Large or Small


Peppers, Acrylic, 6″ x 6″

As the holiday season approaches, small seems to be in when it comes to paintings.  There’s a very practical reason for this, of course.  They cost less and when it comes to holiday art shows they are competing in price with items like scarves, earrings and other jewelry.  I am in three holiday art shows this year.  The Southwind Gallery Miniature show in Topeka asked artists to paint six inch by six inch paintings which the gallery then framed all in the same way.  That show just opened and will run during November and December.  The Topeka Art Guild Gallery asked artists in their December-January show to contribute art selling for $100 or less, which means that the art will be of small size.  The Holiday Art Fair at the Lawrence Art Center in Lawrence on Saturday November 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. did not specify size but when competing with jewelry and other small items I plan on bringing smaller, lower priced paintings.

What can an artist do in a small space?  The painting above will be in the Southwind Gallery Miniature show.  When I am faced with a small canvas I tend to focus on small items.  My other painting in that show is of one water lily.  Not as impressive as a whole pond of them but I think there is something to be gained by limiting one’s focus to just one or a few simple objects.  I loved all the different colors in that one pepper.  Also, if the painting doesn’t work, not so much time and effort have been wasted.

I remember some years ago when I had some paintings in a local gallery, the gallery owner urged me to paint very large paintings.  I think they were in style at the time.  I was told that art majors at our local university were also encouraged to use large canvases.  Well, I tried one that was, I think 48″ x 30.”  It took a long time to paint and then the gallery owner didn’t like it.  I never tried another one that large.  I think smaller paintings have come back and that suits me just fine.


Aaritst Paint Kansas

Oct. 28, 2011

This week I finally got around to picking up the book I ordered from Southwind Gallery in Topeka’s Kansa 150 show.  It’s called “State of the Art Kansas, The Artistic Perspective” and contains photos of all 150 Kansas paintings in the show as well as photos of the artists and a little about them.    If you think Kansas isn’t very scenic just look at how these 80 artists see their state.

I especially like the cover painting, the first place winner in the show, Cally Krallman’s “Westward Glory” which pictures a vast orange, yellow, brown and gray sunset sky with reflections in a creek meandering across a flat prairie.  I took a workshop from her once.  Other paintings are the work of people I’ve known in conection with the Topeka Art Guild Gallery.  Lawrence is also represented by a painting, “Buffalo Soldiers,” by Kathleen Anderson, whom I sometimes do plein air painting with.   I’m proud to be in this book too with photos of two of my paintings, “Flint Hills Morning” and “Bowersock Dam.”

Most of the paintings are of rural Kansas.  The Flint Hills and sunflowers are well represented.  I’d like to see artists take a closer look at the small towns of Kansas, its college campuses, the beautiful flower gardens to be seen in parks and surrounding private home, the urban cafes with seating on the sidewalks, street scenes, the faces of Kansans, etc.

Tourists take note.  Kansas is not just a place to drive through to get to Colorado.  There is a lot to see here.  This book would make a great Christmas gift both for Kansans and for those who once lived here and remember it fondly.    There is still a place to order it on Southwind Gallery’s website.