Visiting The Mansion At Strathmore

On Nov. 19 I had the opportunity to attend the opening reception for two art shows — both at The Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md.The first show, Large Scale: Miniature Artists Go Big, is on the main floor of the Mansion. The 84th International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature is located on the second floor. What impressive shows — both of them!

I have four 3D paper sculpture pieces, including Hanging Out At the Beach, Paper Shells, In the Jungle and Mr. Rooster, that are part of the large scale exhibition. In the miniature show, I have one small rabbit named Hopscotch on display. Hopscotch is so small he fits under a glass dome and wooden base measures 3.25” high by 2.75”.

The oldest miniature art society in the United States, Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C., has their annual show at the Mansion at Strathmore. This year, miniature artists were invited to also display their larger pieces during the same time frame. So this was a real treat to be able to see so many of the miniature artists also showing their large-scale pieces. What an exciting contrast!

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Hopscotch Goes To Washington, D.C.

I am so honored to find out that my little Hopscotch 3D paper sculpture was accepted into the 2017 Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C. (MPSGS)  84th  International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature show. The miniature show will run Nov. 19 through Jan. 6, 2018, at The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD  20852.

Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day
Paper Sculpture Illustration by Melinda Fabian

I was inspired to create this three-dimensional paper sculpture of an eagle after my visit to Conowingo Dam in Darlington, MD last November. In the fall, it is one of the best places to watch bald eagles as they glide through the air and then swoop down to catch a fish from the Susquehanna River below. Without hesitation, the eagle grabs their dinner soaring back up into the sky, eventually resting in the trees, eating their catch- unless their dinner was snatched up by one of the other eagles soaring by.

There were so many other photographers lined up along the fence waiting to take photos as the eagles flew overhead. As soon as someone would spot one of the birds of prey, they would call out, “Left” or Right”, to signal which side the eagle is taking off so you could start shooting your camera at them. Immediately, you would hear the continuous clicking sounds of the shutters going off, as the photographers are spinning around in a circular pattern following the flight of the eagle, trying not to become dizzy as they are getting their best shot of this powerful bird.

It is an amazing site to see so many eagles at one location and to be able to watch their behavior. I couldn’t help but create a paper sculpture eagle for one of my miniature shows.

The eagle sculpture titled, Catch of the Day was accepted into the juried 25th Annual International Miniature Show at Parklane Gallery in Kirkland, WA. The show starts May 2, 2017 and goes till June 4, 2017.  Each feather is individually cut out of white paper, shaped and glued together to form the eagle. After the eagle is formed, it is then painted in watercolor and gouache. The paper sculpture eagle is framed in a wooden shadowbox picture frame.

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.

Upcoming Art Showings

This month, I’d also like to share with you several galleries which are currently showing my art:

1.) Howard County Art Council
October 31-December 12, 2014-10-26
Reception: November 7, 6-8pm



2.)Fells Point Art Gallery
I won 2nd Place in the Mixed Media Category for my art work titled, Seaside Treasures.
31st Annual National Miniature Art Exhibition
October 1st to November 2nd
The Art Gallery of Fells Point in Baltimore, MD


3.) 81st Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature at the Mansion
Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD
November 23, 2014 to January 4, 2015



Great Expectations


“River Landscape” – Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1607

Last week I mentioned that sometimes viewing artwork online sets up expectations in terms of size and viewing experience that turn out to be very different in person. This week, following that idea, I wanted to share an experience like this I had a few years ago when I was visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I saw “River Landscape” by the Flemish artist, Jan Brueghel the Elder in person.

I couldn’t get over the size of the painting! It seems impossible that the painting is only 8 1/8” x 12 5/8” in size. The amount of detail he was able to create with each tiny little brush stroke was truly amazing. Breathtaking. I could have stood there for hours trying to exam each minute detail of that painting. (But, to the other people in my group’s delight, I kept on moving!)

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Last week I posted a list of my top 10 favorite things to draw, and I mentioned on point 10 that I would get back to you with a story. Well here it is.

Now, the funniest part about this whole list of “Things I like to Draw and Paint”, is that I happen to like pinwheels. So over the last several years, every now and then, I’ll buy myself a pinwheel from the Dollar Store.  My daughter always teases me about my “pinwheel collection”, as she calls it.

But, I keep telling her that I am not collecting them, I am buying them for reference material. I buy them because I have an idea in mind that I want to use them for a painting, but I just haven’t gotten time to paint it yet.  Well, I don’t have any evidence of ever painting a pinwheel from the last post because I really hadn’t gotten around to painting any.

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Miniature Art

I have mentioned in a couple posts that I really like adding lots of details in my paintings, and last week, I posted a teeny tiny chipmunk I painted.

In December, the Strathmore Mansion near Washington DC held their 79th Annual Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature.  The show featured hundreds of paintings that were only a few inches in size, and were at times, best viewed through a magnifying glass.  The detail was breathtaking on such a small scale.  I had originally thought I would spend maybe an hour wandering around, but instead, I was there for several hours.

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