The other day I found a box of cardboard heat-seal 35mm slide mounts and an old custom built slide mounting press. I wondered if it still worked and if so, how I might put it to good use. It occurred to me that I could do miniature paintings and frame them in slide mounts as a novelty. They might make interesting business cards.
So, as an experiment, I scanned some slides, printed them with my Epson inkjet printer on matt photo paper and mounted the prints in slide mounts. The press still worked.
Next I used one of the slides as a reference and did four miniature paintings using four different media – colored pencil, gouache, watercolor, and colored markers. I had never worked this small before and I wanted to see which medium worked the best at this scale.
I did all four on a piece of 5×7 inch Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot pressed watercolor paper. I did the colored pencil first using Prismacolor pencils. I was able to get detail, but the paper being watercolor paper had quite a bit of tooth. So, the drawing ended up with a lot of texture. If I used colored pencil, I’d have to use a smoother paper or maybe use water soluble pencils.
Next, I tried gouache. I have a 10 tube set of Schmincke Horadam gouache paints. Mixing the colors I want is a challenge. I like working with gouache, because it is opaque and it also lifts easily. You can rework it as much as you want.
Then I used Daniel Smith watercolors. I’m most familiar with watercolor. I was able to get closer to the colors and values I wanted.
Finally I worked with Faber-Castel PITT artist brush pens. I used several application techniques. I wetted the sky first with a waterbrush, scribbled some blue color on a separate piece of plastic, picked it up with the waterbrush and applied it to the paper. For the lighter colors I transferred color to the paper using a waterbrush but without wetting the paper first. For the darker colors I used the pens directly. I layered purple and green to get the darkest green.
The inkjet print looks pretty good until you compare it to the slide. Nothing beats a slide.
This is good practice for doing detail. I used a #4 round brush for all the paintings. Usually I don’t go smaller than a #6.
Working small has it’s advantages. It speeds thing up. You can try several different versions. Obviously it used less materials. You can do several paintings or drawings at once on the same piece of paper. It’s a great way to warm up, and you can think of them as thumbnails for possible larger paintings.