Scale It Down–Way Down!

 Joyce Washor is all about painting small. This work shows how "big" the possibilities are if you approach your composition the right way.

Joyce Washor is all about painting small. This work shows how “big” the possibilities are if you approach your composition the right way.

Painting Small Means “Pay Day”

Do you know painters who have been working on the same painting for months? Years? Maybe you are that artist? If you want an enriched understanding of the whole process of painting, you have to change up your game if you have been plodding along before now. That’s why painting small is one of the fastest growing trends we have seen lately. Painting small allows you more freedom and ease in the studio. Instead of getting bogged down for hours upon hours, weeks and weeks, you might have a finished painting at the end of one studio session!

That means you get to go through the whole painting process a lot quicker–learning things you may never have before simply because you have gotten through the whole process. I know that my biggest self-criticism is that I have a dozen pieces I’ve started, and very few I’ve finished. Sound familiar?

Painting small is much easier if you tape your board or surface to a larger piece of cardboard so you can hold the work comfortable and with control.

Painting small is much easier if you tape your board or surface to a larger piece of cardboard so you can hold the work comfortable and with control.

But in the time it takes to do one large painting, you could have dozens. That means dozens of possible opportunities to sell your work and a whole body of work to show a gallery or exhibition space as opposed to a single image. You get to “pay day” much quicker as you sign your name and send a miniature masterpiece out the door to a waiting client or buyer, and you are fueled with the knowledge of the entire painting process because you actually experienced it.

Here are three tips on how to start painting small to get you started.

+Good paintings, especially those on small canvases that have to pack a lot onto a little, begin with good drawings. So remember your drawing to-do’s: draw through the objects you can’t see so that their hidden edges line up correctly, use a center line with objects that have identical sides so you get them matched up right, and measure one object in a composition and use its size for reference when drawing other objects.

+One of the best things you can do to render what you see as life-sized into a small format is to draw the composition as a single unit, not as individual items.Look at your still life set-ups as one big shape instead of a collection of objects, so you can draw accurate representations at any size.

+Use a viewfinder, or even two L-shaped pieces of paper, to help you see what you can fit in a small-scale painting. For an abstract art exercise, you can take your scaled down viewfinder and hover it over any reference image you have, then use that small section in your next warm-up. Taken out of context, this small image will allow you to think about color, gesture, and form much differently.

If painting small sounds right to you, then Think Big, Paint Small is our top resource recommendation bar none. You will teach yourself how to shift your mindset from maxi to mini–giving you the opportunity to paint like you have always wanted to, but with an amazing increase in output and self-knowledge based on the most important kind of painting experience–your own! Enjoy!

Courtney

 

And enjoy this adorable (as all mini things are!) infographic on 10 Ways Small Paintings Rock. Share with all your painting friends!

Painting small infographic: 10 Ways that painting small ROCKS for artists.

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