Adding scale in Painting

Adding scale in Painting:
Ron Gribble

I often look at a work of art and I am left uneasy, because, I have nothing to compare with, in the composition, that will tell me how big, or small that feature is. Like a photo I once saw of a prematurely born child in an adult’s hands, so we could all compare the known quantity, the finger, with the unknown and conclude accurately how small the hand was.

Adding Scale to a Painting

So in your work, if you are depicting objects that vary in size – i.e., mountains, rocks, trees, houses, rivers, valley, beaches, the list goes on and on.

Add a point of reference that varies very little, like people, (our subconscious tends to average these out, but even the extremes that exist taken into account, helps to narrow down the true relative size of objects around them).

What about fences, sheep or animals generally? A heard of cows will turn a backyard into a paddock. I could extend the list but I think you are getting the idea.

A word of warning. Make sure you get the sizes right! I have seen a horse that if correct compared to the fence would be a toy. I have seen a big snow-capped mountain that, compared to the visual eyes, shouldn’t have snow on it, because it would be only a hill.

By contrasting one against the other you can get a very dramatic statement.

We have finished with the subject of contrasting for now, so we will move on in the next tip to the next subject on my list. Overlapping.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on these, as I have already spent a lot of time on general composition.

So leave comments, questions and answers. If you have found a practice that has helped you, it may help others and me also.

Happy Painting
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