What Makes A Painting Work Art Blog
The current popularity of artist cards may be a part of a culture that is seeing smaller as better after a "super-size me" in everything from foods to cars to houses. Or it may simply be a continuing love of things miniature which goes back to ancient times and perhaps to prehistoric times. Think tiny golden Celtic horses, animals scratched on walls, images on pots, even before the invention of paper. Illuminated manuscripts featured gorgeous miniature scenes surrounding those brilliant letters that lead into a reading. Samuel F. B. Morse is famous in this internet age for his invention of the telegraph, the first worldwide near-instantaneous communication. In his own time he was also known as a painter of miniature portraits. Small works clearly have a past and a continuing appeal.
The 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch format has its own special demands. Some of the most attractive are well designed to draw the eye from a distance. This is done by simplifying form, using high contrast, and an economy of subject matter: abstracts with a few well placed shapes, a single readily identifiable object, or a simple layered landscape. Color choices will be a limited palette and high contrast. These paintings (or drawings) invite framing. They can be framed closely in a tiny frame for shelf display, but they can also look dramatic with a complementary backing paper, then mattered and framed at any size from 5 inches by 7 inches on up. The work is given added importance framed in a large mat with a small window.
Other paintings in the trading card size are created to be viewed up close on the pages of an album or held in a hand. This is a chance to dazzle with tiny detail. Fine point pens, the smallest of paint brushes, or whisper small bits of collage paper come into play. If these works are framed they will be in very small frames and placed in locations that invite the viewer to move in close. Click on Caroline's Gallery and go to my "Delight in Detail" collection to see tiny coffee cups presented quite differently fromthe one shown here.
Even if you love to work large, you may enjoy giving these small works a try. Even if you are known for your large paintings and want to remain in an area where you have developed a customer base, these "thumbnails" offer a way for artists to share there work with other artists. Art trades, too, are a time-honored tradition.