Friday, 21 July 2017

A Miniature Art Challenge

My blog will be ten years old on Sunday. If you had asked me ten years ago would I still be doing this now I think I would have considered it to be unlikely but I have come a long way since that first post. In the early days it was a way for me to document my art. It was largely visual with few words, although I hadn't worked out how to add a photo to that first one. Those ten years have seen many changes... there has been less art in recent years and more about food and family life, although to be fair there has alway been cake right from the early days. It is still very visual because I find it hard to blog without photographs but there seem to be more words of late, which may be why it has also become less frequent. It takes longer to write each post and think about what to say, not to mention the editing out all the typos and spelling mistakes. To be honest, I can't see me finding time to write two or three times a week like I once did, I can feel a shift back towards more art though.

I recently met with my friend Catherina where we had lunch and a wander around some galleries and shops. We spotted these tiny little canvases in an art supplies shop and a spark of an idea was sown. We each bought a canvas with the intention to decorate it exactly how we wished before swapping our finished canvases with each other. I love a challenge to get me motivated!

After priming my canvas with gesso I immediately got to work with my acrylic paints to make a miniature portrait of Frida Khalo reviving an old interest in this enigmatic artist. I struggled with the likeness but it is interesting that now, by looking at the photograph I can see where I was going wrong (the mouth!)

Rather than paint in the final details I added some 3D jewels and flowers. I wanted to use those little ribbon roses you can buy but couldn't find them anywhere. I know I have some stashed away somewhere in the house! I had to make do with paper ones which were a little big but overall I was quite pleased with the effect, especially considering the whole thing was only about the size of a matchbox.

I popped it in the post to Catherina and the very next day I received Catherina's artwork in return... a beautiful little handstitched piece to celebrate my birthday. 

And this little challenge combined with my inspiring day out has kick started me into working in my sketchbooks again, which in turn is already starting to spark ideas for new work. I'd say watch this space but you just might have a long wait... but who knows!

Have a good weekend... we've got a busy one so not much time for painting, but then what's new!


  1. What a lovely idea. I think my blog is 11 years old. I am in chaos at the moment. The bank needs it's money, too long a story but enough to say we are selling, over 100 years of stuff to find homes for and no idea where will be living.

  2. It's is interesting how blogs move and change with our lives. What fabulous ideas for artwork. Very inspiring. Your sketchwork is beautiful. Just been looking for adult classes for watercolour painting for this autumn but sadly they are already full grrrrr. Will have to get my act together a little sooner. Looking forward to seeing more of your artwork as well as your words. B x

    1. Thank you Barbara. Finding suitable classes is often a problem. I've got a couple of one off days booked with my Mum next month and that seems to be a good way of practising without a regular class

  3. Your paintings are delightful and that tiny portrait is such a good likeness - instantly recognisable. I am ashamed of my blogging but am in a state of limbo with nothing to write about apart from waiting for a moving date and all my 'stuff' packed and ready to go. Maybe later in the year I will have something interesting to say.

  4. I love your Frida portrait Gina! You do like miniatures don't you I remember the little matchbox project.
    Congrats on 10 tens of blogging!

  5. Your Frida is a good likeness, I would have recognised her even if the mouth is not like you wanted it to be. Call it artistic freedom :-) I have been following your blog for about 4 years (I think) and every visit has been enjoyable. It is nice to see how a person develops over time. I am looking forward to seeing where your journey of life takes you next. x

  6. This is lovely. A small canvas like that takes away the fear of a big space. Any clues where to look for them?
    Sandy in Bracknell

  7. Ooh, sketchbooks - dirty word ;)

    You never know, you might have some more inspiration next week?

  8. What a lovely post, Gina. I thoroughly liked the challenge we set each other and I love your little Frida Kahlo. Congratulations on your 10 year blogging anniversary. I didn't manage to keep up with mine, so I raise my glass (non-alcoholic) to you. Xx

  9. Happy 10th blogaversary.
    Love to see your art coming to the fore again!

  10. Although I love to see pictures of your homemade cakes, I'll probably be much more inspired by your art, than by recipes. Lovely paintings! xx

  11. 10 years! And I wonder how long I have been following you? Here's to another ten and more art. xx

  12. What a fun little swap! And ten years -- they've sure flown by quickly. I'm at 10 1/2 -- my ten year anniversary slipped by in a fog LOL.


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