Cropping Paintings? Good idea?

Should an artist ever crop their painting? I think "YES" but consider carefully first. And then reconsider before reaching for the scissors...

Anything About Art

click for more

A consideration of when if ever to crop paintings by Alan Brain a practicing UK artist and art teacher

Paintings for sale directly from the artist - Alan Brain Art

When we artists have finished a painting we naturally want it all to be seen and the thought of cutting a piece out is very unwelcome. However a smaller part of the painting may say what you want to say more powefully than the full sheet.


It is worth considering and we can now easily crop without resorting to the scissors or bits of mount board. Most of us have access to a photo editing package online such as Photoshop or an app and it is here we can try out all manner of crops without touching the original. It's reversible and it is great fun!


Before you decide to crop ask yourself the following questions...


Does my painting speak more loudly with the crop? Or am I seeking a pretty part that might look good in a frame?


Be true to your original intent. That pretty part is probably like thousands of others out there, attractive but readily forgettable.


What can I learn from this for the next painting?


Cropping, when it works, usually makes a painting more simple, more focussed and therefore more powerful.  That tells you a lot about your approach... concentrate on the essential.


Then just do it (or not)

I decided to crop this one after I had spent several hours trying to get the top left corner to work. I failed but the square crop is better than the original even if I had not failed - maybe you disagree?

cropping paintings
modern surreal paintings - inevitability

I (almost) cropped this one but changed my mind at the last moment...

Different abstract painting - Hear the Desert

This is how it would look if I cropped it. Maybe I should have done 🙂

cropped painting

And this one, again it is painful to decide...

cool blue art - blueness
cropped blueness painting

and I am still not sure i got this one right

geometric abstraction with minimul shapes
cropped painting - expectations

I hope you have learnt something about cropping paintings from this post. It is a matter of your judgement based on knowledge and you may always have doubts you got it right. Don't worry that's all part of being creative.

Anything About Art

click for more

I would love to hear your comments

9 + 13 =

Alan Brain is a practicing UK artist whose aim is to create that certain feeling in art. All of his work is guaranteed to be unique original abstract paintings. he is an art teacher who helps artists to get heart into their art