Have you ever seen a tiny abstract painting? I had my doubts that they even existed when I started on my journey into abstract painting. Nevertheless, I bought some small artist paper to give it a whirl. Here’s the story…
Picture me at my desk, which is now covered with a plastic sheet. I’m selecting a color of paint, a paintbrush and that tiny 5x7″ paper. I spread that color on here and there, then reach for another color. And so it went until I decided it was finished. That little painting didn’t take very long to finish. Acrylic paint dries quickly and I also used a hair dryer to hurry things along.
Here it is ————–>
Was it any good?
What do you think?
By the way, can you grasp how small it is?
Next Step: Practice, practice, critique those tiny abstracts
I started another right away, the same method, different colors, different design. And, as all artists do, I decided I needed more art stuff – paints, brushes, different papers, tools, sculpting media, and even paper, stamps, beads, fabric, printed papers, pencils, and marking pens.
Here are a few more of my first tiny paintings. I was amazed at all the different directions I could go in the abstract realm. I think tiny is a fine piece of art, but I need more of them to do the job of decorating my walls.
Each of these three is 5″ x 7″ acrylic on heavy artist paper. Still decorative and should brighten up some cozy space, right?
Next, find new painting materials and surfaces.
Using the same method of learning, with each new size I started on paper, then graduated to canvas panels, then canvas, size by size. I was not too confident at the beginning my art journey, consequently my sizes increased – as I thought they must – by small increments.
Sometimes I tried new materials or methods I had seen other artists use, while other times I varied just paint – thick and thin – and various tools – palette knife, brushes of all kinds, sponges, stencils, and stamps.
My second size group was 9x12″ and some smaller sized sets. By this size painting I was having a blast doing a couple of paintings a day, almost every day. One problem I’m still having is portraying their relative size, their scale, in my photos. See what you think with this next sampling.
Landmarks by the River
Time to take a closer look and all the abstract paintings I’m producing
Am I getting better or just bigger, I ask myself. I’m hoping both. I’m finding each new size is a challenge. It’s not just a matter of adding more paint, it’s a scale of design I need to grasp.
It seems that everyone believes I need to do large paintings. I’m still trying to decide how big is big, and is it really necessary?
I became very comfortable with these and the next sizes (11x14″- 12x12″- bigger sets), and enjoyed all the papers and canvases and boards I used. Putting lots of paint on paper, however, no matter how ready for acrylics or water the paper claimed to be, produced warped and bent and curled results. I swore off paper if I planned lots of water or lots of paint. Canvas panels became my new favorite.
Here are a couple of my canvas panel favs.
Blue Energy #1
Refining my Painting Surfaces
One surface that I discovered in a set of 4 was MDF-like wood panels with a finished painting surface. This was even better than the canvas panel for staying flat in the face of lots of water and paint. There is a big difference between painting on a canvas texture and painting on slick wood, however. Sometimes I like one, and sometimes the other.
Here are some sets of paintings on art board rather that canvas panels. These are actually smaller individually than my original tiny paintings, but grouped together they are just very narrow in one direction and very wide in the other. Fun!
I finally move up to bigger than small abstracts.
Since I was getting pretty comfortable with these sizes of paintings, I thought it must be time to try larger again. I moved up to 18″x 24″ in canvas panels, art board, and eventually canvases.
This was a bigger stretch than I had imagined. The paint dried before I reached the other side of the canvas. I had trouble making the design scale to this larger area.
This has been my biggest challenge so far. I’ve redone – completely – three paintings in this size and redone parts of two others of the eight I’ve done so far. Now I’m finally having success.
I have new tools, slow-drying paint, and a larger movement of my paintbrush. I’m also developing a preference for the palette knife and thick paints. Here are a few of my newest.
This journey will continue. Who knows how big my final canvases will be. I’ll make sure you come along for the ride.
–>I’d love your comments on my journey, big abstracts vs small abstracts, and any of the paintings above. Thanks for reading!