Sunday, October 16, 2011

For the Love of Tiny

I have many interesting posts coming up. I'm currently preparing some drawing paper and taking a fair amount of pictures. I'm also working on another Tromp l'oeil that will expand on the theme began in "Degas: 'Dancers in Blue'". But before I publish a highly technical post. I thought I would take a second and just reflect on my work in general.

I spend a lot of time looking at other painters work. And generally speaking I can always find something to take away from another painter. But what gets me every time, is smallness.

The first painting I ever did that I could truly call a "miniature" was a copy of a Louis Moeller which I call "The little helper". (The true title of which I've forgotten and cannot find. If anybody out there knows the title, please let me know):

Louis Henry Charles Moeller

I was hooked. I had done numerous painting before that and, I believe, had completed a large figure painting just before this one that was rough 3' wide and 2.5' tall. My work at the time had started to push toward the small size. Even so, it wasn't particularly small so much as "not large". While it sounds a bit redundant, there is a striking difference between paintings that are "Not large" and ones which are small. Namely you look at it and think, "God damn. That's small".

The Moeller was the first time I ventured into that realm of painting. The painting above is my copy and sits at 8" x 10" (For those of you across the pond, that's 20 cm x 25 cm). I had never attempted to really work that small before. Ten years ago, if you had asked me if I could paint a face that was smaller than a 50 pence piece (50 pence, because I was in England and had just picked up watercolour for the first time) I would have told you to "get stuffed".

Believe it or not, as it appears on your screen it is nearly
twice the size of the original

I don't think the experience of painting "The little helper" has entirely left me yet. I've probably duplicated a hundred paintings, more or less, and painted countless originals. I can't think of a single painting I have done that has had more influence on me as painter; in terms of my taste, subject matter and execution. Even now you can definitely see Moeller's influence present in my work:

What's a Bobbin?
Oil on Linen 8" x 10"
(20 cm x 25 cm)

I can count on one hand the paintings that have made this much of an impact on me. It's almost a joke between my wife and I, I'll be telling her about an upcoming painting and I'll finish the description with. "And get this, this is the real kicker. It will be really. small." And of course I grin like an idiot as though this is first time anybody had that idea...

But still. I do paint "regular sized" paintings. If only because I have to eat. Tiny figure paintings aren't the rage right now. but I don't paint them because they are popular. I paint them because they are the paintings I love most in the entire world.

Study for "The Collector"
2" x 2" ( 5 cm x 5 cm )

If home is where the heart is, my house must be very very small.

Genius out.

1 comment:

  1. I told you we should buy a "tiny" house. You already drive a tiny car. Mini power!