What Is a Study? How Is It Different from a Miniature?

27 Jan

A study is a preliminary work, generally quite small, that an artist paints before embarking on the larger project, with the idea of testing out the subject matter, coloration, and composition to make sure that everything works together smoothly and well. Different artists do studies for different reasons, but Steve’s major purpose is to create an informal color map, ensuring that the colors that work on the small scale stay true when he paints the larger piece.

Rolling in the Hay study by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art

“It is easy,” he says, “to overwork your colors, blending and overblending until you have mud, and the study lays out the piece’s palette in condensed form. If the colors work on the small scale, they’ll work on the large scale, and I use the study as a reference to keep me true to the visual impact that I initially established.”

Not all artists do studies, but when you find one who does, you have an opportunity to own an original oil painting for a very affordable price. Because the pieces are generally smaller (well under 144 square inches) and more loosely painted, the price reflects this; and the more relaxed style mimics that of many plein aire pieces.

Because many studies are small, they are also classified as miniatures, but not all miniatures are studies. Some artists specialize in smaller works of intricate detail, sometimes to the point of using a magnifiying class so that they can focus on what they are doing, and employing a thin brush of no more than a few bristles. In this case, although the piece is small, its very intricacy demands a higher price.

Steve has created a separate category for studies on his website — Miniatures and Studies — in the Original Paintings section — and like all of his studio works, studies and miniatures are available for secure purchase through PayPal (even for those who do not have a PayPal account) by hitting the Buy Now button.

Shore Leave study by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art

Works that are not in the studio because they are at a gallery or show are available by following the link provided, and, as always, we work individually with clients who contact us.


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