Experimenting With Tiny Art

At the beginning of this year I started a new project, which I called “Wall Jewels.” This was my version of a daily painting routine, in which I would produce new art on a regular basis.

I decided to leave myself completely open to new ideas and experimentation, with no regard for consistency in either style or media. It was to be a complete change and escape from my regular painting practice. In that regard, I think I succeeded! The only guidelines were to keep each painting just 4 x 4 inches, and to work on paper. I eventually produced 75 of these small works, and yes, they really are all quite different. Some pieces are obviously part of a mini-series, where I explored an idea through a number of them, and others are one-offs, where I didn’t feel the need or urge to explore further.

I found this to be a great exercise! Not only did it give me complete freedom to try new things, but some of the ideas I explored have found their way into my regular painting practice.

So what were some of these ideas?

Acrylic paint. I bought a handful of high-flow acrylics and used them to paint tiny abstracts in jewel-like colours. Shown below, Wall Jewel #57.

Wall Jewel #57

Mandalas. I created these in an iPad app called “Amaziograph.” What fun that app is! And addictive. Then I printed them on watercolour paper and painted them with the aforementioned high-flow acrylics. Shown below, Wall Jewel #72.

Wall Jewel #72

Watermixable oil paints. I purchased a few tubes of Cobra watermixable oils to see if I would like to work with oil paints as if they were watercolours. They were quite fun but ultimately, I prefer my cold wax medium. I left “real” watercolours behind years ago and discovered I have no urge to go back. Nuff said. However, they lent themselves to some atmospheric floral paintings which I think are quite pretty. Shown below, Wall Jewel #28.

Wall Jewel #28

Collage. I played around with this idea after teaching it in my Oil and Cold Wax Workshops. I wanted to offer it as an option to my students but never really explored its possibilities myself. I enjoyed incorporating collage into my little paintings and it has led to a whole new direction in my painting practice! This is something that would not have happened if I hadn’t given myself the freedom to play. I’m using collage elements more and more in my newest paintings (and I’ll be starting to share them next month — stay tuned!). Shown below, Wall Jewel #62.

Wall Jewel #62

Abstract vs representational. If I felt like adding flowers, I did. If I wanted to keep the piece purely non-representational, I did. No consistency of style, but lots of fun! Shown below, Wall Jewel #14.

Wall Jewel #14

Eventually, as I approached my 75th piece, I felt myself running out of steam. My trip to Morocco was fast approaching and the two-week break seemed like a good opportunity to make a permanent wall jewel break.

All these pieces are for sale, and now I’ve made them more affordable (just $40 each with free shipping anywhere) by eliminating the matt I was originally including, giving you the freedom to frame them as you wish. Check out my “Wall Jewels” page to see all the variety! And just to toot my own horn a bit more, many of them would work well together in groupings of two, three or more!

You can see them in person if you’re in the area on September 9 and 10, as I am in the Northumberland Hills Studio Tour and my studio will be open for visits. I would love it if you could drop by!

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