View Full Version : How to do a diptych?

05-23-2015, 10:54 PM
I would like to try a diptych but do not know how to start it. I would like to use two separate pieces of paper as I do not have any ground wide enough for what I would like to do. I am aiming at framing these separately with the option of hanging them side by side or not near each other.

My first idea is to tape the ground together leaving a large enough margin on both pieces to allow the pieces to look okay if separated. Or maybe frame up against the glass without a mat. This should make them look nicer side by side.

Another method might be to get a wide enough ground, paint it in toto ... then carefully cut the painting into two pieces.

I have no idea of how this works ... and I am guessing there is a very good way to go about this that I am not aware of. I think I need to think ahead toward framing as I think that the way they are framed could make or break it.

Any good advice out there? I would appreciate it.

water girl
05-24-2015, 12:20 AM
Great question....I had never given this any thought. I would think you could produce two separate paintings. In the drawing stage, line them up side by side, being sure they create one painting, but each half could stand alone. But what do I know? :lol: It's my best guess.

05-24-2015, 01:36 AM
Plan it out with a lot of thumbnails that you can cut apart and separate, so that you have one good composition when they're together and two different good compositions apart. Basically at the value level study decide where the light and dark areas will be and what will make the pattern work both ways.

Then do a line drawing on a piece of big butcher paper or something large enough for both sheets. Transfer that by putting charcoal on the back of the lines, onto your two sheets.

Then as you work on them, leave the matching sides unworked. Temporarily tape the real pieces together so you can do strokes that cross the line as you finish the right side of one and left side of the other.

That's how I'd do it anyway, if it was so large I didn't just plan it and do it on one piece and cut it in half.

Spacers might work but you'll lose a little off each side and not have a perfect match unless you break the design and put a half inch of extra bare space (1/4" each joining side) to be smoothed out and vanish under the spacers.

Or framing right up to the glass would work if you just do it as one big piece and cut it.

You could also float them on mats if you work right to the edge and use a second mat layer to space them from the glass. Lots of possibiliites.

Main thing is work out the diptych design before it's full scale so the composition works separate or together.

Extra, amusing weirdness if it fits together no matter which sides touch! So that if you tiled it on a webpage it'd be one continuous pattern!

05-26-2015, 09:46 AM
The first thought that came to mind was to study the famous works of the past. Although they were of a religious nature, the compositions of the diptych and triptych altar pieces might give you some ideas.

05-27-2015, 11:06 PM
Thank you all for your responses. Robert, I have given the composition quite a lot of thought and have worked what I think will work if each piece is hung separately. Haven't started them yet ... but have done some study sketches. Problem now is that the left one's composition looks best if it is wider than the right one. Not sure that is a good idea so will work at changing that.

I have in the past just taken a go at a painting, not giving much thought to the frame size and method. Not a good idea if you are framing on the cheap.

Blayne I will attempt to find some examples as you suggest.

05-28-2015, 03:30 AM
Norskgal, I look forward to hearing how it goes! I've never done one, but I love the look of them and would like to try it one day.

My two cents: I would avoid cutting a finished pastel painting, especially if it's on the larger side. What if the cut ends up uneven, or slightly off/in the wrong place? If you don't use fixative, what if your painting gets smeared in the cutting process depending on who does it and how it's done? Much safer, in my humble opinion, to go with separate supports from the start so the split is exactly where you want it to be in your composition, and so there's no unnecessary handling of the piece. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy the process :wave: