4 Reasons to Make Multiple Canvas Paintings (Diptychs, Triptychs, etc)

Published on Dec. 4th 2008

I don’t know why, but there’s something very appealing about a painting done on more than one canvas. You’ve seen them before. . . the most common types of multiple-canvas paintings are diptychs (two-canvas paintings) or triptychs (three-canvas paintings). With four canvases you’d call it a quadtych, and so on.

If you take a look at a traditional diptych or triptych, you’ll see that it’s not just a series of images that go together—instead, a single composition stretches out over each of the canvases, creating one painting out of many smaller parts.

Because of that, framing each canvas individually is not really an option. Multiple canvas paintings should be painted on professional-quality gallery wrap canvas, and hung close together when finished.

So why would you want to paint on multiples? Here are four reasons I’ve discovered:

1. More canvases add more interest

One advantage of painting on multiples is that a relatively mundane subject, (such as a bouquet of flowers) can take on a whole new dimension.

Poppy Garden 2

Poppy Garden II, above, is one of my triptychs of flowers. The end result is much more dynamic and interesting than a single-canvas painting would have been.

2. Multiple canvases make transportation easier

If you’re in the habit of painting large works (abstracts, in particular) then one of the most obvious advantages to multiple canvas painting is the ease of transportation.

Grand Canyon, 06608

At four feet by four feet, this piece certainly would have been a good choice for a multi-canvas painting.

3. You can get great deals buying multiple canvases.

Art supply manufacturers are always trying to sell canvas multipacks. For example, I recently did a painting on four 9 inch museum wrap canvases from Dick Blick.

Poppy Profusion, black

Not only is it cheaper to buy several canvases at once, but the four panel presentation makes a dramatic, contemporary statement on the wall.

4. Multiple canvases will spark your creativity.

Single canvas paintings are run-of-the-mill. Try something bizarre with your next painting, like this self-portrait I recently completed on nine 4″x4″ mini canvases.

Self Portrait, picasso

As you can see, mini-canvases can be rearranged like a puzzle. My favorite arrangement was the Picasso-inspired portrait above.

If you’ve never painted a diptych or triptych, I’d encourage you to try it out. Or, get a lot of mini-canvases and really go wild. Once you do, however, don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to return to the single-canvas lifestyle!

To see more of Carol Nelson’s paintings, please visit www.CarolNelsonFineart.com

Did you like this article? Share it!
Then check out the related posts below.
I am an artist who has been supporting myself and my children selling my paintings online for 10 years. Over that time, I've sold more than 2000 paintings to patrons all over the world. But I kept running into the same problem. . . how do you ship large paintings without paying an arm and a le. . . read more
What brand of canvas do you buy? Do you buy pre-stretched canvas? Pre-primed? Do you make your own canvases? Beginning painters often buy cheap art canvases at arts and crafts stores just to save money. But once you've been painting a while, you will get to the point where the quality of your. . . read more
Today I'm going to take you through the process that I use to make my canvases. As I've mentioned in an earlier article on improving compositions, choosing the correct size and crop of your artwork is extremely important. If you're a painter, the only way to really do that is to stretch your o. . . read more
If you paint on canvas—either in acrylics, oils, or watercolor—you've probably noticed that your unframed paintings look much better from the front than they do from the side. Anytime you catch a glimpse of those raw canvas edges, they look startlingly white against the painted front. Worse ye. . . read more
Minimalism - A canvas painted with two colors of black. Simple shapes. No brushstrokes and no emotion. I often assume that art takes passion, but then I wonder. . .is there any here? It’s hard to say. But if Minimalism lacks passion, it at least has a reason for it. The idea of Minimalism came. . . read more
Stay current.
Subscribe to EmptyEasel's free weekly newsletter for artists. Sign up today!
Art Contests
More art contests. . .
EE Writers
Cassie Rief Niki Hilsabeck Brandi Bowman Michelle Morris Lisa Orgler Adriana Guidi Carrie Lewis Aletta de Wal

If you'd like to write for EmptyEasel, let us know!

We love publishing reader-submitted art tutorials, stories, and even reviews.Submit yours here!