Cropping Paintings – to crop or not to crop?


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


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 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

surreal art - inevitability

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

Different abstract painting - Hear the Desert

Abstract painting - sound waves



<<< this is how it would look if I cropped it.


have I get it right? I am still not sure. I would love to hear your views


...add them please with the comments box below 

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

cool blue art - blueness


cropped blueness painting

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  1. I like the original better than the cropped one. The repeat (echo) is nice. I might have considered divided it into two pieces (left an right) for an interesting diptych. Awesome work, by the way!

  2. selina shulamit

    I find the original triangle more dramatic, it has a tension and a question in it (where is it going? what is realy under it? etc…)it has a feeling of a an untold story which I’d like to hear

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