Monday, 19 February 2018

Art in Small Sizes

Lately I have been minimising my art in a similar way to how I have been minimising other areas of my life.  Maximising was crucial to my development and the idea of going bigger was and still is important to me, but here is no reason to play the same game or play it in the same way all of the time.  I get to make my own rules here, so at the moment, I am interested in minimising.  That currently means using a limited palette in a painting and it means using small canvases or papers.  It means using the same visual inspiration but considering it over and over.  It does not mean, in this case, anything that is attempting to recreate the actual minimalist movement in art.

The above canvases is 8x8 square and the three below are 6x6.

In all of these paintings I used the same minimal colour palette, including whatever results from mixing these colours- titanium white, yellow ochre, raw umber, golden green and pthalo blue (green shade).  I  also used my three favourite brushes. The colours are inspired by the colours that are outside my window, the blues, greens browns and off-whites of the trees, sky, mountains and sea, but also the pavement, the fences and houses of the neighbourhood.

Looking at these photos I see that I neglected to sign the smaller ones, which is quite typical of me.  I don't actually like signing my paintings but it's not because I am ashamed of them.  The reason I don't like to sign them is simply that I think my initials often ruin the picture.  The squiggle of initials in the corner doesn't always work with the image I have created and I don't want it there.  Perhaps I will take up signing the back of the canvas instead.

I have been making my doodles and other experiments small scaled as well.  These mixed media bits are in progress and destined to be greeting cards.

My small doodle book is nicely portable and also works well on days when I stay in bed.  Mind you, my love of black ink and white bedding is a bit of a poor mix.

I'm a Zentangle amateur, but I approach this as an exercise in patience as well as a pleasurable doodling experience.  I can't draw anything straight or symmetrical to save my life. The great thing about this kind of doodling is that you can come back to it and add more detail, add shading for a dimensional effect and just work on it at any pace.  The booklet is about 4x5 inches, or smaller than a pair of scissors which is perfect for carrying around with you.

I don't know if small paintings are a whim, something I will just do once in awhile or if they are my current direction.  I still like larger movements and brush strokes.  In a small space I prefer a less complicated image, so the obvious conclusion is that there are reasons to enjoy painting large and reasons to enjoy painting small just as there are reasons to enjoy variety in other areas of life.  Sometimes you feel like a nut.   Sometimes you don't.


  1. I love your scale comparison. Of course a pair of scissors is the obvious choice! :-)
    I love the flower centre zentangle. And your paintings are stunning! The blue ones are so atmospheric.
    Interesting reflections on the change of scale.
    "Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't."!!! I adore you.
    Xo Jazzy Jack

    1. LOL Aww thanks. I'm in bed a lot lately so doodles to play with are a good idea. I am quite fond of those scissors and I think they are prettier than my hand, which might have been the more obvious choice. xo

  2. NOOOO, the signature does not ruin the paintings, I think it even gives a little bit more to them, and make it all polished and complete. The idea of minimalism in your art is really a spectacular one, cause I love the result, especially the blue ones, I can see them on the wall in my living room and they'd look awesome <3

  3. I love that first painting. It makes me think of Asian art.

    I usually enjoy working with different frames, both big and small ones. It can be very interesting to try out new things. We always learn something new when we try out a new medium, a new style or a new format.

    A limited colour scheme is something I do often, it can be very liberating. I think that in some ways our brain feels relieved when we limit the options. Sometimes it is easier to work with less.

    I really like your sketches and doodles, they look very expressive and there is this 3D effect to them.

    As for the signature dilemma, I absolutely hate signing my work.


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