View Full Version : To Crop Or Not To Crop?

08-05-2005, 01:36 PM
That is the question here. In the photo and IRL when I saw this scene I really liked the sunlight stripes in behind the big tree. My question now is, if I crop out more of the foreground do those sunlit stripes draw you in more, or is it better left alone? I can't believe after not really painting for a couple of months I've just about finished 2 paintings. Hooray! http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2005/39207-IM002124s.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2005/39207-IM002124scrp.JPG BTW this looks a little darker here and the shadows are not quite so purply blue IRL.

08-05-2005, 03:08 PM
i vote for not cropping. i very much like the feeling of 'wide open' in the top view. and the purpley shadows look good too! now keep paintin!

08-05-2005, 04:19 PM
NOPE...no crop!

08-05-2005, 04:34 PM
I agree--no crop.

Congratulations on your productivity--both paintings are really beautiful, too!

08-05-2005, 05:55 PM
I go for the crop. Unless you're aiming to put something in that foreground that will enhance the overall composition, lose it. In my opinion, it doesn't do much for the overall composition. Nice though it is, it seems a waste.

That hint of a path is quite sufficient to draw the viewer's eye into the main theme of the picture.

By the way, it's a really nice painting! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Kathryn Wilson
08-05-2005, 06:00 PM
No crop for me too - it looks like a big, wide open meadow - looks fine to me.

Do you do an underpainting, PJ? I know you are using Wallis - so fess up, what's underneath?

08-05-2005, 07:52 PM
I like the non-cropped one, too. It's a typical western view with plenty of breathin' room. Beautiful work!

08-05-2005, 08:18 PM
PJ I like the way this painting works its way down into the little dip. Keep the dip.


08-05-2005, 08:19 PM
Thank you all for your comments.

So far the consensus seems to be no crop, I was leaning in that direction myself, but just wanted to make sure that what drew me to paint this (the sunlit stripes) was featured and not hindered by the strong foreground. This meadow is about 3 miles from my home directly off the highway, and I really admire it and had to paint it.

Kat-No underpainting on this one, actually, I've yet to do one with an underpainting other than when I was fortunate to take a class with Richard McKinley, and then I got to experiment with it a bit. I do tone my paper with a very light coat of pastel and brush it in with a sponge brush, this just helps to take away the white of the paper and then I do a quick sketch. I would definately like to try some underpainting tho.

08-06-2005, 12:11 AM
PJ I like the way this painting works its way down into the little dip. Keep the dip.


I agree. Nice work btw :)

08-06-2005, 12:21 AM
Ohhh, Paula! I love both versions and think eithr could be a big seller no matter what. The cropped one draws me in faster, but the uncropped one lets me meander around the painting a bit. It's probably best to keep it uncropped to allow the viewer to relax and enjoy their journey through it.

08-06-2005, 03:10 AM
I have just done a "crit" evening for a local art soc, and if your pic came up on the easel in front of my, I would immediately have commented on the fact that in your bigger version, the eye DIPS RIGHT OUT OF THE BOTTOM OF THE PICTURE.

The crop gives you a much better feeling of stability.

If you dont want to crop, then look carefully at the dipping V shape in the foreground. If you stop the V effect with some more dark shadow, then you will also have created three nice strips of horizontal shapes across the rectangle, with no two intervals the same size - which is good, it helps to offset the fact that your horizon is bang in t he middle of the rectangle.

At the moment, the cropped version is a MUCH stronger composition.


Ruth Grinstead
08-06-2005, 04:16 AM
My initial reactions was I like the cropped version better :D However Jackie's modifications would work too.


Mikki Petersen
08-06-2005, 10:58 AM
I like it just the way it is but I have a tendecy to make just those kind of "lead you out of the picture" mistakes myself. Probably should follow the experts advice.


08-06-2005, 11:33 AM
*shrug* To me, the crop is working like a funneling letting the eye slide right down and out the middle bottom. It creates two triangles of dark, cutting in from the bottom corners, and just doesn't work. The wider, more interesting corner dark shapes in the uncropped version give an area of interest to the foreground, and allow the eye to move up and into the mid- and back- grounds without feeling as if they are being forced uphill all the way.

Paula Ford
08-06-2005, 12:15 PM
No crop!

Your landscape is beautiful and the trees are Perfect!!

08-06-2005, 12:53 PM
I agree with some of what SBJ says in her earlier post...and that is exactly why I suggested that you consider the idea of getting rid of the light central shape between the two "bookends" of dark at the base of the picture...and actually, this applies to both the crop, and the original version.

Why not try my suggestion in a paint programme on the computer. I think you may be pleasantly surprised by how a dark shadow across the forground, albeit a nicely "transparent" one, or a dappled-light one, will hold the eye in the picture. There can still be suggestions of shapes within the shadow area, but do get rid of the dipping sensation, whatever you decide.

08-06-2005, 01:19 PM
I really like this & the way it is now.

08-06-2005, 02:15 PM
Well, I did not crop but tried to keep the little dip to a point and added some more darks and shadows to the light triangle in the bottom left corner. I am so amazed at how we all "see" something different. When I first posted this, part of my reason was a teeny bit of doubt as to whether what I wanted to accomplish was being done, and the question to me was really about the foreground. You all have been such help to me. Let me know what you all think, but I'm pretty happy with this myself. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2005/39207-IM002127s.JPG

08-06-2005, 03:42 PM
Oh, yes. I didn't think I had a problem with the dip, but now that I see this, I like it so much better. It's a really lovely painting!