Feb 11, 2016

Working Really Really Small?!! - Art Tips & Techniques


Have you every tried it?
Working Small?
I mean small. 

  Not a small painting but a miniature - 3 x 4 inches or less!
FEELING THE EDGE - 3.5 X 2.5- Ink & Watercolour

You big 3 foot by 4 foot painting artists may think I am crazy but I do love small things and I enjoy painting miniatures.  It really is a different kind of art.  It invites you to come closer and look carefully.  Get right into the art.

Painting a miniature is like every part of the creative process, it has its own materials and techniques. Some artists paint in oil and acrylic but I love watercolour.  My favourite is watercolour with ink work.
GATHERING ON THE EDGE - 2.5 x 3.5 - Ink & Watercolour

For mix media projects like mine, I find Arches 140 lb hot press paper works really well.  The ink flows nicely and doesn't bleed. I like a crisp line with my ink.  The watercolour works well on this paper but it does behave differently than when working with cold press paper.  I find it really grabs the pigment when I do wet onto dry.  However, it does allow for lots of neat blending of colours with the wet on dry process.  Check out the detail on the wing of my eagle in Watching the Edge.

Wing Detail from WATCHING THE EDGE - Ink & Watercolour (Full picture below) Pretty neat eh?! When you consider that whole eagle is no bigger than a loonie.  (Canadian slang for a 1 dollar coin)

One thing I do find with miniatures is that a magnifier is verrrrrrrry useful.  I don't use it all the time but painting the claws, eyes and beaks on these tiny birds is exacting.  A magnifying glass is good to have. This little one pictured here comes with an adjustable stand and light.  It also has a smaller circle inside the glass for even greater magnification.  

My set up - note the magnifying glass has a light that can be set to shine onto your work.  For an eagle's eye you need all the help you can get!!

To do my ink work I use the Micron Pigma pens - 005 & 01.  They have  a nice flow, are archival, dry quickly and will not smear when watercolour is applied.  If I want to go back later and add more detail they work well on top of the watercolour as well. 

My favourite brushes

I have a selection of brushes that I like to use with my minis.  These are my favourite right now.  From Left to Right:  
-18/0 Liner by Comell - It is wonderful for those tiny special strokes (from Micheals)
- Expression Series Robert Simmons, I have 3 from this series, nice to hold,  there is a Flat Shader, Liner, and Spotter
- No. 8 Chisel Blender- Simply Simmom, I use this for scrubbing and lifting pigment.  It does a great job without damaging the fibers of the paper too much
-No. 3 Cotman round.  Good for the larger areas (Yes, there are larger areas)
- No 4 & No 2 Jack Richeson Series 7130. These are new brushes that came with my new Jack Richeson Field kit.  They are great little brushes and again, very good for the larger areas.

Some of the issues with brushes is having a brush that carries enough paint to work with and has good water control.  Too much water and not enough water are still problems no matter what size the picture is!

The two miniatures Feeling the Edge and Gathering on the Edge  are headed for the International Miniature Art Biennale 2016 happening in Ville-Marie, Quebec, Canada.  It runs June 3 - September 18, 2016.  It is a contemporary art show so I thought it was a good place for my tangled forest theme with my eagles.  My tangled forest theme is about adapting to change and hope for the future.  As habitats are changing for mankind and the animal world change is the order of the day.  My eagles have adapted and are finding new ways to live in their strange new world.

WATCHING THE EDGE -  2.5 x 4.25 - Ink & Watercolour

This third picture Watching the Edge was not able to go to the Biennale as it is too big!!  4 Inches is the maximum for any side. So that little .25 inch needed to be shaved.  I just couldn't do it! So he stays with me.  I love the picture but it did mean quickly coming up with a second picture. Next time I will be a little more meticulous in reading the requirements for the show!!

Special Note: There are only 2 spots left in my all day Marketing Workshops running this month. Sunday, Feb 21 - FULL, Sunday, Feb. 28 - 2 Spots left.  This workshop is only offered in February each year.  More information

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Have a great artful day,


Brenda Hill CDM said...

A new direction for your minis, I love them!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks. I must admit that ink work took a ton of time but I really love the way it bends and folds around a shape. The shadows really bring it out and the colour is just for the fun of it!

Rod Winning said...

Thanks for posting your work and your blogs. Because of your blog on Zentangles I started to do small pen ink drawings and coloured them with WC although I did start to cheat and used coloured pencils too maybe because my wife started to do the Adult Colouring Book thing and the pencils were just there. Everyone likes my Wisdom Series, which is just my coloured drawings with motivational words below. I just love what you're doing with the Eagles and your small painting series. It really works for me because we moved from a House to a Condo and I just don't have the space to set up a studio for Painting. Thank you again. Good luck with the Quebec show. You're a winner already.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Hi Rod, thank you for your comments. I am thrilled that my work has inspired you. Your Wisdom Series sounds very interesting. You might also try felt pens with your tangles, they give bright crisp colours which I enjoy as well.