Paint small, paint often

Have you ever wondered what is the fastest way to learn to paint? What is the best way to make a major leap in your painting abilities? Well, here is one answer to those questions…

Paint small and paint often!

When I began painting seriously many years ago I felt that I needed to work BIG in order to really learn the craft. But each big painting took a long time to complete and I’m not really sure how much I learned during the process.

I think there is a law at work here. I am now pretty sure that we only learn one thing (or on a good day, perhaps two things) from each painting we do.

So, if this law is real, and I truly believe it is, then the more paintings we produce the more we should learn, and the better our paintings will become! And the best way to produce more paintings is to paint small and paint often.

Think about it…
one large painting that has taken days, weeks or even months to produce = one thing learned.
one small painting made each day = one thing learned each day.
Which one gives the fastest rate of growth?

What did I learn from doing these tiny paintings? I learned about the power of tonal values, I learned about the amazing effects of colour, I learned about what makes a good composition, I learned about simplifying a scene to it’s bare minimum, and I learned that I could create a decent painting in about 15 minutes! Now that’s not bad for one day’s work!

So here’s my challenge to you…

Set aside a week and make the decision to paint just one small painting a day. They don’t have to be as small as these, but just make sure that you can finish in under an hour. Then at the end of the week, look back and see how much you have learned. I’m sure you will be impressed!

Have fun!
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  1. I love this idea! I get very grumpy if a day goes by without painting anything. Did you paint those six little scenes on different days?

    My only problem with too much painting small is that it ruins my ability to paint large.


    • Hi. Yes they were painted on different days, and they are tiny. Painting small and painting large are two very different things aren’t they. You need so much more information for a large painting, but the structure should all be there in a small painting.


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