Painting Outline

Posted by Guy Maishman 15/09/2014 0 Comment(s) Painting Canvas Preparation,Painting Progress,

By correlating the grid lines on the canvas and the grid lines on the photocopy, I can draw an outline of the features I want to keep from the photocopy onto the canvas.  Even this is not as precise as one might think.  The challenges are:

  • Hand to eye judgment is needed to place the lines with the correct angles and curvature at the correct points along the grid lines
  • Lens technology causes photocopied images to progressively bend the further from the center one looks.
  • The canvas outline may extend beyond where the photocopy grid leaves off.
  • The larger scale of the canvas has to be judged as the outlines are drawn.

When looking at photographs, our minds automatically compensate for the slight curvatures that occur close to the edges of the image.  When I started drawing expanded outlines on a large canvas, I found that:

  • The lens effect distortion can be very significant.
  • Correcting these distortions takes the lines away from where they are indicated on the photocopy grid lines.
  • The corrected result is a much more satisfying painting.


Both images in this blog are work-in-progress photographs of my 2015 painting taken using my smart phone. The picture with paint really shows how the lens can distort things, because the building on the right appears to be leaning away from the train at the top.  I can assure you that this is not the case on the painting.


The black and white photographs on which I base my painting serve as guide to getting the details right, but are not precise when it comes to the exact feature placement I eventually end up with.  However, due to the grid and my outlines, at least I am in the ball park and can make my adjustments accordingly.