Less is More!

This is a post from the weareoca.com archive. Information contained within it may now be out of date.


Assessor Jim Unsworth shows us how to crop a painting to improve it. He mentions artist Milton Avery in his explanation, someone worth looking at, who said of his own work: ‘I always take something out of my pictures, strip the design to essentials’.


  1. cathielloyd46 29 July 2013 at 9:30 am

    This is very useful and could apply to many of my efforts. But I am rather fixated on the ‘instructions’ in the course to make something on a particular size of paper. How much do the examiners worry about presenting work on non-standard sizes? It would seen obvious to me but I’d like some reassurance.

  2. Jane 29 July 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Anything goes! Non standard sizes are absolutely fine. The only caveat is that if you have produced something that is really big (say A0 or bigger) you need to consider whether it would be better to submit it digitally rather than physically because of post and packing costs and constraints.

  3. Emma 29 July 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Hello Cathie – I think that the reason there are sizes suggested in the course is that without being pushed, some people do tend to limit the potential of their work and not explore different scales. Scale of mark is just as important and of course is affected by scale of paper. It might sound basic, but often I see a great wee painting which is not lived up to by a larger piece simply because the artist didn’t scale up their brush at the same time they scaled up their paper so the marks go small and fussy. As an assessor I can reiterate that non standard sized paper is fine, and a willingness to explore scale, cropping, composition etc is encouraged.

  4. oliviairvine 30 July 2013 at 12:36 pm

    If you are lucky in your cropping you can make use of the ‘discarded’ bit, either as something to work on further or for your sketchbook. However, you shouldn’t think about this when cropping as it could limit your decisions.

  5. cathielloyd@gmail.com 1 August 2013 at 4:36 pm

    All those ideas are really welcome and throw light on something I’ve encountered with my tutor. She says often that the smaller work I do in which some of the objects veer off the page are more interesting than the carefully staged pieces with nice margins round. Now I will go to town on cropping – where suitable. Thanks all of you!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.