The Arabian Nights, miniature art and studio equipment

A Creative Life, art prints, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, Creativity Chats, fine art, household surrealism, mental health, miniature art, publications - publishing, published art, sketchbook, small things, Sustainable creativity, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

This week was … there. Reading Marcus Aurelius helped. So did the oranges, the coffee, the leaves in the yard, the books and art. Talking with my spouse helped too. I kept returning to this quote from Marcus Aurelius so I did this gouache and ink painting. Then I added it to my “for encouragement” art print series on my Society 6 shop.

The Happiness Of Your Life – art print by Clancy –

Here are a few of my sketchbook pages that formed part of my self-care this week.

In my last post I wrote about “discovering” miniature art by way of reading The Annotated Arabian Nights. While reading more about some of the artists and artwork illustrating the Arabian Nights I learned of the uses of magnifying glasses when creating art details within the miniatures. “Well duh! Wouldn’t that be helpful?” I thought.

So when a nice surprise from Storyberries came I used the windfall to get some anti fatigue mat flooring for when I’m standing at my easel and moving about my work area. It has the added benefit of protecting the wood floor! And….

…I got a magnifying glass that clamps on my easel!

Since feelings and dealing well with emotions has been on my mind I used that topic for the first of my Creativity Chats for 2022.

Creativity Chats: feelings –

Here’s the link:
I talk about dealing with feelings and sustaining a creative project over time. Even during difficult times.

I posted my sketchbook page in my last post and someone asked me to put my drawing on a shirt. So amongst everything this week I did that. It was pleasant to remember my mantra this way.

Books are some of the “good shit” that I inhale. And in stressful times I’ve found it can be hard to “let things get through” even beloved books. All I know to do is to keep reading and trust the process.

Anyway The Annotated Arabian Nights is “getting through to me” more than I’d have guessed. In addition to the miniature art concept I’ve also learned that there’s a genre of writing called “mirrors for princes”. I’ve no idea what, if anything, I’ll do with this awareness. I’m mostly just vividly aware that I sat up and took notice when I learned this.

In looking at online sources for information about miniature art I learned about a book by Joan Cornish Willies titled “Miniature Painting”. It was touted in multiple online sources as a go-to book resource. I contacted an independent bookstore and got a copy mailed to me which I read cover to cover the day it arrived.

According to Joan Cornish Willies I wouldn’t at all be considered a “true” miniature artist because I tend to use multiple media in just about everything I do; a bit of ink, gouache, watercolor, color pencil and collage to name a few of my art mediums. Plus, according to Willies, my typical subject matter isn’t considered within the realm of “traditional” subjects for miniatures. Oh well.

Fortunately I’ve read other sources and know that Joan Cornish Willies’s thoughts aren’t the only ones about miniature art and it’s definitions.

Despite the “no true Scotsman…” rhetoric and traditionalist tones in this book by Willies I found several of the technical painting directions of interest and possibly applicable to what I create. The rest of the book I take with a grain of salt or perhaps a large sack of salt. Anyway I’ve no intention, at this time, to participate in the formal miniature art society’s – as suggested by Willies – they sound entirely too rigid and puritanical for my tastes.

In the process of reading on this topic I’ve realized what I like about the idea of miniature art is the focus on storytelling, the intimacy and the connection with bookmaking and publishing. I love all of the intricate artistic details that can be achieved by the various methods of working “in the little”. Most of all I relish the way the details created in the smaller sizes are able to be reproduced in print (or online) so clearly! I had already noticed this with my own fine art and book publishing work (see my portfolio). Larger paintings often lose clarity and charm when they’re reproduced at smaller sizes… like in books. So I’m keen to do better at fine detail in smaller sized artwork with an eye toward more publishing.

That’s specifically what has amazed me about the artwork in The Annotated Arabian Nights so many of the illustrations are reproduced at the actual size – or very near it – to the artist’s original artwork! And the artistic details are glorious!

Consequently I’m thinking up a new artist book or two as well as a new fine art series – and deliberately planning smaller sizes now!

Onward into the fog as they say. See you next Monday?

18 thoughts on “The Arabian Nights, miniature art and studio equipment

  1. Hmm, the Willies book doesn’t exactly sound inspiring. The miniature is a moribund form of painting, then?

    I think your shirt has the potential to become a cultural phenomenon.

    1. Yes the Willies book isn’t inspiring except for the three brush-working techniques that will be useful I think. Miniature painting is actually quite lively… in any other teachers hands besides Willies. Somehow she made an exciting thing lifelessly dull. I think she must have worked hard at it. 🤦‍♀️
      And I’m glad you liked my shirt!! Lol!! 🤣

  2. What a snooty attitude to take towards art! Some folks really get off on being exclusive and building fences around an area they feel they have some kind of ownership of. I really would have thought the only qualification to be considered a miniaturist is the scale of the art being created. I don’t think it matters a jot what the medium is or the subject. I have neither the manual dexterity or patience (or eyesight actually) required to work at a tiny scale but I definitely admire those who can and I am always enchanted by tiny wee creations. I am, therefore, very much looking forward to seeing what you might do with this new well of inspiration.

    1. Yes indeed!!! The snooty-ness loomed so large in that book that I had to respond and write about it. Usually if I don’t like something I just don’t mention it. But this time… hoo boy… I was actually fairly restrained in my discussion of this book. And the brush use methods were/are helpful so the 2 dollars that was spent on this book was worth it for those brush techniques alone. And I got a blog post out of it! Lol!!
      But yes, you’re on target it’s more the size and detail levels of the art that makes it “miniature”. What is amusing me is that the sizes for miniature work is anything under 24 inches. So there’s a lot of leeway in the definition of “miniatures” as according to just about anyone except for Joan Cornish Willies.
      I just can’t abide snooty-ness have I mentioned? 😁

  3. I’m so glad you’ve leaned into your coping choices in what sounds like it was not the best week for you. I hope this coming week brings more joy and ease!! I always have a motivation lag around this time of year, but external stresses have been minimal, thankfully. A part of me wants to slam into intensive editing projects etc. but I feel I should keep things a bit slow and continue work on my model of a miniature bookshop. It’s incredibly intricate and rather time consuming, but every new piece installed is delightful. I’ve been posting about it on Facebook, but I’ll have to put it on one of my blogs soon. In fact I need to put something – anything – on my blogs soon. Trying to be kind to myself in that regard. I’m feeling hesitance to post, and I must let myself wait until I feel the desire to do it. There’s nothing worse than a post with no heart in it! Yours always have plenty, even when you’re sharing that the week ‘was…there.’ I love the new art print, by the way!!

    1. I’ll go looking for you on Facebook then! A miniature bookshop you say? Well that sounds remarkably timely and on my current interest topic! Lol!! Thanks for the heads up! That’s my posting policy too… do it with the heart in it or do something else elsewhere with a whole heart! So glad you liked the new art print! Thank you! Here’s hoping your week is a good one.

    2. Hey I’m not finding you on Facebook… can you give me a clue or two please about finding you? I’m on Facebook too. Look for the green dragon. 😁

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!