Small Works: New Paintings for the holidays

4 X 4 #18, Small Works. Acrylic on paper and canvas. 4" x 4" 2011

I’ve been painting. Not sketching on ‘Droid, not eating (many) bonbons.  Just tending to my brushes.

The most immediate work I had to finish was art for Full Circle’s holiday show of “small things.” The show at Full Circle is already in full swing, and I had prepared enough pieces to have a (small) presence there in November. But I need to have another batch of things for December’s exhibit, opening First Friday in December.

4 x 4 # 20, Small Works. Acrylic on paper and canvas. 4 x 4". 2011

Producing small bits of art really isn’t my forte. In fact, I daresay, it’s a major weakness.

So I did an end run around the dreaded “smalls”. I bought a bunch of 4″ x 4″ canvases. I set them into a grid, 5 x 5 (making a much bigger “canvas” of 20 x 20″). Then I covered the collected canvases with some interestingly tinted paper and glued it onto the squares of stretched canvas with acrylic medium. Drawing myself up, swinging a big brush, I made a grand gesture and drew a black tree branch across the surface of the paper, making sure every 4 x 4 square under the paper had some bit of the branch on it. Then I cut the paper apart on the grid lines,  painted each resulting 4″ square with more acrylic, and voilà: small abstracts which didn’t freak me out to make.

4 x 4 #19, Small Works. Acrylic on paper and canvas. 4" x 4". 2011

I found that just through having the hint of a representational attribute allowed me to play with the abstractions. And the tinted paper gave a kind of texture and hints of color that also freed me from the blank page syndrome.

So I rather enjoyed the process, although I can’t say it felt like deeply dangerous and thoughtful territory. Rather, it was playful, just right for the season (and the price). These will be selling at Full Circle for something like $30 — affordable for the holiday season and fulfilling my commitment to the show.

Incidentally, it’s rather shocking how good these little pieces look on the web. Somehow, the larger paintings never show up this way. These Smalls also look very decorative, not something I’m accustomed to saying about my art. First thing you know, I’ll be painting things for over my new couch!

I have been working on a new series of big paintings, too, but they are Serious. I’ll save them for a separate blog, just so’s you can improve your mind without distractions.  –June

4 x 4 #1, Small Works. Acrylic on paper and canvas. 4 x 4". 2011

This entry was posted in Portland. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Small Works: New Paintings for the holidays

  1. june says:


    I knew some smart aleck would ask for that view. And you probably sort of knew that I mixed up the squares when I touched up the tints. I haven’t been able to figure out how to put the “tree branch” back together again. I’m going to get Mr. Puzzle (AKA Jer) involved, once I get the blasted things ready for hanging. We’ll see. Or not, depending…..


  2. I would like to see the assembled larger piece. The small ones are great and I want to see what they “do” when with their mates.


  3. june says:

    Thanks Clairan and Karen,

    I think I’ll have to do some scaling up to make it to AbEx standards — and also think some deep thoughts. Unfortunately at this time of the year, my thoughts are seriously shallow (groc lists, cleaning lists, guest lists).

    I like “fun and playful”, although I have a hard time engaging in that side of me when I’m painting. It helps that the prompts did most of the work. Certainly these turned out better than expected, Clairan. I’m impressed at how good they look on the web — it’s enough to make a woman think about an Etsy shop!


  4. clairan says:

    These are really quite lovely June, and interesting. Way better than you apparently expected. You be an Ab Ex’er yet!


  5. Karen says:

    These are very fun and playful — I like them!


  6. june says:

    Definitely a relief. But I can’t give up on ‘Droid, although something may have to give…..


  7. Patricia says:

    Well, well. Madam Mixed Media. I love these. I bet you’re feeling good now that you’re back to dripping paint around the house again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s