"Spring Bunny" 2009, 3.5" x 2.5" India Ink, Colored Pencil, and White Acrylic
For the last six years I've been painting in a very small size format (2.5" x 3.5") known as ACEO. However, I haven't always painted in miniature! When my studio was larger and my children were smaller, I created paintings of a substantial size, usually several square feet. I believe that both small and large works of art have their advantages and disadvantages. In this post I'll describe some of the pros and cons of a painting's dimension.
"Sherwood Courthouse" 22"x30" Watercolor 1991 (above)
The Pros and Cons Of Painting Large:
Large usually gains more respect.
I've found that people (and galleries) tend to see bigger as better in art. For the most part, buyers have an easier time justifying a sizable investment in a work of art, if the work of art is large.
Large usually sells for a higher price.
Large is more conducive to a loose style of painting.
Many artists enjoy painting with big- loose brushstrokes and a spontaneous style. This is quite difficult on a canvas that is only inches square!
Shipping large art is challenging.
Sending a large canvas across the country or over seas is expensive and complicated. Sometimes an artist will not sell outside of the US or ship out of the country because of the cost and hassle of packing a big painting.
"Tufted Titmouse" 2009, 5x5" Watercolor (above)
The Pros and Cons Of Painting Small:
Small is quicker.
The tiny dimensions of an ACEO lend themselves to a quick turnaround for a painting. Even with the tremendous detail that I love in my work, I can usually finish a miniature piece in a few days.
Small (sometimes) has less emotional investment.
When I've completed a tiny work of art, its not always up to my satisfaction. However, if the painting is a tiny ACEO that I've invested just a few days in, I can let it go even if when I'm unhappy it. On the other hand, when a very large painting (that I have spent many months on) fails to meet my standards, its a huge disappointment.
Small art requires little work space.
In a house filled with energetic teenagers and located in a beautiful (though expensive) part of the country, there is little room for a large studio space. I've been able to carve out a VERY small corner of our home to use as my current studio. My entire workspace can be quickly dismantled and packed into a basket if necessary. Painting in miniature lends itself beautifully to a diminutive work space.
Small art is more affordable:
ACEO are most famous for being affordable to the general public. That is a real advantage, especially in a tight economy. Anyone can afford original art when its just a few inches square!
Small art is easier to ship:
I love that my miniature art can be shipped anywhere in the world for just a few dollars! They are so small that I ship my ACEOs in a regular invitation size envelope.
Finally, I have a more satisfying relationship with my small art. I love that I can "pour myself into" a small painting and finish it before I become uninspired or lose momentum. Perhaps someday when my children have gone out into the world, and our need for this big house is gone...I'll have an expansive, quiet studio which holds large colorful paintings as well as tiny works of art.
"Monhegan Island Inn" 22" x 30" Watercolor 2002 (above)