Inspiration Fridays! Does your small canvas feel big?

8paint Inspiration Fridays Does your small canvas feel big?

Does your small canvas feel big?

Switching it up and moving toward larger canvases when you’re painting is always exciting. It offers a new scope for your artistic expression.

“A great artist can paint a great picture on a small canvas.” – Charles Dudley Warner

It also requires a subtle mental shift. Larger canvases are akin to expansive playgrounds. There’s plenty of room to run, but it’s easy to wear yourself out. Stretch out, move your whole body, experiment with shapes and color. Still, the way you utilize this space significantly impacts your artwork. A poor or lazy design that might be overlooked in a smaller work can become glaringly obvious when scaled up. Starting small might give you more room to play than you realize. And play is what gives art its juice!


Inspiration Fridays - Does your small canvas feel big?

You will love the Learning to See community. It’s an amazingly supportive and wonderful group of artists, and I am honored to be a part of it.


So how do we turn our pint-sized paintings into wall-sized wonders without losing their immediacy?

The act of supersizing often results in a lot of needless details, turning our painting into a trip to the Hometown Buffet instead of serving up the intended artistic feast. Expanding our vision to fit the big stage works better with some well-placed intention. We can’t just put our canvas on steroids and continue to paint small. Little brushes leave us stranded, telling our epic tales with tiny tools.

Instead, head back to the safety of a smaller canvas, but bring a bigger brush! There’s no room for noodling about and your every decision counts.  Can every brushstroke tell your story? Let the shapes you choose to make be bold and clear. A clean composition will make an incredible impression at any scale.

Starting a painting with broad shapes and dynamic arrangements will make the whole process smoother and easier. It sets up a strong foundation for your final artwork. Try experimenting with smaller canvases: 5″x7″ or 6″x8″, and then, use a one-inch brush. Now you can focus on the bigger picture, rather than getting lost in minutiae. Go for impact by using your design to tell the story instead of relying on your subject. One way to achieve this is by simplifying your paintings. Break them down into a handful of major shapes and colors. This approach can help you produce bold, captivating pieces that truly resonate with viewers.

Have you tried painting big little paintings?

What’s the simplest way to tell your story?

Does your small canvas feel big?

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