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Big Art, Small Art

May 30, 2010

why make small artWhat size do you typically work in? Do you always work in the same size, or do you change it up? How do you decide what size you want to work? Do you work in a size that’s comfortable?

Personally, I like a lot of variety when it comes to sized.

Going between big art and small art helps the creative juices flow. It sparks new ideas and allows you to see links and parallels between the works that can lead to a deeper understanding of your own art.

 

Small Art

Lots of artists do small art in the form of studies. Working small allows you to work very quickly. It only takes a few brushstrokes to cover your surface, so it is easier to work spontaneously and expressively. Small art often captures a sense of energy and movement.

Also, because you have less room, it is necessary to “edit” or simplify your subject matter in order to fit it all. Working small doesn’t always mean working with small tools. It can be an interesting challenge to do a small painting with a regular-sized paint brush.

 

Big Art

Big art has its own set of challenges and advantages. The challenge can be filling up all the space. It takes much longer and because of that, it can be difficult to maintain the spontaneity of brushstroke in smaller works.

On the other hand, big art can open up new possibilities, giving you more space to let loose and get expressive. This is especially true if you’re used to working on a smaller scale. Going big can be very liberating!

 

Variety in Art

Changing things up in your art practice is so important. Moving between subjects, mediums and size are great ways to generate new ideas. The act of re-interpreting your style and finding different ways to express yourself not only enriches your experience as an artist but keeps you from stagnating.

 

On Comfort

If you’re at a point in your art career where you feel comfortable, you need to change something! Art isn’t about comfort, it’s about presenting yourself with new challenges and finding ways to overcome them.

If you always work on the same size canvas because it’s comfortable and practical, find a way to change it up. Always working the same way will almost always produce the same kind of work.

 

PS: Only a few more days to win a tote bag loaded with free art supplies!

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From → Creativity

2 Comments
  1. Funny, I was just thinking about this the other day and I was wondering if other artists change sizes as much as I do! My recent sets of paintings range from 4×6 to 16×20. Most settle somewhere around 9×12 (not too big, not too small). It seems like the sketch knows what size to be, I rarely start one size and then realize it needs to be bigger or smaller.

    • At least I’m not the only one! Having a body of works all the same size is one way to tie an exhibition together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with other sizes on the side!

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