Art is a process of discovery, I’ve learned. A lot of it involves finding out what we most enjoy doing, what tools work best for us, how we can best approach our drawing and painting.
Lately, I’ve come to the somewhat surprising realization that I really enjoy working on little things. I first started using 5 x 7 canvas panels for practice exercises, and now I’m using them for occasional original paintings, as well.
The canvas panels are very inexpensive — a good thing for a practicing artist who is trying lots of new ideas — and for me, it’s easier to visualize the complete painting as I’m working. I don’t have to step back from the easel quite so far or quite so often.
Here are a few of the little things I’ve painted in the last few weeks:
A Glimmer of Light – Mingo Swamp
Study of Tree in Warm Light
As I painted each of these, I thought of the practice tip I read and shared several months ago about keeping our art small as we are learning. I didn’t completely agree with that tip, and I’m still not sure if I advocate keeping everything to a smaller scale when we begin drawing and painting.
Surprisingly, though, as I gain more experience, I find myself becoming more comfortable with making small paintings. I enjoy working on my little 5 x 7 panels, as well as 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 12 x 16 panels. I’ve done larger paintings, but I think those bigger canvases are a bit intimidating.
What are your thoughts? Do you find it easier to work on large scale drawings and paintings? Or do you prefer the smaller sizes? Have you done any tiny paintings or miniatures?
I can’t imagine doing anything smaller than 5 x 7, but I’m sure it would be interesting to try. And, of course, from time to time, I will get big and bold and use a large canvas, but for now, I’m going to keep working on my little things. Not too big. Not too small. Just right for me.