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"Wait for It" is on a 16x20 canvas which can be enlarged to 24x30
It is so frustrating when you want to replicate an image onto a larger canvas but the composition is not the same. To do this correctly you have to consider the aspect ratio of the original reference. An aspect ratio is simply the proportional relationship of the width to the height of the painting surface. To make the process easy I have a list of aspect ratios of common canvas sizes taped to the wall of my studio that I refer to, whenever I want to resize an image.
The outside dimension of the painting surface is the most important shape to consider in composition. It will dictate how the shapes will be placed and the mood of the painting. If you are painting a portrait where would you place it on a 8x10 canvas verses a 12x12, or 12x16? How would it look on a 12x24? Each one offers different possibilities of placement and will tell a different story. If I am planning to do a large studio painting or commission, I paint a study first. The study is a smaller, looser version of the final work on a canvas or paper that is the same aspect ratio as the proposed larger painting. This way I can figure out the composition and replicate it exactly on the larger canvas, using a grid.
"Wait for It" is a 16x20 painting that I did as an experiment in painting water. I like the composition and feel that this would be a powerful image if it was painted on a larger canvas. The 16x20 is a 4 to 5 ratio and the painting could be sized up to a 24x30 and still have the boy and the waves in the same placement on the canvas.
In the case of a commissioned portrait I am often given the final size by the client and then use the aspect ratio to figure out what size the study should be.
I also use this list to create thumbnails, which are very small studies done in pencil, to work out small compositions quickly without worry of images being too large or small on the canvas.
Below is the list I keep in my studio. I hope you find it helpful in resizing your work. I have included a downloadable PDF so you can keep the list in your studio too.
Aspect Ratios of Common Canvas Sizes:
3 to 4 = 3 x 4 - 6 x 8 - 9 x 12 - 12 x 16 - 18 x 24 - 30 x 40 - 36 x 48
7 to 5 = 5 x 7 - 10 x 14 - 20 x 28
4 to 5 = 8 x 10 - 16 x 20 - 24 x 30
6 to 5 = 10 x 12 - 20 x 24
11 to 14 = 11 x 14 - 22 x 28
1 to 1 = 6 x 6 - 12 x 12
1 to 2 = 6 x 12 - 8 x 16 - 12 x 24
7 to 9 = 7 x 9 - 14 x 18 - 21 x 27 - 28 x 36
2 to 3 = 2 x 3 - 6 x 9 - 12 x 18 - 16 x 24 - 20 x 30 - 24 x 36
To download and print your own list click here: Aspect Ratios of Common Canvas Sizes downloadable pdf
You can view Vianna's original post here.
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