Monday, 3 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #1: Small is Often Bigger Than It Seems, So Look Closer

Ten long years have passed since we entered the year 2000. Looking at it that way, I can't help but think about all the leaps and stumbles that have brought me where I am today. What kind of advice would I give myself this time, when I can still see repetitions in my long list of resolutions? Here I am again, reenacting my previous attempts to make myself a better and hopefully wiser person. So, good luck to me.

Well, one of my biggest flaws, I'm afraid, is the tendency to underestimate the tiny details in many things. I've always focused more on "the bigger picture" than I need to, especially in my own work. For instance, I've never quite understood why some artists dedicate their time to creating such small scale original art like ACEOs. Prints I can understand, but originals? Why bother? But then something tickled my curiosity when I saw the delicate pretty little cards my friend Lauren had created. So I set out on a quest...

After several unsuccessful attempts, a few crumpled papers and oodles of erasing, I watched these two sketches with blurry vision in amazement. How small they were compared to my other sketches and yet, it took me twice as much time to make just one!!

And now the next trick was to have them painted without losing my patience completely... or better yet, my sanity!!

...and I was, at the end, proven guilty as charged for my lack of appreciation in these small things. I realize now that size can be misleading, and it's good advice to always experience before passing out judgements. So here they are, the fruit of my labor, Ophelia and Marian. They will be reminders of a lesson learned.

Both are available in my Etsy shop.

Sunshine kisses to all of you! 



  1. Haven't seen your work before. These two are great, nice work on the colour.

  2. I love them both! Even in b/w :)

  3. Dear Amalia, your inner-self has put a challenge for you. I think it's a good sign for the very beginning of the year - to start it with something new to explore in your art... I mean, that we all dream of some changes, long for a different and better year, but the last couple of days just made me realize that the Change will not come alone, all by itself, as a gift. No! One must obviously make some efforts to make it or at least provoke it. Oh, it's so easy to write this, but I don't know how to do it and whether I'll manage!:( In fact I'm a little bit confused about myself and my goals for this year because of some circumstances around me that are unpredictable and out of my control... Nevermind! I respect your will to draw these cards and the result is brilliant! They are so beautiful!! Both the girls have their characters and I can imagine their lives while looking at them.
    Working on details is very important and yes, it needs a lot of concentration, patience, attention and time. But "the fruit" is sweet, isn't it? I myself love to work upon details with the actors during the rehearsals. They say that this is the general difference between men and women-directors. Men have a general view upon the show, while women's "strength" is in the details. So... I'm trying to see and build the whole construction of the show, before sinking in the details!:)
    Aren't you sorry to sell your original works? I've always wondered how do the artists overcome this moment!Hugs!xx

    Lauren must be very happy that her beautiful catds have inspired you!

  4. Amalia, I could have written this post about two years ago! I thought exactly the same thing about ATCs. Why on earth would people want to do them? What was the value? Why should I even bother when the bookshelves at the stores were filled with tomes of advice, examples, and some pretty bad!~~~where did this fit into my work?
    Okay, I was clueless. I did a few and loved them. And yes, they DO take as log as or longer than a larger piece, but there is this odd sense of not as much mental angst being invested in them. And when they are done, oh! A lovely little piece of art to hold in your hand!
    Yours turned out amazing~~small format can say so much. I think we are prone to always *think big* due to media, previous art masters, etc.
    I love working small and have found a distinct voice in a small area. And it looks like you have too! BRAVA!!!


  5. Amalia,
    They are absolutely beautiful. =D

  6. hello dear Amalia,

    I love them both, in color and b&w. I myself love tiny art. I have a wee pile of ACEO's, they live in a tiny beautiful box and they take turns on a wee easel to enjoy. Also I love taking them out and looking at each one.

    I had a very hard time deciding which one to purchase, but not in deciding that I wanted to purchase one. Yea, and many thanks for Marian!


  7. Very nice. I like seeing the WIP's, and especially like the way you handled the hair. Happy new year!

  8. Lovely work !
    Nice blog , have a Nice 2011

  9. These are so beautiful and delicate, it's amazing what you can do on such a small piece of paper. It's always good to challenge yourself too, you never know what you might end up with, and here you've ended up with something truly amazing!

