Eleven years ago I attended the Tom Bishop Miniature show in Chicago with my mother. She encouraged me to check it out on a professional level. I had already been painting with oils and acrylics, and many of my paintings were already small, but not miniature. After visiting the miniature show with my mother and trying my hand at some miniature painting, I was encouraged to apply for a scholarship to attend the International Guild of Miniature Artisans Guild School in Castine, Maine. I was able to take a class with Johannes Landman and was introduced to fine 1/12 scale painting. I have since become a member, fellow and teacher of IGMA.
In 2014 I had a 7-year-old, a 2-year-old, and was having trouble finding time to complete my detailed miniature compositions. I decided to paint one small object a day for a year in effort to become more productive and less frustrated. Doing a daily painting pushed me to let go of making each piece too precious. I was able to paint a piece and if I didn't like it, no problem! There would be another chance to try tomorrow.
Depending on the complexity these daily paintings would take between 45 minutes and 4 hours. Some of my 1/12 scale replica paintings can take several days to complete. Usually I would paint 2 daily paintings on Saturday, so I could take a break on Sunday. I generally chose subject matter for the daily work based on something that was currently happening in my life. They felt like little notes I could toss out to the world to be interpreted by those who found them.
I currently use Canson edition antique white paper. Any small natural bristle brush that comes to a fine point will work just fine. I have used: 5/0 Rosemary & Co. Pure Sable Series 92, 5/0 and 0 Da Vinci Pure Kolinsky Series 1505, and 6/0 Raphael series 8404. I generally draw the image with a .5 mm pentel P205 mechanical pencil and then paint with a Sennelier watercolor pan set. I use an Ott light and a desktop easel as my painting station. My iPhone is my camera to photograph each piece, and to find and source imagery to paint from. Generally, I don't use any magnification. I am nearsighted so I usually just paint with my glasses off. I do have a magnifying headset which I have used sporadically in the past, but isn’t part of my regular practice.
I have enjoyed creating commissioned minis along the way. One of my most unusual requests was for a kidney! Unfortunately, I am not able to take commissions right now but hope to resume in 2017. My husband Justin (a ceramics artist) and I are working on a joint show to open this summer. I am also spending time with my most recent mini, our daughter! She was born a preemie at 4lbs 7 oz this past December.
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