Week in Review 2020 – 06/19

One of the downsides of seeing artwork virtually vs. in person is how difficult it is to get a sense of the scale of the piece. I recall my shock when I stumbled upon Primavera by Botticelli at the Uffizi gallery in Florence. I had only seen it in art books. I thought it was 3′ x 4′ or smaller. Instead it took up a full wall at 80″ x 124″. What a statement!

Primavera by Botticelli

I was just as shocked the first time I saw the Mona Lisa, but for the opposite reason. It is significantly smaller than my imagination at 30″ H x 21″ W. If you have seen the Mona Lisa in person, then you have a good sense of the scale of my current work in progress, Turbulence. It will finish at similar size to the Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa is a rather diminutive work at 30″ x 21″ when compared to typical paintings hung in museums.

When I blow up an image of Turbulence, so you can see the detail of the piecing and fabric choices, it certainly looks as though it is more on the scale of Primavera than the Mona Lisa. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but seeing a work in person vs. on the computer makes a big difference when it comes to understanding the scale.

Turbulence at 4 weeks.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. Yes, size matters in art. I have often been surprised, and not in a good way, when I see a work in an exhibit that I had seen only in a photo. Somehow, a 15 by 20 inch piece just doesn’t dominate an exhibit space. I think it’s why Nancy Crow only has large pieces in the exhibits she curates. But there’s a case to be made for small pieces as they fit much better in most homes.

    1. One of the best pieces of advice I received as I turned my attention from being a quilter to an artist who quilts came from Sandra Townsend Donabed. I suspect she picked it up in art school. Sandy shared, “A good piece of art should grab your attention when you walk in the room, cause to ponder it at gallery distance (standing in front of the work) then bend forward to inspect the details.” Hard for a small piece to do that, especially if it is dwarfed by its surroundings. That being said, I’ve always been fascinated by amulets and talismans seen in museum cases, often amongst many other similar objects.

  2. I think everyone is surprised by how small the Mona Lisa is in person, but it was a good comparison for your size. Often when I had a piece accepted in Houston, it would be in the Small Abstract Art category, even tho it was a BIG piece to me. Your piece is stunning, what ever size it is.

    1. Remember all those tiny quilts we made for Fiber Revolution, each one placed in Shadow Box? I think they were 4″ x 6″, but I could be wrong. I really, really struggle working on such as diminutive scale. Since IQF is hung on a pipe and drape, small, even midsize pieces don’t do well there. Makes perfect sense that IQF small and your small are two different beasts.

  3. You’re so right about scale. My usual work is much smaller than your current piece — though I’ve gone up to 42″+ on a side. I’ve seen the Mona Lisa in person — in the spring of 1972, when you could go right up close to it (I saw Stonehenge the following week. Both are treasured memories!) I was taken aback when I saw the size of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ — I didn’t realize how large *it* was. Virtual exhibits are wonderful, but the experience of seeing a live exhibit is priceless!

    1. I neglected to mention Michelangelo’s David. That was quite a shocker. He must be close to twice life size, when I expected him to be life size. You are so right. Seeing work live is priceless – so different from in print or online.

  4. I’m reading backwards through your posts, because the bit of Turbulence that you showed in your mask post piqued my curiosity. Yes, I’d thought it was much larger, even though you included the ruler for reference! I’m hoping that if I keep going backwards, I can find a sketch or image of the entire concept you’re working on.

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