Mini Art in Nags Head

Elephant_Melinda_FabianFrom April 30 through May 30, two of my miniature paper sculptures, Peanuts Please! and Springtime Delights, will be at the 25th International Miniature Art Show at the Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, N.C.

This will be the third year my artwork has been on display, and Seaside Art Gallery has become one of my favorite miniature shows. Partly that’s because of the history of the art gallery itself.

Opened in 1961 by the Smith family, the same year Nags Head was founded, the Seaside Art Gallery has become a favorite of the beach town. It started as a one-room gallery and over the years expanded to the 12-room art mecca it is today. It continues to be a family-operated business that specializes in original artwork of all kinds. Seaside Art Gallery is now run by second-generation owner and accredited fine arts appraiser with the International Society of Appraisers, Melanie Smith.

With few recognized official miniature shows around the country, Seaside Art Gallery runs one of the largest. On how it got started, Smith says, “My father Chester Smith and his wife Arnette were in Florida visiting with our artist, David Hunter. They enjoyed the miniature art show in Florida so much that he decided to do one here.” The first annual miniature show opened in 1991.

Featuring hundreds of pieces in a variety of mediums from across the country and around the world, there is sure to be something for everyone. The artwork, which must be 1/6 the scale of the original subject, offers the finest detail in a package you can’t resist.

The best part of running a miniature show? For Smith it’s getting in the artwork. “I love having all of the little boxes coming in from all over the USA and the world, opening them up and seeing all of the surprising treasures.”

Visit Seaside Art Gallery April 30–May 30, and preview all the artwork in the miniature show here. And don’t forget to explore the rest of Seaside Art Gallery while you’re at it!


Miniature Rules

Daffodils_Melinda_FabianTo be eligible to enter art into a miniature show, there are several important rules to follow.

For example, a recent show my art is entered into has the following parameters: the outside dimensions of the frame can not be larger than 42 square inches. The surface area size for miniature art is usually 25 inches.

Generally objects should be in 1/6th scale and portrayed in the spirit of miniature, with minute details that maintain a beautiful well-defined image in a magnifying glass. This 1/6th rule is a main difference between miniature art versus small works. For instance, if painting a red cardinal, for a small painting, the bird could be painted to fit a 5” x 7” frame.

But, to qualify as a miniature painting, the work must be painted 1/6th of the actual size of a real cardinal. The average length of a cardinal is 9”. Therefore, the miniature cardinal should measure be no longer than 1.5 inches in length and still have all the qualities and details in the finished painting as if it were painted actual size.

Find more information on the fascinating subject of miniature art, which dates back to the 7th century, here.