It’s a Small Thing

NOAPS Atherholt small works

“Smith and Copper” 11×11 by Blair Atherholt.  This piece was juried into the NOAPS 2017 Holiday Small Works Show at the Cathy Kline Art Gallery in Parkville, MO.  Collection of the Artist.

Small is a big deal, especially during the month of December.  Galleries across the country are featuring small works shows, presumably in an effort to encourage sales for holiday gifting.  What better gift than an original work of art?

In “Smith and Copper”, Atherholt has created a composition with a secondary triad of color, using line to take us around the painting.  The contrast of light and dark and texture holds our interest while we admire the beauty of the fine draftsmanship of the artist.  And the firefly adds a touch of Vanitas to the painting as well…

Small works are not a new thing by any means, of course.  True miniatures date back to the scribes in medieval ages where the small paintings served to illustrate religious texts.  Later, miniature portraits, which could be held in one’s hand and carried, became popular as well.  Today, there are numerous miniature painting societies, with shows across the United States and elsewhere.  Most of these shows adhere to guidelines of size; for example, less than 25 square inches, and 1/6 the actual size of the object or scene depicted.  Miniatures are collected by museums and individual collectors as well.

NOAPS Stevens small works  “U-Turn”, 11×14, by Laurie Stevens. Collection of the Artist, juried into the Holiday Small Works Show.

Historically speaking, another type of small work is the “cabinet painting”.  These paintings are larger in size than true miniature paintings, and gained popularity in the 17th century, particularly in Holland.  With the middle classes becoming more affluent, collectors began to acquire small paintings, placing them in small rooms or “cabinets”, designated especially for their collections.  Often these small paintings depicted full length figures on a small-scale and were very finely painted.  The National Gallery in Washington, D.C. holds a very nice collection of cabinet paintings.

NOAPS Marchand small works  “In The Morning”, 12×12, by Catherine Marchand.  Collection of the Artist, juried into the Holiday Small Works Show.

Jump now to the present day, and we have small works shows appealing to both seasoned collectors and new collectors alike.  Artists paint small across the genres, as can be seen in the upcoming NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show at the Cathy Kline Art Gallery in Parkville, Missouri.  The exhibit will feature 197 small works from 153 talented members of the National Oil & Acrylic Society in a wide range of subject matter.  The gallery is housed in an historically significant building, which at one time served as the passenger train station in this riverside town.  Built in 1840, the building draws visitors both for the fine art and the rich history.

NOAPS Cathy Kline gallery  NOAPS Cathy Kline gallery view 2

Views of the Cathy Kline Gallery, Parkville, MO.

The NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show and Sale will be on exhibit at the Cathy Kline Art Gallery, 8701 NW River Park Drive, Parkville, Missouri, 64152.  The show will run from November 18-December 31, 2017.  The Cathy Kline Art Gallery is generously donating a portion of the proceeds from sales to Feed Northland Kids, a charity that helps feed needy children.

To view the artwork included in this show, visit, visit us on Facebook or Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

Thank you to Debra Keirce for her information on Miniatures.  To see miniatures by Debra, visit her website at

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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