– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –

Kentucky artist Kathleen B. Hudson finds that preliminary sketches really help with her final paintings, but she doesn’t always feel like her guesses at proportions in the field are accurate—there’s a big difference in format between a 10” x 12” and a 24” x 36”. So she came up with a solution…

Lead Image: “Morning, Cumberland Falls,” by Kathleen B. Hudson, oil on linen, 14 x 11 in.

Hudson made a quick guide that allows a painter to put hash marks on a page in his or her notebook to delineate the right proportions for seven different ratios, which covers the standard panel formats. If you carry a 5”-x-8” sketchbook like she does, all you need to do is print out her guide and slip it between the pages or in a notebook pocket.

The common ratio chart created by Hudson
The common ratio chart created by Hudson

“After doing really loose sketches for a while, I thought it would be helpful to create compositions a bit more carefully with my panel sizes in mind,” Hudson wrote in a blog post. “I’ve traditionally just ‘guesstimated’ the size of a thumb sketch, but it’s never right on the mark—and I don’t really want to fuss with a ruler or anything that’ll add weight to my pack.”

Download her guide here.

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