Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tippette #7 - Cropping

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor).  One per day...during April...right here!

I mentioned in an earlier TIPPETTE that, as watercolorists, we are lucky not to be confined to a standard sized canvas.  We can choose any size paper.  Well, we can take that concept a step further and say that, after we paint the painting, we can crop it to suit us even better still!

Cropping a Painting

Here's a painting I started as a demonstration in one of my workshops.  Now that I'm almost done, I'm not too happy with the left side of the painting, but I THINK I like the right side pretty well.  I'm going to decide whether I want to crop it (cut it down) and keep only what I like.

Uncompleted demonstration from a landscape workshop.  By Helen K. Beacham
If you're comfortable with Photoshop or other editing software, you know that you can play with various options for cropping it.  If, however, you are not computer-savvy, why not use L-mats to help with the decision process?  To create L-mats, take a mat (approximately 20" x 24"...the larger, the more it is likely to work with all of your paper sizes) with an opening cut into it, and cut it into 2 sections (diagonally across from each other).  You should be able to buy a pre-cut mat from your framer or at an art supply store.  I like to get the black mats, because you can then use the black side or the white side, depending on how you normally mat your paintings.  

Cropping Options

By laying the 2 pieces of cut mats on your painting, move the 2 pieces around until you come up with the best section of the painting that is worth saving. 

Sometimes, after I cut out the section that I want to save, I discover another smaller, salvageable section inside the section I was ready to discard!  I have a habit (good or bad) of never throwing away these discarded pieces.  At least I can use the other side as practice sheets, and sometimes they get incorporated into the rare collage that I might decide to create!  ('s another thought:  give that section to your kids or grandkids to paint or add on to!  They'll feel so grown up when given the privilege!).  As for my painting above, I still haven't decided whether to crop it or not.  But...I have options!

Come with Helen K. Beacham and Kelly Medford to paint Venice this October...
click HERE for details!