I LOVE this idea! I'm always on the lookout for fun and simple ways to add creativity to my day. This mini canvas idea is so up my alley. Going to go to Michael's to get some 2x2 canvases today! :)

How the Mini Canvas is Changing My Art Life

Do you want to add more creativity to your day? Have you ever considered painting a mini canvas? Here’s how these small paintings are changing my life!

Have you heard of the Painting a Day movement? It started back in 2004 when Duan Keiser set out to share his work on the internet.  What started with one man has turned into thousands of artists striving to do one small painting a day – mostly every day. I am always looking for practical ways to get creativity into my life so when I discovered this idea years ago, I was intrigued.

When I grow up, I want to paint like this! Love this mini canvas by Hannah Stevenson!

The part that caught my attention was the idea of using a small canvas to get a whole painting done in less time.  When I say small, I mean anywhere from 2×2 to 6×6 inches small.  So, about a year ago, I went to my local Michael’s, picked up a stack of 4×4 – 6×6 canvases and tried it out.  And, while I don’t get to paint every day, this mini-canvas concept has changed the way I do art.  Here’s why :

Life is BUSY

I don’t know about you but I don’t have hours a day (or even a week!) to dedicate to my art practice.  Motherhood and life, in general, has a way of filling up fast.  But just because this stage of life is busy, doesn’t mean I want to get out of the practice of making art! That’s where the small canvas comes in.  Because of the small size, I can usually make something I’m happy with, in a little over an hour.  I don’t have to tell you how good it feels to actually accomplish something (like a whole painting!) in about an hour.

Wouldn't it be fun to paint a mini canvas portrait of each family member?! LOVE.

I Like To Try New Things

Another reason this idea works for me is that I like to try different kinds of styles. Because I’m only investing an hour or so and very few materials, I feel more free to experiment with styles or techniques that I’ve always wanted to try.

Carol Marine the author of the book Daily Painting says, “Painting small and often gave me the freedom to experiment.  Every day I got to start on an entirely new project.  No longer did I feel overwhelmed by the large number of things I wanted to paint – I could do them all.  If one subject or one style didn’t work out, well, I didn’t sweat it.  I had only invested a part of a day’s worth of work on it, after all.  My fear of failing disappeared — well, almost. Probably a little fear is good for us. I do know I was no longer making excuses not to paint.”

Super cute mini landscape! What a great idea to use a mini canvas to sneak in more creative time!

I’m Cheap

I think the thing that trips me up the most when it comes to painting (or any medium, really)  is that I’ll waste not only my time but hard-earned cash on something that doesn’t “turn out.” With the painting small concept, those fears all but disappear! Because I’m using a small canvas (that I can usually find for close to a dollar) and very little paint, I can enjoy the process and know that even if it doesn’t turn out to be my best work, I am not out much time or money.

I Get to Improve Quickly

I learn just as much about composition, color, value, etc. when I’m working on a small canvas as I do working on a larger one.  I can then take what I’ve learned from my small painting and implement it on something else.  I have found that I learn so much from these little paintings and have gained more confidence in my skills as I’ve started to improve more quickly.

This mini canvas reminds me of Anne of Green Gables. :) Love!

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Canvas

It’s important to note that this concept really translates to any medium.  I tried it out in my sketchbook with great success.  Just a sketch a day instead of a painting. I was amazed at what I could do in just a few minutes a day.  You could use anything from oils to pastels to charcoal to collage work.

Just make it small and see what happens for you!

Hannah Stevenson is an artist and mom to four. Her passion is to help creative moms make time for their art. She writes about about creativity, nature, intentional education, and mindful family life at LilyandThistle.com.  She also makes paper dolls!



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