Sight-Size method

Reynolds “… took quite a quantity of exercise while he painted, for he continually walked backward and forward. His plan was to walk away several feet, then take a long look at me and the picture as we stood side by side, then rush up to the portrait and dash at it in a kind of fury. I sometimes thought he would make a mistake, and paint on me instead of the picture.”

Lady Elizabeth Compton, Countess of Burlington (1761-1824)

At Barcelona Academy of Art we use, in some of our classes, the naturalistic observation method called Sight-Size.

baa-sight-size method

This method is based on the idea that the size you see the subject is the size you draw by comparing work and real model, hence the name of the method. The objective is to recreate the size of the original object and train the eye so it can eventually see the differences between the real model and the representation without using any external measuring elements.

Students progress through a series of exercises that include drawing with crayonsdrawing and painting plaster moldsdrawing and painting natural model, and still life. The method requires students to complete each task until the instructor’s approves to move to the next (systematic learning).

The Sight-Size is a method to give life to images with a special sensitivity, true to life, which is especially useful in the representation of portraits and figurative works.

El método sight-size


  • Be able to represent a realistic image to a paper or canvas without using any mechanical measuring elements.
  • Train the eye to be able to appreciate the differences between the model and its representation without using external measuring elements.

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