, and that's why I've got all sizes of brushes, and generally choose the larger ones for more freedom of paint flow.

What a fun topic! I do like the studies you've shown us. xo

Gilly said...

Love what you've done with the berries. Glad they have been useful!

Su said...

I usually work small when painting or drawing, but that's really because i lack the confidence to do big - but big is what I'd love to be able to do.

Anonymous said...

I can't control it - I try to draw small but always end up filling the page!

kkkkaty said...

Hello, Sue,

In any attempts at drawing or painting, I do fine on a small scale; it's when I add detail that I am thrown..and I'm not ready to post much of anything as yet..I do like your style very much..

Jackie said...


rossichka said...

You are going deeper into the essence of painting - I believe you'll learn a lot and make your own discoveries, Sue. I don't understand anything of that matter, but I like the way you painted these berries!:)

Your vacation in Paris seems to be not the typical one for a tourist. The fact that you had been there before gave you the opportunity to "catch" other sights and details, to feel new scents, to perceive the city from a new angle.
"Home, sweet home!"... I think, I know what you mean...:-)