Is One Brushstroke Or A Thousand Best?
By Wes Siegrist
It seems this question is a conundrum particularly in today’s environment where technology can reproduce with exacting precision and artistic response has mostly been about saying more with less. But is this true in miniature art?
Since the late 1890s, miniature art societies have strove to retain their genre’s historical attributes while evolving alongside contemporary art of their period. At some point, they, their critics and their admirers realized a fundamental precept with miniature art: While all miniature art can be fine art, not all fine art can properly be miniature. Miniatures have defining characteristics about them that preclude some fine art from their class … or at least, make one question their belonging.
As small, precious objects, miniatures beg to be examined closely. They whisper to be picked up and cradled with intimate endearment. They’re not art objects that are to be admired from across the room, or shout for attention. By nature, those holding them anticipate great reward while inspecting them closer. Viewers crave the satisfaction of finding more to see in the composition but also seek to find deft artistic skill and patience. Artists working in conventional scale seek to grab attention from afar while miniaturists aim for captivation under a magnifying glass.
For us miniature painters, it takes more brushstrokes per square inch, to satisfy our admirers. While it would be easier to achieve the same “feel” with one stroke, guaranteeing the viewer’s reward is better done with a thousand. Having exhibited our miniature paintings now to over a half-million public viewers we’ve heard most every response imaginable. Our favorite is still . . . “Wow!”