Michael Garr and his viewfinder apparatus, helping him paint

Ever find that the composition seems right and ready in your viewfinder, but during the painting session, that original vision goes askew? Grab a pizza box. 

At least, that’s the solution Michael Garr found for a recent painting. The Rhode Island painter was wrangling a vista at Fort Wetherill, and he recalled a method his friend Donat Beauchaine learned at a Joe McGurl workshop. McGurl didn’t use a pizza box as a viewfinder, but Garr found that one worked well, as the depth of the box allowed just enough of a ledge to provide stability — and one side could be stapled to the canvas frame to keep the viewfinder in place. The size of the pizza box (evidently he had recently eaten a large pie) allowed him to cut an 11″-x-14″ hole — just the same size as his canvas.


Garr reports that the device held up even in a good wind, and the results were positive. “My friend Nancy was working next to me, and after about 45 minutes, she said, ‘You’re already working up details? Whoa!’,” recounts Garr. “It allowed me to paint even more quickly than usual.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here