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This Portrait Is Amazing, But It’s Hiding A Tiny Little Secret


There’s something really remarkable about standing in an art museum and staring at hundreds of absolutely massive works. When it comes to lasting impact, hulking paintings replete with life-sized horses and portraits that quite literally look down on you are overwhelmingly impressive. Skill aside, the thought of someone having to incorporate scaffolding into their creative process adds a unique dimension to the paintings themselves.

But as it turns out, the exact same thing is true of miniatures — the artistic antitheses to creations that take up entire walls. Artist Brooke Rothshank knows a thing or two about that.

It’s hard to fathom how someone could possibly create paintings that are 20 feet wide, and harder still to wrap your head around the fact that Rothshank achieves the same level of detail in paintings that are often just shy of 20 millimeters across.

What’s most incredible is that the artist rarely uses any magnification to create these tiny watercolor paintings.

“I do have a magnifying headset that I’ve used sporadically in the past,” she writes, “but it isn’t part of my regular practice.”

She’s always been an artist, but when Rothshank attended a miniatures exhibition in Chicago 10 years ago, she decided to tackle the craft herself. Once she mastered the technique, she incorporated it into her professional life.

In her words, “The paintings can take anywhere between 45 minutes and 4 hours, depending on the complexity.” She typically tries to complete one miniature a day, and two on Saturday so that she can decompress when Sunday rolls around.

Since she started this endeavor one decade ago, she’s become a member of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans. It should come as no shock that she teaches classes as well.

Fittingly enough, Rothshank has always been fascinated by life’s little details.

Just as writers are encouraged to put pen to paper every day, Rothshank believes that all artists can harness their craft by working small and committing themselves to producing meaningful work every day.

Brooke Rothshank is living proof that art doesn’t have to be huge to be extraordinary. To see more of her work, be sure to check her out on Instagram. You can even grab a miniature for yourself in her Etsy shop.

And she’s in good company at home, since her husband is a ceramics artist. Be sure to visit their website and take in all of the incredible talent that this duo has to offer.

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