Masterpieces in Miniature

The Mind-Boggling Tiny Paintings of Dina Brodsky

“I’ve been making miniature paintings ever since my first oil painting class at UMass Amherst 15 years ago,” explains artist, Dina Brodsky. Her prolific series Cycling a Guide to Lilliput is replete with classic landscapes and figures, only Dina paints each of them on diminutive plexiglass discs. “I’ve always considered it more of a guilty pleasure, a break from ‘real’ painting, until about two years ago when I was offered a chance to show at the Micro Museum in Boston. I had two months to prepare for a show that fit into a shoebox,” she recalls.

Dina was inspired to employ the circular format whilst looking through a friend’s pair of binoculars, but it wasn’t until she stumbled across a plastics store on Canal Street in New York that she embarked upon the series using the discs.

“This series is based on the sketches, photographs and memories that I’ve accumulated over years of involvement in my other guilty pleasure, which is long-distance bicycle travel. Incidentally, long-distance cycling can put the mind into the same state of intense concentration that I otherwise find in painting.”

The paintings, though varied in their subject matter all seem to share a sort of whimsical feeling, almost tinged in a sense of nostalgia, perhaps reflecting Dina’s longing to be back on the road.
We dragged Dina away from her art for just a few minutes to answer some questions:

The Plus: What are the challenges of working at such a small scale?
Dina Brodsky:
Honestly, for me there are none. I’ve always been happiest working on a small scale, and it seems that these 2″ are my comfort zone – they are small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, but still large enough that I don’t need any specialized instruments, like magnifying glasses or single-hair brushes in order to make them.

TP: How do you get into the zone when you’re working?
Painting miniatures in and of itself is a particularly good way to get in the zone, since they are so small and detailed that they require intense concentration of their maker. I am also completely addicted to audiobooks while painting – listening to something long and epic can help maintain concentration for hours at a time.

TP: Do you do requests?
Yes, but only one or two per month.

TP: Where are you at your most happy?
Exactly where I am at present. I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate to be in this place in life, surrounded by people I love, and able to do the thing I love best.

TP: Any other projects you’re working on?
I have always been fascinated by trees, and have made many drawings of them – each one is unique, and, much like people, shaped both by its’ genotype and by the circumstances it grows in. I have recently started working on a book of tree portraits, both real and imaginary.