Miniature art awards exhibition


Last Friday was the opening night of the Australian Society of Miniature Art annual awards exhibition. The society is based in New South Wales, but we have members from all over Australia. There are generally two exhibitions a year, one for members only which is held in a different gallery each time, and the awards exhibition which is open to non-members.

This year there were 151 works in seven different categories – drawing, watercolour/gouache, printmaking, oil, acrylic, mixed media and 3D and handmade books. The judge, who changes every year, was Cherry Hood, an Australian artist who is well-known for her large scale portraits in watercolour. Judging is a big job – each section plus ‘Most Innovative Work’, ‘Best Traditional Work’, a special award that has a different focus each year, this time was for a work depicting the human form, ‘Most Imaginative Drawing’, and of course ‘Best in Show’.

I submitted four works, all of which were accepted. Two in drawing, one 3D and one – the piano key I have shown before – in oil. To my delight I was awarded a Highly Commended for the piano key. The judge’s comment was ‘An extraordinary concept – oil paint on a piano key. Very enticing and exquisite.’

At the top is one of my drawing entries, which I called Convict No 4. It is done on scratchbord, which is a board covered with black paint over a white chalky surface, so I create the image by scratching into the surface, revealing the white. Thinking in reverse is tricky at first, but becomes second nature after a while. I started this one a long time ago, and kept coming back to it, getting a bit braver all the time, taking off more of the surface. He is part of a series of Victorian convicts in miniature – you can see more here that were done in pencil.  He is 6 x 8.5 cm.

The second drawing is called ‘The Invisible Man’. It is a commentary on how tattoos sometimes seem to take over the entire person, and become more anonymous over time. It is 9 x 8 cm, drawn with liquid pencil, graphite and coloured pencil. I drew the silhouette of the body builder, then placed it randomly over the previously prepared background to create the man’s body.


My 3D work is intended to also go into the Japanese-themed miniature exhibition in August, so I am hoping it doesn’t sell in this exhibition! It is a miniature version of a larger work I did earlier this year, but using different original prints, cut up and assembled into a structure of interlocking panels that suggested Japanese architecture to me, so I have called it Architecture in Japan. It is 14 cm tall.


Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

28 thoughts

    1. Thanks Anne – yes, there are more ideas revolving in my head from this one. I have used the background texture in other ways, but it always offers more. Not the same background that is, I have used the technique that created it many times and had a whole range of different ideas sparked by it.

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          1. Oh! I’m disappointed for you. You got a Highly Commended…that’s something! And, have you sold anything yet? (Yes, I know, very mercenary, but we must be practical… 😉 )


            1. Thanks Janina, I’m not disappointed, I am quite cynical about awards these days as I know it is just one person’s opinion on the day! I was really happy to get the HC though. No sales yet, but there is another 10 days to go!


  1. I’m so happy to see what you put in the show and thrilled your beautiful piano key received an award, it is very deserving of such acknowledgement. All 4 pieces are wonderful. I’m intrigued with the invisible “strong” man too. It’s a great theme.

    I remember when you were working with scratchboard, I haven’t played with scratchboard in years but remember it being really satisfying. Convict no. 4 is a compelling theme too.

    Thank you for sharing these pieces Anna!


    1. Thanks Cathe – its really nice to have the acknowledgement that an award gives, all the while knowing it is just one person’s opinion! I am enjoying the scratchbord and want to do some larger pieces. The ideas are bubbling away!


  2. “Architecture in Japan” is so much like a kimono. You see it as a building form but I straight away see it as a kimono opened out. Your “Invisible Man” is gorgeous too…very engaging and unusual. Congratulations on the piano key being awarded a Highly Commended. And finally, your convict DOES look particularly Australian though not sure how you managed that.


    1. You know, I should have shown you the 3D piece before deciding on a title – for all the Japanese pieces I am doing I am relying on my own impressions of what Japan is about, so I am delighted that you do see the folds of a kimono in it. I’m glad the convict looks Australian – I’m rather fond of him, he has a very mean look in his eye! I do think he looks better in real life than in the photo somehow.


      1. Ha ha – the convict also doesn’t look very bright – not the full 100 cents in the dollar – which would be apt for a convict.
        Oh – I love thinking up titles. I would have helped.


    1. Thanks Rosie – some of the mugshots of convicts really captured emotions, sadness, anger, aggression, some looked completely lost, and that is one thing that drew me to them for subject matter. The scratchbord is ready made, it is the Ampersand one which is on board – I think the one on card has become difficult to obtain. I have never tried making it, but it could produce some interesting results. I recently came across an illustrator who uses Ampersand clayboard and adds his own black to it then scratches back into it, with stunning results, and that is something I would like to try. His name is Nico Delort if you would like to search for him.

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  3. Congratulations, Anna! I so wish I lived closer so I could see your work in person. I am especially taken with the Piano Key but really love most everything you post. You inspired me.


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