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Old 01-01-2005, 07:22 AM
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Arrow January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness! Backup

Miniature Madness, Part I--Introduction

Welcome to the January Acrylics Classroom, where Miniature Madness reigns! During the month of January, I hope that many of our Acrylics forum members will explore the wonderful world of miniature art. It is not my intention to have this be a read-only thread providing just demos and advice, but rather to have the entire forum be involved in a hands-on, interactive painting experience. Please post your work here so that we can all be inspired by everybodyís contributions!

How small are miniature paintings? Different societies have different regulations. Maximum size is generally about 16 square inches, which would be a 4x4Ē painting. So, we should think of staying in that range to really understand what ďminiatureĒ means, and experience what that feels like as a painter, and what it looks like as a viewer. Many of us paint 5x7 and think of that size as small, but at 35 square inches, you can see that is over twice the size of a true miniature. Miniature is smaller than small!

This painting is 2x3", on prepared hardboard, shown with my brush cup (courtesy of my daughter when she was 5 ) and a quarter for size reference. (Painting is sold.)


Here it is alone. This image is likely considerably larger on your screen than the actual painting!


I will also ask members with a lot of experience in miniature art to feel free to contribute your knowledge and suggestions as well. I plan to offer numerous demos and considerable information, but also encourage others to do the same and add to this thread. My own personal style is looser than what many miniature artists do who show their work in miniature shows, where the style is expected to contain a high amount of detail. I hope you will all have fun exploring different styles and subjects while creating miniature art.

3x5 (matted to 5x7), on Arches hot press watercolor paper. (Painting is sold.)


Jamie

Last edited by JamieWG : 01-01-2005 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:45 AM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Part 2
Why paint miniatures?
  • Some enjoy them as a relaxing break from painting large-scale works.
  • Painting minis in a loose style takes less time, few materials, and provides the artist with inexpensive works for sale.
  • Those who enter miniature shows love the attention to detail that the show style requires.
  • Minis can be used as color and composition studies, to work out some ideas for large-scale paintings.
  • Minis are convenient to do while traveling or painting plein air, or even sitting in the car!
  • Art Trading Cards (ATCs) are mini-sized at 2.5x3.5", and a fun way to share art with friends here on Wetcanvas. You can read more about ATCs here.
  • Minis are easy to store in your studio!
  • Minis provide a beautiful small display in a gallery or on a table in your home.
  • All art buyers have a place for a mini.
  • Minis make wonderful gift items around the holidays and donations to charity auctions.

As you paint them, youíll find many reasons to fall in love with them.

Caution: Miniature art is highly addictive. There is no known antidote.

You may also want to visit this thread in the Site Discussions forum, where there is an enormous amount of useful information, and beautiful miniature work shown:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174749

Here are some other useful links for you:
World Federation of Miniaturists
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist
Miniature Art Societies Around the World
Hilliard Society of Miniaturists
Miniature Art Society of Florida
Royal Miniature Society

Some book resources:
The Techniques of Painting Miniatures, by Sue Burton
How to Paint Miniatures, by Robert Hughes & Elizabeth Johnson
Miniature Painting: A Complete Guide to Techniques, Mediums, and Surfaces, by Joan Cornish Willies
Painting Miniatures, by Elizabeth Davys Wood

Last edited by JamieWG : 01-01-2005 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:53 AM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Part 3---Frames
I donít want to spend too much time ďtalkingĒ this month. Letís get painting! Iíll discuss more about miniature art tomorrow and as we go along. Iím sure youíre eager to get those brushes out! With that in mind, there are three things you need to do first:
  • Buy frames
  • Prepare your support
  • Select your reference/subject

Through the rest of the weekend, I would like give you all a couple of days to get out and find frames, and prepare your painting surfaces. This post will deal with the framing issues.

Miniature artists who do highly detailed work, which sells for a lot of money, often have specially made frames for those fine works of art. Of course, that raises the selling price of the work by necessity, and also increases the price for the artist. Personally, I use the minis as my ďentry levelĒ work for buyers; they are the least expensive paintings I exhibit. Therefore, I donít put lots of money into framing.

I have at least 25 panels all cut, sealed, and primed that Iíve never found frames for. Now I always buy the frames first and then prepare supports, having learned the hard way. I pick up small frames on sale wherever I can find them. Favorite haunts for frame shopping are Michaels Arts and Crafts, Christmas Tree Shops, Costco, AC Moore, craft stores, and anyplace thatís having a sale. January is a big sale month, so go out and pick up some frames! Iíve found that often, Christmas prints will be reduced to 75% off in January sales. I buy them for the frames and toss the prints if I see frames I like. You can also paint or gold leaf your frames. Itís still easier than building them from scratch! The frames in my first post on this thread were all under $4 each.

