small painting

On again, off again. It's winter now.

Finn in the woods, out for a ski with Darby and me.

The holidays are winding down, a new year beginning. I'm not making any big resolutions this year, but I am really excited about the way things are going. The Small Works have really gotten off to a good start, and I have already found an unexpected benefit. I have struggled for years to paint the season I am in, normally running weeks to months behind, painting summer in winter, fall in spring. Not getting a chance to paint the things I see every day.

But the small paintings move along, not taking weeks or months to finish. I have several small pieces, that will finish in the next few days or so, of the weather we have enjoyed during our two bursts of winter. And as Darby and I went to the Yard Of Ale this evening to celebrate the new year, we drove through a stunningly beautiful scene of softly falling snow in the last light of day. Not an image meant to be a small painting. And with all the small winter scenes I am working on, my mind is there already. I'm stretching a canvas next week. A big one.

Let's get small.

A selection of the small paintings to be offered at Richard C. Harrington Small Work.

As I have been working larger and larger over the past couple years, I have been very excited about the growth and development I have found in my work. From the thinking necessary to conceive the larger pieces to the drawing and paint handling required, the challenges have pushed me further than the work I have done before.

And at the same time, I have been frustrated. I learn something from every piece that I do, even when exploring a previous theme. The larger work requires such an investment of time, I produce far fewer pieces each year- one nine foot triptych has been underway for over a year and a half, leaving me much less opportunity to play and experiment with color and design. In talking about this with my friend, the artist David Oleski, he suggested I set aside some time each day for smaller work. When I explained I didn’t see small paintings fitting into my current body of work, he described how he had been working through ebay.

After contemplating it for a while, I have begun setting aside some time most days to work on these small pieces. The small paintings will be available in an auction format through a new blog, Richard C. Harrington Small Work. As the son of a couple antique collectors, I have always loved auctions and hope this can be a fun format for people to acquire these small pieces.

I see this body of work paralleling the development of my larger ideas. David had mentioned that the daily involvement with the smaller pieces started leading him in new directions. In fact, one aspect of the really big pieces I hope to pursue is a more intimate exploration of the landscape. The small pieces may become integral to that.

So there you have it. Going small to get bigger. I think Brad Pitt has a movie coming out about something along these lines. Oh great, now I'm trendy.

Or not.