What is an OSWOA?

OSWOA is an acronym for Original Small Work Of Art.  Pronunciation is a bit tricky, but after using the term for quite awhile we have determined that the best pronunciation is O(ah)-SW(shw)-OA(as in Boa).  Put it together and you are saying ah-shw-oa (OSWOA).

An OSWOA would be an original work of art that measures 6" x 4" or 4" x 6" and fits into a standard 6" x 4" photo album sleeve.    The idea behind the OSWOA movement is to help create a market for collecting and reselling these diminutive artworks!   An active OSWOA art market will give artists an outlet for selling their works while giving art collectors and speculators an increasingly large base of quality works in which to invest.

Collecting art in miniature dimensions has become very popular on the internet, thanks to the ACEO movement, which involves buying and selling small 2.5" x 3.5" works of art on Ebay.


To maintain the trust of OSWOA collectors, and avoid confusion on the part of artists, we felt it important to have some clarification of the OSWOA acronym and it's descriptive use. 

OSWOA means Original Small Work of Art.  The dictionary defines ORIGINAL as:

1. Preceding all others in time; first.
2. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual
3. Productive of new things or new ideas; inventive
4. Being the source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made.

PHOTOGRAPHS and DIGITAL ART -  The OSWOA movement recognizes photographs and computer generated digital art as viable forms of artistic impression.  However, to maintain the integrity of the word ORIGINAL in the OSWOA acronym, only the VERY FIRST PRINTED ORIGINAL of any artwork, regardless of size, that can be duplicated exactly or nearly exact using reproduction technology, may use the term OSWOA.   The work must be hand signed and clearly marked as the first and only true original digital art or photograph.  All subsequent copies should be identified as OSWOA PRINTS, GICLEEs or PHOTOGRAPHS or not identified as OSWOA at all.  

HAND TINTED OSWOA PRINTS - Digital Art Prints and Photographic Prints can be hand painted or otherwise embellished (such as made into a collage or altered art) creating a unique artwork.  However, because that artwork was derived from another work (the original print), they do not fit the definition of Original (see definition number 2 above).  Therefore they must be identified as Hand Painted or Hand Tinted OSWOA PRINTS or not identified as OSWOA at all.

Examples of the correct use of OSWOA that should be identified on the back of each work, and also in the description of the artwork if being sold on the internet.


OSWOA Watercolor
OSWOA Acrylic
OSWOA Pastel

Other Mediums:

OSWOA Drawing (pen and ink, pencil, color pencil)
OSWOA Mixed Media (Collages, Altered Art)
OSWOA  Digital Art (or Photograph) True and Original 1st
OSWOA Hand Painted (or tinted) Digital Art (or Photograph) True & Original 1ST .OSWOA Hand Painted (or tinted) Print or photograph
OSWOA Print or Photograph

Use your judgment when combining techniques above and how you identify the finished work, always keeping the Collector in mind.  Since they can't pick up and examine the art, they are relying on us to help them with our true and accurate descriptions.  It is to our benefit that the OSWOA name speaks to the integrity of all OSWOA artists.


OSWOA Artist Explained

What is an OSWOA artist?  Anyone who creates Original Small Works of Art which measure 4" x 6" is an OSWOA artist.  In time I hope all OSWOA artists will be devoted to the movement and want to spread the word of how fun and rewarding OSWOAs can be to paint and collect, but all it takes to be an OSWOA artist is paint in the OSWOA size.

It's easy to become an OSWOA artist as early as TODAY!  Simply paint or create an original work of art (painting, collage, wax art, etc...) with the measurements of 4" x 6" or 6" x 4", sign or initial the front and identify the card as an OSWOA and yourself as the artist by adding your name and where you are from on the back

Sample of what to write on the back of an OSWOA:

OSWOA Watercolor
by Dustie Meads
Northwest Arkansas

*more examples in the category above

List your OSWOA on Ebay, identifying it in the title of the auction as an OSWOA and explain in the description of the auction what an OSWOA is.  Feel free to copy any text from this site to help you along with the description.

The History Behind OSWOAs

A few years ago, a movement began on the internet among a group of artists trying to sell their paintings online. That movement involved artworks the size of baseball trading cards, 2.5" x 3.5", known as ACEOs (Art Cards Editions & Originals). 

