The 2010 Exhibition of the Miniature Art Society of Florida at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, FL.
What Qualifies as a Miniature Painting?
Miniature painting involves tedious and delicate brushwork that captivates under close scrutiny. The contemporary revival in miniature has been marked by a clear move towards explicitly including size and scale in the general description of the works. Partly due to the vague usage of the term miniature and in an effort to encourage and further define the direction of the art form most contemporary Societies have adopted a one-sixth scale guideline. This guide states subjects should be rendered one-sixth their life-size or smaller with some leeway given to naturally small subjects (hummingbirds, butterflies and delicate flowers). Some Societies place less stringent guidelines on subject size and limit only the image area. Framing guidelines have been loosened lately to include more molding styles and sizes as long as the overall framed work falls under the set size. Most societies encourage delicate frames matching the proportions of the artwork. (the framed artwork or sculpture should fit in an open hand)
Foremost in importance in contemporary miniature art is the highly skilled and painstaking techniques should be evident upon viewing the artwork. This is often defined as the work should hold up well under magnification. It should draw the viewer's eye deeper and deeper into itself with amazement at the gemlike details of the tiny treasure.
For more in-depth information please download: Modern Masters of Miniature Art in America by Wes (FREE! PDF from lulu.com or Google Books)
Personal Notes from Wes & Rachelle Siegrist:
Miniature art normally fits into your pocket so it's not hard finding a place for it in any home, and for discriminating collectors who prefer to purchase originals it affords a one-of-a-kind quality at most artist's framed reproduction's price ranges.
Creating miniature art can be extremely tedious and painstaking with a narrow margin of error. We sometimes try as many as 5 times to put a highlight in the animals eye...often the paint being such a small amount dries before we can get it into the right area. Observers of our work are always amazed at how tiny and detailed the paintings actually are in real life versus what they see online or in print.
Defining the "Ideal" Miniature Today:
Although definitions and rules governing miniature art vary by Society or country most agree on the basic tenets. Below we've listed the statements of the Association of Miniature Artists guiding standards:
AMA Guidelines: While the AMA recognizes and encourages individuality, experimentation and future changes in the miniature art movement the AMA exists to provide a common ground among members especially in the context of defining their work to the public. As a member of the AMA you choose to agree with the following statements:
1. Given the historical foundation of traditional miniature art, I will strive to understand it better for the promotion, preservation and advancement of the art form.
2. Given the perplex multiple definitions of the term "miniature" today, I choose to adhere to the following tenets to describe and distinguish traditional miniature work and when possible, will adhere to them in creating, displaying, and marketing artwork as a 'miniature':
-Minute in scale vs. life-sized. For practicality following the general 1/6th scale for my work sent to formal miniature exhibitions and shows.
-Delicate and painstaking technique that withstands magnification.
-Small in format and size. 25 inches or less for surface area.
-High in quality. The work should exemplify Fine Art ~ demonstrating a mastery of composition, color, values etc.
3. Given my concern for the future of the miniature art form I will do my best to educate artists and the public about the historical and current miniature art movement, contribute work to the exhibitions and volunteer when possible with the existing societies, shows and online forums as interaction with fellow artists is key to better understanding and continued advancement of the genre. My membership in the AMA will continue as long as I work in the miniature art genre and adhere with the statements and tenets.
- View a video below of the 2011 MASF Exhibition. Videos courtesy of MASF Webmaster Wes Siegrist and YouTube.
Miniature Art Resources & Books
More information on Exquisite Miniatures by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist and The World of Nature in Miniature; Paintings by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist, published by us and featuring our work, may be viewed by clicking here.
Please feel free to contact us for additional information on these books below which are part of our personal library:
American Miniatures - by Harry B. Whele
American Portrait Miniatures - by Dale T. Johnson
American Portrait Miniatures - by Susan E. Strickler
American Portrait Miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art - by Carrie Rebora Barratt and Lori Zabar
The Artist's Workbook on Miniature Painting - by Joan Cornish Willies
The Arturi Phillips Collection, A Catalogue of Portrait Miniatures - by Carmela Arturi and Roger Frederick Phillips
British Portrait Miniatures - by Graham Reynolds
The Catalogue of the Permanent Collection (MASF) - Doris M. Liverman and Kay Petryszak
Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870-1970 - by Carmela Arturi and Roger Frederick Phillips
English and Continental Portrait Miniatures - by Pamela Pierrepont Bardo
The English Miniature - by John Murdoch, Jim Murrell, Patrick J. Noon & Roy Strong
Exquisite Miniatures by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist - by Wes Siegrist
European Portrait Miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art - by Graham Reynolds
History of Miniature Art - by J.L. Propert
How to Paint Miniatures - by Robert Hughes & Elizabeth Johnson
Looking for Eulabee Dix, The Illustrated Biography of An American Miniaturist - by Jo Ann Ridley
Love and Loss, American Portrait & Mourning Miniatures - by Robin Jaffee Frank
The Magic of Miniatures - by Jo Clay
Miniature Art of Australia ~ Past and Present - by the Australian Society of Miniature Art Tasmania, Inc.
Miniature Art Today - by Bede Zel Angle
Miniature Painting: A Complete Guide to Techniques, Mediums, and Surfaces - by Joan Cornish Willies
The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association - by Martha R. Severens
Miniatures - by Dudley Heath
Miniatures: A Selection of Miniatures in the Ashmolean Museum - by Richard Walker
Miniatures: Dictionary and Guide - by Daphne Foskett
Modern Masters of Miniature Art in America - by Wes Siegrist
Painting Miniatures - by Elizabeth Davys Wood
Perfect Likeness European and American Portrait Miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum - by Julie Aronson and Majorie E. Wieseman
The Portrait Miniature in England - by Katherine Coombs
Portrait Miniatures - by Bill Mundy
Portrait Miniatures 2 - by Bill Mundy
Portrait Miniatures from the Daphne Foskett Collection - by Stephen Lloyd
Portrait Miniatures from Scottish Private Collections - by Stephen Lloyd
Portrait Miniatures in Early American History: 1750-1840 - by R.W. Norton Staff
Portrait Miniatures Oriental by Bill Mundy
Richard & Maria Cosway - by Stephen Lloyd
The Techniques of Painting Miniatures - by Sue Burton
Timeless Treasures VHS/ DVD Video presentation from Miniature Art Society of Florida - Doris M. Liverman and Kay Petryszak
The Way How to Lymne - by Jim Murrell
The World of Nature in Miniature; Paintings by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist - by Wes Siegrist
Wallace Collection Catalogue of Miniatures - by Graham Reynolds
Miniature Artists of America Traveling Exhibition: The MAA has four cases of miniature paintings that is available free of charge to Museums, Societies and Group Exhibitions. The collection, which contains two of our paintings, is exquisitely displayed in black cases under glass. The MAA uses this exhibit for educational purposes. Please contact Wes Siegrist directly if you are interested and we will have an informational package mailed to you.