Format- why do we choose what we choose? In the comments of my last post Sam noted that a vertical has more depth and suggests more sense of place. Marianne shared that a 2:1 ratio has been favored by many of her collectors and Doug suggests that the subject matter dictates the format. Check out their blogs to read more of their interesting ideas. Richard McKinley, the pastel god, talks and writes about it often. Here is a link to one of his discussions about format, the painters window, on his blog- here.
I agree with all of them and would like to add one more thought. For me, choice of format is a decision based in emotion and the desire to portray a concept. A simple view: a rectangle is calming and a vertical is dynamic (think about some of those amazing Japanese vertical prints).
Long ago when completing my MFA I wrote my thesis on the idea of format and its power. I will have to try to dig that document up some day and see what I thought back then. Throughout my painting career my favorite format has been a square. I like the tension that is inherent in the square. It is neither rectangle nor vertical. It is a challenging format to use, but very rewarding. You the painter decides.
Look at the 4 paintings above, a long horizontal, a square , a long vertical and a standard rectangle. What do you think? How does each make you feel or work for you?
On another note: Today is not a painting day. Instead I sit in the hospital waiting room nervously waiting for news of my husband's surgery He had hip replacement surgery this morning. A man, still in his 40s, Paul's genetic predisposition and his years of long distance running and soccer has torn up both his hips. Send some good thoughts for a speedy recovery for my man.