I did this for years. But standard formats began to cramp my style. Sometimes, a landscape would demand something other than a 9x12 (or a 3:4 format), such as a double-square (1:2) or even a triple-square (1:3). As I began to explore design, I found that I was hurting myself by sticking with the standard formats. Yet, I felt that I needed to stay standard, since any sketch might turn into a masterpiece that I'd have to frame.
But when cutting paper for standard sizes, I always seemed to end up with odd-sized scraps. I began to use these for quick little sketches outdoors. I began to really enjoy doing "scrap" paintings. The practice was liberating, because I knew I wasn't going to frame them.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped thinking about the framing altogether. I started thinking just about the painting. If, I thought, an odd-sized piece were to end up being good enough to frame, then I'd deal with it when the time came. I'd come full-circle regarding sizes.
These days, when I take my 9x12 sheet into the field, I'm likely to take a piece of tape and mask off a smaller area that fits my scene better. This always leaves me a scrap for later. Here are two sketches I did this week on a single 9x12 sheet. Neither design would work well in a 9x12 format.
By the way, we had a day of overcast and snow squalls. These were painted on that day.
|Painting Scrap 2 (2.5x11.5)|
|Painting Scrap 1 (6x11.5)|