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Technical Notes on Fine Art Painting

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Article:  The Root of 2

The subject of this painting is very asymetric. Her head is bent down but her eyes are looking up.  It is a three quarter view and her head is tilted, the torso leaning back.  I thought it better that I should introduce a bit of internal organization by establishing a geometric relationship between the width and the height of the canvas while squarely placing the head and shoulders within the top square of the canvas.

The Root of 2 is 1.414.  An approximation of 17:12 was used by the stone masons who built the great cathedrals of Europe. The 7:5 ratio is close at 1.4 and very common.   By extending a line from either of the top corners, diagonally across to the opposing corner of the square we get a length which will become the height of the canvas.

Pythagora’s Theorem (born  570BCE) states that in our unit square (where all sides are 1 unit in length) the diagonal length = the square root of the sum of the squares of each side. That is, the diagonal line length= root of (1+1).   This can be applied to other canvas sizes.  In my inventory, I have canvases built with proportions based on Root 2, Root 3, Root 5, Root 6 and Root 7 which can also be geometrically determined but by more elaborate means.

Below is a diagram illustrating the proportions of width and height of a painting I had presented at the Edmonton Art Club on May 12 2016. As soon as I uttered the words, “Root 2” I was met with a lot of blank looks.  I trust the explanation I have provided here will be adequate.  The illustration below shows only the colourized cartoon, a very preliminary stage of the underpainting for a work titled, "Venezia”.

The painting is now complete and has been framed.  Due to its resemblance with some Renaissance portraiture (maybe the blingy shawl lined with fur) I gave it the Italian name for Venice and yes, I have been through that city's back alleys, gloomy churches and sewage laden canals. The place has never recovered after Napoleon (Bony) broke it up and gave away the pieces.

The finished painting is remarkable to look at, but an expensive proposition to buy.