The ease of creating these small artworks in terms of space needed, time involved, and supply costs, coupled with the fun of collecting affordable art worldwide, has made ACEOs one of the most popular forms of art sold on the internet today.  Do a search of ACEO on Ebay and you'll find hundreds listed and many have sold in the three digits!

My very talented artist friend (and cohort in this adventure), Erika Nelson, began selling ACEOs on Ebay, and she convinced me to give it a go.  My name is Dustie Meads and I am a graphic artist slash computer geek.  I'd never painted anything, except maybe the walls of my house, until I met Erika.  So imagine my thrill when I painted an ACEO and actually sold it!  

It wasn't long before I began collecting ACEOs.  I loved receiving the little artworks in the mail.  Often times, though, I wished the images were just a wee bit larger so the artist could have shared a bit more of her talent with me.  I also wished I had a more attractive way to display the artworks rather then putting them into a baseball card album.

It was while arranging pictures of my granddaughter in a darling photo album, that it came to me.  What a great size for a small painting!  The photos were 4" x 6", the size of most standard albums today.  Photo albums come in all sizes with attractive covers, some of them quite artsy!  A lovely photo album full of 4" x 6" Original Small Works Of Art (OSWOA) would be a real treasure indeed, one you'd be proud to share with friends and family!  I couldn't help but think, too, that if some of the little 3.5" x 2.5" artworks could sell in the double digits, then a quality miniature artwork more then twice the size, and yet small enough to be collected into photo albums, could bring some impressive prices!

I could hardly wait to share my idea with Erika!  She loved the idea and so we put our heads together and OSWOA.com was born.  I suppose you could call the OSWOA the big cousin of the small ACEO, since the beginning of both stemmed from the same source, the Internet!   It's going to be fun painting in both sizes, ACEO and OSWOA, with the ultimate goal being to sell them, while at the same time making miniature fine art collecting fun for art collectors worldwide!!


Benefits of creating OSWOAs for Artists!

Small Enough and Large Enough

Artists who've not done ACEO works may have a bit of a challenge painting in the OSWOA 4" x 6" size, but they should enjoy the savings in supplies, and in time.  For the most part, smaller paintings take less time to paint (although that's not always the case).

Those who have been painting in the ACEO format should discover that the OSWOA format gives all the benefits of of the ACEO, as well as the added benefit of a larger canvas to allowing them to be more expressive in their art and, ultimately, allowing them to sell their work for more $$$. 

TIP!  If a planned OSWOA doesn't quite work out, start flipping it about.  You might just find an ACEO hidden in there.  Cut a 3.5" x 2.5" "frame" out of heavy paper and use it as a view window to go over the OSWOA. Since I'm still learning to paint,  more then once has an intended OSWOA became an unintended ACEO. 

More Repeat Customers

Artists may see more repeat business since works in the 4" x 6" size could better represent their abilities and skills and yet, still be affordable to the collector.   

Artists around the world are discovering that the internet is not an easy place to sell their art.  One of the problems is that true collectors are leery of purchasing art on the internet when they can't pick up and examine first hand the quality of the artists work.   Few, however, would feel threatened by purchasing affordable small art.   

The idea is to get your art into the collectors hands and let the art speak for you.  4" x 6" is still small, but large enough to do just that, get your art into the collectors hands!  Let them discover the quality of your painting for themselves and they are more likely to come back for more!!  

OSWOAs Could Help You Sell More Art!

When it comes right down the success of the OSWOA art movement is going to stand or fall on whether or not the art sells.  Sure, it would be great if we could create art for art sake, but most of us can't.  If we're going to paint, we need to sell.  Besides, we can't keep painting unless we make room for the new paintings and what better way to make room then to sell them!  

OSWOAs have a lot going for them which will make them attractive artworks that others will want to own and display.  The size is small enough to help keep them affordable to the collector, and yet large enough for the artist to create interesting collectable artworks that have value!   We would love to see all OSWOAs listed with auction starting prices of 9.95 or higher!

As an OSWOA artist you just may discover your financial situation much improved!  Wouldn't that be a switch from being a "starving artist"!


Benefits of OSWOA Collecting! 

OSWOAs will allow collectors a good look at the artists skill and yet still be affordable enough to allow the collector to take the risk of buying art from the net.  Once the artwork is in the hands of the collector, they should feel more comfortable about collecting future pieces from any particular artist. 

