Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tiny Canvas Fun

"On the Wind"
2" x 2" acrylic painting on canvas
The painting above is an acrylic painted on a "tiny" canvas measuring 2 inches by 2 inches.  It is interesting to paint in small scale.   Most beginners that I teach feel that the smaller the painting, the easier it will be to paint.  That is not necessarily true. 
Fact: Different sizes of canvas have their own set of challenges. The amount of time it takes to paint a small painting may not vary from the amount of time it takes to paint a large one.    The painting may be tiny in size, but they don't only take minutes to complete.   AND, they require a steady hand and a sharp eye.

A large painting or a small one depends not only on the subject but the effect or feeling you want to convey. 

AND, to the artist, take under consideration the quote below:

"Can you believe it is not at all easier to draw a figure of about a foot high than to draw a small one? On the contrary, it is much more difficult." -- Van Gogh
So, if you want to paint "tiny," consider your subject.    The sailboat above was a good choice for a small painting.  None of the elements of the painting required much detail.  The effect I was after was the feeling of the windy sky  - not details of the boat, etc.

Here's how to paint a "tiny" seascape.

Materials required:
Small canvas (I chose a 2" x 2" canvas).  These are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased for around $1 each.
Paint brushes:  small flat, small round and liner brush for details
  • white
  • black
  • ultramarine blue
  • cerulean blue
  • cobalt blue
  • burnt umber
  • yellow ochre
  • crimson

Painting Instructions:
I used a pencil to lightly draw in the horizon and block in the land mass on the right.  I positioned the sailboat and lightly sketched in the boat. 

Starting at the top of the canvas and working down, paint in the sky using various shades of blue and white paint.  Add a little crimson to the blue as well as black/white mixed to a gray.  Swirl in the clouds to make the sky interesting and convey the message of a windy day.    Working around the sail lighten the sky color as it nears the horizon and meets the ocean. 

Painting with the same color of blues, deepen the shade as you paint the water from the horizon down to the front of the painting. 

Paint the land on the right using burnt umber, yellow ochre, black/gray.  Use the yellow ochre to indicate sunlight areas of the land.  Add a few rocks near the coastline in the water.  Vary your paint colors to show the contour of the land. 

I painted the sailboat last.  The cabin of the boat is a mix of white and black/gray.  Only basic details are painted; i.e. the windows and side of the boat.  The sail is the main feature of the boat which was painted with white and shaped by adding blue.  The mast was painted using the liner brush and white paint.  Remember the boat is not the most important aspect of this painting - the sky is. 

Tip:  Allow the paint to dry and place a small piece of masking tape from top to bottom on the edge of the sail where you need to paint the mast.  The masking tape will act as a guide for your paint - similar to a ruler.   Remove after painting your mast and you will have perfectly straight line. 

Allow to dry and sign your painting!

Happy Painting!

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