Small canvases are the normal for me. My favorite size is 11″ x 14″. Smaller sizes are fun, too, but I need to keep design and brushwork simple. Here’s an example using two 6″ x 8″ canvas panels to challenge my creative talents. Let’s see how it goes…


To begin I needed to decide how to use these two tiny canvases together, and also, how to arrange them together to make a good composition, one of the challenges of tiny canvases. I decided I was happiest with one vertical and the second one horizontal with the bottoms aligned. OK. All set and ready to start.


STEP 1: Background – Connecting

Spring Spirits Diptych Start - abstract painting by Artist SallyE

My first step is always color selection – this time blues and greens. My urge was to connect the two pieces immediately with a diagonal swath, but with the two colors, one taking the center stripe while the other on each side. What do you think of the results?




STEP 2:  Another Background – Variety


Next I wanted to create a form using a darker color and a texture tool. I decided on a dark teal. The shape I came up with covered some of the diagonal aqua and into the lime green, creating an interesting secondary backdrop.

So far this actually feels like a larger painting because of the grouping. I sort of have a 8″ x 14″ canvas. It’s lots of fun so far.


STEP 3: Excitement, colors!

Spring Spirits Diptych Step 3, abstract paintings by Artist SallyE

Now to add a bunch of different colors with larger brushes, but contained into small spaces. It was quite a challenge. I used a very bright translucent green, a dark and a light opaque turquoise and a medium turquoise blue metallic. It was almost impossible to stop to take a photo in the middle of this flurry of strokes, so the next shot shows all of them.

Yes, it’s looking like a much larger painting, but probably because of my care to keep things simple in these very small canvas sizes. What do you think so far?


STEP 4:  Zing

I’ve decided it needs a little more emphasis on the focal area and some more zing, too. I’m going to add some metallic white. Here goes…


Spring Spirits Diptych Step 4, abstract painting by Artist SallyE

That’s the final edition. I think the white metallic added just the touch it needed. I call it “Spring Spirits.”

This little diptych is available on the Artist SallyE Store here. More photos!!


Let me know what you think in the comments below.
And please share, too.

To see more step-by-step photos of my paintings, click on the IN PROGRESS button in the menu bar, or click right here.