It isn’t that a painting is physically small or that it shows someone, or something, that is delicate and tiny. It’s not that its subject is a domestic scene, like a woman in her bath or putting up her hair.
Of course, all those ingredients can give a painting a feeling of intimacy. But none of them are essential to create an intimate painting.
I think what is necessary is a sense that the viewer is looking into a private world. Renoir’s little knitter, Georges de la Tours’ Mary Magdalene and Andrew Wyeth’s Christina offer the viewer glimpses into private spaces and private thoughts… sometimes thoughts not intended to be shared.
Looking over Her Shoulder is a 20x10 oil done in open studio by Shirley Fachilla.