'Jewels in the Sandhills': Small Works and Fine Art Miniatures
The Artists League of the Sandhills Exchange Street Gallery will feature an exhibition of small works and fine art miniatures -- "Jewels in the Sandhills" -- Aug. 2-28. The genre of miniatures, as a collectible form of fine art has been making a comeback in recent years.
The art of miniature painting is believed to have begun with the illustrated manuscripts produced by monks and court scribes in Europe and the Far East during the 12th through 14th centuries. In the succeeding years the painting of portraits on small pieces of ivory, porcelain and vellum, using oil or watercolor paint became popular, peaking during the 17th and 18th centuries. With the introduction of photography and the changing tastes of the art world, the art of miniature painting declined in popularity.
Two of the most important art societies devoted to miniatures and small fine art works are located in the United States: the Miniature Art Society of Florida (MASF) and Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Engravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, D.C.
In the summer 2005, the Smithsonian Institute sponsored the highly acclaimed exhibit entitled "Exhibition of Miniature Artists." Many regional and national galleries increasingly showcase or produce juried exhibits featuring these works.
What is the difference between a fine art miniature and a small work of art? In miniatures the image is highly detailed, showing a strong sense of color, draftsmanship and composition. These paintings are small enough to be held in the hand. The quality of the medium and the techniques used are expected to withstand the closest inspection, often through magnification.
In miniatures the artist often follows the "one-sixth rule," painting the subject matter one-sixth or less of normal size.
For instance, the human head is normally eight to nine inches high, but using the one-sixth rule the head would be no more than one and one-half to two inches. The term miniature, as used by both the Hilliard Society of London and MASF, not only defines the size of the finished painting, as being no larger than 25 square inches, but also specifies the technical application of paints.
On the other hand, small artworks have no specific size requirement other than being considerably smaller than an artist's normal work. They are generally more loosely painted, and a palette knife may be used.
There are no scale requirements for the subject matter portrayed; however, an exhibition may limit the image size. For "Jewels in the Sandhills," the image maximum is 8 inches by 10 inches.
The opening reception for the public is Sunday, Aug. 2, from 2 to 5 p.m.
The Artists League of the Sandhills is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to promote interest in the visual arts by providing quality art education and a friendly environment in which to work, exhibit and sell members' artworks.
It is located in historic downtown Aberdeen at 129 Exchange Street in the old Aberdeen Rockfish Railroad storage terminal. Visit the Web site at www.artistleague.org. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Contact the League at (910) 944-3979 or visit email@example.com for information on membership, classes, workshops and monthly gallery exhibits.
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