– 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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Editor PleinAir Today, Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Plein Air Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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