4" x 6" is a nice size for framing and putting on display for others to enjoy.  These artworks can easily be matted into a much larger frame for a quite substantial work of art or displayed in small frames as treasured miniatures

as well as collected and kept in attractive photo albums to share as your own personal mini gallery with friends and family (and yourself) to enjoy over and over again!


Numerous attractive photo albums in all styles and colors can be chosen to highlight these small original works of art.  Interest specific photo albums may help the collectors focus their collection.  For instance, an album with a lovely landscape on the cover could hold a landscape art collection.  There are so many album covers today, the sky is the limit!  Photo Albums with archival safe materials will help keep your collected OSWOA artworks safe for years to come.

For collectors who also collect ACEO's, the OSWOAs could enhance that collection, adding a new dimension to their collections.  It would be fun especially if the artists they collect were to paint in both miniature formats!

OSWOAs can be sent through the mail as POSTCARDS!  Just put an address and a stamp on the back and drop it in the mail.  Imagine, original art coming from a friend as a postcard in the mail.  How special is that?

Collectors could find OSWOAs a very good investment, especially if the artists goes on to become famous OSWOA painters, or famous painters in general!  OSWOAs are ORIGINAL works of art and the 4" x 6" size makes them easy to collect and to archivally store, and as the artists become well known, those collected OSWOAs could be worth quite a bit more then the original cost!

It will be easy to collect OSWOA art.  Simply search OSWOA in Ebay.  It may take awhile for the number of OSWOA's to grow but keep checking! 


The OSWOA definition guidelines at the top of this page were written in the hopes of encouraging correct identification of the form of art being sold, but there are always things to keep in mind when shopping on Ebay that will help assure a satisfactory transaction.

ALWAYS check the sellers feedback rating on Ebay before bidding on any auction.   A high feedback rating is like a credit rating to an Ebay seller and they will try hard to protect it by being as honest and as open as possible about what they are selling.  If a seller has no feedbacks, or few feedbacks, it probably means they are new.  Email them and ask a few questions.  You'd be surprised how much you can learn about a person through email.  You might want to buy only inexpensive items from that seller till they've built a feedback rating.

If you're unsure about a seller's rating because of some negatives, try to read the negative feedback.  At the bottom of a person's feedback page you'll find a drop down menu where you can choose to see 200 feedbacks on a page (the default is 50).  This will help you go through a lot of feedback quickly.  Look for the red negatives in the feedback rating as you scroll down.   

To learn more about selling and buying on Ebay, go to http://www.ebay.com/ , click on the site map link at the top of the page and visit the subheading links under buyer and seller.   An educated seller and/or buyer is going to be a successful seller and/or buyer!


Feature OSWOA Artists & Collectors

This web site will feature OSWOA artists from time to time and archive the features.  We'll be watching Ebay for OSWOA art and asking the artist at random if we can feature them and their work on this site. 

We'd also like to hear from the collectors!  We'd love to feature some collector stories too.  Why are you an OSWOA art collector?  What got you started collecting art and tell us a bit about your collection! 


The OSWOA movment could be a WIN/WIN situation
for us all but we need your help!  Join us in the fun! 

Erika and I both plan on continuing the fun by painting and collecting ACEOs, but we will also plan on increasing our fun, and hopefully our sales, by painting and collecting OSWOAs too! Sure hope you decide to join us by creating in the OSWOA format and auctioning OSWOAs on the net!

The more OSWOA collectors, the more OSWOA painters!  The more OSWOA painters the larger the range of art offered to collectors, encouraging more collecting!  We're trying to start an art VORTEX in the world!

So far we have no membership, no newsletter, no forum...just this website and big ideas.  But that's not going to stop us from painting, nor will it stop us from encouraging you to become OSWOA Artists  and OSWOA collectors right along with us! 

The lofty goal of this site is to interest the whole world in collecting these Original Small Works of Art for pleasure and profit, and in turn, giving artists from around the world the excellent excuse to continue sharing their talents with the world! 

"This site is new, and growing...we don't know where it's going to take us, but we're looking forward to the journey and we hope you will take it with us!"

Dustie Meads
Erika Nelson

We'd love to hear from you so
drop us a line and happy creating!!

  Sept. 18, 2006