How to Start Painting Small?

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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?

Here are three tips on how to start painting small to get you started.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 fuelled with the knowledge of the entire painting process because you actually experienced it.

+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.

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