Advantages of working small

 This blog was initiated by a number of events that all seemed to have happened at the same time. The Sedona Arts Center was having a miniature show and in doing reasearch for the show (which I had never participated in because I have never painted that small – 5 x 7 inches) I discovered the online phenomenon of ‘a painting a day’ painters. Here I saw some work that made me think I should indeed try my hand at some ‘miniatures’ or small work. Also prior to this a well-known plein air painter and workshop instructor, John Budicin had said to his students which included me, “…the one piece of advice that I would give to improve your paintings is to paint smaller…do one-hundred 6 x 8 paintings.’ 

 At the time this was certainly not what I wanted to hear. Though he is master of small plein air work I had never even tried to work that size.

As soon as I got around to it though, through the nudging of the various synchronic events, I was amazed to discover that it has numerous worthy qualities. I soon invented lots of very good reasons I should do more of this type of painting.

It is more like makeing a drawing, i.e. more organic and grounded than the grand(iose) effort at making larger paintings. Larger paintings are very demanding yes, but more importantly here, for me,  is that they are vulnerable to a lot of conceptualization, critique, mental exploration  of possibilies. All this together could be called intellectual/artistic daydreaming that occurs inbetween ‘sessions’. Thus the ‘one session’ painting  grounds that whole judgement – conceptualization of what it all means and the endless sense of possibility and even daydreaming-drama of larger paintings and reduces it to a direct action which I associate with drawing.

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3 comments on “Advantages of working small

  1. I love your work! I actually looked at your videos on youtube today and then followed you here to see more of your small paintings. You are an inspiration to me, living and working as a painter in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. I have an MFA (painting) from FSU and currently living in Istanbul teaching English..and gasp, not painting…..and trying to get back on track. I think the painting a day is a good way to get started. If you have any other inspirational tips please let me know. Thanks for sharing your talent.

  2. Mr. Fasio, I agree with the merits of working small. When painting this way everything unfolds right in front of you and rather quickly. You know right away how things are going and can make adjustments accordingly. Many of the great painters worked small as you know, but with great impact in doing so. Vermeer’s “Girl With The Red Hat”, one of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen is approximately 10″ x10″ in. And Corot painting many small field paintings as well as did Seurat. Someone said “quantity leads to quality”. And painting small gets you there sooner.

  3. Hi Vince,
    I too came across one of your YouTube videos and followed you here because it was by far the most original and non cliched painting technique. I really like your work a lot, it is full of light and drama. Do you work from photos or plain air or both? If you do work from a photo, how do you approach it?

    I am an artist living and working in Melbourne, Australia and predominantly use watercolor. When I can I paint on site but sometimes I work from a mix of drawings and photos. I love the idea of working small and finishing the work in one sitting.

    if you would like to see some of my work go to http://www.davidhurwitz.com.au

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