Saturday, March 26, 2011

Small landscape studies - ACEO original art

Tags:  pastel painting - abstract landscape - fall colors - cloud painting - sunset

More experimentation...

ACEO trio #1
each  2.5 x 3.5 inches
pastel on Strathmore black paper

New ideas come about in any number of ways, I've found.  In this case, I had recently purchased a new pad of the black Strathmore Artagain paper I enjoy working on.  The local art store only had a 12x12" pad rather than the 9x12 I usually get.  Wanting to keep the size consistent for the Ancient Architecture series I've been doing on this paper, I trimmed up a few pieces to have available.

Normally, I save these left-over pieces for trying out color combinations for the paintings.  However, as I got to thinking, it occurred to me that I could instead use them as small color thumbnails for larger paintings, or even do them as miniature paintings in their own right.  For those not familiar with ACEO, it is the acronym for "Art Cards, Editions and Originals".   ACEO's are a spin-off of the original Art Trading Cards that have been popular for years:  artists creating small works of art and trading them with other artists.  The only criteria for both ATC's and ACEO's is that they must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  Otherwise, anything goes!

I've seen an increasing number of artists working in this size, in everything from mixed media collage to highly-detailed paintings in oil, and I've always been intrigued by the whole ACEO/ATC movement.  They are also popular on Etsy and eBay.

I did the first three yesterday, and here's what they look like in a wood mini-frame ($1.50 at Walmart):

Cloudscape #1, framed

Honestly, how cool is that?  The display and presentation options are endless.  

Today, I worked on another set, all from memory/imagination, and meant to be abstract fields of flowers:

ACEO trio - #2

It was so fun working on these little nuggets of soft pastel goodness, having fun with color and ideas - I think I'm hooked!   After working on these, I had another idea to do a series of Colorado wildflowers on these cards.  Two are done, and I'll be posting those tomorrow along with others I finish.  They will dovetail nicely with the surreal florals I'm doing in oils.  Working in soft pastel in such a small size limits the detail I can get, especially since I don't have any pastel pencils.  But, I love the simplicity.  

Because of the small size, these don't look as good when they are enlarged to more than 100%, so I used GIMP to create these montages.   


  1. These are really fun.

    I like the blue/orange one a lot.

    I have to say, for a mini frame to be sold for a buck at Wal-Mart, I hate to think of the conditions in China where it was manufactured.

  2. Thanks, Jala - I agree. That purple/orange combo is totally going to make it into one of my Architecture series paintings.

    I've already sold half of these (well, the fall colors is pending). Who knew? Fun to paint + selling = will definitely keep doing them.

  3. Congratulations on the sales! So, do you think minis on etsy are the way to go?

  4. Thanks! Maybe....the sales were actually from people who saw them posted on my FB studio page.

    At any rate, they're worth doing more of, and at the low price point, it's broadens the buyer base.


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