What size to work? working to standard sizes, or not; winter and autumn trees in oil and watercolour
Early Winter Woods, oil on deep sided canvas, approx 24 ins wide, old painting
Do you always stick to a standard size for work to enable easy framing? or do you allow the subject to dictate the format?
For me there is no question. The subject dictates the format. I tend to find the standard sizes are frequently not right for me. I enjoy working on long thin formats, vertical or horizontal, square, just off square - all sorts.
OK it involves custom framing if they are on paper, or making my own canvasses up if on canvas. Use the same framer regularly and the they will usually do you a competitive price - mine does, so the extra cost is minimal.
I don't frame canvasses, I use deep sided gallery wrap, paint the sides neatly and that's that.
Winter trees, oil on deep canvas, I no longer have it but it was 30/36 inches tall
My husband made up the stretchers for these long thin canvasses for me - B&Q cut the timber to the sizes I wanted when I bought it. I had a variety of lengths cut, which I could then mix and match in assembling them (or more accurately himself assembling them!). I stretched the canvas - I like to make sure the corners are how I want them and the canvas tight. It gives complete freedom in size and of course canvas type.
Woods in watercolour
This was one was framed just off square.
So that work hangs together well, it's easy to have the framer adjust the mat/mount slightly in size with works on paper and have the outside measurements the same in some - for instance a 9.5 inch and an 11.25 inch can be framed in the same outer measurement frame, just varying the mount. Some formats crop up again and again, like the squares, so they do become standard, not necessarily the measurement of off-the-shelf squares but fine for custom framing like this.
I often use A3 pads to work plein air, so the variation in size isn't necessarily huge and because I tend to like light limed ash frames for most, they hang together well. Having this pad means that the paintings remain protected within it, it's easy to carry when working plein air or travelling - but work is still individually sized and formatted. Studio work can vary enormously. I tend not to work larger than 5ft long (framed or canvas) as they are a nightmare to transport.
Also, I like to frame with a wider margin at the bottom to stop the 'falling out of the frame' feel that can happen when the mat/mount is even all the way round. Off the shelf frames don't have this.
So - do you work to fit the paper? or to fit your composition?
incidentally - Katherine Tyrrell did an excellent post on the legalities and travel restrictions/not of travelling with oil paints here. Well worth reading.