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Fun with Small Paintings

June 18, 2009

Still having fun doing small paintings. Here is one from today. I have no idea how these come about, truly. They don’t always work, but when they do they make me smile.

Spirits Sm“Spirits” – Acrylic on Paper, 5 x 7″

These are on 140# watercolor paper, and I’ve trimmed the edges with a deckle edge paper cutter. I have an abundance of beautiful papers here that are left over from larger projects. It’s nice to be able to use them for these little paintings.

Since I’m stingy with paint (well, I hate to waste paint!) I like to work on several at a time, sometimes a dozen or more. When I have one color on my brush, I look for somewhere I can use it elsewhere. Then I wash the brush and get another color. I like to use all kinds of different mark making tools and brushes and even paper towels. The yellow shape in this painting was done with a paper towel over my fingertip. Fun, fun.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. janet permalink
    June 18, 2009 1:44 pm

    Martha, do you prime your paper first, and if so, do you soak it, stretch it, etc.? I have problems with paper disintegrating/buckling. Is it necessary to stretch/prime it before using acrylics? (I am adding painted paper cutouts to primed canvas with a painting already on it.)
    Maybe I just need to buy heavier, more expensive paper.

    • June 19, 2009 10:40 am

      Janet, this question deserves a whole post. It certainly depends on the quality of paper. Generally for acrylics you don’t need to soak or stretch the paper. If it buckles it will shrink back flat when dry.

      If you’re having this problem with thinner paper, then why don’t you try giving it a coat of clear acrylic or gesso on the back, then letting it dry, before applying it to your canvas. That should help.

  2. Sandra permalink
    June 18, 2009 6:31 pm

    Fun indeed, and they make me smile too. You hve such an amazing variety of styles, sizes, colours etc. When your email arrives I always wonder what we’ll see today. Best wishes to you for your house sale which I know is hanging fire.

    • June 19, 2009 10:49 am

      Thank you, Sandra. We are headed out of here in a little while because the house is being shown! Yippee!

  3. sherrill pearson permalink
    June 18, 2009 6:46 pm

    Thanks Martha,

    That’s a great little tip with the paper towel.

    People like me that have not had an education in art and tons of exposure often look at all these lovely works and wonder how do get similar effects.


    • June 19, 2009 10:53 am

      Sherrill, we all benefit from a bit of this and a bit of that from all kinds of sources. I had a lot of hours of college art classes, though I never did get an art degree. But never once did we have anything about painting techniques. They were too afraid of influencing us, and wanted us to develop our own styles.

  4. June 18, 2009 9:30 pm

    These small paintings are wonderful…the lines, the color…evokes feelings of summer haze/humidity but also a cool escape. I must be anticipating the hot weather descending on us here in the Midwest next week!

    • June 19, 2009 10:55 am

      Thank you Catherine. Yes, it’s hot here too! We got in our car 2 days ago after it had been sitting out in the sun. The “outside temperature” reading on the A/C said 113. After we started out for the next stop, it eventually cooled down to 102.

  5. June 18, 2009 10:07 pm

    There’s a lot of joy in that painting! 🙂
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only cheap-o with the paint.

  6. June 19, 2009 12:06 am

    Once upon a time I painted like a medieval painter: In tiny brushstrokes, painstakingly and slowly. Then some day it was too much, and I wiped the paint across it. I understood that the painters’ attitude while working is transferred onto the spectator. This is what happens when I see your small paintings: They radiate with motion, fun, and celerity.

    • June 19, 2009 11:00 am

      Eva, that is so nice to know. That’s what I want them to do — to at least look spontaneous and immediate, even if they sometimes give me fits. And as I say, they don’t always work.

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