Sight-size in Landscape Painting
There is a lot going on right now in my life and haven’t been posting much. This is just a quick post to help better explain to my weekend landscape students the principle behind using the sight-size method for plein air sketching. In the photo above you can see how the camera was held in a position where the subject is the exact same size in nature as the painting on the panel. When using sight-size in the studio, the painter moves back to view the subject and the painting together from a distance. In the case of sketching the large view of a landscape onto a small panel with the sight-size method, the trick is to make sure your head is always in the right position where the subject ‘fits’ onto the panel. I personally believe many painters do this instinctively without realizing it.
The sight-size method is incredibly useful for landscape painting as it allows the painter to focus on the colors, values and edges, and the shapes almost seem to take care of themselves. For atelier-trained painters especially, who have spent years painting with the sight-size method already, it seems a waste not to continue using it outdoors.
Above is a panoramic photo of Wendy, Takuma and I painting at the Badia a Passignano this weekend.