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MINIATURE PAINTINGS (ACEO or artist trading cards)
Some days I just take my cigar box palette and do some miniatures but don’t let the size fool you, these are not easy to do. In fact in a lot of ways they are much more difficult than larger canvases. By the time I’ve done a few of these I’m happy to be back on my large brushes again. They’re a great exercise for loosening up your brushwork that my students are so excited about… until they try it! Then they complain for weeks about how much they hated “that miniature assignment”
But if you’re up for a challenge that might help your brush dexterity… here’s how I make my palettes and mini canvases. And try to use the largest flat brushes you feel you can deal with – use the corners for the detail work if you’re not used to working with them. And keep them dry on paper towel or rags! Don’t let them get all gobbed up with paint. Another common thing I see is when you want a razor sharp line like for a branch just pull the brush flat through a thin area of paint then flip it over and do the same thing on the other side, making the brush razor like. These techniques and others you’ll work out will make your large brush act smaller and make your strokes less fastidious and more painterly. Practice.