Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | April 16, 2014

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Miniature Painting?

The Step-by-Step Process of Miniature Painting

By Rachelle & Wes Siegrist

How to paint a miniature - drawing and washes

Drawing and Initial Washes

Start By Drawing and Applying Washes

Miniature painting can take us anywhere from two days to three weeks to do one painting. It all relates to how much is involved in the painting’s composition and how much detail will be in the art. For example, a one square inch painting of an animal’s head with a solid background will go much more quickly then a 2 x 3 inch of a scene at a marina or a landscape. Portraits always take the longest, with most of them taking me personally upwards to three weeks to complete. The level of drawing put into the piece before the painting process also plays a part into the entire time needed for completion. I tend to draw more of the subject before beginning to paint on the miniature, than Wes does. After drawing the subject, we lay down a few washes of watercolor to establish a tone and color harmony.

How to Paint A Miniature Painting step 2

Building up values and establishing colors with washes

Building Color and Values With Washes

To the initial washes of paint, we add secondary washes, thus beginning the process of building different values and depth of color. It is important to get your lightest and darkest values established early on, as that makes it easier to figure out the values in-between. Although we paint from photographs or a combination of photos, we always end up changing the colors to some degree, using our artistic license to create the look we want for the painting.

How to Paint A Miniature Painting step 3

Miniature paintings in progress from washes to adding detail

Having Patience to Paint A Million Marks!

Once the basic values of color have been painted in and established, the slow painstaking process of painting in the detail begins. Painting with our smallest brushes, the more teeny tiny marks we must make, the longer it takes to paint the miniature. The miniatures with more stippling technique (building values and shapes with hundreds of tiny dots of color) made with the brush end up taking the longest to paint.

How to Paint A Miniature Painting step 4

Miniature paintings in progress with details being added

When Is The Painting Done?

Once what seems like millions of marks have been made and feeling like we have painted our miniature to completion, we ask each other to look at it to see if they see anything that could be improved upon. Usually there are a couple of suggestions, which the other one almost always decides to make. Then be it three days or three weeks, we pronounce the miniature finished!

We’re planning to bi-monthly post to my blog insights into our business and painting methods. Do you have a topic or question for us? Step-by-step demonstrations of our paintings can be found on our website or weekly on our Facebook page.

Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | April 13, 2014

Hiking the Schoolhouse Gap Trail to Chestnut Tops Trail

dogwood blossoms

It was a gorgeous morning, when we left this past Wednesday, headed for the Schoolhouse Gap trailhead. After dropping our van off at the parking lot for the Chestnut Tops Trail, we got into Kit’s car and finished the lovely drive to our beginning point. With walking sticks in hand we began our journey, occasionally stopping to admire some of the few brave wildflowers to be among the first to bloom. Mostly it was violets, as well as Trilliums that were blooming, with a few Plantain-leaved Pussy’s Toes blossoms here and there. With the recent rainfall, the moss was lush and soft and beckoned to be felt at every possible opportunity. The three of us contentedly plodded along making our way up the winding path, until we found a lovely location for enjoying our picnic lunch. Wes and I enjoyed our usual PBR, or peanut butter and raisin sandwich, complete with dark chocolate for dessert!

rachelle siegrist and kit gentry on chimney tops trail

Kit and I admiring the view

wes and rachelle siegrist on schoolhouse gap trail

Enjoying lunch!

A gentle breeze blew as we sat there eating and enjoying the beautiful view, complete with cloudless blue skies above! By this time we were on the sun drenched, south side of the mountain, meaning it was warmer and this sun-loving girl was in her seventh heaven! Right away I noticed a few more wildflowers blooming, and I began adding to my mental flower list for the day, including numerous Trailing Arbutus, with their intense sweet fragrance making them a delight to stop and smell!

 

Sweet White Trillium image

Sweet White Trillium above and Trailing Arbutus below
Both photos courtesy of Kit Gentry

Trailing Arbutus image

The afternoon breeze was delightful as we walked along admiring the vistas still viewable with the leafless trees. Along the way, we saw Dry Valley, Laurel Valley, and Townsend as well as the mountain, which our house sits on the side of. Later on, we found ourselves rounding the corner, joining the popular spring trail destination, Chestnut Tops, where we started seeing even more wildflowers blooming. By this time the large white petals of Bloodroot, the teeny-tiny white petals of Great Chickweed, Cut-leaved Toothwort and the delicate Bird’s Foot Violets were also showing off their blossoms.

chestnut tops trail in the smokies

This tree along Chestnut Tops appeared to be “walking” down hill!

rachelle siegrist photographing wildflowers

Reaching the end of the trail, or beginning depending on which direction you are hiking it, hillsides were covered in large-flowered and Yellow Trilliums creating a stunning show! Several delicate Rue-Anemone and Crested Dwarf Irises, and the miniature upside down bowl shaped flowers of the Bishop’s Cap, as well as the occasional bright red blooms on the Fire Pinks, joined in on the colorful show.

rue-anemone image

Rue-Anemone above and Sharp-Lobed Hepatica below, photos courtesy of Kit Gentry

sharp-lobed hepatica

~ Fresh off the easel ~
I finished my miniature painting of our friend Don’s handsome cat Koko, this past week, while Wes continues to paint on his Otter.  You can see both paintings, step-by-step, on our Facebook page.  Starting this week I’ll be posting more often with the new bi-monthly posts on Wednesday highlighting questions that are commonly asked us at shows or other insights into our business!

Miniature_Painting_ Don's_Boy_Rachelle_Siegrist1
Until next time ~ Rachelle

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