Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Series - Thinking Small

3x3 inches acrylic on Tyvek synthetic paper

As much as I have been enjoying working with collage, I am setting that aside for a couple weeks to work on a series of small paintings for a show of miniature art in Door County.  None of the paintings, drawings, or wee prints will be more than 25 square inches.  I had requested information about the annual show last year, hadn't heard anything for months and months, then got a nicely organized packet of material at the beginning of March.  So, I found myself painting on  4x4 inch scraps of Tyvek, and using techniques I usually save for larger paintings.  This first try was painted from a photo I clipped from a source I no longer remember.  I liked the girls' body language, and their simple shapes, important when working so small. I didn't even try to add details on their suits, or even details of their faces.

3x3 inches, acrylic on Tyvek

This one was adapted from a black and white snapshot I had of my mother and aunt, probably taken about 1940.  Again, I avoided trying to create an actual portrait, instead concentrating on making simple shapes, suggesting autumn with my color choices.  I also worked to have the girls be the obvious center of interest, their faces framed by the ropes of the swing, the strongest colors reserved for them.

3x3 inches, acrylic on Tyvek

This is the painting I finished today.  The girl was cropped from a photo I took on a trip to Punta Cana.  It is becoming very clear to me that the simpler the shapes, the better these little paintings are.  I took the trouble to make a little value study first, concentrating on getting a good range of values.  Once I transfer the sketch to the Tyvek, which I coat with gesso first, then I do a an under painting of complementary colors - very gaudy.  After that I go back and put in the local color, leaving bits of the complementary colors peeking through for added punch. 

I'm excited by this project of miniature paintings, having fun choosing reference material from my trip photos and family stash.  I may do one of my brother-in-law's uncles ice fishing, but I'm not sure I can leave these sunny scenes for a day on a frozen lake - even in paint.


Helen Shideler said...

These are wonderful - really enjoy them

Barbara said...

I love the feel of these and the fact that they ARE vague. I can see my OWN aunt & mom in that one on the swing. Very nice - good for you!!!