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3 Profitable Reasons for You to Plan the Sizes of Your Paintings

Big Ben

'Big Ben' - London

Size always matters. People are predisposed to be impressed by size. 'Big is good.' It follows, bigger must be better. Maybe not...   

This perception of bigness led to super-sizing of everything from hamburgers to hotels, milkshakes to monuments. It attracts more attention for everything from the budget of block-buster movies to the body-count in battles.

  • In public and corporate Art collections, the super-sized painting is now standard. Like obesity in people, the expanded canvas is being 'normalised' by familiarity.

It's easy to understand how this situation arose.

  • In the ever-bigger offices and boardrooms of towering corporate buildings, huge blank walls need decoration with big splashes of colour. An artwork that's smaller, more subtle, requiring more than a sideways glance, might hold up the fast-passing traffic.
  • In public galleries, regional and national Art competitions attract ever-larger numbers of entries. All entries must be sighted by a panel of judges.  As human beings, judges have busy lives outside this official duty. 

They can afford only the minimum time to watch as staff carry the paintings in via one door, across the room and out by the other door.

  • Artists are no more stupid than anyone else. Observing the judging process and each year's winning entries, many ambitious artists respond by extending the sizes of their works.

What does this mean for you?

  • The fact you're reading this article shows you're serious about wanting a career in Art. It suggests you're at an early stage of your career, willing to take advice. If that's right, these 3 practical tips will help you in planning the size of your paintings.

1. Find the size that suits your style of composition. How?

  • Measure all your finished works that satisfied you, the ones you signed and feel are ready for showing to an audience or to a gallery director.
  • Make a written record of these measurements, along with the titles they refer to. Sort them into 3 sets of comparative dimensions.
  • Label these sets: 'large, medium, small.' Keep a hard copy of this information, so you become familiar with it.

2.How will you use this?

  • With 3 standard sizes of canvas, pricing your work is a breeze. Everyone understands a simple dollar-for-inch system. Neither you nor your client is left puzzling out the 'conceptual' value of one painting over another.
  • Every painting you sign and put up for sale is the very best you can produce at that point in your development. Therefore, the price-difference between them is the simple matter of size.
  • You can order frames well before you need them, so you'll never be late delivering to the gallery or client because of waiting for the framer to finish your job.
  • You'll be able to order frames in multiples. Because this lets your framer order his supplies in bulk, you'll save money by getting a discount.

3.The time will come when you consider reproduction of your work.

  • Printers, publishers and book designers prefer to work around a limited number of sizes for illustrations.

Note: the 'Mona Lisa' is best-known in reproductions. Through these multiple copies, it became the world's most famous painting.©Dorothy Gauvin


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