Art Workshops Abroad: The Mighty Impact of Small Scale Paintings

Photo caption: Small-scale paintings invite art collectors to get up close to an artist’s work and for the artist to work while traveling. Photo courtesy of Milan Art Institute and Elli Milan. 

The bravest artists among us constantly push themselves to try new things, to paint in new formats and to explore new places to paint. That’s why so many heroic artists try their hands at painting on the road. Really… What could be better than an original painting that was painted in its entirety on a beach in Greece or on the streets of Paris? 

However, there are a few issues that artists face when they want to travel and paint, including transporting their works back home from a vacation or an art workshop abroad? One solution that traveling artists come up with is to paint small.

And why not? There is a unique power that emanates from small scale paintings. They provide an intimate space for the viewers to be captivated into the imagery of your piece. The audience can get lost in the fine detail of every artfully placed brushstroke, and create a grand story of their own based on your travels. 

As a world-changing, world-traveling artist, there are some important tools for tiny paintings that will help you create small scale masterpieces. There is something very liberating about painting smaller than you usually would while working in your studio. 

As you gear up for your next art workshop abroad, remember that you can use all of your favorite supplies, just scale everything down. Here is a list of oil painting tools to take with you on your next adventure. 

Travel Drawing, Sketching & Painting: Oil Painting Tools

  • Panel: As opposed to canvas, panels already have a ground on them, and brushes glide right on the smooth surface which allows for finer detail.  
  • Paint: Feel free to choose your favorite colors, but this could also be a great opportunity to challenge yourself by working with a limited palette, but be sure to include both warm and cool colors for extra dimension and depth. 
  • A medium for paint: A fast drying medium like galkyd or galkyd light makes the paint more fluid, but if you don’t have these mediums you can make your own by mixing one part linseed oil with six parts solvent.  
  • Small brushes: Think of your favorite brushes that you usually use, and pick up those same brushes a few sizes smaller. Be sure to clean them thoroughly and don’t let them sit in the paint cup for too long, because they can lose their shape easier than bigger brushes. 
  • Subtraction tool: This is great for adding detail and texture to your piece. 
  • Scale tool: If you have a printed source that is the same size as your panel, this tool easily helps to measure and transfer your subject accurately on your panel.   
  • Table easel: Table easels are easy to find and are really handy to use for travel. 
  • Pochade box on a tripod: This is another great portable easel that usually has more features than a table easel. One important feature for traveling artists is that it allows you to put the portable easel on a tripod, so you can paint standing up if you’d like. Pochade boxes are particularly great for plein air painting.

Final Thoughts on Creating Small Paintings  

Artists have the incredible freedom to take what they see in the world and transform their discoveries into healing works of art. Beautifully done small paintings have mighty things to say, despite their size, they’re like intimate windows into great possibilities. 

Painting these pieces while you’re on vacation or at an art workshop abroad is an amazing way to experience the transformative power of your art in a fresh way.  

To capture beautiful memories through your art and discover fresh inspiration, visit to book your next art workshop abroad! 

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