|House at Canyon Lake|
Oil on Canvas Panel
5 x 7 in/12.7 x 17.8 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2015
If you're not a painter, well, Little Gems refers to the size of certain paintings, that is, smaller ones.
I don't think there's really a definition for what size a Little Gem must be, but in my mind it's any painting that is 5 x 7 inches/12.7 x 17.8 cm. or smaller.
That's small for a painting.
What I like about that size is that it makes you, as the painter, really have to simplify your subject and composition. There's not a lot of space for a lot of details, and that's the point as I see it.
Of course, there are those fine, representational painters who will paint any and everything near photorealistically and put in every line, hair, leaf, and/or eyelash.
But I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about alla prima painting, which, as you may know, is from Italian meaning all at once. And that's how I paint Little Gems--all at once and quickly.
After you have your support and paint laid out, just squint and go for it--paint small, fast, and impresssionistically. It goes with using flat brushes that seem too large for this scale of painting. But remember what I said, there's no time for details.
A lot of plein aire painters paint this way, so I hope you can appreciate my enthusiasm for painting Little Gems and paint a few yourself.