Large paintings get all the attention. Murals, larger-than-life, paintings so enormous that you need a grand place to hang them. Huge paintings are wonderful, but there are a few problems with them. The artistry comes at a hefty price. A large piece certainly is magnificent, but unaffordable by anyone who isn’t dedicated to collecting art. It’s also not very affordable for the artist – materials alone could cost hundreds of dollars to create a showstopping painting! This puts it out of the range of artists who aren’t yet established in selling their work.
When I’m working on something new, I like to start out small. But “small” doesn’t mean boring! You can pack a lot of detail and interest in a smaller painting. And it takes way less time to do, which means I can make lots of them in a shorter amount of time. This also means I can feel comfortable charging less for smaller pieces than I would for a big one.
This may seem silly, but when I was just starting out, I had a really hard time asking for the price that I felt my paintings were worth. Sometimes I would be so afraid that a customer would laugh at me or scoff at the price of my art, that I would blurt out a much lower price than I was comfortable with! Selling smaller paintings meant that even if I goofed and asked for less money than I really wanted, at least I wouldn’t have to take a huge loss.
Smaller paintings are also fantastic for trying new techniques and materials. I love to test out special paints and textures on smaller canvases! When I decide to do a large painting, and I stare at that vast expanse of blank canvas, it’s so intimidating that I don’t want to paint on it unless I already know exactly what I want to do, and how I want to do it. It’s so big and daunting that it can stop me before I even get started! But with a small canvas, you can get really creative and experimental, which is the perfect scenario for a fantastic piece of art. It’s easier to use expensive mediums and fancy paints on smaller canvas too, because you only have to use a little bit.
If you’re just starting out with painting, or another art medium, or any kind of hobby really, don’t be afraid to start small! Allow yourself to try new things and make mistakes. Use materials that you can throw away if you have to, until you build up confidence in your work. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you move on to bigger and better things!