The Gallery You Didn’t Know You Were Looking For

Why Small Paintings Are Becoming Increasingly Popular

Oh, the lust! Can I tell you what it’s like for a true art lover to walk around Santa Fe, perusing its over 200 art galleries? “Exquisite torture” comes close. So why isn’t it just fun? A pleasant and interesting way to pass the time with friends or relatives, or even alone? A way to feel refreshed or inspired by the wellspring of human creativity? Well it can be… and often is. Until you see that one painting that just hits you like a perfectly aimed arrow and brings a visceral catch to your throat. The one that whispers, “I am you, that elusive part of you that has no words, but runs very deep. Recognize yourself? Boom.”

When you experience a painting like that, you know it was created for you. And you know right where you’d hang it in your home, too. Then you look at the price tag, and inwardly groan. Of course it’s expensive, because it’s so damn good! Well… maybe there’s a print that you can buy instead? But there isn’t. Or there is, and you look at it next to the original and can’t help feeling disappointed at the compromise. You remember falling in love with the impasto of paintings you’ve seen… the thickness of the paint that cast shadows on the canvas, the rich luster of the oils or the gorgeous texture of the mixed media acrylics. An original piece of art is just so much more than a print. It has a physical presence. It’s unique in the world, and it feels like you’re holding part of the artist’s being in your hands when you hold it. Because you are. I can say all this, because I’m a painter myself.

I have a lot of original art in my own home done by other artists. In fact, I’ve run out of room. I’m not ready to part with most of it, but there’s only so much wall space available. I always think I’ll rotate my paintings over time, but I don’t. And sometimes I outgrow certain pieces. After a while (usually years), the thrill and impact of a particular painting will fade. Then one day it begins to bother me to the point that I actually want to take it down. It doesn’t really reflect who I’ve become anymore. And you know how I know? Because that painting I saw in that gallery the other day almost jumped off the wall at me! It perfectly captured how I feel or felt in important periods of my life, who I was as a child, who I wish I was now, who I really am or will be, or what I love and admire, secretly or overtly. It moves me in a way that old painting I took down used to. But I can’t afford it, and/or I don’t have the wall space available.

Enter Miniatura Gallery. Nothing in my new little Santa Fe gallery is over 10×10″ in size. Some pieces are as small as 4×4″, 5×5″, sitting on a custom made wooden easel, or beautifully framed and wired to hang next to your desk in your office, or in your bathroom, or even the kitchen. You do have room for it, and it’s original art painted by one of twenty talented, established artists who are often well respected and admired for their larger works. Miniatura features a mixture of genres, subjects and styles, with the common theme being “small.” We have abstracts, landscapes, wildlife, florals, westerns, still life, figurative… if you’re drawn to a particular subject or style. If your taste is more open and eclectic, I guarantee there will be something here that will appeal to you. Because the other uniting theme is that it’s all very carefully curated for its beauty, power and impact. You may not resonate with everything in Miniatura, but you’ll find something that speaks to you, or makes you smile, or connects to that part of you that wants expression. And it’s so much fun to look! Your wallet won’t run screaming if you see something wonderful you want to take home, and shipping costs are minimal or even non-existent, since you can carry your treasure home in your suitcase.

Take a look at some of the gorgeous little gems on our website:, or on Instagram It’s fun and inspiring to look, and we hope you’ll be moved. Let us know which are your favorites and why. And the next time you’re in Santa Fe, stop by the gallery itself at the El Centro Building on Water and Shelby, and see what new little works have appeared. It’s the gallery you didn’t know you were looking for, but we think you’re gonna love it.

Mary Luttrell


Mary Luttrell is the daughter of well-known western artist, Oleg Stavrowsky. She is a painter and published writer who worked for decades in graphic design, and spent several years working in high-end art galleries in Santa Fe. She has a degree in English with a minor in Art History.

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