I GENERALLY PREFER painting on large canvases. I find it challenging, with opportunity for both fine detail and grand gestures.
The large canvas is ideal for my physical style of painting. But I recently purchased a set of five canvases at a bargain price descending in size from 16×20 inches to 5×7, including an 8×10. Usually the smallest I paint is 11×14.
I often include scenes within scenes on my larger canvases, but the sharply defined 8×10 or 5×7 rectangle imposes strict limits. The smaller area requires a different mindset than a larger canvas, with a narrower space for narrative, a need for finer motor control, and a different set of brushes.
The last time I worked this small was in the summer of 2004, during a week-long workshop in abstract painting led by Vermont artist Doug Trump. We painted all day inside an old mill building on scraps of canvas board, mat, wood — whatever we could get our hands on, experimenting with different surfaces and materials. Some of these were even smaller than 5×7.
We painted the building’s messy industrial interior, we painted from imagination, we painted each other. A few of the smallest works are presented here.