Canvas Art: Horizon Lines

In the Arts community there are certain terms that are used for determining where painting will take place.  A term that I love hearing from fellow artists is “Horizon Line”.  When I first heard this term, I immediately thought of a sunrise over a nondescript beach setting.  I knew that it was incorrect but I had no idea what the term meant so naturally, I Googled it!  For my fellow lay artists that are new the world of Fine Art and painting on canvas allow me to help you become familiar with one of the most important terms you will use throughout your career.

The Horizon Line means “eye-level” or as’s puts it:

In ‘real life’, the horizon is where the land (or sea) and sky meet. In painting perspective, it’s the level your eyes are at, an imaginary line to which things recede. It’s important to know where it is if you’re painting a realistic scene, and it needs to be put in straight, as you need to apply perspective rules to the objects in relation to this.

Seems pretty cut and dry, right?  That’s because it is!

Just know this term and how it relates to your relationship with canvas can help you determine the amount of canvas you will need to complete projects and commissions!  Think about it: Once you’ve determined your horizon line, or eye-level perspective, for a landscape painting that features a barn and a roost of chickens you’re halfway done with your creation… you just have to paint it!

Horizon lines are also important because they aide you in deciding the size and shape of the canvas you will need to purchase to make a certain idea work.  For example, you may be commissioned to paint a portrait of a client’s child or parent.  For this type of painting, a canvas size of 18″w x 24″ h would be a good start.  Knowing this size will help you determine where the horizon line needs to be for the portrait.

Horizon lines also come in handy when explaining abstract artwork to clients and individuals the love you but may not necessarily understand your art!  I’ve found that by helping those individuals that are unaccustomed to viewing some of my own abstract artistry to focus on the eye-level starting point of my work, they’ve developed a firmer grasp on what I’ve been painting all of these years.

In a nutshell, that is how the Horizon Line can help you as a canvas artist save yourself more time for creativity and less time priming for a canvas purchase.

Until next time, stay informed by keeping a bookmark on’s Blog!

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