Why I Create Small Works

I plan on entering the National Collage Society’s Small Format show. The pieces can only be 4-by-6 inches, postcard size. Just what I like. There’s no jury, so everyone gets in. I love these small formats and decided I’d create some and enter the show.

Collage papers and supplies

I had some mat board cut to 4-by-6 inch for something else, so I pulled out all I had. I found some papers that spoke to me. There were papers that had a bit nature and some grungy text, colors I liked and papers with writing, that went together well. I started with one that was just okay and I was happy with it but it just didn’t have that zing. Zing is that thing that when you see it, you know it. It pops. It’s something that makes your heart “zing.”  

No Idea

After I created a couple more, I felt inspired to make more. I was on a roll and before I knew it, I had created seven small formats of collage that spoke to my love of nature and with some added ephemera.

Why I couldn’t stop making collage? I know that once you start creating, sometimes it’s hard to stop. I found this many times. It’s because the creator is in the “Zone”. It’s hard to stop because your mind blocks out everything and as long as there are no interruptions, a person can create forever — well almost forever.  I did that once. I started painting just after lunch and I did not stop until it was so dark, I couldn’t see. I had not moved from the table for anything. All time escaped me and I was sitting in a dark house and didn’t realize that day had turned into night. I looked up and out the window and it was completely dark. It was like being on a wonderful trip into art for over eight hours. I didn’t need food or drink. Just creating was all that sustained me.

Forgive Me

When you are creating in a small format, it’s very easy to go from one to another. I’ve worked on three at a time before. It’s satisfying and when you don’t have time or space to create, it’s easy to work on some kind of art. I’ve created small 1-inch square or round pieces of art and that makes you focus in so that nothing can break your concentration. I get lost in small works, and after I’m done I feel like I’ve had a spa day. It’s purely meditation for me. 


If you are having a hard time and can’t seem to get it together to create, try creating small works. Cut up some watercolor paper, or even cardboard. Cut small pieces that are 4-by-6 inches or smaller. Grab a few art supplies: something to make marks with, a little paint or collage papers, and some glue. Then just start. Don’t try to “make something,” just let go and do whatever pops in your mind. Draw lines or little circles or glue down papers you like. If you don’t put pressure on yourself, you will be amazed at what happens. 


Leave me a comment if you’ve tried this and how it worked. Did you get in the zone or create more than you thought? Don’t criticize yourself if it didn’t happen. Try again tomorrow. I know you’ll get to love creating small also. 

Beach or Mountains


  1. Good luck!

  2. Laura Bray says:

    You know, I have been in the ‘flow’ but I find I only last about two hours at time. Then I’m exhausted and things start to go wrong. I’m a very focused person by nature so I think I get so focused that my brain shorts out!

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