Here's a sampling of frames I've purchased for less than $4, whenever and wherever I found them. They range in size from openings of 2x3", to 5x7" openings (which I'll use with mats for miniatures).


If you like to paint on watercolor paper and mat your work, look for frames that have pre-cut mats included. Frames that are 5x7 can sometimes be found with mats with a 3x5 opening---perfect for minis! When I find those, I buy a LOT of them.

There are frames that are standard 2.5x3.5 size, or 2x3Ē. This is one of my favorite sizes. Often the frames that say 2x3 actually take a panel 2.5x3.5Ē, but the visible portion of the opening is 2x3. It would require a panel 2.5x3.5. This is why itís best to buy the frame first, and then cut your support to fit.

I try to find mini frames 5x7 or less with stands on the back. The minis make a wonderfully attractive exhibit display when set up together on a table, and many buyers will also set them on a side table or coffee table at home rather than hanging them on a wall. Minis are so versatile!

An online source for frames for miniature art is here.

Please let me know if you find other online sources, so that I can add them to this post.

Tomorrow, I will discuss more about painting supports. I hope youíre all heading out the door to purchase your frames at the January sales!

Jamie

Last edited by JamieWG : 01-01-2005 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:47 AM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Jamie and all:
I'm hopelessly afflicted with the Miniature Madness ailment!!!
Jamie, your initial presentation is stellar and full of valuable info! So let's see some miniature work folks! It's great fun!
I just finished "The Cardinal" and here's one more, "Chinese Porcelain Vase & Green Apple".
I also work in a much looser style than the traditional miniaturists as you can see in these two 2"x3"s painted in acrylics on gessoed Luan plywood. The 3 below with my signature are also 2"x3" miniatures
Attached Images
  
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Last edited by Bertoni : 01-01-2005 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:58 AM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Jamie: You sure have inspired me; thanks for all of the valuable information !

Dave
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Old 01-01-2005, 09:26 AM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Good advice on the frames. I can't find frames to fit a couple of the canvases I bought. I suspect I will end up by making my own.

I'm off to look at the online mini-frame link...
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Old 01-01-2005, 11:50 AM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Dave, I'm so glad you're inspired to give them a try! Please take my advice and get your frames first. I know it sounds backwards, but it will avoid you having to pay for an expensive framing job down the road.

Bertoni, I've seen the lovely still life. The cardinal is beautiful. It's great to have a splash of color in a mini. They are so small that I find a color burst draws in the viewer.

Carol, I once bought a ton of 4x6 mini canvases (I know those are actually larger than conventional "mini" size), and they would not fit into any of the 4x6 frames that I later went out and bought. Neither the canvas-makers nor the frame manufacturers seem to have rulers.

It's awfully quiet here. I hope everybody is frame shopping.

Jamie
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Old 01-01-2005, 12:29 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieWG

It's awfully quiet here. I hope everybody is frame shopping.

Jamie

Hahahaha!!!! It is the day after the night before
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Old 01-01-2005, 12:40 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Carol
Hahahaha!!!! It is the day after the night before

Oh yeah! <passing out the coffee...>
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Old 01-01-2005, 01:14 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieWG
Oh yeah! <passing out the coffee...>

Make mine a double
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Old 01-01-2005, 01:36 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

I have an idea..no reason we can't have a modern version of mini art..
take a gallery wrap canvas 4"x4", paint on a trom'l'oil frame and mat, then paint the painting!
that would bring the art down to about 2 & 1/2" x 2 & 1/2"...
I did a large painting like this with really good effect, even I keep forgetting I painted the frame and mat when I come across the photo again!
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Old 01-01-2005, 01:59 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Oh Jamie..this sounds like a lot of fun..will give it a try!! Thanks for the link!
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Old 01-01-2005, 03:24 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Gill, 'love your trom'l'oil idea! That would be charming. Will you do one to show us?

Mitzi, you are welcome! It will be the perfect short project while overcoming bronchitis. 'Looking forward to your paintings.

<pouring fresh coffee for Carol>

Jamie
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:28 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Ahhh! Jamie, you are a life saver. Thanks. This is sooooo good. I really needed that

Actually just come back from my local supermarket. They have cheap frames and got a really nice one for a 5X7". Now I just need to find 4X5's.
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:39 PM
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Re: January Acrylics Classroom: Miniature Madness!

Jamie..I will do one, but got a few thing on my plate now....
watching eith interest meantime..

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