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Tiny art gets a big spotlight

Nov. 05, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Claudia Petrus had never shown her artwork formally before. The Scott Depot, W.Va., resident didn't know the ins and outs of putting show entries together, and she didn't have the confidence in her own talent.

That was before Brenda Beatty, her art teacher at the St. Albans Hansford Senior Center, suggested their class all put together pieces for the Renaissance Center Art Gallery's 12th annual National Miniature Exhibition.

"I thought it was a great idea," she said. "I was afraid to get in a show, and this gave me the courage to do it. ... Now I'm going to do another one."

She joined a steady stream of art enthusiasts who gathered at the Renaissance Center Art Gallery on Sunday to get up close and personal with hers and, in all, 200 tiny works of art displayed in the former Huntington High building as part of the nationally sanctioned show.

The works, all of which are on sale and will be displayed through Dec. 9, are all five-by-five inches or smaller in size, or just 8 inches tall for the sculptures. Some were created by artists already known regionally or even nationally, and some were created by artists like Petrus, who are participating in their first show.

"Some is very serious, and there is a lot of whimsy. Some is deceptively complex," said Sue Tschantz, a member of the Renaissance Art Gallery, an artist cooperative that draws members from across the region.

"A lot of people have started with us and gone on to national reputations," Tschantz said, citing Carol Staub as an example. She has pieces in the exhibit as well.

Another artist from Beatty's watercolor class was Darryl Dean, who had three tiny landscape scenes on display. His favorite of the three was a failed painting that he simply cropped and added some touches. He had had his art shown before, but not in a miniature exhibit.

For Patti Payne of Ironton, it was her second time participating in a show, and she had some works displayed that were a result of her carrying her camera with her at all times and capturing memorable images to paint. One was a watercolor of her neighbor walking her dog.

"To have other people look at your work and to meet other artists -- it's all exciting," she said. And creating miniatures is, "fun and surprising to do, and it's amazing how complete they look when they're so small," Payne said.

The Miniatures Exhibition is definitely a popular show, Tschantz said.

"It's the intimacy of them," she said. "You can walk right up to them. It's portable and personal."



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