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  • Writer's pictureDanny McShane

Does Size matter?

As in dimensions, that is, not gelatine size etc (though that's another topic worth a post) :o-

e.g. Imperial v 1/4 Imperial...

Not exactly a copy, but I tried an Imperial (30x22") version of a simple landscape I'd painted on 1/4 Imperial (15x11"). I'm really struck by how different the experience of painting on Imperial is and, to be honest, after a dozen or so of them I think I might cut my remaining Imperial sheets down to 1/2 Imperial (22 x 15") or use them for non-standard sizes like wide (30 x11") panoramas

Maybe it's eyesight (varifocals), easel height or even physical reach, but I do find Imperial a bit uncomfortable to work on. Water control is also at another level on big sheets and I notice most of the 'big watercolour' painters I see use a layered and flooding approach, unless they're portrait painters. At the smaller end I find 1/4 Imperials feel a bit cramped for most plein air subjects and I'm settling on 16x12" or A3 as my smallest (it's also handy as many blocks come that size for plein air). But for room to really swing a brush, 1/2 Imperial seems roomy without being intimidating, the sweet spot maybe. It's also easier to frame.

For me the size makes more difference to the experience of painting than I expected it to... like I have to adapt techniques -does anyone else feel the same? What's your favourite size to paint on?

Here's my 30x22" version

and my 15x11" version

Happy painting :o)

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