Creating Small: Mini Masterpieces with Big Impact Staff Pick

Jen Dixon, Abstract and figurative artist, tutor.

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10 Lessons (1h 32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Suggested Materials

    • 3. Exercise: Warm Up & Control

    • 4. Exercise: Intentional Mark-Making

    • 5. Testing Mixed Media Material Compatibilities

    • 6. Subject & Compositional Choices

    • 7. Colour Considerations

    • 8. Putting it All Together - Making Mini Masterpieces

    • 9. Mini Masterpiece Preservation Advice

    • 10. Final Thoughts

39 students are watching this class

Project Description


In this class, I’ll guide you through specific exercises on brush techniques, thinking through compositions, design elements, colour advice and more. What you learn in this class will help you to paint small, large, or anywhere in between.

Whether your preferred subjects are figurative or abstract, you’re going to get your creative juices flowing and fall in love with making Mini Masterpieces. I can’t wait to see your projects.

Materials Used (whatever you have on hand is probably fine):

  • Inks, watercolour, acrylic or gouache paints in a variety of colours
  • Palettes, plates, or bowls
  • A range of small and medium brushes
  • A roll of paper towels
  • Masking tape
  • Heavy paper: Bristol, mixed media, or hot press watercolour paper are all perfect, but use what you have
  • Heavy cartridge or sketchbook paper (for brush mark exercises)
  • Pencils, charcoal, chalk-style pastels - any dry mark making tools you have
  • Jars of rinse water

Exercise One:

Warm-up marks in three sizes: Using cartridge paper, we’ll practice making a patchwork of six, very specific marks to build control and ability for small-scale work. There is no shortcut for this type of skill-building. Do the drills. Do them often. (You'll see them come into play during the mini masterpiece creation video.)

Exercise Two:

Mark-making for specific visual interpretations: Using cartridge paper, we’ll practice making marks influenced by specific terminology to create visual interpretations. I create the ones that come to my mind, and I'd love to see your interpretations.

Terms to consider:

  • Flow
  • Imbalance
  • White Space / Negative Space
  • Rhythm
  • Direction / Travel / Journey
  • Convergence
  • Tension

After the warm-up exercises, we'll experiment with mixed media compatibilities, consider subject matter and composition, colour, and then...


Creating Mini Masterpieces.
I'll show you how I paint several mini masterpieces, and how the skills and techniques we learned earlier appear in real world paintings.

This is a big class, full of information. I mentioned in the description that I designed this class to build your technical skills and also a thought process for creating a work of art. Each video builds skills for the next, so make a tasty beverage, get out your supplies, and let's get started.

Student Projects

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