Small does not mean diminshed intrigue or impact. A good small painting reads big. I remember that in the Denver Art Museum that you could see the Georgia O’Keefe small painting from across a vast room, before we could even identify it as hers. It just shone. I’ve been working on larger pieces for a while now. It’s an interesting lesson: large is NOT small scaled up somehow. The dimension changes meaning. This one will be on display this Saturday.
Confession: the very small works are often traces of projects that lead to larger works for me. My own sense of detail is not robust; I prefer the BIG. Even my handwriting is large and scrawling. I like to work small on paper– it feels more open and free. But sometimes I do “smaller” canvases: 10″ x 10″ is one of the smallest. I like mixed media on smaller canvases to make more of an impact. Everything is small-ized now. Just think of your Iphone and Ipad.
Small can be very expressive. I did the piece above when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to make a response that expressed sacrifice and rebirth as his living spirit started to transition. The Little Sun Cow below was just pure play and joy. We all have our art totems. Cosmic and regular cows are mine.
One artist who has a great sense of the small is Susan Cornelis. You can see her latest cool “fossil” smalls here. Come visit me this Saturday, or, better yet, start your own small series. Small can lead to big things. Surprise yourself!