Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Five New Small Works for Annual Small Paintings Exhibit".

"Waiting on a Fare", 8x6 oil on linen

These five new paintings are headed to Travis Gallery for their "Annual Small Paintings Exhibit", Nov, 30th thru Dec, 22nd, 2013,  215-794-3903. I usually do these small paintings as studies for larger pieces, but sometimes I feel they hold up as finished pieces....although small and usually only appropriate for small works shows, like this one. 

The interesting thing about doing paintings this small is the need to simplify.  It forces me to get the essence of what is there with economy of brush work, and encourages suggestion and indication of the subject....rather than using elaborate rendering.  I have been doing this for a long time, but I am always trying to learn how to improve my methods of expressing myself with paint. This is how I prefer to describe the subjects in my  paintings.  The challenge and trick for me, is to get the same simplification in larger works without going to far.  I feel there is magic line where one can over simplify to the point that it is no longer interesting for me.  I personally want to see more suggested detail.....indication of the tactile quality of a surface, etc.  Sometimes over simplification does not satisfy that.  It is not an easy thing to my opinion, but certainly a worthwhile pursuit, and not necessarily something all artists might be interested in....or concerned with.
"The Green Tractor", 6x8 oil on linen

"Autumn Gold", 9x12 oil on linen

"Mary's Place", 9x12 oil on linen

"Nice Toss", 6x8 oil on linen

Another possible issue with working small, as it relates to Galleries, is the pricing aspect.  Gallery wall space is very we all know...and Galleries might prefer larger, more substantially priced paintings in general for display on their walls.  I'm sure that is not a universal attitude, but I certainly understand galleries that might feel that, thankfully some galleries still have these annual small works shows,holiday events with small works, etc.  There are always outlets for these size works.  These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect any universal attitudes on this subject.  Until next time, thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings! 


  1. Such wonderful paintings! But do you find your strokes are tighter with this size? I am trying to loosen my brushstrokes, with a small size painting you need to be more careful to make correct placement. Do you use small brushes as well? Thank you for any advice!

    1. Judy, thanks for the comment. I find that working small forces me to make economical brush strokes, and indicate and suggest...rather than render. These small paintings often require such small pieces of paint of the correct size, shape and value, that rendering is virtually impossible.....for me. Elaborate rendering is not a method that I embrace anyway! As I said in the blog post, the trick is to keep that same feeling in a larger composition. Brushes....I use mostly flats and not very tiny bushes. What I find useful is a brush that will come to a nice point. A flat can make three marks....a line, a wide stroke, and the corner can make another small, it is a useful brush for me. Of course, all my flat eventually turn into filberts because I use the side of my brush a lot. I hope that answers your question. I think each of us has to find the best way for ourselves to apply certainly can be useful to watch someone do something that you might not have thought of....I think experimentation is the best solution. Discovering it for yourself.

    2. Thank you Hodges! I've always done drawing, where precision and placement is so exacting; it's a whole different mind-set to 'indicate' with broader strokes. But I do think that's the way to a better painting. I'll keep at it!