7. Choosing the dimensions for a piece of work
Usually one chooses the shape of the paper or canvas one intends to work on at the outset, but does this have to be the case? Not necessarily. The shape that one uses can start and finish the same, but equally can evolve along the way. For example, I have tried working on a triangular shaped surface and that comes with it’s own particular set of challenges.
During my schooling the paper that was handed out seemed always to be of standard rectangular dimensions and no one was expected to challenge that (I believe it was referred to as 'imperial' or 'half imperial'). One had two choices… to work with the paper placed vertically or horizontally…. And that was that! It came as a pleasant surprise when I moved to college and it was suggested that one should make a 'choice' to work on circular, triangular and even wobbly edge surfaces.
I chose the dimensions of this week’s ‘Picture of the Week’ to echo the kind of landscapes seen in Wilshire and Dorset– open skies, rolling downs and wide vistas. I wanted to cash in on that sense of looking out and around and taking in a wide view of things. The picture is almost in three sections (like a triptych). I thought it was important to create some verticals in the picture to help with the composition. In fact it is important to think hard about verticals in any work as these influence how the work comes together.
The overall effect is rather like looking out of a window on to the landscape. Ben Nicholson used this kind of device in some of his work. Have a look at the Tate St Ives Gallery site to check this out.
'As Wide As...' acrylic on treated canvas 127 cm X 30cm - Liz Cleves