Debra Keirce is an award winning, internationally collected artist who lives in Northern Virginia, USA.
Some of my art fits in your palm. I paint pieces as small as two inches and as large as 2 feet. Miniature art invites a more intimate art experience. It draws you in. You want to look closer. Before you know it, you are looking through a magnifying glass and exploring my little corner of the art world.
In true miniature fine art shows, the framing is judged and juried along with the artwork. The history of miniature fine art is rich, and includes the manuscripts back in the days of scribes which were often elaborately presented, the European pocket portrait artists like John Singleton Copley, and contemporary artists who often create their own metal or carved wood framing.
Miniature art is often judged and viewed under magnification, so it is important to render details sufficient that they hold up under intense viewing. Most miniature artists are realist painters and sculptors, but abstracts and impressionistic pieces are often seen in today’s exhibitions.
Even though many people would be surprised to hear it, there are hundreds of miniature shows where the work is less than 25 square inches in size, and the objects are all less than 1/6 life size. The Miniature Artists of America and Miniature Art Society of Florida, and The Miniature Painters Sculptors Gravers Society of Washington DC are committed to maintaining the high standards of miniature art in America. The Hilliard Society and Royal Miniature Society continue the tradition in the United Kingdom.
There are things to consider when painting in miniature vs. larger. For instance, because you only see a small portion of a large painting at any given time, you need to leave places for the eye to rest in larger works. With miniatures, the entire painting is often in your field of vision, so the entire painting must be detailed to fill your center of focus. The smaller the painting, the more detailed it needs to be for a successful composition.
True miniature paintings take longer to paint than their larger counterparts. At first this sounds wrong. But when you consider that the artist uses the same number of brush strokes, applies them with the same care and precision, and often is working under a lighted magnifier while doing so, it begins to make sense.
The reason miniature art is often less expensive than larger paintings is not the labor. It is because smaller art is less expensive to frame and transport.
Traditionally, miniature art depicts landcapes or portraits. As the camera transformed the art world, miniature artists began painting other subjects like wildlife, architecture, still life. Whatever you fancy, the miniature art world invites you to explore, consider and experience a different sort of art.