Thursday, November 25, 2010

Working in The Sight Size Method

Melody Phaneuf's studio, showing the distance between painting table and easel in the Sight-Size Method

Attempting to paint the visual impression from nature is akin to putting together a puzzle. It’s much easier when you have an image of the whole.

Whether it’s a portrait, landscape, or still life, I stand way back from what I’m painting in order to picture the entire composition. Being far-sighted, this seems natural to me, but I was also trained to do this as an atelier student.

The method, called sight-size, requires that the artist stand back at least three times the distance of the diagonal measurement of the picture plane. From there one measures the tops, bottoms and key points of objects, using a level. A plumb line is used as a guide to locate points on a vertical axis. Relative widths are judged by using thumbs on a ruler to mark edges of objects, then finding those points on the paper or canvas from the same distance. Continue reading~


Boston Artist, Melody Phaneuf is well known for her evocative still life, landscape, and portrait paintings. Her paintings are regularly on view at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street; at Fenway Studios, Boston by appointment; and North Shore Art in Gloucester from May through October. Phaneuf ‘s paintings have been exhibited at The National Arts Club in New York City, Galerie Herouet in Paris, and with Art du Monde, in Japan.

Melody The Artist Home, founded with photographer and color specialist, Martha DiMeo, features Phaneuf’s original oil paintings on tumbled marble tile murals and beverage coasters, fine art prints, and handmade notecards.

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