  10. Really beautiful Amalia - again, I wish I could just sit on your shoulder and watch you work. You are so very talented and inspiring!

    I love to that you challenged yourself here - that is what growing and evolving as an artist is about and you are continually offering us new artistic sides of yourself to enjoy.

    Really wonderful!

    Hugs and smiles

  11. Wonderful self revelation! Your work is beautiful in any size!

  12. They really are beautiful--both in the black and white and colored versions. I haven't yet delved into ATCs, and have been amazed at the details of the ones I've seen. I think, though, that I would have just as hard a time letting the little ones go as the bigger ones, though maybe not. I've been sending off drawings to friends for years.

  13. Awe.... I love them!! What incredible work!!
    Happy New Year, Amalia!! xoxo

  14. They are lovely Amalia. Working small is definitely a challenge especially when you have been used to working larger. You did a wonderful job. Did I tell you happy new year Amalia? Well, I am wishing you a wonderful new year with many blessings for you and your family.

  15. Hi all! Thank you for leaving me so many kind comments! It was so nice to read each one!

    These ACEOs totally changed my perspective on small scale art! I will definitely find more time to make them from now own... I found out that it's quite a good exercise for perfecting details!

    Thank you again for your words.. ♥ oxx

  16. Amal, those tiny paintings are gorgeous!! Smaller painting or drawing is actually trickier in all aspects. Figuring the right composition is already challenging, then you'll have to draw and fill every single details with colors. You nailed it though:)
    Happy New Year, my friend. Cheers! xoxo

  17. Hello my dear Amalia! Thanks for stopping by! I always love your visits and comments ;o) These little works of art are lovely and dainty! I don’t have the patience to work small. You must have patience and a steady hand :o) Anyway... I love both of them and I wanted to wish you a very happy and blessed new year! I’m really looking forward to where your creative wind takes you in 2011! God bless!...oh my resolution? Hmmm To thank God every day for all the blessings He’s given me. So far so good, but it’s only been 4 days :o)

  18. Hi Amalia,

    Seems like you have a great start into 2011: to understand yourself more :) Somehow I have the opposite of yours, not that I referring to ACEO cards although they are very nice *hehe*! Myself often caught up in the petty details (in life) that somehow I lose the sight of a bigger picture of how to be a happier me. Sometimes trap in small little problems that I can't let go and end up I couldn't get to the state where I could be happier. I hope this year I can learn how to let go willingly and let the bigger things come into me, like happiness :)

    On the other hand, just to let you know that I would like to give you the "Stylish Blogger Award" for your awesomely stylish blog! :)

    How this award works is that it's passed on from blogger to blogger, so I received the award from someone and I pass on the award to others. Part of this award is to write 7 things about yourself (on your blog post) and pass this award to 15 other recently discovered blogs you think deserves this award too.

    You can see my post and the link for the award here

    Thank you to you and your blog!
    Have a great day!
    Yee Von

  19. Amalia, what a lovely post! One of my favorite things about being an artist has been discovering that the learning never ends. Hope you have a wonderful new year! *hugs*

  20. Your ACEOs are STUNNING! It is amazing how so much detail can fit onto such a tiny piece of paper. <3

    Also, I've nominated you for the Stylish Blogger Award! (here:

  21. It's true what they say. Great things come in small packages. These ladies may be tiny, but they pack a whollop of beauty! I don't know if I could put so much fine detail into such a tiny space. I love tiny things, though. They take exceptional skill to create!


  22. Guau, fantastic post, and very good art work... Beatifull..

    Best wishes from Buenos Aires...

    Proyectos - Illustrations

    Alexiev Store - venta de originales

  23. Exquisite! I love your line work!
    have a nice weekend!

  24. I want them all!!! Of course they are gorgeous! Amalia, I believe that you can draw on a paper bag and that paper bag will be a work of art! In fact, I would not mind putting that paper bag over my head, it will be an improvement!!! TSUP!!! (I should really leave for work now :))

  25. These are incredible! Great job!


Tell me your lovely daydreams, they always make me smile! ♥