Friday, January 13, 2012

Painting in Miniature and Zoe's Turn...

Last Mother's Day, my family took me...or I should say, I dragged them to the Parklane Gallery in Kirkland to see their annual miniatures show. "What on earth is a miniatures show?" you may be thinking. Well, since you asked, I'll tell you! The National Gallery in London describes a miniaturist as "an artist who paints in great detail on a very small scale". I absolutely fell in love with the tiny little paintings of landscapes, portraits, wildlifes and still lifes. They even provided magnifying glasses for viewing!

Painting in miniature used to be called 'limning' in Britain, which grew out of the techniques used to illustrate illuminated manuscripts in the middle ages. Miniatures were an especially popular art form before photography. A portrait of a loved one could be painted and placed in a locket or kept in a pocket. As a rule, miniatures nowadays are works of art that can fit into an open hand, being 25" square inches or less.

After being so inspired by the tiny works of art that I saw at the gallery, I decided that I would try it out myself! I've always enjoyed working in tight detail, so it seemed to fit right in with the way that I like to draw and paint. Being quite nearsighted is also a plus...I take off my glasses to see better close-up. May as well take advantage of it! Below is a portrait of Lulu, my favorite model these days. I had taken a photo of her on her kitty bed by the window. The afternoon sun was shining on her and the lighting was perfect! I knew it had to be painted, so painting in miniature seemed like a good choice.


This watercolor painting measures 3" x 3.75". It's really blown up quite large here, but for size reference, imagine a US quarter filling the entire dark blue area in the lower left corner. Fun!! I'm hoping to enter this portrait and at least two more paintings in the miniatures show this year.

Well, I've given Lulu Belle way too much coverage lately on my blog, and poor Zoe has not had her fair share. Poor pups. She'll be 13 on March 10th. A teenager! Actually, she's more like ninety now and it's been really starting to show this year, especially on her face, it's almost all white now. The first portrait of her, directly below, is in Graphite pencil and is about 8" x 11". It makes her look a bit more youthful because you can't tell how white her face is.


The next portrait I made of Zoe is in colored pencil on tinted paper and is the same size as the black and white pencil portrait. This one shows her age a bit more and is called, "Golden Girl's Golden Years". It also shows off her adorable pink, polka-dotted nose. What a sweet pooch! 


I love creating pet portraits because I'm such an animal lover, and also because I think they are so much easier (and more fun) than painting people. If you would like to commission me to draw a portrait of your pet, please let me know. I would be delighted to create your pet's portrait! I use photographs as reference, so a clear, sharp, close-up shot of your pet at their eye level is the best. Just send me an email for more information and pricing and I will get right back to you. Well, I'd better get back to the drawing board now and get off of the computer so that I'll have something new to show you for next time. Thanks for checking out my post today!