Image of small thumbnails used to see the bigger picture

Example of thumbnails I painted small. The one in the lower right corner ended up not gettting painted.

I wish I had stumbled onto Paint Coach Chris Fornataro’s video (below) about painting small thumbnails when I first started painting mostly landscapes 3 years ago. The basic concept is simple: Paint a small thumbnail (I do them 3″ x 4″) using a large brush. The largest brush you can stand to use.

I painted three of the above thumbnails larger, and the one in the upper left ended up in the gallery at Moab Made, where it was sold. See it here second image from top. The one in the upper right corner, and the one in the lower right corner below it I ended up painting again as larger studies. I painted them a bit larger because I still wasn’t 100% sure they’d work out when they got bigger. I also didn’t want to “waste” a stretched canvas if I wasn’t going to be happy with them. Here’s two that I did larger, below.

Kane Creek Road #1

Kane Creek Road #1 (larger 9×12 study)

Kane Creek Road #2

Kane Creek Road #2 (larger study). I still might do this one on stretched canvas

To sum up, this idea of “painting small” really helped me to see the larger composition and also do a quick color study at the same time before committing to a larger painting that I would hopefully sell. Check out Chris Fornataro’s video about this below, and thanks for reading this post. I hope it helps someone!


I am Rich Cleveland, artist, musician, bike rider, & former web developer. I enjoy painting landscapes around my hometown of Moab Utah. Occasionally I will paint something from my imagination, using the desert or other landscape as inspiration. I also paint a few portraits and still lifes here and there.