The Minutiae of Painting

Often, a painting will just come to me and blast out through my fingers with a brush in hand. When I’m finished with the product, it will be a no brainer as to how it should be hung.

Sometimes, though, this isn’t as easy. While the painting process itself can be simple (or really difficult) sometimes the hardest part is deciding which way a painting should be turned. What corner should be on top versus at the bottom. How should the viewer’s eye be moved around the canvas. Where should the focal point lie?

As I said, sometimes these questions don’t phase me at all, but sometimes they haunt me in my sleep.

Painting a Triangle

Near my parent’s house there used to be this huge art store that had everything from fine art supplies to kitschy art gifts. They had easels and canvases and every type of paint you could imagine.

One day, while wandering around this store, I found triangle shaped canvases. I had had the opportunity to paint on ovals because of some garage sales but I had never had the pleasure of painting a triangle. I immediately bought two of them and brought them home.

Sadly, they sat around for a while, waiting for me to decide what to put on them, but eventually I got there. I picked out some colors and started painting my first triangle.

It was a strange experience. Having just three sides and corners instead of four to work with felt weird, and I couldn’t figure out what direction the lines should go in or where to organize my colors to make them fit well.

What happened with my first triangle canvas, and really all I’ve ever painted (which I guess is only two), is that it’s really ambiguous which way it looks the best after it’s done. Which point, that is exactly the same as the other two points, should be on top? It’s really hard to say, as you can see from my examples below.

Option 1


At first, this is how I liked the painting. All the purple stuff on the left and bottom, orange on the right/top.

Option 2


Then I added more detail and decided I was wrong originally. The dark orangey color needed to be on the left and the purples needed to be on the right.

Other Triangle

Shortly after finishing my first triangle, I started another one. It was darker and weirder but I still liked it. And I still didn’t know how I wanted it to be hung.


The Whole Picture… Sort of

Eventually, I added a perfect circle-shaped canvas to the mix. It was also my first, and it was also a strange experience painting it, what with no corners or anything. When it was done, and I looked at the color schemes of the three paintings I had most recently finished, I realized they all needed to go together.


Perhaps not the best photo, but it’s artsy, right?! As you can (sort of) see, for my first triangle I ended up not putting any of the corners at the top, choosing a flat side instead. I did keep my second triangle in it’s original formation, though. The circle (more details to come later?!) was pretty much set from the beginning on how it would be laid out.

Overall, I think that with any shaped canvas it can be difficult to choose which direction it needs to go, but circles and triangles can be exceptionally difficult.


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