As I have worked on Art After, my series of little 5x7" paintings, I have come to value the art of working small. It is a freeing, refreshing, boundary pushing exercise that has completely changed my art practice and I think it will change yours! Here are three reasons why painting tiny is amazing...and why you should totally try it.
Reason No. 1, it's PRACTICAL. If you are like me, and limited on space, you don't have the capacity to store dozens of giant panels/canvases, but you could easily store hundreds of small panels in a small box in your cupboard. I know, because that's what I do:) They are portable. Throw a small paper, panel, or canvas into your bag with a few pens or markers and take it with you to the park, or the waiting room of a doctor's office. They also go pretty easy on your supplies...It uses very little paint to cover a 5x7" panel or paper.
Reason No. 2, it's LESS INTIMIDATING than a giant, blank canvas. So many people talk about being freaked out by the huge, white canvas waiting for them...they practically dread making the first mark. It's like the stakes are just too high. But a tiny little paper or panel takes the pressure off, and gives you the confidence to just get to work. Even Post-it notes could make an incredible little surface to start testing out new ideas. If you are someone that hasn't painted in a long time, or has never painted, this is especially helpful. We can fill our days with a million excuses as to why we can't 'get into the studio'. Working small eliminates so many of those excuses and allows you to fill your day with millions of little artworks instead. Okay, maybe dozens, but you get the idea. And the fact that you can finish an entire piece in one sitting, gives you a sense of accomplishment and the desire to paint again and again!
Reason No. 3, and my personal favorite, working small allows you to EXPLORE an endless galaxy of inspiration. I sometimes say that I have creative ADD because I get excited and inspired by everything! I love patterns, and vintage fashion, and weird plants, and antiques, and cool rooftops, and beautiful sunsets, and mundane objects...I want to paint them all! But I also understand the benefit of working on a series of consistent work, and pushing a single idea as far as it can go. So I decided to do both. As I work on my large trees, I also have these tiny paintings to turn to when I need a break. When I need something new. When I see sparkly, snow-covered mountain tops against a purple sky and I know that I MUST paint them immediately, I can:) Working tiny gives you a sense of recklessness...which, in art, is a magical thing! You will lose your reservations and push your limits because you realize there is nothing to lose. These experiments will delve into your creative reserves and unearth those little gems that you have been hiding away. These little gems will eventually work their way into your larger pieces and breathe new life into them. Obviously, the fact that I only work on these little pieces until I get interrupted makes it a whole different ballgame...but more on that another day:)
You have absolutely nothing to lose! Go grab a stack of Post-it notes and discover what you have been hiding away;)