Think Small Art
Not all works of art end up being large or on a grand scale. In fact, some of the most effective and deftly crafted works are considered small or even miniature. Some artists who mostly work in larger formats like to challenge themselves with the occasional small piece as a change of pace or a study for future work, while some are perfectly content working on that smaller scale from start to finish. Most artists will agree that any change of perspective can be refreshing and inspiring to their process.
One of the finest examples of working small is the portrait miniatures that were popular in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. In the days before photographs, these miniatures were a perfectly compact means of carrying around the likeness of a loved one, family member, or friend. Some of the most stunning examples are in watercolor or on copper or ivory, and are as valued and visited in museum collections worldwide as more expansive and imposing works.
From the point of view of the casual collector, smaller works might be sought out for a number of reasons, among which limitations in living space and budget come first to mind. They can also be the perfect focal point in a tiny space or a subtle accent completing the décor of rooms already dominated by larger artworks.
Many contemporary art galleries now feature small works shows as part of their regular schedule of exhibits. These displays seem to challenge the belief that bigger is better, and, the way a whisper often commands more attention than a shout, invite the viewer to slow down, narrow their attention and engage in a more intimate exchange. The big picture is great, as they say, but sometimes it can be rewarding to think small.
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.
- Artist Glimpse – Tracy Burke (zatista.com)
- Oil vs. Acrylic (zatista.com)
- Out of the Blue (zatista.com)
- Artist Glimpse – Doug Hockman (zatista.com)